You can now play Love Letter for free, thanks to a print-and-play version of the popular party board game released for April Fool’s Day.
Created by Japanese designer Seiji Kanai, Love Letter is a blisteringly fast card game of player elimination. Each player begins the game with one numbered card; on their turn, they draw another, and choose which of the two to discard - activating its special ability.
Actions include comparing cards with another player to eliminate the lower number, forcing players to discard (which can potentially eliminate them), protecting the player against their opponents’ attacks, viewing a player’s hand and more. The game ends when one player is left standing, or the deck runs out - at which point the highest-numbered card wins.
Love Letter is notable for the small number of cards in the set - Kanai originally designed the game as a challenge to use as few cards as possible - and the number of spin-offs released since the original game, which saw players trying to woo a medieval princess, came out in 2012. Different editions have ranged from TV show and movie board game reskins based on The Hobbit, Adventure Time and Archer to Lovecraft Letter, which introduced a sanity mechanic in keeping with the cosmic horror theme.
Publisher Z-Man Games announced a new variation of Love Letter, Love Letter: Sender, for this year’s April Fool’s Day. Mashing together the original medieval cast of princess, knights and royal court members with modern online dating and mobile phone culture, the cards include references to catfishing, #nofilter hashtags and group selfies, accompanied by new artwork from illustrator Andrew Bosely.
Although revealed as an April Fool’s Day joke, Love Letter: Sender is a fully playable version of the game available to download for free as a print-and-play game. The game is based on last year’s update to Love Letter, which introduced two new characters - The Spy and The Chancellor - and increased the maximum player count to six people.
The party board game is the latest tabletop title to be made available for free online, following the release of several print-and-play games by major publishers to keep players occupied during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.
Other board games available to download and play at home include:
- Ticket to Ride maker’s roll-and-write game Corinth
- Fantasy miniatures game Frostgrave, including extra solo and co-op scenarios
- Sci-fi co-op XenoShyft, released as a print-and-play by Zombicide maker CMON
- Rolling Realms (previously called Nine Worlds), a roll-and-write game by Scythe and Tapestry designer Jamey Stegmaier
- Tokaido digital, reduced to free on iOS and Android