As a big fan of Dominion, I wanted to put together a quick review of the cards. This review is based on around 20 plays of pure Seaside, with about 6 mixed with the base set and Intrigue.
1 If you like Dominion, Seaside will add some variety to the game, but still feels much the same
2 The set feels more cohesive than Intrigue
3 Duration is an interesting mechanic, was executed fairly well
4 The set feels like it is lacking +buy cards
5 The play mats and coins feel tacked on, but do make keeping track of those elements slightly easier than a card based approach would have
Generally I have found plays of this set solo to be slightly more enjoyable and fun than the base set or Intrigue. Which speaks to the cohesion in the set, my enjoyment of the duration mechanic, and that the decks I prefer to play work better here than in the other sets.
Card specific thoughts
Two cost cards
Embargo: A card that generated a fair amount of discussion on the boards here. Initially I wondered why anyone would by it. To me the key problem is that generally I won't know what to Embargo until the midgame, and in the midgame I'm not buying 2 cost cards. An exception would be a 5-2 opening which when the set has Treasure Map or a card I know is good but don't plan to buy in it. Just not a card I’m going to play every often.
Haven: I've used this to push extra coin, a Treasure Map, or a second terminal action I can't use to the next turn. It is not spectacular, but it is only a 2 cost card.
Lighthouse: I'm not a defensive card buyer in general, but this one seems good to me. The fact that it is not a terminal action is huge, and the coin is a fine ability. It is missing the surprise element, so an opponent may avoid playing say Sea Hag if they see this out instead of a surprise moat negating the card.
Native Village: The one thing I know about this card is that once you buy one, you should buy more. You want to have as many chances to pull the cards out as possible, and when it’s been good for me I had 3 in my deck. Generally I don't want three 2 cost cards in my deck, and tend to not build big multi-action decks. I will say that this was strong for me in a Sea Hag game where on the last turn my mat had 5 Curses, 2 VP cards, and 3 Coppers.
Pearl Diver: This cycles and has a chance of being useful depending largely on then it's played. Slightly better with stronger chains of cycling cards, and sometimes may be really strong. Late game pulling a gold that had been buried to the top of your deck may mean you see a card you were not going to see otherwise, but I’ve also seen plenty of times where the peak was used on a 1 card deck.
Three cost cards
Ambassador: Initially I did not like this, and in fact told a friend when I saw the spoiler that this was a bad card. But after getting crushed by it once and then having a savage game with three players throwing Coppers around like they were candy I have a better appreciation for it. Its "trash" ability can be very strong, but I'm not sure I want to trash 2 Estates with this and basically give my opponents 3 VP.
Fishing Village: This was strong for me every time I saw it in a set. On the first turn it is nothing special, but on the duration turn it is as if you played a Village with a bonus coin on top of it. Similar to Village in that it needs card drawing to really shine.
Lookout: Very strong with the mix of trashing and discard to accelerate through your deck. The action makes it possibly to run 2 for a little while if you want before trashing one. There is the possibility of being forced to trash something you like, but you are unlikely to be something you love (just avoid it once you hat lots of VP). Eventually you stop using it, but the same can be said for chapel. I think it's clearly a strong card, but I'm not sure how it ranks compared to other (non chapel) trashing cards.
Smugglers: Seems good for 3. Normally results in Gold or a 5 cost card until the late game when Provinces are being bought. Early it may just be just a Silver but picking up a "free" Silver during the first 4 turns of the game can be very good. Could be bad if your RHO is buying too many terminal actions.
Warehouse: Generally a strong card, letting you filter cards and cycle your deck faster. Strong accelerator for Treasure Map decks and still very useful after cashing in the maps. Discard oriented attack cards such as Cutpurse obviously put a damper on the ability of this card.
Four cost cards
Caravan: I really like this. It cycles when played, and on the duration turn it has the same effect as playing Laboratory. Yes it has the duration downside of possibly missing shuffles, but if I have 3 or 4 of them churning my deck, I just don’t care.
Cutpurse: Solid attack as long as there is no Copper trashing in the game. Clearly strongest in the early game, but the 1 coin ding that it can cause if Coppers are not being trashed will have impact for most of the game. Given the choice of this or Militia. I am not sure which I would pick in a general game.
Navigator: I have had one game where this card was amazing for me as use as a minor Chancellor early in the game. Later in the game it I used it to avoid hands that would not result in Provinces. It is not a great card, but there are going to be some card sets where it is solid.
Pirate Ship: This is significantly better than Thief. Pulling out your opponent’s Copper is still bad, but at least you get something out of it. Building it up to 3 or 4 counters is going to be strong. The ability to get 2 counters on it early, us them to get Gold, and then later add in another counter or two to buy Provinces is very good. I have played in one savage 4 player game with this where there were no + coin cards except Embargo and Merchant Ship, and no + 2 action cards.
Salvager: Has a buy which is important in this set. Gets rid of Estates early or let's you trash Coppers or Curses. Late in the game it can enable the same trash a Gold to gain a Province that Remodel does (as long as you have a little coun). These style cards have never been my favorites, so this does not hit my sweet spot, but I’ve been abused by it several times.
Island: Very good card as it fills a gap in the VP spectrum, and can have some minor thinning effects. I’ve had one game where I bought most of them when most of the action cards did not appea; to me. So I focused on this as my “terminal” action, with a couple of others and consistently used Islands to thin my deck, which worked out quite well.
Sea Hag: This card has a much more serious impact on your opponents than Witch does, but gives you nothing. I would tend to not buy this because I’d rather be helping myself than hurting my opponents.
Treasure Map: I still don’t know what to think of this. I’ve played 2 or 3 games where it is in the set with Warehouse, and in those cases it is strong enough that it feels like the only option on a 4-3 split. Sometimes manages to cash in on turn 5, and then it is probably too good. Sometimes you don’t get it until turn 9, and then it is too slow. I’m a little worried that it’s a card that is a “must” card if there are specific combinations, but if not then it isn’t good enough to buy at all. Without something to enable it, it does not seem good enough.
Five cost cards
Bazaar: This fits in fine with the comparable 5 cost cards from the base set. I’m not a crazy multi-action guy most of the time, so it doesn’t fit my style much. In Seaside alone isn’t super strong due to the lack of strong card draw.
Explorer: Putting a Silver into you hand is good. Putting a Gold into your hand is even better. I’ve used it, had it turned out well as a “big money” style accelerator. Generally not on my short list of great terminal actions, but could be great in a draw your whole deck style deck to have consistent Gold-Province turns.
Ghost Ship: I've found this to be excellent when I've used it. I’ve had games where it felt dominant since we all bought one or two and it slowed the game to a crawl.
Treasury: Very strong but not overpowering. I’d buy this over Market in general, but exceptions could be made.
Merchant Ship: Has not overly impressed me, but I think several of the games it has come up in have included Wharf which I feel is a stronger card.
Outpost: I think this is the worst 5 cost card in the set. The one time I've seen it be something I would buy, there were about 3 cards that had some sort of synergy with it in the set (Library, Smuggler, Native Village). It might play well in a Gardens deck, or a heavy duration deck.
Tactician: This is strong and a fun card to play with. Makes for some strange decision making when you have 5 or 6 coin in the hand with the Tactician in hand.
Wharf: Quite strong and one of the few buys in the set. Starting a turn with 7 cards often ends up with greatness when all is said and done.