There’s still some time to pick up a stocking stuffer for your gamer friends. If you are looking for something inexpensive and yet very cool, I suggest you go to your friendly local game store and pick up a copy of Love Letter.
This is a very small card game published by AEG and is part of their Tempest project that links together the stories and themes of a set of games so that they take place in the same world. I could care less about this.
Love Letter stands on its own merits as a quick and easily portable filler game for two to four players. I don’t really like it with just two players, but it’s great with three or four.
Designed by Seiji Kanai, Love Letter is a simple deduction game that has some bluffing elements to it as well. You play with a deck of sixteen cards. These cards represent individuals that can carry your love letter to the royal princess. If you manage to deliver your amorous prose, you earn a token of her affection, represented by a small red wooden cube. While most princesses would give you a jeweled sword or maybe some land, this particular princess gives out small red wooden cubes. This is obviously why she is being pursued by gamers.
The game is played out over a series of rounds. Players have a single card in their hand and draw an additional card at the start of their turn. They must then discard one of these cards and apply the card effect. Play continues until all but one of the cube seeking suitors has been eliminated or until the deck runs out. Basically, you want to survive with the highest ranking card that you can manage. The lowest ranked card is the guard, which allows you to try and guess the card of another player. If you are right, then that player is eliminated for the round. His or her hopes of wooden cube collecting smashed like a fragile glass unicorn. The highest ranked card is the princess herself, which I suppose makes sense. What doesn’t make sense to me is why the prince looks like Brad Pitt.
Love letter comes in a cute red velvet bag and is very inexpensive. It’s great for those times when you are waiting for another player, or when you only have a short amount of time and space for a game.