Board Game Reviews: Dominion Seaside


Nikhil Vyas

All of the cards and components from Dominion Seaside.

Dominion is one of my favorite games of all time, and it’s a top-rated game among all kinds of board gamers. This week, I’m looking into the second expansion for Dominion, Seaside. Dominion: Seaside adds duration cards that stay in play to do something on your next turn, cards that manipulate the top of your deck, and a few cards that use special player mats and tokens. If you aren’t familiar with Dominion, check out my review of it first. Otherwise, I’ll tell you about the new rules and cards in the expansion.

How to Play

The main new rule involves duration cards. These cards have orange borders, and the type of duration is on the bottom of the card; they read, “Action-Duration.” Duration cards are played just like normal action cards, but their text has new effects. The card’s text will likely say something about your next turn, for instance, getting +2 Cards and +1 Buy now at the start of your next turn. Because of this, duration cards stay in play after your clean-up phase.

At the start of your next turn, before your action phase, you will resolve all of the start-of-turn effects you have in play from your duration cards. Even if a duration card finishes its effect at the beginning of your turn, you do not discard it until that turn’s clean-up phase. This means that it is more likely for a duration card to miss a shuffle if it is still in play when you have to shuffle your deck.

A few cards use player mats. The effects of these cards have you place cards or tokens on the player mats. You only need to use a player mat if the corresponding kingdom card is one of the randomly selected 10 cards.

Take a look at all the cards in this expansion, and then I’ll give my overall impressions of it. In the gallery below, I use +$ when referring to the +coins symbol on some of the cards.

Final Thoughts

Those are 26 kingdom cards in Dominion: Seaside. As you could see from the gallery above, there are many great cards in this expansion. Even the few that are too weak or too powerful aren’t bad because it means the game doesn’t power-creep the expansion cards, making them slightly better than the ones in the base game.

The first thing people realized about Dominion was that it was replayable. The Seaside expansion doesn’t change that, making the game more replayable with more cards. There are some cards that certain people won’t like because of their attacks, such as Sea Hag and Ghost Ship. However, it’s good they included them since some people will like them. If you really don’t like a card, you can play without it and still have many cards from this set.

The second thing people noticed about Dominion was that it had no theme. Seaside doesn’t give Dominion any more theme than it had before. Still, I’ll say that it is probably the most thematic expansion. All the cards in Seaside have names related to the water, whereas the cards from the base game and Dominion: Intrigue had all sorts of names.

When people see Dominion: Seaside, the first thing they’re going to notice is that the game has player mats, two types of tokens, and cards with an orange border.

The player mats are not that exciting; they are just a specific place to set aside cards or place your coin tokens. However, in complicated Dominion games, having the player mats to put piles of cards and tokens helps keep track of stuff. Furthermore, the effects of the cards that use tokens and player mats are entirely unique and interesting because they let you do things that you couldn’t do without the player mats.

The duration cards are probably the best part of this expansion. Whenever someone plays with the duration cards for the first time, everyone comments that the cards are almost too good. However, a duration card stays in play for more than one turn, so it’s more likely for you to shuffle your deck with it still in play; the card misses the shuffle. It’s a subtle rule that some players miss, but  I’m glad the playtesters realized it when balancing the cards. However, the rules are not too complicated because the effects of these cards are simple, like in basic Dominion, with the added twist that something happens in both this turn and next turn.

The minor theme in Dominion: Seaside is cards that set up your deck for your next turn. First, there are cards like Treasure Map and Explorer that require having certain cards in your hand. In this same expansion set, cards like Navigator, Native Village, Tactician, Warehouse, and Haven manipulate your hand so you can get the combinations you need. When you start counting cards from other sets, that’s when you realize how much replayability Dominion has.

Dominion: Seaside is a great expansion that adds some entertaining cards to play with. Duration cards are a favorite and one of the few mechanisms that return in later expansions. If you are looking to only get a few Dominion expansions and want one that adds something different, Seaside is a great choice. If you are planning to get all of the expansions, you have to get this one near the beginning of your purchase because it introduces the duration cards, and the transition from basic to complicated cards is evident here.

Dominion: Seaside is like one of those expansions where if you’re only going to get one, get this one. Because it feels essential, which is how I rate expansions, I’m going to give Dominion: Seaside a 9.5 out of 10. If you are going to get any Dominion expansions, make sure you get Dominion: Seaside.

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