This week, we’ll be looking at a game that many people already have heard of called Love Letter. Marketed as of of the games that helped reinvigorate the microgame market, the premise of Love Letter is quite simple. The players are suitors trying to win tokens of affection from the
Princess, either through eliminating all of the other players or by ending the round with the highest-ranking card in the set. With only 16 cards in the deck, rounds go quite quickly, allowing for several games to be played in quick succession.
AEG has made several variants of this game (Munchkin themed, Batman themed, LotR themed), but almost all of these variants are simply reskins of the Tempest (“original” Love Letter) version of the game. The version that I’m looking at today, the Kanai Factory Limted Edition,added one little twist to the game that actually changes how it is played quite a bit.
Before we talk about the gameplay change, however, let’s talk about some of the cosmetic differences. While the Tempest version of the game had a more European art style to it, the Kanai Factory edition had Japanese art and characters more similar to Seiji Kanai’s original version of the game. Also, the limted edition came with three different variations of the Princess card, a “pretty” princess, a “nerdy” princess, and a prince!
In terms of gameplay, one card has been changed. In the Tempest version of the game,a card called the Countess(rank 7) forced you to discard her when you drew either the rank 5, 6, or 8 cards (Prince, King and Princess, if I recall correctly). In this game, she is replaced by the Minister. Rather than force a discard when drawing one of those other cards, a player that has the Minister and one of the their high-ranking cards is eliminated. This makes holding high-value cards much more risky in the Kanai Factory version of the game, adding a small amount of additional tension. I didn’t like the change at first, but i feel like it really makes for a different experience, adding a bit of additional strategy.
Some of you may have read my blog post earlier this week on a Love Letter story. That story did follow the rules of the game, as illustrated below:
Player 1 draws a General, and plays the clown. Player 2 reveals the Priestess to Player 1.
Player 2 draws the Wizard, and plays the Priestess. Player 2 cannot be targeted until their next turn.
Player 3 draws the Princess, and plays the Soldier. Correctly guessing that Player 4 has a Knight, Player 4 is eliminated from the game.
Player 1 draws the Minister. Since their hand value is greater than 12, they are eliminated.
Player 2 draws the Soldier, and lays the Wizard, forcing Player 3 to discard their card. Since the Princess was discarded, Player 3 is eliminated from the game. Player 2 wins!