22nd March 2021
It's a Monday evening and I'm logged into Zoom and Board Game Arena on my PC.
We started with a game of Love Letter.
You can see what I wrote about Love Letter here.
The version of Love Letter that we played online had extra cards to accommodate up to 8 players. This adds new cards with new abilities and most significantly it adds card with new ways to score points. This changes the game, is this an improvement? In my opinion; no.
When Love Letter was a 4 player game with a 16 card deck, it was a tightly focused experience, elegant and well balanced.
With the 5-8 player variant a 32 card deck is used. Immediately it makes it trickier to guess who is holding what card because more cards are in play.
The additional 16 cards added are not just duplicates of the original 16, instead they add new abilities, these new abilities feel a little gimmicky and don't add anything to the game.
Most significantly, they add extra ways to score points. I know why this was added, in a 8 player game where someone needs to get 4 points, it could take a long time. Again I felt it was a detraction.
For example: We played a game where James was at 3 points and no one else was higher than 2 points. With his second card, James announced he had won the game, because if he won the round, he got his 4th point, the card he had just played awards him a point if he is knocked out of the round. I suppose theoretically there was a chance that James might've reached the end without being knocked out and lost when comparing card values.
Even so, it was a long shot and essentially ended the game there, making the remainder of the round almost futile; something I've never seen in Love Letter before.
I applaud the intention of wanting to add more players to a game, but in this case it takes a concise game and bloats its rules and play times. It felt like it was trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist, like trying to put a square peg into an octagonal hole.
Better to have 2 games with 2 16 card decks in my opinion.
I play, I paint.