Playing with my 10 year old niece. She ropes me into it without much info. I read about 2 player game and 3 cards up and she insists the old love letter game was different and wanted to throw away the rule book in rage. I think she simply never learned all the rules. Most rage-inducing was the hand maiden card. I interpreted the rules as saying that she must target herself in a 2 player game when I had handmaiden out. Reading the above just confuses me more. Do I need to read the rulebook? How does handmaiden work if she must play princess or guard?

In Love Letter, can you discard a card instead of playing it?

  • Sometimes kids have their own interpretation of the rules. You can either correct them or play along. The later version is often the most adult reaction. Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 13:24
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of In Love Letter, can you discard a card instead of playing it?
    – Joe W
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 13:42
  • @JoeW This question was asked after reading that other question and being unclear about it.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 14:39
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    This definitely isn't a duplicate at all. This is about how the Hand Maiden works, specifically what you do when all opponents have a Hand Maiden out. The other question is about if you are allowed to discard a card without performing the text.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 14:41
  • @Gendolkari and my answer in that question also answers this question which is why I raised the duplicate flag.
    – Joe W
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


You are correct: where appropriate you must target yourself if all other players in the game are affected by a Handmaid card, although the effect of this is not as intrusive as you would think.

The rulebook (pages 19-20) expands upon the Handmaid card, specifically stating:

If all players other than the player whose turn it is are protected by Susannah, the player must choose him- or herself if possible.

However the rulebook also expands upon each other card in the deck (pages 15-23), and states that the only card that will (must) affect yourself in this case is the Prince:

If all other players are protected by the Handmaid, you must choose yourself.

The rest of the cards either do not target other players, or are specifically expanded upon to say they have no effect.

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