We weren’t sure how best to play with them, so we’ve been leaving them out of the game…
A:It’s true that the Hand and Keeper Limit cards can be sort of a downer, but sometimes you want to be able to limit your opponent if they seem to be getting way ahead of you in one or the other of those things. In that way, they are “game balancing” cards that help level the playing field, keeping one person from having a vast advantage over the other/s.
In addition the Hand Limit cards can be nice if your hand size is getting so huge you can barely hold it or mentally process it all. I’ve seen many a brand new player put down a Hand Limit card with a sigh of relief, just to get their hand down to something they can look at all in one go. It’s similar to playing Rules Reset or Let’s Simplify when you have six or eight different Rules out on the table. Yes, having lots of rules is fun, but sometimes it’s nice to have fewer.
On a more strategic note, beyond just overall game balance, there are times you can make sneaky combo plays where you impose a Limit on your turn, so that your opponent/s need/s to comply, but then manage to get rid of it before the end of the turn (with Trash a New Rule, or Let’s Simplify, or even Rules Reset).
Since Limits only apply to you when it’s NOT your turn (you have to comply when your turn ends if they are still in play) this means that your opponent/s will have to discard cards or Keepers, and you won’t. Now, you might still consider this a “downer”, but in any game there are things you do to get yourself ahead of the competition.
Finally, we are glad that you felt free to simply leave them out if you find that you don’t enjoy them. That is always an option for you. It’s your game, it’s your house, and you can have “house rules” (as long as everyone understands them at the start of the game and there are no unpleasant midgame surprises for those who are used to playing the game the way it comes out of the box).