Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage right here—and let us know what you think.
Released in 2012 by AEG, Love Letter—a card game designed by Seiji Kanai—is set in the fictional realm of Tempest where players attempt to woo Princess Annette by… sneaking love letters into the palace and into her hand. (I know… and there’s even a wedding edition. But it’s still good!)
This fiction gives way to a game of bluffing and deduction that moves incredibly fast and has a surprising layer of strategy within its small deck of 16 cards. The cards fit inside a small felt carrying bag along with wooden “tokens of affection” to keep track of your score; win a round, win a token. For 2-4 players, Love Letter has become an instant classic, yielding numerous variants—three of which discussed below—and homemade knockoffs as well.