Love Letter: Batman card game review
Did you know that Batman, Gotham’s Dark Knight, writes love letters?
We had no idea either!
But there you have it right in the game title, “Love Letter: Batman“. So it must be true.
Ok, forget that.
We’ll set things straight right from the start — there isn’t a single love letter in this game. In fact, there isn’t anything to do with love at all in this game.
Instead, Love Letter: Batman is all about knocking other players out of the game so you can be the sole survivor or have the highest value card at the end of each round.
The truth is, “Love Letter” is in the name of the game only because of branding. You see, in 2012 a simple card game was published that became a huge hit. It was a card game with only 16 cards that got a ton of buzz.
That game was called Love Letter.
As with many things that become a hit, the next move is to grab popular licensing and shoot for even more success. Thus, Love Letter: Batman was born.
Whether the ridiculous name actually hurts or helps the popularity of the game, we’re not going to judge. We’re only interested in whether the game is fun or not.
And if our 10 plays in the last few weeks is any indication, I’d say it’s a hit with our family!
Oh, and Jaden gives it a rare 5 out of 5!
How to Play Love Letter: Batman
The beauty of the Love Letter game (and now Love Letter: Batman) is how simple it is. The simple play makes it not only easy to teach, but also easy to remember.
But that’s not all. The simple nature of the game also makes it great to grab when you have a few minutes to play a game and don’t want to strain your mind.
The game is played over several rounds.
At the end of each round, one player will either have the most dangerous Villain in their custody (hand) or will be the only player left standing. That person wins the round and gets a Batman token.
The first player to collect 7 Batman tokens wins the game.
To start each round, shuffle the 16 cards and set one card aside face-down. That card will be out of play this round.
Then each player draws a card. This card is their hand and is kept secret from the other players.
According to the rules, “Whoever most recently served justice to a corrupt world may go first.” Or if you’re moving on to another round, the player who won the last round plays first.
On a players turn, they do 2 simple things:
- Draw the top card from the draw pile.
- Choose one of their 2 cards in hand to play.
To play a card, the player simply discards it face up in front of them on the table and does what the cards says.
Here are the cards listed in order of increasing value and their associated ability.
- Batman (5 cards) – Name a card other than Batman and choose another player. If that player has that card, he or she is out of the round.
- Catwoman (2 cards) – Look at another player’s hand.
- Bane (2 cards) – You and another player secretly compare hands. The player with the lower value is out of the round.
- Robin (2 cards) – Until your next turn, ignore all effects from other players’ cards.
- Poison Ivy (2 cards) – Choose any player (including yourself) to discard his or her hand and draw a new card.
- Two-Face (1 card) – Trade hands with another player of your choice.
- Harley Quinn (1 card) – If you have this card and either Two-Face or Poison Ivy in your hand, you must discard this card.
- The Joker (1 card) – If you discard this card, you are out of the round.
If a player is knocked out of the round, that player discards the card in their hand face up and doesn’t take any more turns that round.
If a player uses the Batman card and correctly names the card in another player’s hand, not only is that other player knocked out, but the person who played the Batman card also claims a Batman token.
Once a player’s turn is over, play passes to the player on the left.
As players play cards on subsequent turns, those cards will be added to the face-up cards already in front of them. This way all cards played so far can easily been seen on the table. And by process of elimination, remaining players will have a better idea of what cards may still be in other player’s hands.
Play continues this way until the round ends in one of two ways.
A round can end if the draw deck is empty at the end of a turn. All players still with a card in hand compare cards. The player with the highest value card wins the round. If it’s a tie, the player with the highest total value of discarded cards wins the round.
A round can also end if all players but one are eliminated. Thus, the remaining player wins the round.
In either case, the winning player claims a Batman token.
Once a player has gained 7 tokens, that player wins the game. If no one has reached 7 tokens yet, a new round begins.
The Fun of Love Letter: Batman
When you take a look at the list of cards in the game, it’s easy to see that there aren’t any Earth-shattering actions on any of these cards.
All the abilities seem kind of ordinary. And that’s pretty accurate.
But the game is still a lot of fun to play. Our kids can’t seem to get enough of it.
It’s the interplay of all the cards that makes the game a lot of fun to play.
And even though there’s plenty of luck in the game, the decision of which card to play and who to attack can be a bit of fun guesswork.
There aren’t deep decisions to make so a player’s turn goes rather quickly and rounds move by speedily as well.
At the same time however, a bit of bluffing can also go along way in not being eliminated.
For example, the Harley Quinn card says that if you have either Two-Face or Poison Ivy in your hand, you must discard the Harley Quinn card (it’s a high-value 7). But you could choose to discard Harley Quinn just to make the other players think you have either Two-Face or Poison Ivy in your hand when you really have something else.
Of course, Harley Quinn is a very high value card and you may want to hang on to it until the end of the round so you can win when it’s time to compare hands. However, that can only work if you survive until the end of the round.
Likewise, having the Joker (at value of 8) can be great at the end of the game. But you can also be knocked out more easily. Someone could play Batman and guess you have the Joker. Or someone could play Poison Ivy and force you to discard your hand.
Normally, being forced to discard your hand this way simply means you discard that card and draw another back into your hand. But if that card is the Joker, then you’re out. Because as the Joker card says, “If you discard this card, you are out of the round.”
So if you’re holding the Joker, when it comes your turn to play, you’re always going to play the other card – whether you really want to or not – because if you discard the Joker, you’re out. And that’s another spot where a bit of bluffing can come into play. Fun stuff.
Even though there’s a strong element of luck in the game, with multiple plays we’ve been able to learn a thing or two about how to make the most of which cards come into our hands.
In addition, having one card set aside at the the start of each round adds a bit of intrigue into the game. Players may have a good guess what another player has, but they’ll never have perfect knowledge. There’s always a bit of guessing because of that lonely card off to the side.
Love Letter: Batman is also a game that seems to get more fun the more times you play.
For example, we’ve found that if Jaden starts the game by playing a Batman card, he’s typically going to guess someone has Two-Face.
So when he began a game, looked at me and said, “Dad, you have Two-Face”, and I actually did have Two-Face, everyone got a kick out of it.
But it got even better in a later round. On my first play, I played Batman and said Jaden had Two-Face. When his arms went up in mock disgust as he tossed the Two-Face card on the table, everyone busted up laughing.
That’s the type of fun you get after playing multiple times.
And that’s just one example. Every time we’ve played Love Letter: Batman we’ve had a great time laughing at how the game plays out.
Downside to Love Letter: Batman
The only part of Love Letter: Batman I don’t like is the artwork of the female characters. I know it’s the typical style for comic books, but I still don’t like it. And I don’t like to have those portrayals in our home.
By far, the worst culprit in this game is Harley Quinn. As you can see in the photos, she needs covering up. Actually, you probably don’t notice it because she’s being covered up.
Time to break out the markers and do our own artistry.
So as much as we like Batman, like superheroes, and like the game play, we’ll most likely get a different version of Love Letter to keep in our collection.
The good news, is that there are other versions that look more suitable to our tastes.
How does Love Letter: Batman score on our “Let’s Play Again” game meter?
Is this a rhetorical question?
I think it’s pretty obvious that Love Letter: Batman scores extremely high on our “let’s play again” game meter.
Not only is it easy to grab and just dive into playing, but it’s also so easy to play multiple games in a row. And with how often we’re playing it, I don’t know if it will even make it’s way to the game closet. The little bag of cards and tokens just hangs around ready to play any time.
Of all the games we got for Christmas, this easily clocks in as the most-played game.
It’s also the only card game we’ve sleeved.
Since guessing which cards players have is a big part of the game, any marks on the cards would ruin the game. So we put all the cards in card sleeves to keep them protected.
Thanks AEG for a super fun card game to play!
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