Basic rule and variations of Love Letter card game

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Love Letter is an easy & fast card game. Basically, a player who keeps a card with higher number wins a round. To make the game more interactive and more fun, there are some tricks.

Players have only one card, and a playing-player draws another card. Then he/she decides to play one card. The card played has some effect, according to the number of the card, and mostly a player will be eliminated from the round. And higher cards (like Princess or Minister) are difficult to keep because of these effects.

Love Letter is a player-deduction game, however unlike other player-deduction games a round of Love Letter games ends in at most few minutes and evenif you are elimited in a round quicky, you can play again soon.

Love Letter : a card game

Love Letter contains 16 cards to play with, 4 player aids, and score makers. Love Letter is playable with 2 to 4 players, however I do not recommend with 2 players and we can play with 5 players.

Procedure of Love Letter

  1. Shuffle 16 cards and take 1 card aside. This card serves as a reservoir and also an uncertain factor.
  2. Each player draws a card as starting hand.
  3. In clockwise order(or your favorite order), the playing player draws a card.
  4. Playing player plays a card to discard.
  5. Most cards have effects depending on numbers.
  6. When the last card in the deck was played the player who has highest number wins, or all but one players were eliminated, the last man standing wins.

Basic Card Effects

There are several variations of cards. Here are basic cards.

  1. Soldier[兵士] (5 available): Target another player and name non-Soldier (No. 2 or higher). If the player targeted has the character named, the targeted player is eliminated from the round.
  2. Clown[道化] (2 available): Target another player and look at the player's hand.
  3. Knight[騎士] (2 available): Target another player and compare the player's hand with yours. (Your hand is the other card left in your hand.) Whichever with lower number is eliminated from the round. In case of tie, both players stay active.
  4. Priestess[僧侶] (2 available): You ignore all hostile effects from others until next your round.
  5. Wizard[魔術師] (2 available): Target a player and the targeted player discards his/her hand, and draws another card (if it was not the Princess.) Card effects do not apply, but in case of Princess the targeted player is eliminated. In case a player plays Wizard at the end of round, he/she takes a card set aside during preparation. 
  6. General[将軍] (only 1 available): Target another player and exchange hands.
  7. Minister[大臣] (only 1 available): If you have any of these, you are eliminated; Wizard, General, Princess.
  8. Princess[姫] (only 1 available): If you discard Princess, you are eliminated.

Clarifications

The rulebook in Kanai Factory Edition is not clear about Wizard. In most rules, the player who discarded Wizard could target himself/herself.

There is an unclear point about Wizard in relation with Priestess. Although rules say "If all other players are protected by 4, you must choose yourself" or like that, it is unclear the player can target a player protected in case:

  1. Player A : Played 4 and protected by 4
  2. Player B : Played 7.
  3. Player C : Plays 5

It is still unclear whether Player C can target Player A or not. In the explanations of Priestess equivalents, some describe like "if all players are protected, playing player must choose him/herself if applicable". It can effect the result if it is the end of the round and you are sure that Player B has lower number of card. If you name Player B, he/she gets chance to draw Princess and wins.

We usually play Love Letter, with a rule, any player protected should not be targeted, to make it clear.

Card Variations

There are several variations of cards. As far as I know;

  • "7": If you have "7" and have or ever had "5" or "6", you must discard "7". It may reduce chance to lose a round if you start with "7" and "5"....
  • "7": If your another card is "5", "6", or "8", you must discard "7".
  • "8": If you are eliminated when you have this card, you draw another card and still active. It happens if other players named "8" or you drew "7", but not clear if you were targeted by "5". (Possibly in case targeted by "5" you get eliminated.)
  • "8": If you discard this card, you are eliminated. And you lose at the end of game. (You can win using "3" or "6".)

I like these variations.

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