Dominion Strategy: World Board Gaming Championship – Seaside

By Brian Durkin

Have you mastered the Intrigue only format for Dominion? Expect to survive the first two rounds in the Dominion tournament this year at the World Boardgaming Championship? Good. Hope you took a look at Seaside. Starting with round three the Kingdom will contain only cards from the third set. In case you forgot to study, check out the list below of the most important cards to look out for when playing this format.

10. Salvager
Buying extra stuff comes in handy. Trashing your original deck will pay dividends sooner. The fact that this card provides money in addition to thinning your deck really gives you a turbo boost. Even Chapel requires you take a turn off from purchasing during effective use. Salvage will not let you trash your hand in one fell swoop, but it does make buying some of the best cards in Seaside a lot easier.
9. Caravan
Besides trashing, extra cards help your deck move up the curve to five and six dollars a turn. Caravan really shines from its duration effect. This part of the card allows you to buy bigger and better things because you will start with a larger hand. The fact that it replaces itself without taking away your action for the turn keeps your theoretical deck size down. Back in trading card game history this type of spell earned the nickname cantrip. I guess eople needed a general term for this effect because these types of cards kept popping up.
8. Haven
Another cantrip, Haven does not add to your theoretical deck size. Caravan’s free card could help, but Haven allows you to plan for the future; it sets aside a card from your hand in the previous turn. This helps players save extra cash for future turns. Haven really shines by allowing players who build decks with lots of terminal actions to smooth out their draw, because it prevents you from discarding a terminal action without using it.
7. Fishing Village
Village effects provide the most obvious way to avoid the problem of too many actions in one hand. Native Village and Bazaar provide similar effects, but Fishing Village beats them for three reasons: It only costs three to buy, its duration effect allows you to use it twice, and it also provides money. Your next hand might not need the extra actions, but almost every hand wants extra cash. Fishing Village can turn a bad turn into a good turn if you draw more victory cards and Curses than money.
6. Sea Hag
What a witch. Not only does she give you a Curse, you need to draw it right away! In most games this will really slow your opponents down; however, you must pay attention to the set up when playing with Seaside only. Several cards can help players overcome this devastating attack card. Sea Hag would rank higher if it were not for all the good trash or trash like effects (Native Village) in this set. Try to “lookout” for ways to deal with Sea Hag so you can protect yourself and also not fall for the trap of building a deck around her.
5. Lookout
Talk about a hack for Sea Hag, this card takes the cake on stopping the best four cost card in the game. You will see this card more often when playing with Seaside only, so the witch’s stock goes down. Lookout ranks high because it self-combos; all the other trash effects come from terminal actions, unlike Lookout which you can keep chaining. Leaving a card on top will either prepare you for a better next turn and or set up a card to trash with another copy of Lookout. Playing several Lookouts will thin your deck fast, but you should try to end the chain with a devastating terminal action.
4. Ghost Ship
Your opponents pray to find the Lighthouse in the fog of their deck before your ghastly pirates start beating them down. Ghost Ship reduces the power level of your opponents’ decks by restricting how many cards they can use to purchase new cards and improve their decks. Also your opponents do not benefit from holding bad cards because they will just have to redraw them next turn. Do not forget this apparition draws you two cards, the highest amount a single action card gives in this set; correction, the most cards a single action allows you to draw and keep.
3. Warehouse
Players cannot deny the power level of Seaside. Almost every board will contain a powerful terminal action (or non terminal action). Whoever starts playing Ghost Ship first will pull ahead. Warehouse allows a player to find these broken cards first and faster than his opponents. If you see your Salvager sooner and draw through your deck faster, then you will trash more cards, which makes your deck thinner quicker, and then … notice the chain yet? Although you do not gain any card advantage, Warehouse improves card quality and ensures you see your best cards more often. Allowing you to draw first before discarding makes this card one of the most superior card cyclers the game offers. Who would not want to play the final two cards on this list as soon as possible, as fast as possible, and as often as possible?
2. Wharf
As mentioned earlier, Seaside offers no action equivalent to Smithy as far as gaining cards in hand. Wharf comes close by drawing four cards over two turns. Easily the best duration effect, Wharf guarantees your next turn will do some damage when you start with five cards. The extra buy does come in handy when the set up really promotes combo decks. Games that include Treasure Maps will really accelerate your ability to buy Provinces, so Wharf enables that you can buy more than one a turn. The only way to make Wharf better depends on how well you can improve the quality of the cards you draw with this impressive action card.
1. Ambassador
No surprises here. One of the best trash cards of all time, Ambassador surpasses all other cards in the set when it comes to exponentially increasing your card quality. It allows you to trash two cards at a time while dumping bad cards into your opponents’ decks. Win-Win. This card will warp more boards than anything else. You need this diplomat when available and you need anything and everything to support him in order to succeed at the table.
Honorable Mentions
Keep an eye out for Lighthouse. Preventing Sea Hag, Ghost Ship, or Ambassador from hurting you will go a long way. It also provides a great effect on its own without depending on your opponents playing attack cards to receive value from the card. After Fishing Village, Native Village provides the best multiple action and combo plan. It also gives the player a pseudo trashing effect, but watch out. You may use it too late in the game and remove a great card from you deck.
Native Village
Island on the other hand allows you to choose what you remove. It provides a great alternative to Provinces as well. Sometimes you must make a switch from purchasing Provinces near the end of the game, so you can score more points in the long run. Island allows you to keep pace with points without hurting the consistency of your deck. Anytime Island appears, consider trying an aggressive strategy that does not rely on Provinces to win. So many cards in Seaside cost players little money and the table will rush to fill their decks with them. This creates a lot of board scenarios where the three pile end of game rule might happen before the Provinces run out, so consider stocking up on Islands and or other victory cards.


Have you played Seaside only games were smaller point card strategies prevailed? Do you think Native Village, Lighthouse, Island, and or any other card should make the list? Do you think Sea Hag can fight through the hate included in Seaside?
Let us know what you think.
**Special Thanks to Vishu Doshi for his input on this list.

Additional Information

For more information about Seaside check the product page on
Interested in purchasing a copy of Seaside? Try the following links.
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with just about anyone. Many gamers know how to play this game and enjoy playing with anyone.

Dominion Strategy: World Board Gaming Championship – Intrigue

By Brian Durkin
The World Boardgaming Championship takes place all this week in Lancaster, PA. I hope to see you at the Lancaster Host Resort for some gaming. If you would like to know more about this event, check out the Boardgame Players Association website for information about the WBC.
The Dominion tournament at WBC continues to draw huge crowds as one of the most popular events for non-collectible card games. If you plan on playing in this event, you need to learn the format ahead of time. This single elimination tournament will only use Kingdom cards from Intrigue for the first two rounds, so your survival depends on your ability to play with these cards. What cards should you look out for in this format?
10. Tribute
Limited only to the Intrigue expansion, this card earns a higher ranking than usual. The potential Kingdom set up could benefit a player from adding this card to his or her deck with all the split action cards in Intrigue. If players begin to build Scout decks or buy Nobles just as a Draw/Action engine, Tribute will feel like a Grand Market. This card depends on a lot going right and might not deserve a spot on the list compared to other cards; however, in this format you should reconsider its power level. 

9. Pawn
Almost every deck will benefit from a Pawn. The biggest advantage comes from how the modes keep this card relevant regardless of the game state. Early on it helps draw cards and or provide actions, but later in the game it can provide an extra buy if you really start producing a lot of money. Do not over extend on purchasing this card. Playing several Pawns in a row just tortures everyone for wasting time, because you still will just end on one terminal. Unlike Ascension not every card adds points to your score.
8. Torturer
Smithy is good. Smithy is better when all your opponents must discard two cards or take Curses. This terminal can do a lot of damage. Torturer does not give your opponents any good options unless they possess trash effects. Torturer’s power level diminishes in this format because of several cards deal with Curses. Do not avoid a Curse strategy. Certain boards will allow this to succeed; however, even a mediocre card like Upgrade can mitigate the power of Torturer. Actions that trash make Torturer essentially just a Smithy, so seek out cards that provide multiple actions. Multiple actions allow for more card drawing and you distribute more Curses. More than one Torturer can create a situation where most trash effects cannot keep up.
Shanty Town
7. Shanty Town
Need to juice up the power of Torturer, Shanty Town does the trick. This card screams, “Combo with me!” Shanty Town’s presence on the board boosts many other cards, such as Conspirator. This set provides an incredible amount of good terminal actions, so Shanty Town will really take your deck to the next level. Of course many times you will not draw off of the first Shanty Town. Who cares? No real loss when you now can play two Torturers. The next card on the list can even help set up Shanty Town’s additional bonus.
6. Courtyard
This card will benefit every player. In decks without multiple actions, it allows you to put a terminal action card on top for next turn instead of discarding it with no effect. In Shanty Town combo decks you can set up what you need. Courtyard digs three cards deep to find more actions if you already earned extra actions. You want to find these powerful actions as soon as possible and Courtyard makes that happen. A great complement to any deck considering four of the top five game warping cards for an Intrigue game include terminal actions.
5. Swindler
Swindling first will put you far ahead of your competition. It enables better purchasing power and probably floods your opponents’ decks with Curses. Although many cards in Intrigue minimizing the effect of Curses, Swindler does not need to hit a Copper in order to do damage. Sometimes taking away a player’s Torturer to give him or her a Duke will solidify your lead. Only one other attack card surpasses Swindler on this list, but first you must remember the most powerful ability when playing Dominion.
Trading Post
4. Trading Post
Trashing cards out of your deck enables all degenerate decks and combos. No other effect with accelerate your deck’s power level like removing the lower quality cards. Trading Post removes two bad cards from your deck and allows you to acquire a good card, not to forget the fact that this does not count as your buy for the turn. With one play you can trash two Coppers, gain a Silver, and buy a Swindler. Not bad. Trading Post diminishes the power of cards like Torturer and next card on the list.
3. Masquerade
It sends a bad card to your neighbor. It draws you cards. It trashes. Enough said. It creates another reason why Torturer does not make the top five cards. Masquerade even competes with Courtyard’s ability to smooth out your draw. Masquerade changes every game it appears because even a card like Swindler now does not do as much damage. Masquerade still cannot protect you from one attack card.
2. Minion
Ever play against a Minion deck before? If you said yes, did you want to kill yourself after watching your opponent destroy your hand and proceed to play four more copies of this card? If you said yes then you know you need to pilot the Minion deck as oppose to feel its wrath. No other card self combos as well as this attack. You play several copies for money and then use your last copy to refill your hand. Look out for cards like Mining Village and Bridge because they synergize well with Minion. Most Minion decks need  trashing to reach crazy levels of power.
1. Steward
Nothing trashes better than this card. At a cost of three, you do not fall behind when someone opens with five Copper and beats everyone to Trading Post. Trashing two cards at a time helps fight any player distributing Curses. After you finish trashing all the bad cards, it still provides a relevant effect of either drawing cards or giving you two dollars. You need to build a deck around this card every time it hits the board.
What cards do you love to add to your Steward decks? Do you think you would build a different strategy if Steward appeared on the table? What other cards shine when playing with only Intrigue cards? Do you think a Duke strategy can work or will most players race for Provinces?
Let us know what you think.

**Special Thanks to Vishu Doshi for his input on this list.

Additional Information

For more information about Intrigue check the product page on
Interested in purchasing a copy of Intrigue? Try the following links.
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with just about anyone. Many gamers know how to play this game and enjoy playing with anyone.