by Alderac Entertainment Group
A few weeks ago, my friends and I had the privilege of playing our weekly round of board games at a local Mediterranean restaurant named Phara’s. It was great sitting out on their patio in the cool breeze of the evening. We enjoyed some creamy Hummus with roasted Pine Nuts, Tzatziki (a thick and creamy greek yogurt), and some fresh Pita bread while we broke out our first game of the evening, Love Letter – Legend of the Five Rings.
In Love Letter, 2-4 Samurai are trying to win the heart of the young princess. A personal meeting is impossible so you are forced to write letters to hopefully win her love before another rival clan’s samurai tries to steal her from you. Your goal is to win over the princess by using an intermediary to deliver your love letter. If your intermediary survives and makes it to the princess, you win the round.
Each hand starts by shuffling the 16 game cards and discarding the top card from the deck. The players each receive one card to start the game and the last person who went on a date in real life gets to go first (oh yes, it is in the rules!). When a Samurai takes his turn, he or she draws a card from the top of the deck and then must choose one of the two cards to discard. You then apply the effect of the card discarded even if it ends badly for you. These effects can be anything from swapping hands with another player or even forcing them to showing you their card.
Each hand ends when all of the cards have been played or there are no players left. If there are players left at the end of the round, you each compare cards and the player with the highest value wins. This young samurai receives a token of affection and gets to go first in the next game. The game is over when a player receives a certain amount of tokens and in doing so wins the love of the princess.
This game is very simple and everyone we played with really enjoyed it. Each round lasted about 5 minutes, so the whole game was over in about half an hour. It’s perfect to pull out during your lunch break with a couple of co-workers or to start off your evening of tabletop games. Also, the edition we played with had very detailed Japanese artwork which looked really great, but may not be appealing to every gamer. There are several different versions of Love letter, so don’t let the artwork of one hold you back from purchasing this great game.
Love Letter is a very casual game, but it has a lot of moments to steal someone’s win out from underneath them. This is great for people who like to try and keep track of what cards have been played and anticipate what others will do next. When you sit down with your friends I highly recommend keeping in line with the theme of the deck by ordering yourself some Sushi and pot stickers (AMAZING) to go. If you and your guests feel particularly adventurous, find a bottle of sake and settle in for a fun night with friends!
Finally, let us know what your thoughts are of Love Letter. What else did you enjoy about this fine card game?