Romantic Vacation offers players a whole new set of risk and reward structure by either running their engine more efficiently or by more frequently capitalizing on the reminiscence opportunities.
Theme and What is it?
Tanto Cuore is a deck-building game where players employ cute maids to serve them. Romantic Vacation is the second, stand alone expansion to the series. Just like the original game, the player with the most valuable collection of maids at the end of the game is the perfect master and wins. Tanto Cuore means “Much Heart” in Italian.
Romantic Vacation adds several new twists to the game and is missing both events and private maids unless paired with previous sets. It plays completely as a stand alone without the need for the base game to play.
The biggest new mechanic in Romantic Vacation is the introduction of reminiscence cards. These cards are not purchased and do not enter the deck. Instead, they are a sort of objective lineup for players to attempt to achieve. Players achieve the reminiscences by discarding cards from their hand that meet the requirement listed. Players then put the card into a point pile and execute any bonus listed for successfully finishing the reminiscence.
The reminiscence mechanic is one of the most compelling new things introduced in a Dominion style deck building game I have played. It makes every game different and gives a totally new incentive structure to how players purchase their cards. It is not enough to just load up on a powerful set of maid abilities and run your combos. You will need to pick up at least some reminiscence points to stay competitive. This is even more exciting than Expanding the House was to me.
Game Build Quality
The cards are of quality construction and the dividers for the sets of cards are well organized. The dividers also have numbers on them for a reasonable sorting order (descending cost). The box was designed with sleeves in mind so that a cardboard spacer makes the game fit as packaged. By flipping the spacer vertically, thin sleeved cards will fit snugly. And premium thick sleeves with solid backing will still fit in the box by removing the spacer entirely.
This is a very courteous step Japanime Games has taken. It ensures players will be able to use the provided materials effectively regardless of how they protect the game. I wish every company took the time to make sure their components will remain useful in the real world.
As you would expect from Japanime Games, there is a HUGE anime theme to the art! Fans of the original will find more of what they expect. It is worth noting that a significant number of the cards in this set have more skin showing and are in more suggestive poses than the original game. With an island vacation theme, swimsuits are common in the artwork.
I have attempted to make sure the pictures show what to expect, so if nothing in it jumps out as inappropriate you will have no problems with this game. Fans of anime and manga will not find anything unusual about this. I didn’t find any of the art to be overly distracting from the core gameplay experience.
All deck building games gather their core, fun experience from offering an interesting set of choices to the players. Which combination of cards would be particularly strong if you draw them together? How many of the cards that do not provide additional servings can you risk having given that they might weaken a hand if drawn together?
Romantic Vacation offers players a whole new set of risk and reward structure by either running their engine more efficiently or by more frequently capitalizing on the reminiscence opportunities. This also allows for riskier play with cards that don’t synergize naturally together but do fulfill current objective opportunities if an otherwise bad hand comes up.
Age Range & Weight
Romantic Vacation has a rating of 12+ while the base game was 13+. I think the old rating was closer. This is especially true with some of the artwork becoming much more suggestive than the base set. Tanto Cuore is one of the easier deck building games to teach while still packing all the strategic fun of much larger games.
We really enjoyed the base Tanto Cuore game and the things Expanding the House added to the experience. I have already started playing Romantic Vacation in mixed markets. The core mechanic from this set is my favorite so far and I would be happy to include it in any Tanto Cuore game I play even without needing any specific market cards from Romantic Vacation to make the reminiscence cards work.
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