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Get Ready for a Romping Time on the High Seas!

Dominion Seaside

Get Ready for a Romping Time on the High Seas

Review by Craig Hargraves

Dominion Seaside is the 3rd instalment in the Dominion series and the first true “expansion” expansion. It brings to the table another 26 Kingdom Cards with a good mix of cards costing from 2 to 5 coins. Also included are some player mats and some nice quality metal tokens used with some of the cards.

For this expansion the major theme (apart from the whole ocean thing) is cards which affect your next turn, called Duration cards. These cards are distinctive because they’re going to hang around and remain in play after you first play them before being cleaned up in your following turn. There are 8 orange Duration cards in all with most giving you some benefit this turn and then some, usually smaller, benefit next turn. For example, Caravan will give you an extra card and an action this turn and then another card at the start of your next turn. With the more expensive 5 cost cards you’re getting a more equitable benefit each time such as the extra two cards and extra Buy that you getting both this turn and next turn from Wharf. Perhaps the two most powerful Duration cards, Tactician and Outpost, could be said to give you a penalty this turn in return for a really big reward next. Outpost forces you to only draw 3 cards at the end of this turn. In exchange you get to take your next turn right away! Tactician forces you to discard the rest of your turn (perhaps effectively ending your turn right then and there) but in return gives you an extra 5 cards, an extra Action and an extra Buy next turn. That’s at least 10 cards, 2 Actions and 2 Buys on your next turn! That’s the makings of a huge turn!

The last notable Duration card I’ll mention here is Lighthouse. It costs a meagre 2 coins and gives you an extra Action and coin this turn and an extra coin next turn. Nothing special there, but what makes Lighthouse notable is its ongoing ability: while it’s in play, your opponent’s Attack cards don’t affect you. That’s a whole turn of protection which is always a nice thing. Lighthouse is also special though because it’s the only defensive card in the set. And there are five other Attack cards in the set just waiting out there to pounce. Perhaps the most thematic of the Attacks is the Pirate Ship which really hits the benefit later groove but in a different way to the Duration cards. With Pirate Ship you get to make a choice. The first option is to attack your opponents, hopefully forcing them to trash a Treasure card off the top of their deck. If anyone at all trashes a Treasure you get to claim a coin token (one of those metal tokens mentioned earlier). There’s no immediate benefit for you this turn (apart from slowing down your opponents a bit if you’re lucky) but this is what you’ll choose to do for the early game. Later in the game however you’re going to be taking the second option. That option allows you to get an extra coin to spend in your Buy phase for every coin token you’ve collected so far in the game. Later in the game this is going to be invaluable.

The last couple of cards I’ll mention here are a couple of my favourites and are both great early game cards (and not so useful late game). The first is Island which is an Action / Victory dual card (an idea first introduced in Dominion Intrigue). It costs 4 coins and at the end of the game it’ll be worth 2 Victory Points but it’s the Action it grants that really makes it shine. You can remove it and one other Victory card in your hand from your deck until the end of the game. What a great way to thin those pesky Estates out of your deck early in the game while still keeping the points! The second card is Treasure Map which you’re going to need a couple of to use. If you have a couple and you can get them into your hand at the same time you can trash them in return or 4 Gold cards on top of your deck. That’s as great start for next turn and many turns to come (just watch out for the Pirate Ship). Obviously these cards will work well while your deck is small but are going to be wasted space later in the game when you have a bigger deck and it’ll be tough to get the combinations into your hand.

Overall the card art in Seaside is consistent with the style in the first two Dominion releases although sadly the practice of including some more cartoony pieces of art which began in Intrigue has continued here with a few more cards. Sorry, but within the context of the other cards, I’m really not a fan. Oh, and those player mats I mentioned at the start? They have the art from the Island, Pirate Ship and Native Village cards and can be used to store their associated cards or tokens. But honestly, I never seem to bother with them. It’s a nice enough touch but for me they’re just something that doesn’t actually fit in the box with everything else.

So all in all, Seaside is another great addition to the Dominion family. It adds a heap more variety to the game and will change the way the game plays to add even more variety to the experience. It’s well worth the money for every Dominion addict.

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