Kayarath’s Adventures In Card Gaming 3: Getting Served!

Posted on Dec 22 2011

Do you like maids? I’d bet you do! Do you enjoy card games? Of course you do! What if there was a card game about maids? Your mind is blown, right? Well prepare yourself for the best polymerization since card games and motorcycles; Tanto Cuore! In Tanto Cuore you are the Master of your household. You’ll build up your domestic workforce by employing maids and ensuring their success! Who ever had the best house full of maids at the end wins!

Tanto Cuore is not a trading card game but a deck building card game; they are different things entirely. In a deck building game, you start with a small ten card deck. During the game, you add more cards to your deck, making it more powerful. The more powerful your deck, the more likely you are to score points, and therefore, win. Unlike a trading card game, where everyone has to buy a lot of packs so they can make their own decks, a deck building game is a one time purchase (well there are expansions, but they’re not required) that has everything you need for up to four players. The first deck building game was Dominion and it proved to be so popular, a dozen imitators followed. There’s even a Star Trek and a Resident Evil Deck building game. It’s sort of like how a bunch of abridged series popped up after Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series became popular.

For those of you who are well versed in deck building games in general, Tanto Cuore is basically Dominion with Maids. Money is love, servings are actions, and employments are buys. I know deck building games in general are similar to each other but it’s especially noticeable here. It is more than a reskinning with cute maids, though; there are new mechanics you’ll need to “master”.

You may see a cute maid...

Private Maids are unique, randomly appearing maids who add their effect consistently. They’re sort of like enchantments in Magic the Gathering. A private maid goes straight into your private quarters, which brings up another unique game concept. Chambermaids are a maid subtype that have the ability to become, you guessed it, chambermaids! If a chambermaid is in your hand, you can spend a serving (or action) to move them into your private quarters. This basically removes them from your deck. This is a good thing because some chambermaids will give you bonus points when they are in your private quarters. This also removes them from your deck, increasing the chances that you’ll draw more powerful cards. The downside to this is that having maids in your private quarters makes them vulnerable to event cards.

Event cards are bad things that can happen to your maids. The Illness card basically negates any one maid in your private quarters. Bad habits are a straight negative one point each, but become negative two each if a person has four or more. These two events are available in every game (well, it does recommend that you don’t use bad habits if it’s your first game, though), meaning it’s not too hard to mess with your opponents if you wanted to. If you have the right set up and cards, I imagine that it can get as brutal as Saito choking Kenshin with his belt.

Now don’t let all that mechanical exposition make you think that it’s a complex game. Deck building games in general are super easy to learn. Tanto Cuore may be a little tougher to learn due to its unique mechanics but it still has a low barrier to entry. The rulebook itself is smaller then a single manga chapter. Once you see it in action for a few turns you’ll easily understand the idea. However, you’ll still lose to someone who knows how these game work. It may be simple to play but it’s hard to “master”. Good thing there are people like me who can suggest some strategies.

but I see a vital component for victory!

If I can only give you one tip before playing Tanto Cuore it would be this: EMPLOY Sainsbury Lockwood AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! She has the ability to replace a “One Love” card with a “Two Love” card. That is a ridiculously powerful ability. If you have a few Sainsburys in your deck and your opponents don’t, you’ll curb stomp ’em like Trunks did to Frieza. You won’t need more then two though. The next priority is to employ a private maid early in order to gain her benefit as soon as possible. After that, start employing Genevieve Daubigny as much as you can. If you can empty her pile, even better. The reason I recommend you do this is because she gives you one love, one serving, and one card when she serves you. The plus one card/serving basically replace the card/serving you spent playing her, meaning you end up where you started, except with one more love than you had before. That’s free love and no one can get enough free love, can they?

This strategy isn’t fool-proof, though. There are sixteen different general maids and each game will only feature ten of them. That means that the strategy I recommended may not be available because those maids may not be in your game every time. That also means that you can adjust the game by using a different selection of maids.

Now there are games, and then there are game with MAIDS in them! That’s the part you’re interested in, right? If you’re here for the maids, Tanto Cuore (which means “much love” in Italian if you were wondering how they came up with the name) has you covered. It was developed by the Japanese company Arclight Games and brought over to America by Japanime Games. All of the card art has been drawn anime style by a Japanese artist. They even promote the game at conventions by having young women dress up as maids! I personally find that hilarious. It’s no wonder that this is game is doing well in Japan, and that is a stamp of approval that carries weight among all fans of stuff Japanese.

They will work with great heart when you employ them!

Like many shows featuring maids, there are some complications you’ll have to deal with before you can have cute girls fulfilling your needs. Strangely enough, there some people who would be put off by the maid theme! I know; they’re weird people too! You should be fine if you’re in otaku territory but it may not gain traction among people outside of the anime fanbase. Seriously, I’ll ask my gamer friends, “Hey! Want to play my maid card game?” and they’ll go, “NO! You’re dumb and your face is a butt!” Even if you do have friends willing to play this, it could be out of your price range; It’s a fifty dollar game. Now you do get three hundred cards, a nice compact box, and some cardboard separators, but in terms of value, you can do much better. For example, Dominion costs about forty five dollars and comes with five hundred cards! I just wanted to let you know.

Don’t let that stop you from buying this game, though. You can find it cheaper if you know where to look. You should also not let the pink box make you think this is a shallow game. If you try it, you’ll discover a not-too-hard to learn game that can go toe to toe with almost any other card game out there mechanically. It’s also much more fun to have a hand full of kawaii cards! Any person who professes to enjoy card games and/or maids will have plenty to like in Tanto Cuore! The next expansion; Expanding the house, should be out by the time you’re reading this article. I plan on getting it! After all, don’t we all dream of being served by maids?

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