In the 1920s, the world is still in the chaos of the First World War.
In the middle of all this, one of your relatives has encountered something mysterious in Egypt. Strange shadows that come to life ... Letters with undecipherable texts and strange symbols.
Upon arriving you find out he is missing and decide to investigate. Never would you have expected the horror that awaits you.
Object of the Game
In Lovecraft Letter, you are a person who has arrived in Egypt to help your cousin, only to discover they are missing. You follow a series of clues apparently left behind for you to find, but beware, as some of them contain forbidden secrets or are protected by supernatural beings that could threaten your well-being.
During the game, you hold one secret card in your hand. It represents the clue that you have chosen to follow at that moment. However: some clues are more dangerous than others and could get you-and not your competition-eliminated.
The player who has the highest value card in his hand at the end of the round has found the most useful clue in the search for your cousin!
Unlike other games using the Love Letter engine, Lovecraft Letter features the Insanity mechanic which adds a new dimension to the game. All Insane effects are very powerful but come at a high risk, as well as make it more difficult to win the game.
Players are advised to use these effects wisely and observe how others are trying to win. Sometimes risky play will be the best course of action. Other times conservative play will be the easiest path to victory.
Finally, there are times when a single knock out of the game effect will mean victory as other players knocked themselves out of the game.
Your game of Lovecraft Letter should include the following.
- 25 game cards
- 6 reference cards
- 40 sleeves
- 18 Sanity tokens
- 1 rulebook
The game has 25 total game cards: 16 with only a Sane effect, and 9 with an Insane effect as well (referred to as Insanity cards in the game).
1 Name: This is the name of the card. 2 Number: This is the number of the card, used at the end of the game to determine the winner. 3 Card Count: This is the number of copies of the card in the game. It is also used to indicate whether a card can be used for its Sane effect, or for its Insane effect, when possible (see Insanity, page 7). 4 Art: A visual depiction of the card 5 Card Effect: What the card does. Insanity cards have both a Sane (5a) and an Insane (5b) effect. Others only have a Sane (5a) effect.
These list the various cards in the game, as well as summarize their effects and remind players how many copies are in the deck. They are not used in the game itself, but are provided as a memory aid for players. One side of each reference card summarizes the Sane effects of the cards, while the other side summarizes the Insane effects.
These dual-sided poker chips are used to keep track of the number of round victories you have scored while being Sane or Insane (see Game End, page 8).
Set aside the Mi-Go Braincase card, face up, then shuffle the remaining 24 cards to form a face-down deck.
Remove the top card of the deck from the game without looking at it and set it aside, face down. If you are playing a 2-player game, remove another 5 cards from the top of the deck and set them to the side, face up. They will not be used during this round, but are available to help you deduce what other players might be holding in their hand.
Each player draws 1 card from the top of the deck. This is the player's hand, and is kept secret from the other players (unless a card effect asks you to reveal it).
Determine a starting player in any suitable fashion.
Lovecraft Letter is played in a series of rounds. At the end of each round, a winner is determined thanks to the clue they are holding in their hand (its number), as well as their state of mind (Sane or Insane). Win a certain number of rounds in a certain state of mind and you win the game!
Taking a Turn
On your turn, draw the top card from the deck and add it to your hand. Then, choose one of the two cards now in your hand and discard it face up in front of you (it will be considered in your discard pile after its effects have been applied). Apply any effect on the card you discarded. You must apply its effect, even if it is bad for you.
If you have any questions about special cases regarding the card's effects, you'll find the answer there. All discarded cards remain in front of the player who discarded them (in a discard pile). Overlap the cards so that it's clear in which order they were discarded. This helps players to figure out which cards other players might be holding.
Once you finish applying the card's effect and the card is in your discard pile, the turn passes to the player to your left.
Several effects in the game ask a player to discard a card. Unless it is due to a Sanity Check, discarding means adding a card from your hand to your discard pile, face up.
Unless otherwise specified (the Sane effect of Mi-Go or of Professor Henry Armitage; being knocked out of the round; a Sanity Check), you must apply the effect of the card you discarded, even if it's bad for you.
If you discard a card with an effect that requires you to choose a player that cannot be chosen due to another card effect (Elder Sign, Liber Ivonis), your card is discarded without effect.
Several effects in the game refer to the "hand" of a player. It is a shortcut for "the card in the hand" of a player.
If an Insanity card is ever in a player's discard pile (no matter how or why it happened), they have been in contact with forbidden knowledge and are now Insane. Remember, A card only goes into the discard pile after its effects have been applied!
An Insane player may, when playing an Insanity card on future turns, choose to use the Insane effect instead of the Sane effect. They cannot apply both effects, they must choose which they want to.
An Insane player may also break down mentally at any moment: At the start of each of their future turns (before they add a new card to their hand) an Insane player must make a Sanity Check.
A Sanity Check is made by revealing as many cards from the top of the deck as the player has Insanity cards in their discard pile, one at a time. If they ever reveal an Insanity card, they are immediately knocked out of the round. If they pass the Sanity Check, all cards revealed this way are discarded (without applying their effect).
If you cannot do a Sanity Check (i.e. the deck is empty), then the round ends immediately.
Out Of The Round
If a player is knocked out of the round (either by a card effect or by a Sanity Check), that player discards their hand (without applying its effect) and takes no more turns until the next round.
They also cannot be chosen by other player's card effects.
End of a Round
A round ends if the deck is empty at the end of a player's turn.
All players still in the round reveal their hands. If multiple players have the same number in their hand, they are knocked out of the round. The player with the highest number in their hand wins the round.
A round also ends if all players but one have been knocked out of the round, in which case the remaining player wins.
After the end of the round, check the winner's state of mind. A player is Insane if an Insanity card ever is in their discard pile, otherwise they are Sane.
Give the player a Sanity token and have them place it with the face corresponding to their state of mind up (i.e. showing if they are Sane, or if they are Insane).
Then a new round begins following all the setup rules, with the winner of the previous round as the starting player.
End of the Game
A player wins the game after any of the following conditions have been met:
If they have 2 Sanity tokens face up.
If they have 3 Sanity tokens face up.
If they have won the previous round thanks to the Insane effect of Cthulhu.
There are various ways a player could cheat. For example, he or she could lie when confronted with Investigators, or fail to discard The Silver Key when that player also has a card with a number higher than 4 in their hand. We recommend that you don't play with people who cheat at fun, light games.