Getting a Love Letter

I clearly remember the first time I saw Love Letter. It was a PDF attached to a simple email from John Zinser (our CEO, who was at that time in Japan) saying, “Look this over.”

There was not much there. Two pages of 9-up cards. 2-1/2 pages of rules in 12-point Arial. Some anime art and a few snippets of game text.

Well, I thought, at least it’ll be easy to sleeve up.

So I printed it out, sleeved it up, and read the rules. And seeing that it had a princess, a king, a minister, and a few other generic characters, it seemed like it might fit into Tempest.

If it was a good game.

So I shuffled it up and explained the rules briefly to my 10-year-old son. And we played a hand. I won. No surprise. I am a mean dad sometimes.

My son scowled as he thought it over. “Let’s play again.”

So we played again.

“Let’s play again,” he said.

So we played again.

“One more round.”

So we played again.

“Last time.”

So we played again.

“Just one more round, Dad, really.”

So we played again.

“Last round. I promise.”

So we played again. And I thought to myself, this game really has something. Because each time I wanted to play again. Unlike some of the games my son wants to play, and which, for the sake of decorum, shall remain anonymoous here.

So I brought it to my playtest group. Like me, they were underwhelmed with the rules and structure. Until they played. And we played a fair amount, and we were laughing pretty much the whole time. Probably the best quote of the night was Courtney looking at her husband and saying, “Oh, I don’t think so, princess.”

In the end, we made only a few minor changes, one of which was suggested by Seiji before I had a chance to send my proposal to him.

The game fit right into Tempest, and told the middle of a story that had its beginning told in Courtier and its ending in Dominare.

And if you see a bunch of AEG staffers at lunch at Gen Con, or Essen, or BGG Con, chances are we’ll be playing this while waiting for our food.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Edward Bolme View all posts by
Edward Bolme is one of AEG's developer/producers, and the brand manager for Tempest. He is also a novelist and a 25-year veteran of the hobby gaming trenches.