Love Letter

Love Letter is a popular game designed by Seiji Kanai and published by Tempest Games.

The game has recently been acquired by Z-Man Games but the F2F rules are still available on the Alderac website.

These postal rules by Richard Smith and Tom Howell.

Card images by Konstantin Sokolov, full download on BoardGameGeek

Postal Play

1. The game is for three or four players and there are thirteen hands played simultaneously. Player order is determined randomly. Each player receives 13 hands of 1 card, or 2 for the hands for which it is his turn to play.

2. In a three-player game at the start it's player 1 to go on hands 1, 4, 7, 10 and 13; player 2 on 2, 5, 8 and 11; player 3 on 3, 6, 9 and 12.

3. In a four-player game at the start it's player 1 to go on hands 1, 5, 9 and 13; player 2 on 2, 6 and 10; player 3 on 3, 7 and 11 and player 4 on 4, 8 and 12.

Example showing round 1 in 4-player game:

Cards Round1 Armand Bernard Claude Didier
10 Hand 1 to play
10 Hand 2 to play
10 Hand 3 to play
10 Hand 4 to play
10 Hand 5 to play
10 Hand 6 to play
10 Hand 7 to play
10 Hand 8 to play
10 Hand 9 to play
10 Hand 10 to play
10 Hand 11 to play
10 Hand 12 to play
10 Hand 13 to play

4. Each postal turn the play moves round one position to the right, so player 2 now is going on hand 1, player 3 on hand 2 etc. Note that if the next suitor round the table has been eliminated from a hand he is skipped. A new card is then drawn for the active player on each hand.

5. In the event of an NMR, for each hand one of the two cards is selected at random unless one of the cards is the Princess (play the other card), or the two cards are the Countess and King, or the Countess and the Prince, in which case the Countess is automatically discarded.

6. If a player's orders cannot be implemented the GM may decide to ask the player to amend. Alternatively, if a card is played against an opponent with an active Handmaid, the next valid player around the board is the recipient, and if a Guard is played and the player nominates Guard (or fails to nominate) he will get a random non-Guard card type selected by drawing from a full pack.

7. There can be up to 11 postal turns (4 players) or 12 (3 players) - there are 16 cards in the deck (Guard x5, Spy x2, Baron x2, Handmaid x2, Prince x2, King, Countess and Princess), but remember that in each hand the GM sets aside 1 card at the start (this is only used if a Prince is played on the final round).

8. In each postal turn the previous turn's actions are resolved and hands updated as appropriate. Note that the turn report will show played / discarded cards as these can be a tie-break on determining who gets the token, and are (obviously) useful when playing a Guard. The turn report will also contain the number of cards left in each hand.

9. The card discarded by the Prince goes face up on the victim's pile, and when the Baron is played the loser's card is turned up (the winner's remains secret but everyone knows it is bigger than the loser's). When a spy is played the player is informed secretly of the victim's card.

10. The first suitor to get five tokens (3-player game) or four tokens (4-player game) marries the princess and wins the game, which ends on that turn.


Arthur, Bruno and Charles are the players vying for the princess's affections.


HAND 1: Arthur has drawn a card (giving him two) and must choose one of these cards to play. Bruno and Charles each owns a single face down card. Arthur has a Baron and a Guard to choose from. Playing the Baron would be a very bad idea so it has to be the Guard. His orders are "Play the Guard on Charles and guess that he has a Prince". Bruno and Charles do not submit orders for this hand. In the turn report the GM states whether or not Arthur is correct - if so, Charles is eliminated from hand 1, if not Charles survives and his card is not revealed.

HAND 2: Bruno has drawn a card (giving him two) and must choose one of these cards to play. Charles and Arthur each owns a single face down card. Bruno has the Countess and the King, and so is forced to play (discard) the Countess. Charles and Arthur do not send orders for this hand, but after seeing the turn report know (for rounds 2 and 3) that Bruno's face down card is likely to be a Prince, the King or the Princess (unless he's discarded the Countess as a bluff) so if one or both of them has a Guard he's at increased risk of elimination.

HAND 3: Charles has drawn a card (giving him two) and must choose one of these cards to play. Arthur and Bruno each owns a single face down card. Charles has the choice of a Guard or a Spy. He decides to play the Spy on Bruno. This choice of action appears in the turn report but not the outcome - the identity of Bruno's face down card is emailed to Charles along with his cards for the next round. If in round 3 Bruno does not play the card he is known to hold then he's in trouble for round 4.

HAND 4: It's Arthur to play and his orders for this hand are sent to the GM along with his orders for hand 1 (and any other hand on which it is his turn to play in round 1).


Charatcter Cards

Guard Spy Baron Handmaid Prince King Countess Princess