Updated: Jul 2, 2020
You’ve surely played Love Letter. You can check out our review of the deluxe premium edition from AEG.
We’ve all lost count of the number of different rethemes of Love Letter, so the inevitable Cthulhu version sounded initially unremarkable...
Lovecraft Letter isn’t just a wittily titled reskin, however. It takes the original game and introduces novel new elements. In addition to standard cards that mirror those in Love Letter, the Lovecraft Letter pack includes versions of each card where the number is highlighted in green. If any of these cards are played, then they render insane players who have them in their discard pile. Insanity means that, before drawing a card, the player has to flip over cards (one per insanity card in their discard pile) to see if they have a complete mental breakdown. If they turn over an insane card, they are knocked out of the round. If they turn over only sane cards, they draw a card and continue their turn in the normal way. On the plus side, a player who is insane may choose to play insane cards for their secondary insane effect – which in most cases will be more powerful than the vanilla text to which it is an alternative.
The insanity introduces an additional push your luck element that takes Love Letter to a new level. Once you are familiar with the effects triggered by each of the cards, Lovecraft Letter plays at least as quickly as the original game but players feel this game offers them more options. The rules even allow players the option of what Americans know as a ‘Hail Mary’ move: if you have two or more insane cards in your discard pile and you subsequently play the number 8 Cthulhu card, you instantly win the game (not just the round). This means a player who is trailing might deliberately take the insanity risk of elimination in order to be in with a chance of securing a lucky outright win.
If you like Love Letter, Lovecraft Letter is definitely worth checking out. I’ve played the game with gamers who dislike Love Letter but they’ve nevertheless gone on to enjoy this game because it is sufficiently different.
The components for Lovecraft Letter are all top notch: the same high standard as those in the premium edition of the original game. There are designer sleeves supplied for all the large-scale cards and chunky double-sided poker chips to record the results of each round. The whole thing fits in a magnetic box. Truth be known, you’d be crazy not to pick up this game.