Dylan Birtolo
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
General Information
Number of Players: 2 - 4
Length of Game: 30 - 45 minutes
Difficulty of Game:
Strategic Depth:
Fun Factor:
Popularity at local game night:

Overview
If you have played the original Dominion, you know the premise of this game. If you have not, then you are in the wrong place since this game is an expansion in the true sense of the word. This set does not come with all of the cards necessary to play. In addition to this set, you will need Dominion or Dominion: Intrigue in order to play. The general premise is that you are searching to expand your kingdom and your power, once again by obtaining provinces, duchies, and estates. But now we have progressed from beyond the homeland across the sea.

Game Materials
The materials for this game are essentially the same as in the original Dominion and Intrigue. The cards are well made and stand up to lots of use. Once again, the game comes with a very handy and well-put-together card holder to keep the cards separated and distinct for ease of grabbing them when setting up the game. With the addition of Seaside come a few new items: coins, embargo tokens, and game mats. The coins and tokens serve their purpose but are not anything noteworthy (as opposed to the artwork on the cards for example - which continues to be exceptional). The mats are pretty, but most of the time when we play, we leave those in the box for convenience sake.

Play Summary
Since this game is a true expansion and cannot be played without one of the previous releases of Dominion, I will not spend time here explaining how the basics of the game work. The core mechanics of the game are the same - drawing a hand, playing action cards, buying a card, when game ends, etc. Instead, this section will focus on the differences or additions to the game with the addition of Seaside.

The main change is the addition of duration cards. Duration cards are cards that have an effect when you first play them, but they stay in play as you draw your hand for your next turn. They have another effect (sometimes it is the same effect) for your next turn as well. Some of them even have an effect while the card is still in play, such as the Lighthouse protecting you from attack. At the end of your next turn (the turn after you played the duration card), the duration card is removed from play and put in your discard pile.

The only other difference in the game, except for the obvious availability of new cards that do different things, is the addition of the tokens and the mats. All of these - the mats and the tokens - are connected to specific cards. Depending on the cards you have in play, you may not be using any of these supplements. Their usage is clearly explained in the text of the relevant cards and hence beyond the scope of this review. They do not introduce any changes to gameplay but are merely ways of tracking things such as cards set aside, additional costs associated with buying a card, etc.

Play Experience
The addition of the duration cards changes the game significantly. It changes the way that you plan things and often makes it much more advantageous to know what will be coming up in your deck next. The duration cards are very useful, and potentially very powerful. However, they are balanced well with an increased cost dependent on the increased advantage. I really like this addition and think that it changes the game enough to force you to think in a slightly different way. Perhaps a better way to phrase it would be that it adds a new dimension in which you must think in order to be successful.

Ever since my group obtained this expansion, we have stopped playing with just one set or another. Now we group the three sets we have (this, the original, and Intrigue) together and choose a selection of ten cards from all of the sets we have available. I find that this makes the gameplay much more interesting because it creates combinations that you might not have otherwise considered. You will find synergy in cards from different sets that you might not have seen originally, and that really makes the game interesting. It also, obviously, creates a lot more options for possible set ups and therefore extends the lifespan of the game.

I do find that certain cards tend to not every be used, or if so, they are used very rarely. This is something that is much more prominent in this set than in previous sets. This may be a side effect of the people I play with more than anything else, but it is definitely something that has come up with Seaside. For example, the Outpost card that is included in this set. Despite it having been in several games, I have never seen anyone purchase it, let alone use it. As I said, this may only be because of the people I play with (which is admittedly two separate groups, one of which is fairly large), but it is a repeatable and noticeable trend.

Notable Praise
This expansion feels like it adds something substantial more than just "more cards". The addition of the duration cards has a significant effect on the gameplay and therefore, on the deck building strategies involved. It definitely adds a nice touch that forces you to think in more ways about how to shape your deck as time continues.

Adding all of the sets together I also definitely think is the way to play. The exception is if you are just introducing new people to the game and therefore want to stick to the basic set. Adding this set in with Intrigue and the original creates a very interesting collection of possibilities and strongly increases the number of different possible games out there to play.

Tied in with that - there is no one set strategy to winning this game. And a big part of that is because the game changes just about every time that you set it up. This is something that I like a lot in games. When a game has one set strategy that wins every time, it simply becomes a matter of who can enact that strategy first or best, something that I don't find incredibly enjoyable.

Notable Gripes
Honestly there is nothing in this expansion that comes to mind as a gripe. At least, not anything that isn't the case with the original game. As I mentioned in my review of the original, there can be a bit of wear on some cards if they are used more frequently than others. This can be noticeable when you stack the cards on top of one another on your deck. But, there are options to combat that such as card sleeves.

Summary
If you enjoy Dominion and the aspect of building your own deck as you go, I would definitely say that this expansion is something you want to pick up. It will add new life to a game that you already enjoy and add new options. I cannot think of a reason why you shouldn't pick this up (except for the obvious one of it costs money) if you enjoyed the original core set. There really is not much more to say on the matter since it is a pretty good assumption that if you are reading this, you have some idea on whether or not you liked the original.

EDIT: Corrected spelling error
6 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roberta Yang
msg tools
I love how a full half of the topic title is devoted to talking about how Intrigue isn't a real true expansion because it includes the basic cards.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rick Teverbaugh
United States
Anderson
Indiana (IN)
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
salty53 wrote:
I love how a full half of the topic title is devoted to talking about how Intrigue isn't a real true expansion because it includes the basic cards.

Huh?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dylan Birtolo
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
salty53 wrote:
I love how a full half of the topic title is devoted to talking about how Intrigue isn't a real true expansion because it includes the basic cards.

It wasn't so much pointing out that Intrigue is not a true expansion. It was more a combination of pointing out that Seaside is not stand-alone and my (admittedly poor) attempt at being mildly amusing.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick G.
United States
Glenshaw
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Does your religion have lightsabers? Nope? Didn't think so.
badge
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals." Agent K. Oh my what he would think of people had he known about what the internet would become.....
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
EyesOfWolf wrote:
salty53 wrote:
I love how a full half of the topic title is devoted to talking about how Intrigue isn't a real true expansion because it includes the basic cards.

It wasn't so much pointing out that Intrigue is not a true expansion. It was more a combination of pointing out that Seaside is not stand-alone and my (admittedly poor) attempt at being mildly amusing. :)
I laughed. :-D
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls