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I can't speak to the other newly revised editions, but I've played Seaside a ton with new players IRL and I think your take on Durations specifically is wrong.

The challenge with newer players and Durations is the fact that Durations break the cadence of Dominion. It's very tough for new players to remember to not discard them at the end of their turn, to activate them at the start of the next turn, and then to discard them on the correct turn. Tricks like turning cards sideways can help, but then they have to remember to turn things sideways and, wait, what does sideways mean again?

So the best Durations for newer players are the ones that are hard to screw up. In Seaside, Tactician is the best card for newer players: it's easy to grok, no one discards it on the turn it is played, and you're darn sure you'll activate it next turn. Haven works well too, but something like Merchant Ship, while conceptually simple, can cause all kinds of problems.

Looking at the new Durations, I see 3-4 Durations that are newbie friendly, which more than doubles the current count in Seaside:

Contrary to your assertion, Blockade is fantastic on this score. Like Haven, the gained card sits under Blockade and helps you remember not to discard and to gain in hand next turn. Then the duration effect helps you keep track of when the card was active. There's a bunch of text, but the concept is simple and thematic, just like Tactician.

Pirate and Monkey (also on your list) seem to be newbie-friendly as well. They don't do anything the turn they're played, which helps you remember not to discard and the fact that they force you to pay attention to other people's turns helps you keep track of when the cards are active.

Tide Pools is borderline: it has some similarities to Tactician, but, since the benefit is front-loaded, I can see it being harder to remember when it did what.

The rest are trickier for newer players, but not for the reasons you suggest. Astrolabe is simple, but it's very tricky to keep track of. With Corsair, the fact that trashing happens after the Treasure provides money can be tricky for new players. Sailor is just a complex card and Sea Witch, well, I wouldn't play Witch with new players so Sea Witch is out on that front alone.

I've played Seaside with new players countless times and I've never heard anyone complain about the issue you brought up (different effects on different turns). That sounds like the sort of problem that someone who knows the game well would just assume newer players might have.

Also, that your concern with Tide Pools is that it's hard to explain to newer players the correct strategy for the card makes me think we have different approaches to playing with new players overall. I don't didactically explain how to play every card. I'll clear up any rules questions and give some pithy summary for certain cards (Tactician: lose a turn to get a mega turn) but otherwise let them explore and learn while I attempt stupid Dominion tricks on my turns.

I still feel like there's a faulty premise here that's going unexamined.

The game hasn't lost a bunch of attacks. We're down exactly one attack overall post-2E: Seaside went from 5 attacks to a mere 4. Ghost Ship was removed and no similar hand size attack took its place. But relative to 6 months ago, we're up a lot of attacks, as Allies has 7 of them.

You could argue that the attack-portion of the attack cards got less harsh. That's certainly true for the three junkers: Ambassador vs. Blockade, Mountebank vs. Charlatan, Sea Hag vs. Sea Witch (though Sea Witch is a much stronger card overall). But for the others (Pirate Ship vs. Corsair, Goons vs. Clerk), I'd argue that the attack got stronger. And again, Allies added some nasty attacks: multiple non-terminal cursers, Archer, Warlord, Barbarian. So it's not like Dominion overall got less aggressive.

The difference is we're down 4 very specific effects that make it hard to see the cards in your deck, primarily in 3+ player games. Ambassador and Sea Hag are both cheap junkers that can start hitting on Turn 3 (and are easy to buy in multiples). Mountebank was the only junker that reliably put two bad cards into your deck. And Ghost Ship slows the progression through your deck down to a slog.

And maybe you think the loss of sloggy 4-player games that take forever and still end on 3-piles is bad for the game. However, I've played a lot of Dominion with multiple casual players at a time, and I can say those types of experiences are the worst advertisement for the appeal of the game that you can find.

I think your concern is exactly misplaced.

1. Ghost Ship, Mountebank, Ambassador, and Sea Hag (to a lesser extent) were removed because they were oppressive attacks that didn't let anyone see their deck, regardless of strategy. But their variable effect was to punish engines much harder than Big Money. Smithy Big Money can more than eat the flood of Coppers from Mountebank and Ambassador, for instance, but a Smithy-Village engine will quickly choke.

2. The second editions added attacks that still bite hard, just not so much that it forces the game into an unavoidable slog for everyone. Sea Witch, for instance, is about on par with Witch as an attacker--no one's idea of a weak attack. And Corsair might be the strongest attack published for hurting Big Money. It's not that effective against an engine player who has better payload than Gold, but a Corsair in play every turn will crush basically any BM+X strategy around.

3. Goons is the exception here as a strong payload card for engines, but the attack was not the reason Goons was strong. And in it's place, Collection rewards engine builders more heavily, so I'm not sure what was lost other than the mistaken assumption that Goons was an expensive Militia with some extra text at the bottom.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: help! i'm horrible at lurker
« on: February 01, 2018, 07:33:52 pm »
Just read the forum a lot but don't post things. It's not as hard as it looks (or doesn't look).

Source: decent as Lurker.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Thoughts on Jester
« on: July 13, 2015, 09:01:39 pm »
One underrated aspect of Jester is that it is the perfect introductory attack card.  Though the card has more text then, say, Witch, the idea is simple enough to explain in a single sentence.  However, it introduces Curses without really being a curser, forces players to assess the relative weights of cards ("I'd guess I'd rather you have Copper than me"), is a lot weaker than it looks, is basically the only attack that speeds up (rather than slows) the game (crucial with 3+ players), and is generally a fun and zany card without introducing too many complications.

I've found some other perhaps unexpectedly good starter cards (outside the main sets) to include Menagerie, Smugglers, and Squire.

Dominion: Adventures Previews / Re: Preview: Haunted Woods
« on: April 01, 2015, 08:27:53 pm »
Just to confirm, this basically prevents you from playing any more actions/treasures (edge-cases aside) after buying at the Black Market, correct?

Hi all, semi-regular lurker here. Not sure how I missed this thread, but I'm in DC (well, Arlington) and would be definitely up for a meetup in the area.  I could also invite some of the crowd I play Dominion with in the area, too, unless we are trying to keep it more of a forum thing.

Also, if we are still trying to think of a venue, the Board Room near Dupont might be a good option, though it is definitely a 21 and over location.

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