Love Letter by 999 Games (5.0/10)

Love Letter is a game for 2-4 players and takes about 20 minutes to play. However, I will say that once you get the hang of it, the duration of the entire game should take less than 5 minutes.

All of the eligible men seek to woo the princess of Tempest. Unfortunately, she has locked herself in the palace, and you must rely on others to take your romantic letters to her. Will yours reach her first? Love Letter is a game of risk, deduction, and luck. Your goal is to get your love letter into the Princess’ hands while deflecting the letters from competing suitors.

Components: 16 cards. 1 box. Oxygen with trace amounts of Nitrogen. End of list.

The deck is shuffled.
Each player is dealt 1 card.
1 card is removed from play.

On a players turn, you draw one card and play one card.
Each card has effects that you should use to attempt to expose others and knock them from the game.

In our play through I found that the initial play was entirely too fast to really grasp the ins and outs of the game. But let me attempt to recreate how the game was played:

Step 1: I was given the Countess Whilhelmina card.
Step 2: Play started with me.
Step 3: I drew the King.
Step 4: I lose.

In 4 steps of nobody’s effort I was removed from the game. That pretty much tainted my opinion of the game from then on out. It was an unfortunate series of events that persisted throughout several rounds. I bared witness to the same effect on other players, so I will say that the game is fair in that effort. It is very much like Poker in that respect, where players must deal with the cards they are given, however, if a player can be nullified without any action on their part, it is concerning.

On top of that, readers / viewers out there who know me and are a fan of the show are aware of my deep seeded hatred for player elimination mechanics. This is nicely balanced with the extreme quickness of the game, but it certainly rubbed me the wrong way.

Overall, I would say this game is acceptable as a filler while waiting for dinner or playing while other players show up. I didn’t particularly like the the theme but it worked for the game. With that, I will now go into my rubric.

Quality of Components: 0-2 (1.5)
The simplistic art style did it justice. I actually prefer some of the later art styles that exist, but the original was good enough without any concerns.

Good Balance of Skill to Luck 0-1 (0)
This game is all about luck. Occasionally a player could outsmart enough or deduce who they were in order to use the guard on them, but it seemed like those events were few and far between. It seemed more that a dice roll could have sufficed to produce a winner.

Analysis / Paralysis 0-1 (1)
The game was well paced and helped to not create a lot of analysis paralysis. The one area where this could occur is in the realm of the Guards. The Guards allowed for a player to attempt to guess what card another player had. Sometimes players would attempt to recount every card that was played in order to discern what cards a player could have. That said, that was probably one of the most fun parts of the game.

Theme 0-2 (1)
There was theme, and the cards were based around it, however, it wasn’t for me. I mean… how many people can pass the princess a letter before someone gets suspicious? In addition, if a letter determines how fetching the princess finds you, then the girl needs to get out a bit more.

Thrill / Competitive 0-2 (0.5)
I didn’t really get it. Yes, it’s thrilling when it’s down to you and another player but when it is your first turn and you are eliminated, there isn’t much competition… unless you count that text war I had while everyone else continued to play.

Was it fun 1-2 (1)
Not really. Again, maybe in a blue moon while waiting for other players to show up, but even then I have other games I’d go to first.

Total: 5 Points

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