Dominion in a Dress
I knew exactly what I was getting into when I requested a copy of Tanto Cuore for review. I mean, just a quick look at the text on the back of the box should clue you in “Be the greatest master! Tanto Cuore is a deck building game for 2 – 4 players. The players take the roles of “masters of the house”, employ a lot of cute maids, and are served by them while slowly filling out their house (card deck).”
Come on, that is just the back of the box on a something that rates over 9000 on the DragonBall Z double entendre anime meter. So, I was totally excited to check it out....well, not like THAT. Geez, get your mind out of the gutter. The reason I was (*opens thesaurus*) aflutter? Stimulated? Teased? (This is just getting worse) was I was going to bring it to the table, without preamble, and introduce it to my wife. If I did this on YouTube, it would probably call it a “social experiment.” No sir, this was going to be pure entertainment gold and “simply for review purposes.”
This is the exchange that took place after I sat up and started to teach Tanto Cuore:
“These are the love cards. They act as the currency in the game, you'll be using them to employ the maids in town” *waits with baited breath*
“Is she humping a pillow?”
*picks up the 3 love card and gives an innocent look* “Is she? Well, her face is kind of flushed, she is on all fours, looking back...”
“..and her mouth is open.”
“Wow, nice catch my love, I missed that...probably distracted by the heart-shaped pillow between her thighs.”
It was an auspicious start to the rules explanation, so I continued...
“So, when you want to take an action with the maid, you'll be looking for this little serving symbol...”
“You're servicing a maid?”
“No, no it's called serving and it's represented by this finger icon..”
“Oh, now we're fingering the maid”
God, we're all 12 years old again...and now it will always be referred to as fingering...it's almost like the game planned it that way. Still, the rules explanation continued.
“These maids are chamber maids, you can score victory points by putting them into your private quarters...”
“Now you're just making shit up.”
“...and up here you'll find the Private Maids. You can only have one of these active at a time. But you can have back-up private maids.”
“Of course you can. Because?”
“Well, the other players can play an Illness on a maid, or give them bad habits.”
“Like posing on all fours when they should be cleaning the house?”
“Well, one persons bad habit is another persons....(trails off)”
Once the rules explanation was complete, we dived into the game. My wife quickly grasped the rules and snagged a private maid that allowed her to employ two maids per turn. Her grasp of the actual card names, was a different story.
“I'll take the three-way teacher/student card and I'll buy the just finished oral sex card”
“That's Moine de Lefevre and Tenalys Trent...she's a nap maid.”
“I'd need a nap after that too...Give me her and Ménage à trois”
And the next round:
“Aww! Give me the poor little cute cosplay maker girl”
“She's a sewing maid”
All these freaking maids and I still can't get the laundry put away.
While I went hard on the Safran Virginie cards (which reward with extra VP for each set/copy you collect of her), my wife decided to collect sets of Cresent Triplets (Azure, Rouge and Viola), three separate but low cost maids that reward collecting full or partial sets of them. We thinned our decks by “Chambering” maids, which pulls them out of your hand and puts them aside as VP to be tallied at the end of the game.
When the game completed, we scored up and my wife beat me by 10 Victory Points.
“What do you think of it?” I asked.
“I like it. I don't care for the Illness and bad habit cards but that is just because I don't like being mean.”
On the Jessica scale of game rating “I like it” is high praise indeed. It means “Don't dare get rid of that, I want to play it more.” And we have, and at various player counts and it has always been a good time.
Tanto Cuore completely consists of cards and I would have preferred that they have a bit more texture to them. The quality is fine but when you have to stack 10+ cards of each maid into the employ area, they can tend to slide around. But, if you plan on sleeving them to stop them from getting sticky or whatever, it is a non-issue.
Tanto Cuore theme is all about plausible deniability. All of those references you are making are just because YOU have a dirty mind. It's just a simple hiring-maids-with-love deck builder! But it is a extremely solid deck builder with player interaction via a few “take that” cards. On the other hand, it is also just Dominion in a dress. Granted, when you are playing Dominion, you don't risk Wil Wheaton walking though your live play and saying “Oh, you're playing your pervy maid game!”
If you like your deck builders with a touch of ass...errr...class....
If you enjoy collecting maids and locking them into your private chambers...
You know what? Let's just let my wife wrap this up.
“Honestly, I was surprised there weren't more boobs hanging out.”
Oh, just wait for the expansions.
A review copy of this release was provided by the publisher.