Doki Doki (ROMANTIC. I MEANT ROMANTIC) Vacation just arrived in the United States, so why in the world am I even talking about the very last expansion to this game instead?
It’s because despite the fact that the developers made some radical changes to the fundamental mechanics while adding additional layers of complexity to it, Motto Tanto Cuore (The translation of this title in English would be awkwardly phrased along the lines of “Even More Much Heart”) is surprisingly more intuitive than any of the previous sets in this series. That, and I prefer winter parties more than summer vacations since that’s the theme for this set. However, the real reason I’m doing this guide is because I don’t have a copy of Doki Doki Vacation yet.
… Anyway, let’s get started by explaining what some of the radical changes were made for this game.
Round 1: Fight!
The first major change is that turn order is emphasized so much that we need to keep track of the Rounds in which every single player has completed their turn once before a specific check is made.
These new mechanics are in place because of two new card types- the High Class Maids:
… and the First Master card:
The the rules for these are as follows:
♥ Whoever is in possession of the First Master card starts their turn first at the beginning of the next Round.
♥ When a Round begins, each player must choose a High Class Maid before the First Master’s turn starts. Like with the turn order, the First Master gets to select their High Class Maid before anyone else, with the player to the left of the First Master making the next choice.
♥ Once the current player’s turn is over, they must return their High Class Maid back to town (the official translation says the Park because the translator was in a silly mood when he was working on this) before they do the regular cleanup at the end of a classic Tanto Cuore turn (discard your hand, discard anything not chambermaided, stack all of these discarded cards into their own pile then draw five new cards from your deck).
The reason why there is a First Master card in the game is because Marianne Soleil from the initial release of Tanto Cuore has been repurposed as a High Class Maid that can take possession of the First Master card if you use her ability:
Here is an illustrated playthrough to summarize all of the stuff I talked about up until this point:
For those already familiar with Tanto Cuore, the idea that’s probably going into your head right now is, “How in the world is this much more intuitive than the previous sets in the series? We’re going to have to learn some more stuff that’s going to screw up our rhythm!”
To which I would agree with. However, newcomers to this game don’t have to deal with this learning issue if Motto Tanto Cuore is their first taste into this series. Just bear with this a little bit more, as like with the previous expansions, Motto Tanto Cuore also showcases a new method to get Victory Points they really want you to use as that’s the fastest way to smoke your opponents if you know how to take advantage of it.
YOU are Not Prepared!
The method Motto Tanto Cuore wants you to utilize to the fullest for obtaining the most Victory Points as fast as possible is by acquiring Preparation Cards. Like with the High Class Maids and the First Master concepts, this addition is so radical that the developers altered the card layout of the General Maids so they can provide you with three new additional resources when you play them from your hand:
Apparently the developers realized throughout their expansions that players weren’t taking advantage of maids that provided additional employments. I know that I wasn’t doing that in my games.
Anyway, if you take a look at the Preparation Cards, their requirements for purchasing them come only from the three new resources that some of the general maids can provide to you. The Prep Cards of the same type are stacked in order by price tiers, with the cheapest ones always appearing on the top, and each successive tier requires the player to obtain a specific quantity from two of the new resources on the same turn:
It’s so challenging to completely empty one of these Prep Card stacks that should it ever happen, the game’s immediately over once the current round is finished! Part of the reason why is this: Aside from gathering the correct resources required to acquire it, you also need to make sure that you selected the correct High Class Maid that corresponds to that type of Preparation Card in order to pick it up during your turn.
Because that probably sounded really confusing, here’s a chart that should help clear things up a bit (or not):
So why did the developers make it really difficult for you to acquire a Preparation Card in this set? There’s a few good reasons:
♥ Like in
Doki Doki Romantic Vacation, there is NO DOWNSIDE to owning Preparation Cards. They do not go into your deck like many cards with Victory Points do, so you don’t have to wait for your next deck cycle to chambermaid them in order to maximize the amount of Victory Points they can provide or if they can’t be chambermaided, you don’t have to resort to some weird maid combination shenanigans so your deck doesn’t get clogged up from buying more of them.
♥ Also like in
Doki Doki Romantic Vacation, your opponents can’t disable the Prep Cards you own since there is nothing in this set that grants them the ability to do so like they could with the building cards in the first expansion by playing a specific maid from that set. The only thing they can do is guess which round you might be in a position to snatch one of them and take that specific High Class Maid before you do, which is just as devastating.
And here is a demonstration of how disruptive it can be if two players need to get a specific Preparation Card and one gets priority because they’re the First Master:
So how does this game feel more intuitive than the rest of the sets in Tanto Cuore? I’ll have to let you wonder about that until I can finish the rest of this guide in Part 2!
– Carl Dayagdag