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Subject: So.. why exactly is Seaside better then Intrigue? rss

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Branko K.
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I've seen again and again in recent threads that people prefer and often recommend Seaside over Intrigue. However very rarely some clear arguments are given and there's a strong feeling that this preference is subjective, Seaside being new and fresh and everything.

Looking at the cardset, the only thing I see an obvious improvement is the artwork (which is admittedly a bit dodgy at times in Intrigue). But other then that I don't see why Seaside would be considered clearly superios to Intrigue. Personally, I think Intrigue's cardset seems a bit more varied and fresh compared to Seaside's (and taken the basic Dominion into account). And sure Seaside has those tokens and mats, and sure, they look cool, but one cannot judge a gameplay value solely because of extra flair. Duration cards are interesting, but they are Seaside's "thing" just as "choice and interactivity" are Intrigue's, and I even think Intrigue has an upper hand here, gameplay-wise.

So, can someone please tell me why is Seaside so much better then Intrigue? I'm not arguing it's not, or that it's bad, I just want to know what aspects make it preferable to what I think is a rather terrific cardset (if sadly matless and tokenless).
 
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Marcel Sagel
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Since I bought Intrigue and Seaside at the same time, both sets are equally new to me (apart from the five Intrigue cards that were added on BSW).
Still I have a tendency to like Seaside better - I think this is because it has more cards with a "wow" factor.

Many of the Intrigue cards do the same things as the cards from the base set, except you get to choose from a list of options. This makes the cards flexible, useful in many situations, but it doesn't "wow" me. (There are exceptions of course: Bridge is cool, Masquerade is really funky, there's some others that are ok)
The Duration cards from Seaside (even though they also do the same things as the cards from the base set) feel more "fresh" to me because they bring more change to they way I build my deck and plan my turns. Plus as I said, there are more cards with new mechanisms I find really cool: Outpost, Tactician, Embargo, Treasury, Ambassador, all the actions that let you put something aside for later use.

It could very well be (and even be a bit thematic) that Intrigue cards are more subtle and it takes more games to be really impressed by them, whereas Seaside has a more immediate appeal (at least to me).
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Mason Louie
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Branko the Frog wrote:
So, can someone please tell me why is Seaside so much better then Intrigue?
mac_s_1 wrote:
Still I have a tendency to like Seaside better - I think this is because it has more cards with a "wow" factor.

I agree with this, but going back to Branko's original question, how? I think it's deeper and simpler.

Originally, I thought the two sets, Intrigue and Seaside, were roughly the same. There are some cool cards in Intrigue. There definitely are some in Seaside. But letting things stew, my feeling is Seaside is a LOT better.

Why? My first sign is the Variants forum. There a LOT of fan cards based off of Seaside concepts. Much more than for both Dominion and Intrigue. Why? Because Seaside is brand new and Dominion has a wider audience now? Maybe, but no because otherwise there would be more cards in Dominion and Intrigue styles also. This is not the case. My Boost set of cards, which is essentially a variation on Intrigue choices, got a big collective yawn in spite of their Timmy-ness quality.

But when I think about it more, the best Seaside-like fan cards are the ones that have to do with money. Sure there are good durations, but the really impressive ones so far fall into two categories: partitioning and money. This is why Frog-Kitty's Tariff is so damn good; it uses both aspects and does them both well. But the money observation is true in general-- the most impressive fan cards I've seen affect money in outlandish and sweeping ways like theatog's Land Tax, which is probably the reason why monteslu's Blood Money is a perennial favorite & why ppl keep reinventing Platnium in spite of how broken it is.

Feeding this outside observation back inside, this is true for official cards too. Bridge is an amazing card, but Pirate Ship, Treasury, and Treasure Map are too. And some of these latter ones are Chapel-class to boot. So in a nutshell, Seaside is much better because there are cool money warping cards which also happen to not totally break the game (except for Treasure Map ) And it also happens to have cool minor subthemes like filtering crappy cards (Tact, Native Village, Haven) and totally hosing your opponents (Ghost Ship, Embargo, Pirate Ship for 2x!). Which is just like Magic-- it's the mana, stoopid!

When I think back at the games I've played, I see this truth. In my Seaside review I observed that pure treasure decks are much weaker in the pressence of Seaside cards because the cards are more powerful. On reflection after about another 30 games, I see the new cards tend to strongly warp the prior traditional role of money. Sure Minion is good (or obnoxious) in large numbers, but Pirate Ship can be scary with just 2.

Money makes the deck go round.
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Travis Bridges
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My feelings are that:

1. With Seaside, the games are longer, tenser and feel more complete. I think the reason is that the cards in this set make you have some short term strategies and long term strategies. It's more difficult to have long action chains, and there are some cards that are great initially but lose their strength as the game goes on and others that are better after your deck has been developed. The games become more than a race to Provinces because you can effectively hide point cards (Warehouse, Island, Native Village).

2. The attacks are more balanced and less frustrating, and the included defense card is stronger (Lighthouse).

3. Personally, there are some cards in Intrigue I loathe, not necessarily because they are broken. Some because they aren't much fun (Masquerade, Scout, Torturer, Bridge), and others because they seek to destroy the point of the game; the deck development (Saboteur, Swindler). The Saboteur is just a shitty card. The Swindler is just assy...they frustrate you and keep you from developing a decent deck by taking cards you have already purchased away from you. I don't have a problem with attacks that add cards to other's decks or affect a person's turn, but do have a problem with one's that affect the valued cards that a player has added. I never buy these Intrigue attacks because I don't think they are great strategic cards and I don't often see people winning because of them. But invariably somebody will buy them and be a DB.

4. The Duration cards are pretty inspired when you play with them. They are great cards but really require support to be effective, so there is a lot more interplay amongst the cards.

I guess to summarize, Intrigue was about interaction amongst players, often for the worse, while Seaside, with enough player interaction to be interesting, offers a better interaction amongst the action cards. I'm pretty happy with it. I have moved my treasure and victory cards from Intrigue to Seaside. Seaside is now stand-alone and Intrigue is the expansion. HAH!
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Tim Mierz
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chicagometh wrote:
Seaside is now stand-alone and Intrigue is the expansion. HAH!


Oh no, don't ruin the rankings!
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Ted Vessenes
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A) Intrigue has two cards that slow down the game in a heavily random fashion (Swindler and Saboteur). I don't like mechanics that do either of these things.

B) Intrigue has more cards that require players to make choices at the moment they play them. Seaside has more cards that simply stay in play and give more benefit on the next turn (reducing choices). So seaside tends to play faster

Basically I like Seaside more because the games feel more streamlined. However, there are clearly exceptions on either side. I love the simpler Intrigue cards like Courtyard, Harem, and Trading Post. I'm not a fan of the more complicated Seaside cards like Native Village.
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Branko K.
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tedv wrote:
A) Intrigue has two cards that slow down the game in a heavily random fashion (Swindler and Saboteur). I don't like mechanics that do either of these things.


I think Swindler and Saboteur are a bit misunderstood.

First of all, I like interaction, and those cards are very interactive and the closest thing Dominion has to a true attack. Sure they are destructive but that's kinda the point of the attack.

The problem is that when the Saboteur is in the cardset people tend to play "as usual" and then grumble when their cards get "destroyed"... which ends up in a gentlemanly agreement Saboteurs are not to be used. Why not try to adapt? Barons for instance are a great counter to Saboteurs, they exhaust the Estate pile (Estates are nicely immune to Saboteur) and they allow you extra buys so you can reach the three-piles endgame condition sooner. Instead of racing for Provinces, you can pad your deck with Silver and Duchies, mitigating danger. So essentially, while your opponents are basically trying to recover and getting hit again and again you are cruising towards victory.

As for the Swindler, I also think it's a good card. It's an early game gamble - perhaps you will be able to stall your opponents, perhaps it will be a dud and you will exchange Estates for Estates. Swindler gets much worse mid-to-late game and it's mostly mildly irritating. But overall, it's a nice interactive card that shakes things up a little.

Sometimes I have a feeling that plenty of folks here on BGG somehow prefer things to be a little bit dry, analytical and as deterministic as possible. You want to see the cardset, plan a strategy and then see it in action; destructive and random behavior is to be smirked upon and dismissed. Personally, I like optimization and devising strategies, but I'm also not against unexpected events that may cause a different approach and tactical thinking. I'm not saying I'm giggling with joy when someone destroys my Province with a Saboteur, or that I want to see it in every game... but I like that such a card exists and including it from time to time isn't annoying, it's actually refreshing. The most annoying Dominion sessions for me are those without any attack cards where I feel I could be playing by myself. Sometimes it's nice to know that you can dish (and receive) some damage and that a wrench can be thrown into your well-oiled machine, so what if it adds up another 10 minutes to the game.

Sorry 'bout the threadjack, but I really felt Saboteur and Swindler need some love.
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Jamie Pollock
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I agree with what's been said above.

Saboteur is indeed a terrible card. Its action of trashing a 3+ costing card isn't altogether that bad, it's just the fact that players have to search through potentially large portions of their decks to complete the action that can be annoying. It's a lot of time to be spent doing negative things. If it had just affected the top two cards of each deck then it would have been more bearable to sit through time and time again.

Too much negativity leads to players getting bored and frustrated, and constantly drawing hands you can't do much with is also not much fun. In that sense cards which destroy other players' strategies (like for instance the saboteur and swindler) kind of go against the whole premise of Dominion being a deck building game.
 
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Alex Chen
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I actually like Saboteur and Swindler as mechanics, and think the attacks can be very exciting and dangerous feeling. It's just that the cards suck. Saboteur is a 5 cost terminal action that does nothing, and Swindler fails the Silver test. It's not like there's a gentlemanly agreement in my group not to buy them; people don't buy them because they're bad.
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Branko K.
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Jambo wrote:
In that sense cards which destroy other players' strategies (like for instance the saboteur and swindler) kind of go against the whole premise of Dominion being a deck building game.


But the premise isn't necessarily that"Dominion is a deck building game". The premise, as I see it, is that it's a game where the point is to have the most VPs in the end. 95% of the time this will be done by deck-building, true, but personally, I think finding ways to reach victory which aren't based on building the optimal "province-buying" engine are interesting and add more depth to the game.

Take this example. Imagine a 3-player game of Dominion.

First player decides to use Saboteurs as much as possible. His strategy is to devastate the other decks. He knows his buying powers will be miniscule and that he will not be able to acquire a lot of VPs; his hope is that his attacks will be enough to push the VP count of other players even lower.

Second player decides he will not attack at all, but rather build a solid economic engine and rush for the provinces. He opts not to use Reaction cards, because they will slow him down.

Third player knows that the first guy will go all batshit with Saboteurs, so he decides to heavily invest in Reaction cards. This will slow down his deck, but he hopes that while the first player rushes with the 3-piles condition he will scrounge enough VPs to come out on top.

As I see it, in this game of Dominion Player 1 chose the aggresive approach. Player 2 chose to develop a strong economy, while Player 3 decided to play defensively. It all amounts to an interesting game, where the personalities of different players get to play their part.

Now consider the same game, no attack cards. All three players are building their economic engine. There's no conflict, no uncertainty. It's a simple race who will build a better economy. Personalities of players don't matter, only their knowledge of the game and optimal usage of the cards.

Personally, I think the first game can be much more interesting and entertaining.

Edit:
vivafringe wrote:
I actually like Saboteur and Swindler as mechanics, and think the attacks can be very exciting and dangerous feeling. It's just that the cards suck. Saboteur is a 5 cost terminal action that does nothing, and Swindler fails the Silver test. It's not like there's a gentlemanly agreement in my group not to buy them; people don't buy them because they're bad.


I don't think Swindler fails the Silver test. I rather think that it's a gamble. Perhaps it will be worth it, perhaps not. Players who like risk and uncertainty will choose it, players who do not, well, will not. The existence of this choice is important.

I've played games where a relatively new player devastated me with his early Swindler. I actually enjoyed it; it's not common that I can play a game where an unexpected move from a less experienced opponent can leave me struggling for victory. Usually I have to "hold back", to feel challenged for a change is very refreshing.
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Joshua Reubens
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Quote:
I think Swindler and Saboteur are a bit misunderstood.


I would not say they are misunderstood... I personally don't hate them but I know some people in my group almost stopped playing entirely because they ruined their enjoyment of the game. One of my friends says he hates Intrigue in generally because of these two cards being in it. So obviously some people have hard reactions about these cards. I think that with so many cards to pick out of, having them pop up once in a while is fine but I also feel that they became less annoying when another 26 cards were thrown into the mix.

 
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Ted Vessenes
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My primary complaint with the Saboteur is the randomness. Lets say two players have identical 25 card decks, each with 3 provinces, near the end of the game. The saboteur hits both of them. One player randomly flips up a province, and takes a Duchy instead. He has lost 3 points. Another player randomly flips up a Festival and takes an Estate. He has gained one point.

So the saboteur caused a 4 point swing between two players through no fault of their own. And four points can easily be the margin of victory.

I don't mind some randomness, as long as the difference between a hit and a miss isn't huge. For example, Cutpurse, Militia, and Bureaucrat are like this. It sucks some when you get hit, but it's not back-breaking in the same way that getting a Province trashed is.

The Swindler has exactly the same problems. We joke that the optimal strategy against Swindlers is for your opponents to flip up coppers and for you to flip up Estates. Not only does your deck not get worse when you flip up an estate, but it gets that dead draw out of the way. People who get coppers turned into curses will very quickly fall behind on the growth curve, again through no fault of their own.

This isn't to say Swindler is a bad card of course. I'm a huge fan of the 2x Swindler opening. Just the fact that I'm willing to buy two terminal actions early (and underspend to get them) is a sign that the card can be amazing. If you give someone two curses by your fourth turn, you've essentially won the game. Swindler is a gamble, but the potential upside is enormous, and the only downside is that you might draw two terminal actions together.

In other words, I think Swindler is a poorly designed card in the same way that Black Lotus is poorly designed. But I'm more than happy to abuse it. I just happen to enjoy the game more when it's not around.
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Timothy Hunt
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tedv wrote:


So the saboteur caused a 4 point swing between two players through no fault of their own. And four points can easily be the margin of victory.


I disagree. Neither of them built their decks accounting for the fact that the saboteur was in play.

Having seen some of the discussion here, I've now realised some alternate strategies to try and counter saboteur and swindler, without simply being the aggressor. I'm now looking forward to playing with them to try out.

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Travis Bridges
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I think to crystallize my earlier comments on the Swindler and Saboteur is that:
1. They are there within the Intrigue set, but I am sure better ideas existed. They just wanted interactive play from cards for this set.
2. The cards aren't good buys, but do cause general havoc. A previous poster said you should adapt...of course you do, you have no choice...it tells you to play the game a certain way, and I don't really like that a card can bring that much weight upon a really open exciting game. I've never seen a player win with a Saboteur or any strategy involving one, so what is the freaking point? It's not game-breaking, it's just retarded.
3. Since they aren't good buys, they shouldn't be bought, but if they aren't going to be bought with good intentions, then why include it? When I flip a Saboteur during set-up, I put it back and flip another, then try to remind myself to take the card out altogether. The Swindler can stay in, because it's damage is pretty minimal in most set-ups. Still it doesn't help the person buying it, and just causes problems for a game that doesn't really require them.
4. Somebody at the table will buy these two cards, and that guy is a douchebag. Basically, it is because he doesn't care about the outcome of the game, but instead wants to frustrate people. I don't consider frustration to be interesting or exciting, whether it randomizes a calculated game or not. If you like your games to be nothing but frustrating, completely incalculable with all tactics and no strategy, perhaps you would be happy putting together jigsaw puzzles with pieces missing.

As for Seaside, my feelings are this:
With the first set, there was always one, perhaps two paths to victory in a given card set. You know, village-smithy, workshop-garden, chapel-anything, laboratory-cellar...there was always a combo that seemed nearly indestructible. With Intrigue, all the cards functioned fairly independently, either as assy attacks, new point cards or modifications of first set cards with no real strategic interaction. Now with Seaside, I feel cards work together but only well at certain times in the game. There are cards that start your game off well (ambassador), and cards that work well with developed decks only (native village). Some are very long-term with high payoff (pirate ship), while some need to work quickly to be effective (treasure map). Some cards are just bloody brilliant no matter what you pair them with (ghost ship, treasury, fishing village). That is what I consider to be true strategy. There has been no time during games of Seaside, nor do I foresee any, where I said "You really have to take this card/play this way to win." This is really a well constructed set, and plan to give this a higher rating than either of the previous sets.
 
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Travis Bridges
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Timotheous wrote:
tedv wrote:


So the saboteur caused a 4 point swing between two players through no fault of their own. And four points can easily be the margin of victory.


I disagree. Neither of them built their decks accounting for the fact that the saboteur was in play.

Having seen some of the discussion here, I've now realised some alternate strategies to try and counter saboteur and swindler, without simply being the aggressor. I'm now looking forward to playing with them to try out.



There isn't a need to come up with strategies to defeat these cards because these cards don't win games, at least I have never seen anyone win games with these cards central to their deck. I guess what I am saying is that the functional response to these cards is obvious and that response will never lose to these cards. All they are there for is for people who don't want to outline a strategy and modify it during a course of gameplay, and instead find revenge and destruction in games fun, hence the name Intrigue.
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Jamie Pollock
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Like I said, I don't think the action of trashing a 3+ card is that bad. It's just the laborious way Saboteur forces players to continue to search through their decks. I believe it could have been done more elegantly.
 
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Timothy Hunt
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Jambo wrote:
Like I said, I don't think the action of trashing a 3+ card is that bad. It's just the laborious way Saboteur forces players to continue to search through their decks. I believe it could have been done more elegantly.


Really, how hard is it to pick up your deck and deal out cards until an appropriately costed card appears?

And, yay, I'm getting my deck cycled!
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Dave Hamson
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chicagometh wrote:
Timotheous wrote:
tedv wrote:


So the saboteur caused a 4 point swing between two players through no fault of their own. And four points can easily be the margin of victory.


I disagree. Neither of them built their decks accounting for the fact that the saboteur was in play.

Having seen some of the discussion here, I've now realised some alternate strategies to try and counter saboteur and swindler, without simply being the aggressor. I'm now looking forward to playing with them to try out.



There isn't a need to come up with strategies to defeat these cards because these cards don't win games, at least I have never seen anyone win games with these cards central to their deck. I guess what I am saying is that the functional response to these cards is obvious and that response will never lose to these cards. All they are there for is for people who don't want to outline a strategy and modify it during a course of gameplay, and instead find revenge and destruction in games fun, hence the name Intrigue.


Saboteur and the Swindler are actually my two favorite cards from the intrigue set. Both of them have helped me win a few games. I try not to flood my deck with them, just one or two is enough to cause my opponent to restructure his own deck to combat with it.

I'm not even the only person in my group who enjoys using them, my girlfriend especially loves the swindler, and she has been able to get a nice leg up on her opponents with his ability.

Both these cards are just as viable as any other card. We don't pick them to be jerks, we pick them because we just find them to be fun cards for us. I'm not saying you have to like these cards. If not having them increases your enjoyment of the game, then you should certainly remove them. I just wanted to add my two cents, that not all of us swindlers and saboteurs are just meanies ruining someones fun, we just found an alternative way to win.
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David Tolin
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chicagometh wrote:
I think to crystallize my earlier comments on the Swindler and Saboteur is that:
1. They are there within the Intrigue set, but I am sure better ideas existed. They just wanted interactive play from cards for this set.
2. The cards aren't good buys, but do cause general havoc. A previous poster said you should adapt...of course you do, you have no choice...it tells you to play the game a certain way, and I don't really like that a card can bring that much weight upon a really open exciting game. I've never seen a player win with a Saboteur or any strategy involving one, so what is the freaking point?


The people you game with represent the perfect sample? Just because you've never seen it done doesn't mean it hasn't happened. Some people like the card and some people have won with it. So, the freaking point would be to consider the fact that other people may have a different opinion/experience.

chicagometh wrote:
3. Since they aren't good buys, they shouldn't be bought, but if they aren't going to be bought with good intentions, then why include it? When I flip a Saboteur during set-up, I put it back and flip another, then try to remind myself to take the card out altogether. The Swindler can stay in, because it's damage is pretty minimal in most set-ups. Still it doesn't help the person buying it, and just causes problems for a game that doesn't really require them.
4. Somebody at the table will buy these two cards, and that guy is a douchebag. Basically, it is because he doesn't care about the outcome of the game, but instead wants to frustrate people. I don't consider frustration to be interesting or exciting, whether it randomizes a calculated game or not. If you like your games to be nothing but frustrating, completely incalculable with all tactics and no strategy, perhaps you would be happy putting together jigsaw puzzles with pieces missing.


You're just being absurd, frankly. I've played plenty of games where the Saboteur was purchased and used, and it was never because someone didn't care about the outcome of the game or wanted to frustrate people. It's because people wanted to play the game and try out different strategies. I suspect from the tone and content of your posts that you're playing in a group where the same strategies are used consistently, and groupthink has (possibly) skewed your perception of what viable strategies could be.

Your personal feelings about the card don't affect its relative utility, and calling out anyone who believes otherwise (e.g., the "douchebag" comment) is incredibly bad form. shake
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Brandon George
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For me I think the big difference is theme, both in flavor and mechanics, that put Seaside above Intrigue. Intrigue's themes of making choices and card-type-matters make for great cards, but not really a cohesive feel to the set. I don't feel like adding Intrigue to the mix changes the way I approach the game on a fundamental level. Since it's sort of an "alternate standalone" I think this is fine, but viewed as an expansion it lacks a little bit of punch in that department.

Seaside's "next turn" mechanic comes in loud and clear. Between deck manipulation and durations the majority of the cards play into this theme, and I feel like it really makes me think and strategize differently in general even with just 3 or 4 Seaside cards in a game. In addition, the nautical theme is strong whereas Intrigue's flavor theme was fairly nonexistant and the art is great.

I own and love all three, but this is why I agree with those who say Seaside is superior.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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vivafringe wrote:
and Swindler fails the Silver test.

surprise

I think your copy of the silver test is defective. In my experience, Swindler is one of the best things you can buy with a 3/4 start.
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SevenSpirits wrote:
vivafringe wrote:
and Swindler fails the Silver test.

surprise

I think your copy of the silver test is defective. In my experience, Swindler is one of the best things you can buy with a 3/4 start.


That's what I thought as well, until I played a bunch of games with it and realized I was consistently losing to people who picked silver. If you pick Swindler and the other three players pick Silver, you might screw over 1 or 2 of them. But there's always a player that gets an estate flipped, shrugs off your attack and wins with a better terminal action (Smithy? Torturer? etc.).

Maybe in 2-p it's somewhat justifiable as a swingy, high-variance play if you are a worse player than your opponent (which matches well with baba's comments). However, in 4-p the law of averages makes the card pretty bad.
 
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vivafringe wrote:
That's what I thought as well, until I played a bunch of games with it and realized I was consistently losing to people who picked silver. If you pick Swindler and the other three players pick Silver, you might screw over 1 or 2 of them. But there's always a player that gets an estate flipped, shrugs off your attack and wins with a better terminal action (Smithy? Torturer? etc.).


But that's just a group dynamics issue. You could equally well say that if the other three players all pick Swindler, and you pick Silver, your chance of avoiding all of the attacks is negligible and their cumulative impact is very likely to slow you more than anyone else.
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Alex Chen
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DaviddesJ wrote:
But that's just a group dynamics issue. You could equally well say that if the other three players all pick Swindler, and you pick Silver, your chance of avoiding all of the attacks is negligible and their cumulative impact is very likely to slow you more than anyone else.


Except that getting hit with 3 Swindlers is almost the same effect as getting hit with 4. Swindlers have diminishing returns; lets say a copper gets changed into a curse. Well, next shuffle, those same 3 swindlers all have a chance of hitting the curse, which will do nothing. If I knew all my opponents were going Swindler I'd be even more likely to go Silver, because the value of a Swindler would be comparatively lower.

This isn't like Thief, which gets better in multiples. It's more like Militia.
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Dave Hamson
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vivafringe wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
But that's just a group dynamics issue. You could equally well say that if the other three players all pick Swindler, and you pick Silver, your chance of avoiding all of the attacks is negligible and their cumulative impact is very likely to slow you more than anyone else.


Except that getting hit with 3 Swindlers is almost the same effect as getting hit with 4. Swindlers have diminishing returns; lets say a copper gets changed into a curse. Well, next shuffle, those same 3 swindlers all have a chance of hitting the curse, which will do nothing. If I knew all my opponents were going Swindler I'd be even more likely to go Silver, because the value of a Swindler would be comparatively lower.

This isn't like Thief, which gets better in multiples. It's more like Militia.


Not really, since Militia targets the players hand, so you can only be damaged my the Militia once per turn since a Militia can not drop a players hand below 3, whereas you can be swindled multiple times before you get to go again, and end up with that many more curses since it attacks your deck and does not share the same restriction as the Militia does.
 
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