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Unicorn Clan - Legend of the Five Rings


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Go to the War of Honor page
Go to the Legend of the Five Rings page
Go to the A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (2ed) page
Go to the Legend of the Five Rings - Emperor Edition page
Go to the Pandemic: On the Brink page
Go to the Tanto Cuore page

Tanto Cuore

67 out of 74 gamers thought this was helpful

Fans of “harem” animation will be invariably drawn to the high quality artwork in Tanto Cuore (which means “Much Heart” in Italian), as it consists entirely of original characters in frilly maid costumes. As an anime fan myself, I’ll admit that the theme weighed heavily in my decision to pick up this game, but it’s the gameplay, not the pretty pictures, that keeps this from ever remaining in my closet very long.

As for the game itself, Tanto Cuore is a deck-building game that plays very similar to Dominion. For those who are unfamiliar with deck-building games, the concept is simple: Starting with a small and mediocre stack of cards, and using a resource found on the cards themselves, one’s goal is to “purchase” larger and better cards from a communal set in order to form a winning deck. Unlike collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering, the deck-building actually takes place during the game, meaning that everyone has access to the exact same pool of cards, which provides a pleasant change of pace for dedicated CCG players.

For those who find Dominion‘s gameplay too non-interactive for their tastes, Tanto Cuore offers a refreshing offensive option in the form of Illnesses and Bad Habits, which are bought at an opposing player’s expense, either to nullify the effect provided by his Private Maid (a special type of maid who remains permanently on the table once played), or reduce his final score at the conclusion of the game.

My only complaint with this game has to do with the rulebook, as it is poorly laid-out in places, and as someone who had had only limited experience with deck-building games prior to Tanto Cuore, I found it took a while to muddle through. But once I understood the rules I found them surprisingly easy to follow.

I’ll reiterate: those who like Dominion will find that much is the same in Tanto Cuore, gameplay-wise. It’s not an exact reskin, per se, as the addition of the “Private Maid” mechanic provides a unique tactical twist, but the bottom-line is that, if you already have Dominion and the anime theme doesn’t interest you, you’ll probably want to skip this one. But if you love both, or are just starting out in the deck-building genre, this is definitely a game to seek out.

Go to the War of Honor page

War of Honor

70 out of 78 gamers thought this was helpful

A successful CCG in its own right, Legend of the Five Rings has gathered numerous fans due to its deep strategical elements, multiple victory conditions, and interactive ongoing storyline. War of Honor builds upon L5R by introducing streamlined rules that support multiplayer gameplay. However, it has a steep learning curve, and many have dubbed it “a board game with cards.” For some reason, board games are more easily forgiven for complex rules than are CCGs, and now that L5R has entered the board game genre with War of Honor, it too can enjoy that luxury.

I would say that there are two primary ways to enjoy this game. First, if you are already a fan of L5R, you will appreciate the multiplayer aspect of War of Honor, and I would consider the game to be the best way to play L5R with 3+ players nowadays. Second, if you are new to L5R, this game stands on its own by including four balanced, fully playable decks. These are expandable by incorporating cards from the CCG, but it’s not necessary.

As I said before, one of the hallmarks of L5R is the existence of multiple ways to win, and War of Honor holds true to that, as each player is trying to fulfill one of the four victory conditions: Honor (political domination), Enlightenment (spiritual ascension), Military (the physical conquest of opposing provinces), or Dishonor (shaming rival clans). Each of the four decks included in the base game are especially geared towards one of these four conditions, while having the potential to switch between them if necessary.

This is an intensely social game. Forming alliances with other players, and then breaking them when they no longer suit your means, is the core of War of Honor strategy, and for this reason War of Honor is best played with four players, or five if players are bringing constructed decks, but six or more tends to produce much longer gameplay.

If you are new to L5R, this is a good start as it introduces the core gameplay, streamlined for easier use. That is not to say that this is a simple game; L5R is actually one of the more complex card games out there, as stated above. But if you like warfare, politics, or the samurai fiction on which the game’s setting is based, War of Honor is a good choice.

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