The Premise (or, “why bother?”)
I bought Love Letter for my kids under the assumption it was a classic game with lots of opportunity for repeat game play. And for the most part, that proved true. However, the basic premise of the game (the suitor wooing the girl) and the artwork (a bit – ahem – Medieval misogyny) didn’t appeal much to my daughters. So we moved on Loot Letter, a game I found out later was based on the popular role-playing game Muchkin (sidenote: after I bought Munchkin for my daughters, they played it every day at least twice…going on a month now. Great. Game.). This was much more fun, and yet…something was missing.
As HUGE fans of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (and Equestria Girls, of course), we decided to create our own MLP version. Naturally, we started with a Google search to see if other fans had come up with the same idea. We found this one (bold, but didn’t have enough instructional detail for new game players), this one (nice! but didn’t have the look we were after), and this one (cool, but based on EG, not MLP:FIM).
So we decided to make our own!
We ignored the sets we found and listed out the eight cards. Then we mapped a pony to each role. This was an iterative and collaborative process (with a 12, 10, 8, and 6-year-old…super fun!) that resulted in a surprising amount of agreement.
We Googled for the best images to use (we considered – but ultimately didn’t worry about – copyright issues). I came up with a few card designs and modified them based on the girls’ feedback.
I then printed out the prototypes, cut and laminated them, and tested them with the girls. While the girls were satisfied with my rough deck, I wasn’t. Comparing a few card deck-producing services, I chose makeplayingcards.com, which offered bridge-sized cards in a finish and a price point that was very attractive. With a hinged plastic case and only 18 cards (16 game cards and 2 instructions/card lists), this provided plenty of space for the scoring tokens. I was insanely pleased with the results and we’ve been playing with these almost every day since they arrived.
At first, I opted for Swarovski crystal beads for the token, but though they were SPARKLY!! they were hard to handle and keep from getting lost. We then tried plastic pony beads (pony…get it?!?!) and, while easier to handle (and cheaper), they had the tendency to roll away. I finally found small plastic cubes that work perfectly!
The Full Deck
If you’re interested in printing your own version, either:
- download and print this PDF version
- download the PowerPoint file if you’d like to tweak the design (note: you’ll need the Equestria font)
- download the images below if you’d like to use my designs to create your own deck using a printing service
I hope you have as much fun with this game as we do!