Love Letter (card game)

Love Letter is a card game introduced in May 2012 and designed by Seiji Kanai.[1] It was produced in the United States by Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) until 2018, when Love Letter was acquired by Z-Man Games (a subsidiary of Asmodee).[2]

Love Letter
Court the Royal Princess of Tempest
Love Letter box cover.jpg
Box cover
DesignersSeiji Kanai
Players2 to 4
Playing time20 minutes


Each player aims to deliver a love letter to the princess with the assistance of collaborators.

Playing methodEdit

2–4 people play. First, one card is dealt to each person, and one is discarded face-down from the round (so the process of elimination cannot be used to prove which cards are left) and the rest are deposited face-down into a deck in the middle. During each player's turn, they draw one card from the deck and play either that card, or the card they already had. After processing the effect described on the discarded card, the next player gets a turn. This is repeated until either the deck disappears, in which case the player holding the highest card wins the round (if tied, then the player with the highest total of cards in their discard pile), or until all players but one are eliminated, in which case the remaining player wins the round. The deck (including the discarded card) is shuffled, and play begins again. Once a player wins the game, that player receives a token of affection. The game ends when one player has obtained a predetermined number of tokens of affection (normally anywhere from four to seven).

Card typesEdit

Following cards are available in the classic version of the game:[3][4]

Card Strength Number in deck Effects
Guard 1 5 Player designates another player and names a type of card. If that player's hand matches the type of card specified, that player is eliminated from the round. However, Guard cannot be named as the type of card.
Priest 2 2 Player is allowed to see another player's hand.
Baron 3 2 Player will choose another player and privately compare hands. The player with the lower-strength hand is eliminated from the round.
Handmaid 4 2 Player cannot be affected by any other player's card until the next turn.
Prince 5 2 Player can choose any player (including themselves) to discard their hand and draw a new one. If the discarded card is the Princess, the discarding player is eliminated.
King 6 1 Player trades hands with any other player.
Countess 7 1 If a player holds both this card and either the King or Prince card, this card must be played immediately.
Princess 8 1 If a player plays this card for any reason, they are eliminated from the round.

Second EditionEdit

A second edition of Love Letter was released in 2019 with new artwork, as well as having five cards added to support play by 2–6 players. This version uses all the cards in the basic version but changes the strength value of the King to 7, the Countess to 8 and the Princess to 9. It also adds one additional Guard card and the following new cards:[4]

Card Strength Number in deck Effects
Spy 0 2 Does nothing when played, but if the player is the only player who played spies, he gain an additional token of affection.
Chancellor 6 2 Draw two cards from the deck to your hand. Choose and keep one of the three cards, then place the other two on the bottom in any order.

This version can also be played in accordance with the original version by removing the five additional cards, though this only supports for 2–4 players.

Awards wonEdit

Love Letter has received the following awards:[5]

  • 2014 Deutscher Spiele Preis, 4th place
  • 2014 Spiel des Jahres recommended
  • 2014 Origin Awards Best Traditional Card Game
  • 2014 Guildbrikken Best Family Game
  • 2014 Fairplay A la Carte
  • 2013 Golden Geek Best Party Board Game
  • 2013 Golden Geek Best Innovative Board Game
  • 2013 Golden Geek Best Family Board Game
  • 2013 Golden Geek Best Card Game
  • 2012 Japan Boardgame Prize Voters' Selection
  • 2012 Dice Tower Best Family Game[1]
  • 2012 Origins Award for Best Traditional Card Game[6]


In addition to foreign language editions, many are themed:

Name Date Publisher Language Notes
Love Letter 2012 AEG English the first edition of the game
Love Letter: Legend of the Five Rings Edition 2014 AEG English Themed, new art, identical rules to the original game.
Love Letter: Wedding Edition 2014 AEG English Wedding-themed version of the game with corresponding art, only available directly from the publisher, and only to those celebrating their own or someone else's wedding
Big Love Letter 2014 Pegasus Spiele German "Postcard expansion" explaining how to use 2 sets of the base game to play with up to 8 players.
Munchkin Loot Letter [7] 2014 AEG English Themed, identical rules to the original game. Includes one new card for Munchkin itself
Letters to Santa 2014 AEG English Christmas-themed edition, featuring characters such as Santa Claus, snowmen, and reindeer
Love Letter: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies [7] 2015 AEG English Themed, 17-card tie-in for the 2014 film The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Two notable changes from the base game: it adds a "The One Ring" card , and includes two different versions of the Baron card.
Love Letter: Batman [7] 2015 AEG English Batman-themed version with a single rew rule.
Land of the Lustrous Card Game: "Love Letter"[8] 2015 Japanese Themed with some rules changes and new cards, included with the special edition release of volume 4 of the manga.
Adventure Time: Love Letter [9] 2015 AEG English Themed with 2 new rules.
Star Wars: Secret Invasion (Russian: Звёздные войны: Тайное вторжение)[7] 2015 Russian Themed, with 17 cards.
Love Letter Premium[10] 2016 AEG English An enhanced edition for up to 8 players with an additional set of cards
Archer: Once You Go Blackmail... [7] 2016 AEG English Themed TV tie-in.
Harap Alb Continues: A Love Letter Game (Romanian: Harap Alb Continuă...: un joc Love Letter) [11] 2016 Romanian Themed, based on the character of Harap Alb
Osomatsu-san Love Letter Board Game[12] 2016 Arclight Japanese Themed Mr. Osomatsu edition. Has a few notable rules modifications.
Love Letter: Erweiterung 2017 Pegasus Spiele German Expansion that adds 10 new characters.
Lovecraft Letter [13] 2017 AEG English Themed, based on Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. Introduces new versions of the cards based on "insanity" powers.
Pummeleinhorn: The Super Cookie (German: Pummeleinhorn: Der Superkeks) 2018 Pegasus Spiele German Themed, based on Pummeleinhorn (Chubby Unicorn).
Chief Arino's Love Letter[14] 2019 Arclight Japanese Themed, based onGameCenter CX, featuring Shinya Arino from Japanese comic duo Yoiko.
Love Letter second edition 2019 Z-Man Games English Updated art and additional cards to support up to 6 players.
Witch Hat: Magic Test[15] 2019 Japanese Themed, included with the special edition release of volume 5 of the manga
Love Letter from Yozakura[16] 2018 Kanai Factory Japanese Themed, included with the limited edition release of volume 22 of the manga
Love Letter: Sender English Themed, free print-and-play online dating April Fools' Day edition for April Fools' Day.
Touhou Bomb Letter: Delivery Barrage![17] 2020 Arclight Japanese Themed, adds 3 new types of cards.
Infinity Gauntlet: A Love Letter Game 2020 English Themed Marvel Universe tie-in, for up to 5 players


  1. ^ a b Otake, Tomoko (31 January 2014). "Indie designer Kanai carves out niche with analog board games". The Japan Times. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Z-Man Games Acquires Love Letter". Z-Man Games. 8 May 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Love Letter Rules" (PDF). AEG. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Love Letter Rules" (PDF). Z-Man Games. 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 May 2021.
  5. ^ Love Letter Page at Boardgame Geek
  6. ^ "2014 Origins Winners Announced". ICV2. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e Mappin, Don (4 June 2016). "Hobbit, Batman, Archer, Star Wars—the many faces of Love Letter". Ars Technica. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  8. ^ 宝石の国カードゲーム 「ラブレター」
  9. ^ "Adventure Time Love Letter". Board Game Geek. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Love Letter Premium Edition" (PDF). AEG. 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 April 2021.
  11. ^ "Harap Alb Continuă... un joc Love Letter". Board Game Geek. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  12. ^ おそ松さんラブレターボードゲーム
  13. ^ "Lovecraft Letter". Board Game Geek. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  14. ^ 有野課長のLove Letter, Arino-kachō no Love Letter
  15. ^ とんがり帽子の魔法試験, Tongari Bōshi no Mahō Shiken
  16. ^ ラブレター・フロム・ヨザクラ
  17. ^ 東方ボムレター -届け弾幕!-, Touhou Bomb Letter: Todoke Danmaku!

External linksEdit