Not everyone has time to sit down and read a full-blown, in-depth review of everything. That’s where I come in. I want to give you the skinny on some of the coolest card, board, and video games, but in such a way that you’ll be able to squeeze it into your day.

Here’s the TL;DR
Tanto Cuore is a deck-building card game where you are “Master of the House” and employs maids to your service. The goal of the game is to have the most victory points when the game ends. The rules are pretty straightforward and well explained in the rule booklet. There’s a detailed explanation of every card, which is very helpful when things get complicated.

Overall, the art alone is reason enough for some to buy this game, but different gameplay mechanics make it really worth your time if you like deck-building card games. Unfortunately, there is no “Quick Start Guide” in the box so the game seems a little daunting at first. However, the rulebook is very detailed and will get you playing in no time. I really enjoyed playing this game and look forward to playing the expansions.

What is it?

tanto cuore

“Tanto Cuore is a deck-building card game for two to four people where players take on the roles of “Master of the House,” employ a lot of cute maids, and are served by them while slowly filling out their house (card deck). But take care! The maids can become sick or get bad habits. When the game ends, the player who has the most Victory Point-gaining maids on his staff (all his cards) is the “perfect master” and the winner of the game.” –https://japanimegames.com/pages/tanto-cuore-resources

What is it, Really?

It’s a deck-building board game, but this time with cute maids.

Getting Started

  • Each player starts with a 10 card deck, 7 “1 Love” (currency) cards, and 3 Colette. Shuffle these cards together and draw 5.
  • There are 16 unique General Maids in Tanto Cuore, but you can only place 10 in the town at a time. The rest go back to the box for next time. The rulebook has a great “first game” setup, I would recommend going with that if you’ve never played.
  • There’s also a special stack of Private Maids with very powerful effects that you can only have 1 of in your employ at a time. These get shuffled together and placed in the town face down then, flip 2 face-up.
  • Put Marianne and the remaining Colette in the town.
  • Lastly, set the Illness and Bad Habits cards in the town.

How to play

You use your deck to buy (employ) cards from a shared pool of maids in the middle (town). The turn phase order goes like this: Starting, Serving, Employing, and Dismissing.

  • Starting Phase
    • Start phase means your turn has started, some cards have effects here.
  • Serving Phase
    • This is where you play the cards from your hand and resolve the effects of those cards. You’re only allowed to have one maid serve you per turn, but there are certain maids who can increase this limit!
    • This is also where you can recruit Chambermaids into your private quarters. They will have a Serving cost you must pay in order to recruit them (taken from your serving limit).
  • Employing Phase
    • You’re only allowed to employ one maid per turn, so use the love you accumulated in the serving phase. There are even maids that can increase your employ limit, so choose wisely!
    • You may also choose to teach your opponents’ Chambermaids and/or Private Maids Bad Habits, or even get them sick with an Illness! Oddly enough, these cost Love but are very detrimental to your opponents’ score and they negate that maid’s abilities and victory points!
  • Dismissing Phase
    • Time to discard your hand and dismiss any maids that were played. Then, you draw 5 more cards from your deck. If you would try to draw from an empty deck, keep the cards you successfully drew and shuffle your discard pile into your deck to draw the remaining cards.

If you’re like me, sometimes it’s easier to see it live. Here’s a great video for that:

How do you win?

When two piles of maid cards in the town are completely employed out, the game ends. Keep in mind, event cards and love cards are not maids. Now, you will have to total out your victory points. Whoever has the most, is the “King of Maids!”

What I was impressed by

  • Packaging & Contents
    • The box came with enough room to fully sleeve up the cards and still fit.
    • The place holders for maid cards are great for telling when a maid is fully employed in the town, but also act as perfect card dividers in the box.
  • Gameplay
    • The game is similar to other deck-building games I’ve played in the past, however, the ability to recruit maids to your private chamber was a very fun twist.
    • This also allows for the Illnesses and Bad Habits to function, which was a unique take on disrupting your opponents’ plans.
    • The rulebook is very thorough, it even has an explanation of every card in the back, so you’re never at a loss.
    • There’s a “suggested” first game configuration of maids that were incredibly well thought out. I played this game with a few groups of friends and used the suggested layout to great success.
  • Replay-ability
    • There are 16 possible maids, but only 10 can be played at a time, so there are a few thousand possible combinations to play.
    • There are also expansions that you can mix this with. I’m going to play these at a future date, but I imagine they’re just as good.

What I would like to see

I have played a lot of deck building games and this was up there as one of my favorites. The only thing I would really like to have seen would have to be a “quick start” guide for those of us who have played this style of game before.

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