Dominion > The Bible of Donald X.

The Secret History of Seaside 2E


Donald X.:
When I did the second editions for the main set and Intrigue, I planned to do Seaside, but didn't. At last I am getting to it, years later.

My interest in the project grew slowly. Finally, while working on Allies, I asked Jay if we could do it, and he said yes. A big problem previously had been, there were real people depicted on two cards I wanted to replace (Navigator and Pearl Diver), and he hadn't even wanted to ask if they could just be depicted on new cards. But years had passed, and Jay didn't even remember having said that, and had no issues this time (they aren't depicted in Seaside 2E; we'll get to them eventually okay).

There was then the task of picking out which cards exactly to replace; I got lots of opinions and looked at data. Then I wanted more cards than before, and asked Jay if that was okay, and he said yes again. So Seaside lost 9 cards and gained 9 new ones.

If you already have the physical set, well it's like a new mini-expansion for Seaside. You can keep the replaced cards if you want; no-one's coming into your house and making you throw them away. Or you can replace them, the choice is yours. Online, the cards remain available on (you have to specify that you want them though), and I am not sure if TGG will keep selling them or merely keep supporting them, for their version. They are supported though.

Let's look at what left.

Blanks: I mean c'mon, right? Some people get some value out of blanks; a new card would sure be better. They are still available as a promo I think.

Ambassador: This mostly left due to multiplayer. In 2-player it's a unique experience, and it's cool that it starts out looking silly and then turns out to be powerful. It's not so great in 2-player; every game with it starts out with a sub-game of dealing with Ambassador. But you know, some people may cherish it. But well in multiplayer, it can just shut you out. The early shuffles don't go your way and you are drowning in Coppers and Estates and in for a long game of that. It's a really unpleasant experience, and I could get rid of it. It may feel weird that this time I also got rid of some powerful cards, but well. I think the game is better without Ambassador. There is no card trying to be the fixed Ambassador here, but there still might be one someday.

Embargo: Getting rid of this let me get rid of the special tokens used only by this card. That was really attractive. Plus I could make a new better version, which I did. And all that aside, it was weak.

Explorer: They can't all be the best $5 ever. For the 9th card to go, the other candidate was Merchant Ship. Merchant Ship is the card the experts like less, but it's popular with casual players. Over the years there have been some better Explorers. There was also the fact that Merchant Ship is so very simple. I wouldn't have been so sad to keep Explorer, but I wanted to add 9 cards, and I did make a new one.

Ghost Ship: This won a most-hated-attack poll on reddit. As with Ambassador, it can lock you out of a game; you never see your deck. Experts may appreciate the card, the unique experience and their skill with it. It seemed pretty bad for most players though, and well, most-hated-attack.

Navigator: This is just a dud. The effect is totally worthwhile, it's just not worth spending an Action on. You get it if Actions are just super-plentiful, and there happens to be nothing else competing with it otherwise, which is rare.

Pearl Diver: Some games a cantrip that does nothing has value to you. I can do better though.

Pirate Ship: Some casual players think this is a powerhouse. Experts know this is one of the very weakest cards ever, like possibly the weakest, possibly 2nd weakest. Trashing Coppers is a very useful thing to do; doing it for your opponents needs to come with way more of a benefit. And then, this is also the only card in the set using coin tokens.

Sea Hag: This is another attack that many people hate. They hated it from the moment the set came out, due to it attacking without producing resources. That premise always seemed fine to me, but well, there are so many years of data here.

And here are the new cards:

Astrolabe: All these years it has been clear that I could do Treasure - Durations, but they were limited by the need to not cause tracking issues with e.g. Counterfeit. The option was always there, but I never made any. Finally Allies went for it with, at one point, five of them, but in the end just Contract. But you know, how many cards really cause these tracking issues? It's not many. And it's not like you want to trash your Duration treasures with them so much. Maybe I could just errata all of them. And that's the plan! This opened the door to doing just a straight vanilla Treasure - Duration, and here it is.

Blockade: The new Embargo had to not use tokens. That was straightforward: it sets aside a card, and only Embargoes it for while the card is set aside. At first it wasn't phrased so cleverly, and you could like topdeck the card with Royal Seal and have to remember it. Now the card has to still be set aside if you want to hand out Curses. This card had to not provide a way to instantly hand out all of the Curses, via Embargo-ing Curse and then giving them one; it accomplished this with the "their turn" part, courtesy of Matt. Of course you can still let them empty the Curses, but they have to go along with it; and there are exotic combos, why wouldn't there be. For a while it dodged Curse and Estate by saying "costing $3 or $4," but that wasn't great, as everyone assumed it could get $2's.

Corsair: Pirate Ship had to go, but the set sure wanted some kind of pirate ship. It seemed like it had to trash Treasures, so it does. It tries a different approach than usual, hitting them in play. At first it could hit any non-Coppers, but well, what about Duration Treasures? The simplest thing here was just to hit Silver and Gold.

Monkey: One of the split pile outtakes from Allies was the Mariners. I liked them but then it seemed like, hey these could be Seaside cards. The pile went Sailor, Pirate, Ghost Pirate, Buried Treasure. Sailor gave +$1 per Duration card in play next turn; I tried a bunch of versions and it never worked out. Pirate was Monkey! Just as printed except the name. Ghost Pirate was a cantrip one-card Ghost Ship. And Buried Treasure was Pirate sans the reaction. One issue with original Seaside was a lack of draw; there is more draw now.

Pirate: As just mentioned, the first version had no reaction. It had two complaints: was it really good enough, and also, doesn't this set have Explorer? The second complaint was solved by replacing Explorer. For the first, it got a Reaction, triggering on a Gold being played. Another card in the set triggered on Treasures being gained, and it seemed simpler to have the Reactions match, and the other Reaction was better. Then the other card left.

Sailor: I tried several variations on "Innovation as a card" and then hit on this thing that ties it to Durations. There's always at least Sailor to work with it, and then other cards are sometimes exciting there. It's a bit on the complex side for Seaside, but well, there it is.

Sea Chart: One thing about Duration cards is, they hang around in play. Sea Chart plays with that, it cares about cards in play. Originally it cost $2, but it was too easy to quickly buy them all, and have the deck where your Sea Charts reveal your Sea Charts.

Sea Witch: The new Witch is very basic. It's a Witch; it misses more shuffles and all the Duration stuff, but has a Dungeon effect next turn. The first version varied the Dungeon part based on the number of Durations in play, and put the Curse on top like Sea Hag. I changed it to what you know, and was happy and didn't need to look further.

Tide Pools: I was looking at what set sub-themes I could pursue, besides the "top of deck" thing, which had all but vanished. Some cards lead towards having big turns and small turns. So, a new one of those. It's a Tactician where the good part is this turn, the bad part next turn. Briefly it cost $5.

I also felt able to tweak cards in minor ways:

Lighthouse: Lost "while in play" for a simpler "until then."

Treasury: Losing the dividing line let it be the large font, and then it also dropped caring about buys specifically. I don't like making the distinction because it's invisible to many players.

I usually have a section going on about outtakes. Seaside 2E though was worked on at the same time as both Allies and the fall expansion (fall expansion?). Ideas went back and forth (Sentinel at one point was going to replace Lookout).  So most of these outtakes aren't really looking to be talked about yet. I guess I can mention that there was "+$1 per 2 cards in your hand." A couple Reactions tried triggering on players playing Gold or gaining Treasures. And there were those Mariners - the one-card cantrip Ghost Ship, and multiple cards that tried some version of "next turn, +something per Duration you have in play."

And that's my story.


[0] Message Index

Go to full version