Deduction Card Games

Love Letter: A Quick Deductive Card Game

Love Letter is a quick and easy deduction card game for two to four players (the second edition increased the player count to six). The goal of the game is to get your love letter delivered to the princess. The person who successfully delivers the most love letters wins the princess’ heart (and the game).

In this blog post, we will teach you how to play Love Letter, and give you some tips on how to win. So, gather your friends and let’s get started!

What is Love Letter and what do you need to play it?

The Love Letter card game at it’s heart is quite simple. There are only 16 cards in total made up of 8 different card types. Each card type represents a person in the court that can deliver your letter to the princess. The person you hold at the end of the round is the person who you’ve entrusted to deliver your letter

Each role has a number associated with it between one and eight, the higher the number, the closer that person is to the Princess (with the princess herself being the eight).

At the start of the game, is dealt one card. On their turn, each player will draw one card and then choose one card to keep and discard the other. The goal is to keep the highest card you can, but each card also contains an action that is performed when that card is discarded.

Let’s take a look at the cards.

The Cards of Love Letter

There are 16 cards in the Love Letter deck, each card has a value (1-8) and an action. Your goal is the have the highest value card you can in your hand at the end of the round.

The person in your hand at the end of the round is the person entrusted with delivering your letter. If you are holding the princess at the end of the round you managed to deliver your letter directly to her!

Throughout the game you’ll be trying to knock your rivals out of the round, you win by being the last one standing, or by getting your letter to the person closest to the princess when the deck runs out (having the highest value card).

Here is a breakdown of the Love Letter Deck

CardValueNumber
in Deck
Action
Princess81If you discard this card you are out of the round
Countess71If you have the King or the Prince in your hand you must discard this card
King61Trade hands with another player of your choice
Prince52Choose any player (including yourself) to discard their hand and draw a new card
Handmaid42Handmaid 4 2 Until your next turn ignore all effects from other players’ cards
Baron32You and another player secretly compare hands, the player with the lower value is out of the round
Priest22Look at another player’s hand
Guard15Name a non-guard card and choose another player. If the player is holding that card they are out of the round

That’s a lot of cards to keep track of, but luckily the game comes with handy reference cards to remind you of what each card does and how many of each there are.

How to Setup Love Letter

Setting up the game is simple. After shuffling the deck you’ll remove one card from the deck without looking at it and set it aside. This card will not be used during the game. If playing a two-player game, additionally remove three more cards, placing these face-up, these also will not be used during gameplay.

Now deal each player one card. This is their hand, and the person they are trying to convince to carry their letter. That’s it for setup.

The Basic Rules of Love Letter

The game is played in rounds, and each round represents a day. A turn consists of the following steps: draw a card, play (discard) a card, and resolve the effects of the played card.

In the first step, each player draws a card from the deck and adds it to their hand. Then, from those two cards they must choose a card to play face-up in front of them.

The action on the played card is then resolved. The only rules are:

  • You must discard a card each turn
  • You must resolve the action on the card you play
  • You must keep your chosen card secret
  • You must be honest when you are the target of a card action

How to Win Love Letter

The game ends when there is only one player left in the round that has not been knocked out, or the deck runs out of cards.

If the deck runs out of cards, the player with the highest value card wins the round and receives a token of affection from the princess. The number of tokens required to win depends on the number of players

Number of PlayersNumber of Tokens Needed to Win
27 Tokens
35 Tokens
44 Tokens

Advanced strategies for playing Love Letter

  • The cards that have been played stay face-up in front of each player, pay attention to what’s been played.
  • There may be times in the early game when it is wise to hold on to a guard. Guards can not name other Guards so holding one until most of the other gaurds have been played can keep you save from being knocked out
  • The King is a bad card to play, try to hang onto it if you can. When you play the King you trade hands with someone. If they draw a guard before your next turn, you’re out.
  • Baron is a risky card to play (the player with the lower card is out). Try to only play the Baron if your other card is a prince or higher.
  • You don’t HAVE to have the King or the Prince to play the Countess so you can use her to make people think you have one of those cards. This is a bad move late game however, it leaves you with a low-value card and little time to improve it.
  • When you have a high-value card with a guard you can play the card and call the card you have. You know the other player doesn’t have it, but it may make people think you don’t have it either.

Can I Play Love Letter Online?

Love Letter can be played online for free at BoardGameArena.com. There, you can find both the original version of the game, as well as the variant with additional rules for four players. You can also play Love Letter against a computer opponent to practice your deduction skills.

Is Love Letter a Good Game?

If you’re looking for a quick, easy-to-learn game that you can play with friends or family, then Love Letter is a great choice. With its simple rules and short playing time, it’s the perfect game to break out when you’re looking for some lighthearted fun. It’s also easy to carry or keep in your glove box so you always have something to play.

Is Love Letter Worth the Money?

Love Letter is a quick game to teach and play and it is fairly inexpensive. You should be able to find it online for around $12. It is a great game to travel with because of its incredibly small footprint and the art is nice. If it sounds like a game you would like it’s worth picking up. You can buy a copy of Love Letter from Amazon.com

We have the first edition of the game which accommodates up to four players, but if you buy it now you’ll get the second edition which allows for six players. For me, that makes buying this game a no-brainer, since finding good games for six players can be difficult.

How do I Know if I’m Buying the First Edition or the Second Edition?

The version published by Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) is the first edition, the one published by Z-Man games is the second edition. You can also tell which edition of Love Letter your getting by the pouch it comes in. The first edition comes in the pouch seen in the picture at the top of this post. The pouch for the second edition of the game looks like this

Love Letter 2nd Edition

Other Games Editions Love Letter

Not a fan of the romantic theme? Several other editions have been released with different themes. Clicking on any of these will take you to Amazon where you can pick them up!

Jabba’s Palace –  Set in the Star Wars universe, players compete using members of the Rebel Alliance and denizens of Jabba’s Palace to outwit and outlast one another.

Infinity Gauntlet – One player takes on the role of Thanos, 1-5 other players must deploy iconic heroes to defeat him before he can achieve his aims.

Lovecraft Letter – Enter the frightening world of the Cthulhu on a quest to find your missing relative in this Lovecraft edition of Love Letter.

Letters to Santa – I think this one is such a great idea for playing with kids! I might have to buy this one.

Munchkin Loot Letter – Steal treasure and backstab your friends.

Final Thoughts

If you’re interested in a game that is easy to teach and play but still provides some fun and deduction, then Love Letter is the game for you. It does rely on a bit of luck but there is a decent amount of strategy and bluffing as well. It’s perfect for when you’re looking for something lighthearted and quick, and it can be played with people of all ages. There are also many themes available so you can buy the one that’s right for you!

That’s all there is to playing Love Letter! I hope you enjoyed this guide and that you’ll give the game a try!