Tabletop Tuesday: ‘Love Letter: Batman’
Even if you only occasionally dip into modern board games, you’re likely to have seen Love Letter. The wonderfully concise card game involves luck, bluffing and memory, is easily stored in its little pouch and is quick enough to work as a buffer between longer games. It’s one of the best new card games of recent years. Now we’ve got two new versions to choose from – a Batman edition and a Hobbit edition.
We went with Batman for obvious reasons.
When playing Love Letter you have one card in your hand. This represents the character holding your letter for the princess. The higher up the chain the more points the card is worth, the Princess herself being worth the most at 8 points. On your turn you draw a second card and decide which one to play. The card you play has an immediate effect depending on the character. Some let you sneak a look at another players card, eliminate another player by guessing their card or comparing them to see who has the most points, swapping hands and so forth. The last player standing or the one with the highest value card when the draw deck is depleted wins the round with the first to 4 winning the game.
Obviously holding the Princess is desirable…but if you are forced into playing it you’re eliminated. Lower scoring cards are the most useful in eliminating other players and are easier to hang on to creating a great balance. It’s a quick, fun game that anyone can compete in regardless of experience.
You may be wondering how the scenario translate to the comic world of Batman – delivering love letters to the Dark Knight seems a touch out of character. The switch up is pretty imaginative. Now holding a character represents the villain you’ve caught, with the Joker being the most valuable. Batman replaces the Guard card (valued at 1 point) who can guess what card another player is holding and Robin fills in for the Handmaiden you protects your hand.
Rather than being the first to 4 (or more depending on the players) tokens you’re now tasked with collecting 7 to win. The balance to this is a bonus token being scored when you use the Batman card to correctly guess a villain card. For experienced Love Letter players this results in a rethinking of strategy. Handmaiden tends to be the first card guessed by players using the Guard, but as the equivalent Robin doesn’t score a token it’s less likely to be guessed. This means the game will be interesting to new-comers and veterans alike.
The best aesthetic change up is in the tokens. Rather than plain red cubes the tokens are yellow and black ovals printed with the early 90s Batman logo. The cards themselves are fine, but it’s a little disappointing that the art for each character is sourced from a different comic. It would have been better to have original art for the set. The artwork on Love Letter is pretty damn good…it would’ve been awesome to see that artists take on the familiar Batman characters.
If you haven’t got a copy of Love Letter this is a good version to pick up. It’s not offering much new if you already have one, although if your set is like mine and worn down it’s cheap enough to grab a replacement.