About Tanto CuoreEdit
Tanto Cuore is a deck building card game for 2 to 4 players. A deck building card game is somewhat similar to collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering or Pokemon . The main difference is that in a deck building game all of the cards required to play are contained in the box. There is no need to buy additional booster packs to improve your deck. Instead, you purchase cards during the game with in-game currency. In a sense, deck building games are "competitive shopping" games. The player who purchases cards in-game most effectively will win.
It is quite similar to the popular game Dominion, but with an anime maid theme. You take the role of "Master of the House" and must employ maids from Town to manage your estate. Some maids are worth Victory Points (VP), and the player with the most VP at the end of the game wins and is crowned King (or Queen) of Maids!
Tanto Cuore is comprised of the base game as well as two expansions: Tanto Cuore: Expanding the House and Tanto Cuore: Romantic Vacation. The expansions are stand-alone games, but they can be combined with each other and/or the base game for more variety.
Each player has their own deck of cards from which their next hand is drawn each turn. Players start the game with identical decks, but each turn they will play cards from their hands to purchase new cards. These new cards will eventually get shuffled into the player's deck, hopefully resulting in them drawing better hands on future turns. The end goal is to be able to afford cards that are worth Victory Points (VP).
Here are some of the key terms used in Tanto Cuore:
- Victory Points (VP) - These are what you need to win the game! You can purchase cards worth victory points from the town each turn.
- Love - Love is the currency of the game. Love is used to employ maids from the town, and is gained when you play cards from your hand. Any Love not used during your turn is forfeited, so there's no way to "bank" it for a future turn.
- Serving (a.k.a "Action") - Each turn you are given one Serving, which you may use to play a General Maid from your hand.
- Employ (a.k.a. "Buy") - Each turn you are given one Employ, which allows you to purchase a card from Town with the Love you have gained that turn.
- General Maid - Maids are purchased from Town, and later will appear in your hand when you draw new cards. They each give you some positive bonus when played, such as extra Love, Servings or Employs. Some are also worth VP.
- Chambermaid - If a maid is labelled a "chambermaid", then instead of playing them for a bonus effect you can choose to remove them from your deck, which will usually give you a bonus at the end of the game.
- Maid Chief - Maid Chiefs are also purchased from town, but generally don't give you any gameplay bonuses. They make up for this by being worth more VP than almost anything else in the game. Some Maid Chiefs are "Chambermaid Chiefs ", which can be removed from your deck to reduce clutter.
First, populate the Town, which refers to the central area on the table containing cards available for purchase. Most cards that players can purchase are represented by separate stacks of identical cards placed face up in the Town. Private Maids and Reminiscences (If the set you are playing with contains them) are each represented by a face down pile from which a few cards are drawn and placed face up in the Town. The Town will always include the following:
- 10 General Maids - Select 10 General Maids from those contained in the game box(es). You can either use the recommended selection in the game's manual, select your own assortment based on what sort of game you wish to play, or choose them randomly (perhaps with the help of this maid randomizer ).
- "1 Love" cards
- "2 Love" cards
- "3 Love" Cards
- 1 Maid Chief
- 1 Chambermaid Chief
Depending on which set of the game you are playing with, the town will also include additional cards:
- Tanto Cuore (Base Game)
- Tanto Cuore: Expanding the House
- Tanto Cuore: Romantic Vacation
See the pages for each set for further details on these unique cards.
Next, deal each player their own starter deck, containing 7 "1 Love" Cards and 3 Chambermaid Chiefs. Each player should shuffle their deck place it face down on the table in front of them.
Make sure that each player has a sufficiently large area on the table in front of them for their Private Quarters. This area will eventually contain cards that the player removes from their deck during the game, and they must be kept separate from the player's draw pile, discard pile, and cards that they play during their turn.
Finally, each player should draw five cards from their deck for their first hand.
Each turn is made up of four phases, in order:
Usually nothing will happen in your starting phase unless a card says otherwise. For now, just remember that it's here.
In the Serving Phase, you can play General Maid cards from your hand (if you have any) to be served by them. This may give you extra Love, Servings, or Employs. You get one Serving each turn, and each General Maid you are served by costs one Serving. To be served by a maid, take the card from your hand and place it face up on the table in front of you. Any Servings you do not use are lost at the end of your turn. When you are served by a Maid, apply her bonus effect immediately.
If a Maid card is labelled a "Chambermaid", then instead of playing her for a bonus effect, you can choose make her a Chambermaid instead. If you do this, remove the card from your hand and place it face up in your Private Quarters. Chambermaids will either cost one or two servings to remove from your hand (it will say on the card). Once you are done playing Maid cards and creating Chambermaids, this phase ends.
In the Employ Phase, you get to purchase cards from the Town with Love. Add the Love generated by any Maids you played during the Serving Phase this turn to the Love cards from your hand. This is how much love you can use to purchase this turn. Each card you buy requires one Employ, and you only get one Employ per turn unless you have played a Maid who gives you more.
To purchase a card, take it from one of the decks in town and put it face up on the table in front of you, but not into your discard pile yet. Just keep them separate from your hand and the cards you've played. If a pile in town is empty, then no more of that card can be purchased. Any Love or Employs that you do not spend during this phase disappear at the end of your turn, so use them if you've got them!
After you are done purchasing cards from the Town, gather all of the cards left in your hand, all of the cards you have played this turn, and any cards you may have purchased, and put them into your discard pile. Draw another five cards from your draw pile for your hand next turn.
If at any point you need to draw a card and have run out of cards to draw, reshuffle your discard pile, place it face down and make it your new draw pile. Do not reshuffle your discard pile until you need to. After your discard phase is over, it is the next player's turn. When any two maid stacks from the town become empty, the game ends immediately.
To determine your score, separate the cards in your deck from those in your Private Quarters. This is important because some cards are only worth Victory Points if their are in your Private Quarters. Mixing up your cards can make your score impossible to calculate.
Add up the victory points earned by the cards in your Private Quarters as well as those earned by the cards in your hand. See the pages for each game set you're playing with for scoring guidance. Add these points together to determine your score.
There are a few things the game manual doesn't explain very well for players unfamiliar with Deck Building Games:
- If you play a Maid card that gives you Love, you DO NOT take a Love card from the town, as if you were playing Monopoly. That Love is yours to spend on that turn, and only that turn. You may use that Love to purchase a card from the Town.
- When you purchase a card from the Town with Love, you physically take the card from the stack in town and (at the end of your turn) place it in your discard pile. You don't just get the effect, you get to keep the card for the rest of the game.
- When you purchase a card, DO NOT place it in your discard pile until your discard phase. This may seem like a silly detail, but since you may have to shuffle your discard pile in the middle of your turn, it's an important one.
Generating More LoveEdit
Most of the time, you will want to concentrate on generating as much love per hand as possible. The best way to do this is to buy Love Cards from the Town. This will let you draw more Love per hand later in the game as the cards you've bought are shuffled into your deck.
In the early part of the game, it's probably better to buy 2 Love or 3 Love cards rather than to employ Maids if you have the choice. Maid cards can be very useful, but unless you can generate extra servings you can only play one per turn. This can lead to an embarrassing situation where you draw a hand full of Maid cards, but can only play one of them. So be careful not to clutter your hand with Maids, unless you find a way to generate extra Servings. One thing stopping you from generating love are the Chambermaid Chiefs you are stuck with at the start of the game. These take up space in your hand and are worth removing from your deck as soon as possible. Unfortunately, Chambermaid Chiefs cost two Servings to place in your Private Quarters, and by default you only get one Serving per turn. In order to get more servings, you will need to purchase Maids from town that will give you more actions. Later, when these Maids are shuffled into your deck, can use their extra actions to remove Chambermaid Chiefs from your deck and generate more love.
In the later part of the game, you are likely to find yourself generating more love than you know what to do with. You only get one Employ per turn, and if you have 16 Love to spend, that's overkill since no card is worth more than 9. At this point you will want to have cards that give you additional Employs. You'll probably want to start buying these cards before you need to, since late in the game your deck will be so large that a card you buy may not come back into your hand before the game is over.
Keeping a Light DeckEdit
One helpful tip is to try to keep a light deck. This may be difficult depending on what maids you are playing with. Basically better decks are made up of fewer cards, and better cards. There are a few key ways to accomplish this:
- Purchase "chaining cards " (cards that generate both Draws and Servings). More chaining cards means that you will draw more cards per hand and that you'll have enough Servings to actually use them.
- Employ Chambermaids. Many Chambermaids are low cost cards that provide useful early game bonuses. Later in the game, when their bonus is no longer so useful, you can remove them from your deck so that better cards are drawn. Just make sure you can generate enough actions to do this.
- Employ Sainsbury Lockwood. Sainsbury is only contained in the base game, but if available she is possibly the single most useful maid to employ. Being served by Sainsbury allows you to return a "1 Love" card to town and replace it with something more useful (a "2 Love" card or General Maid costing 4 Love or less). Employing more than 1 Sainsbury is unnecessary, since just one will make a huge difference.
Getting Victory PointsEdit
The game will usually reach a climax when one or more players can regularly generate 7-9 love per turn. At this point, they will begin buying Maid Chiefs. If the other players reach this point well before you do, you may need to start reassessing your strategy. Buying up all the Maid Chiefs is the best way to win the game, but if that's not likely to happen you need to think outside the box. Consider the other Maids in town that are worth less VP, and concentrate on buying as many of them as possible (consider the Crescent Sisters, Suzuna Kamikawa or Valencia Pretre)
If you decide to go with a low point Maid strategy, make sure you also can generate a lot of actions, since many of them are Chambermaids and you will want to quickly move them into your Private Quarters. It's almost never a good idea to use a low point Maid strategy right from the start. Going for high value Maid Chiefs will usually end up being more effective. But accruing a lot of low point cards can be a good back up strategy.
There are more than 10 General Maids in the box, but only 10 will be available from Town each game. Which ones are available can change the ideal strategy greatly. If there are no cards that generate Servings, for example, you will need to be extra careful not to fill your deck with more maids than you can actually use. If there are no cards that generate Employs, you will likewise want to avoid generating excess love in the later part of the game. Be on the lookout for "Chaining Cards" and Chambermaids in order to keep your deck light (see above).
To excel in Tanto Cuore, you'll need to pay attention. Keep mental track of the cards you've already purchased, especially ones whose effects depend on how many of them you have in your deck or Private Quarters. Keep an eye on what your opponents are purchasing when it isn't your turn, and try to determine their strategy. If you're playing a game that includes Private Maids (Tanto Cuore or Expanding the House) or Reminisces (Romantic Vacation), double check each turn that no new ones have become available that you could use to your advantage.
If all players agree to it, it may be helpful to keep an actual list during the game of which maids you've employed and/or placed in your Private Quarters.