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Subject: Before You Buy... rss

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Colonel Mustard
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Before You Buy...


Preliminaries...
This review is an attempt to help you understand how this expansion helps enhance your Dominion experience. It is not an exhaustive list or explanation of the new cards. It is an attempt to offer some understanding of what you may be in for should you purchase this game. Given that Seaside is an expansion to Dominion and/or Dominion: Intrigue, it can only be played when added to either of these two games – both of which contain the needed coin and victory point cards.


Photo by jothaa

Open the box...
The Seaside expansion includes 26 decks of cards. These decks are similar to the ones you find in Dominion or Dominion: Intrigue in that they consist of ten cards each. They are of the same high quality and the art work is great. Each of the new card decks can be stored in the plastic tray insert, just like the original game. It comes with an overlay card to help keep them alphabetically organized. You will also find player mats, used alongside three of the new cards, as well as two sets of coin tokens.

The down side...
Given that Seaside is basically the same size and weight as the original Dominion game, you may immediately be faced with a storage problem. Furthermore, it becomes awkward to have to unpack both boxes each time you wish to play. It is just plain easier to have all the cards in one place. As a result, many have opted to create their own box storage system. But be aware that only your own ingenuity will solve this small storage dilemma.

Image by: revtiedye
Some foam core, glue and cardboard dividers and your box can be transformed into what you need.

Does it really enhance the game?
Yes! The storage problem is relatively minor compared to the bang this expansion adds to the game. Dominion and Dominion Intrigue are great stand alone games. In some ways they need nothing added to make them fun. But these new cards bring the game to a whole new level. And some of these cards are just plain revolutionary. Take a look at Embargo, for example.

Photo by rsolow
Picture three Embargo tokens (which are real metal coins) on the six point Province pile. Each player making a purchase from this stack now receives one curse for each token. That changes things now, doesn't it?! The Embargo has caused more 'three pile depletion' finishes than we've ever known without Seaside.

Or take a look at Pirate Ship.

Photo by rsolow
At first glance Pirate Ship looks like a Thief, but it is much more game changing. A few of these in the mix and players have a difficult time building their decks. It is a very interesting addition, but not unbeatable. (The solid metal coins used are very cool.)

Take a look at this:

Photo by rsolow
Should you buy Islands early and try to cull your unwanted point cards? Or should you purchase your Islands later in the game and keep the incoming points from cluttering your deck? Or should you do both?

These cards (among others) allow you to look at Dominion with fresh eyes. They enable you to break from those (stale) strategies that have been working and offer new avenues to explore. The shift in game play is not dramatic; it still feels like the Dominion game you know. But it is taken to a different level.

Why are some cards orange?
The new twist or element that this expansion brings to the table are Duration cards. Basically, these action cards allow players to get more bang for their buck. For example:

Photo by rsolow
This card allows a player to take their full turn. If their action included laying down an Outpost, the player may take a second turn immediately following their clean-up phase. The second turn only allows the player to draw three cards. But it is played as a full turn (Action, Buy and Clean-up). And the three card handicap is quickly eliminated if the action card played happens to be a Smithy.

There are eight Duration cards included in the new set. These can be a challenge for new players to remember not to 'clean up' these cards at the end of their turn. (“Did I play my Lighthouse this turn or last turn?”) But it does not take long to start remembering to use them. And they can be really powerful...like the Tactician, for example.

Images by spearjr and rsolow
Click on each to enlarge.

You can try it before you buy it...
Okay...sort of try it. Your original game came with a small deck of blank cards. When I was exploring the idea of purchasing Seaside, I used those cards to add one virtual Seaside deck to the game. Scanning the photos of the expansion cards (on BGG) the game group would decide which Seaside card to include.

Photo by EndersGame
The blank deck would represent that card. We had to remember the text and occasionally would check with the photo for clarification. But this allowed us to get a taste of the cards before making the purchase. Clearly, this has limitations. First, if you have one original game, you have only seven blank cards, instead of the needed ten. Second, this only allows one deck to be added at a time. But all in all, it really helped us get the flavour of the game and understand how some of these cards would tweak things.

Which should you buy first, Seaside or Intrigue?

If you own just the original game, this question seems to be a common one. And, in my opinion, is one that has no clear-cut answer. The reason for this is twofold. First, game taste is subjective. What any two people like in games can be so varied it is very difficult for anyone to presuppose what another would appreciate. Second, both expansions are so good....the question is almost moot. But having played them both I have no doubt that I would prefer owning Seaside before owning Intrigue. For me Intrigue has a more aggressive feel and, while I do enjoy it, this has slightly undermined its' appeal. I really like how Seaside opened the game up and had us looking at things from a fresh perspective. For me the best purchase order would be Dominion, and then Seaside.

The bottom line...
Seaside is a great expansion. Anyone who enjoys Dominion would find it a real treat. The new decks offer fresh strategies and breathe life into the 'old' cards. If you are not a fan of Dominion, this expansion is probably not going to change that for you. But if you are catching on to the new world of this fine game, this is an excellent addition....and one that I cannot imagine playing without.
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Wonderful review, but a geekmod failure that this was approved for the general Dominion forum, rather than declining it for not being in the Dominion: Seaside forum...

You've made me hesitate about my decision not to buy Seaside though. Owning both Dominion and Intrige, and seeing the number of times I play Dominion steadily go down, I'm unlikely to buy more than 1 expansion. Would you recommend this, or Prosperity? (Which is the one I've been eyeing up to now.)
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a_traveler wrote:
Wonderful review, but a geekmod failure that this was approved for the general Dominion forum, rather than declining it for not being in the Dominion: Seaside forum...
From my GeekMod history:
Result: approve
Your Vote: decline
Your Comment: great review, but should be posted in one expansion and linked from the other

I still hope you got near the five this review deserves, but maybe an admin can move this to the correct place(s)?
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Colonel Mustard
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Duh. I obviously wasn't paying close enough attention to where I started writing after looking up photo images. I could delete it and start again...but perhaps an admin will move it.
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Derek Thompson
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It's a wonderful expansion that makes a good game great, but it won't rejuvenate the game for you - that's Prosperity's job.
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Colonel Mustard
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a_traveler wrote:
You've made me hesitate about my decision not to buy Seaside though. Owning both Dominion and Intrige, and seeing the number of times I play Dominion steadily go down, I'm unlikely to buy more than 1 expansion. Would you recommend this, or Prosperity? (Which is the one I've been eyeing up to now.)

I have not played Prosperity (but Christmas is coming!) so keep that in mind as you read my comment. But it would seem given that you already own both Dominion and Intrigue, you would probably enjoy Prosperity more. It looks like a whole new world opens up with the powerful cards, etc.
 
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Chris Weeks
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ColMustard wrote:
a_traveler wrote:
You've made me hesitate about my decision not to buy Seaside though. Owning both Dominion and Intrige, and seeing the number of times I play Dominion steadily go down, I'm unlikely to buy more than 1 expansion. Would you recommend this, or Prosperity? (Which is the one I've been eyeing up to now.)

I have not played Prosperity (but Christmas is coming!) so keep that in mind as you read my comment. But it would seem given that you already own both Dominion and Intrigue, you would probably enjoy Prosperity more. It looks like a whole new world opens up with the powerful cards, etc.

I have played and own all the Dominion expansions that have been released thus far. My group would tell you that Prosperity is by far their favorite expansion with Seaside being a close second. The expansion they like the least is of couse Intrigue which most seem to like least. I would tend to agree with those in my group on this one. Prosperity adds the Platinum and Colony which while not always bought do tend to add to the experience.
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Here ya go.

You like "elegant" play and don't play CCG's:
* Base game Dominion
* Prosperity
* Seaside

You're a complexity whore and CCG veteran:
* Intrigue
* Alchemy
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Steve McClure
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Sam and Max wrote:
Here ya go.

You like "elegant" play and don't play CCG's:
* Base game Dominion
* Prosperity
* Seaside

You're a complexity whore and CCG veteran:
* Intrigue
* Alchemy

I think this is exactly how I would sum this up. I've already pulled Alchemy from my random deck, maybe I should pull some of Intrigue out as well...For a "simplified" evening of game play
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Max Maloney
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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a_traveler wrote:
You've made me hesitate about my decision not to buy Seaside though. Owning both Dominion and Intrige, and seeing the number of times I play Dominion steadily go down, I'm unlikely to buy more than 1 expansion. Would you recommend this, or Prosperity? (Which is the one I've been eyeing up to now.)
I'd buy Prosperity first. Seaside is a little more fiddly and is more likely to exasperate the casual Dominion player. For serious Dominion fans, you'll like it. But serious fans will get every expansion regardless!
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Matt N
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TheFlatline wrote:
Intrigue is the least favorite? I thought general consensus was that Alchemy was the least favorite.

My least favorite is Dominion:blank, which is really lacking in interesting cards compared to every expansion. However, I guess that's not really a choice. Maybe I'll get around to writing my own review explaining why one of the days.
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Chad Hensley
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Sam and Max wrote:
Here ya go.

You like "elegant" play and don't play CCG's:
* Base game Dominion
* Prosperity
* Seaside

You're a complexity whore and CCG veteran:
* Intrigue
* Alchemy

Thanks! That's definitely helpful. I've been trying to decide rather to buy intrigue or prosperity next. I love seaside and really want the new treasure and victory point card in prosperity, but always seem to run into that need to include just one more player so the option to add more players with intrigue is appealing. This definitely points me in the right direction.
 
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cree47 wrote:
Thanks! That's definitely helpful. I've been trying to decide rather to buy intrigue or prosperity next. I love seaside and really want the new treasure and victory point card in prosperity, but always seem to run into that need to include just one more player so the option to add more players with intrigue is appealing. This definitely points me in the right direction.

Y'know, I usually try to include "one more player" into a game, but Dominion has been a pretty good exception. Pretty much the Attack cards that say "if any player" (as in, "if any player reveals a Treasure card") become *way* too powerful, at least for a newbie group that hasn't learned countermeasures. (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Pirate Ship!) OTOH, If you make sure to not include those cards in the tableau, you should have a good enough *casual* game of up to five (mebbe six) players.

EDIT: Mebbe you can proxy the additional Victory cards for a five to six player game with any blank cards (or Kingdom cards)? Dunno.

Have fun!
 
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