Seiji Kanai’s Love Letter made waves when it first arrived in 2012. The game packed a lot of fun into just 16 cards, leading a micro-game revolution. Since then AEG has put out a bunch of different games using the Love Letter engine, Lovecraft Letter being the latest.
This time you’re not vying for the affection of a princess. This time you’re fighting off madness and trying to eliminate your rivals.
The basics of Lovecraft Letter are simple. At the start of the game, each player is given a card. On each player’s turn, they must draw a card and discard a card, resolving the text on the discarded card. Play continues until all players are knocked out except one.
Different cards have different effects. Some knock players out of the game immediately if played. Some protect a player from other players targeting them until their next turn. Some have you compare hands with other players for varying results. It’s up to the players to best use the abilities to be the last one standing.
Some cards, however, also have green text on them. If discarded they go in front of the player to indicate the player has gone insane. The card’s normal text is resolved. The real change comes during the player’s next turn. Before they draw their card, they must pass a Sanity Check by flipping over as many cards from the deck as they have insanity cards discarded in front of them. If any card with green text turns up, they’re knocked out. If not, they play their turn as normal, using green text on cards when available.
The last player left in a round of Lovecraft Letter gets a token. The type of token they get is determined by whether or not they’re sane at the end of the round. A player wins the game by earning 2 Sanity Tokens, or 3 Insanity Tokens.
Lovecraft Letter is certainly a deluxe game compared to the normal release of Love Letter. The game comes in a box that looks like a book and has a magnetic clasp to keep the box shut. The insert inside the box perfectly fits the tarot-sized cards and Sanity/Insanity Tokens.
Speaking of the cards, they’re thick and contain wonderful artwork filled with Lovecraftian horrors. .AEG also includes sleeves for all the cards, plus a few extras, in the box. There are sleeves featuring the card backs for the 25 game cards, and clear sleeves for the 6 reference cards. A nice touch.
Love Letter is an excellent game on its own. Lovecraft Letter elevates it with the Insanity mechanic and almost turns it into a completely different experience. There are some excellent card combinations available to try force other players out of a round, and plenty of risk/reward for taking the Insanity approach to play.
Lovecraft Letter is the best incarnation of Love Letter yet, a certainly a game to pick up for Love Letter fans or those who are interested in Love Letter and don’t know which version to get.
I can’t see playing any other version of the game now that Lovecraft Letter is in my collection.
A copy of Lovecraft Letter was provided free for review by AEG.
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.