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Kickstarter Of The Week ‘Tanto Cuore: Winter Romance’ Brings The Love To The Tabletop
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Kickstarter Of The Week ‘Tanto Cuore: Winter Romance’ Brings The Love To The Tabletop

An admitted guilty pleasure game of Felicia Day herself, Tanto Cuore is back again on Kickstarter with its newest edition, Winter Romance. The new edition is a departure in many ways from the ubiquitous elements of Tanto Cuore editions past, making the game more accessible while still maintaining at its core the delightful whimsy that is the heart of the Tanto Cuore experience.

If you’re not familiar with Tanto Cuore, the premise is simple: You are the master (or mistress) of a mansion. You compete with other masters/mistresses of estates for the most desirable staff and score points based on meeting victory conditions, including turning your staff into your private chamber maids and pulling them from their regular duties on staff, or couple them with other servants and see them in happy, committed relationships. From a thematic standpoint, the currency to grow your deck is love, which you use to acquire your staff, buildings, and event cards, as the game is a simple deck builder.

Some of the longstanding criticisms of Tanto Cuore are addressed in this version. Where previous editions included elements that could read as objectifying or sexualizing of women, those problematic art design decisions are simply not present.  Everyone depicted is designed to be attractive, but not scandalous. The art styling is much more wholesome, while the game thematically still retains the more mature romantic themes.

Tanto 2 (1)

Moreover, there are a few remarkable elements to this newest edition, the most obvious is the inclusion of male staff in the form of butlers. Mansion masters and mistresses of Tanto Cuore are now equal opportunity employers. Player interaction is also another addition: one mechanic of the game is the coupling of servants, where your servants can seduce other mansions’ staff, depriving their masters/mistresses of their service. This servant coupling mechanic is not gender-specific, making the game one that openly includes queer relationships (a fact that the game itself proudly advertises.) Moreover, some of the most efficient ways to gain victory points in the game is now to couple servants, rather than chambering them into your own private quarters.  The coupling mechanic makes players feel more like a matchmaking yenta rather than a salacious employer, and that’s definitely an improvement.

Tanto 1

The new Kickstarter funded in less than a day, and currently sits at over $100K as of this writing.  There’s something undeniably fun about pulling out a game such as Tanto out with friends. It’s light hearted fun, while still offering a decent amount of strategic play (as deck building games ultimately are about card and action efficiency.) If previous editions may have turned you off, this is a version whose art and theme is much more accessible. When companies make shifts to make their games more accessible and less objectifying, it’s certainly something I’m inclined to support.

The Kickstarter for Tanto Cuore Winter Romance runs until September 14th.  Tune into Game the Game on G&S Live every Friday from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm where Ivan Van Norman and Becca Scott break out some of the best board games the industry has to offer, with new guests each week!

Image Credits: Teri Litorco

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