Love Letter is part of this new "Micro Game" trend going on, where a lot of game is made from a small amount of components. In Love Letter there are 16 cards, numbered 1-8, that have some special powers. The goal is to be the person with the highest numbered card at the end of the round or somehow knock your opponents out through the round so that you are the only player left. If you do either of these things, you get a point, and the first to 4 points wins. A turn is simply draw a card, play a card, that is it. Extremely simple game.
As I said above, only 16 cards come in the game, with some red cubes to indicate score. That is it. The original version of the game came in a bag. Now they have multiple versions of the game and all of them are available in a small box. I personally purchased the original Japanese art version of the game, because at that time it was the only one with a box, but I like the Tempest branded artwork best.
Strategy & Tactics
There aren't a lot of choices in this game. Since you just draw and play a card. However, it is all about odds. You know there are exactly 5 soldiers, so if you've seen 4 other soldiers already, then your opponent has less of a chance of having a soldier. This game is more about playing your opponent, with what card you have, than it is about the deep developed plans of an ultimate world victory.
I think Love Letter was a good purchase for me, but it won't ever be in my Top 50 Games of All Time (said with a deep echo-y voice). I've found that the game can take too long for what it is. I got it for a quick filler that is really simple to explain, sometimes though the filler portion doesn't fit is, as I've played a couple games that lasts 45 minutes. Usually, I'm not a house rule type person, but I've started house ruling this one to play only to 3 points and sometimes 2 points. Which, in my mind, means the game didn't accomplish what it was intended to accomplish.
Ladies - Yes, I'm going to stereotype here, after all isn't that what my recommendations always are? I think ladies would like this game. The theme of a princess and love letters, the very fast explanation of rules, this one has gone over well. Even with my mom, who avoids games like the plague unless they are word games.
Fire Fighters - That's right. I've always wanted to recommend a game to fire fighters. I'm going to recommend this one for no particular reason.
Hardcore Gamers - This is probably a pass, unless you are going to keep it like me, not for playing with gamers of any sort. Just for family gatherings. It doesn't fit the filler time frame, it isn't that strategic, there are just a lot of other options that accomplish your goals in a game day.
*Every 100 Games Series - Back in March of 2006 I began tracking each session of the various board and card games I play. I soon got the idea to write a review on every 100th game I played, one because I like writing reviews, and two because it is interesting to see what game I review next. You can find a list of all of them here: Every 100 Games Series Reviews. All images are from BGG and if you follow their URL you can find them there.