The “story” is that that there’s a princess who is being wooed. She has locked herself in the palace, and you must rely on others to take your “love letter” to her. Each hand, the goal is to be the last one standing (and earn a cube/point). Each turn, you draw one card and choose one of your two to play down in front of you. Knowing how many cards there are of each type is part of the strategy, particularly for the “guessing” cards. Each hand is played until only one player is left; that player gets a point cube. Hands continue until someone wins the right number of cubes to end the game (the number depends on how many players there are).
The deck has 8 different types of cards, each with a different rule of play. Part of the strategy is figuring out how best to play a high- or low-point card. With deduction and a combination of luck and strategy, it makes for an even playing field for both kids and adults.
Love Letter is for 2-4 players, and while the box says “Ages 8 and up,” of course we’ve played with younger kids. They do just fine. Reading is key, so keep that in mind. We’ve now played it many many times, and I can tell you that it’s a lot more fun with 3-4 players than just two. It’s an Americanized version of a Japanese game.