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It’s Smooth Sailing with the Seaside Board Game by Randolph!

Every year we take a week up at Door County to be out along the waters of Lake Michigan. We post up in the sand, go kayaking, and just generally enjoy the summer heat and the cool lake. So when I saw the Seaside board game – which doesn’t have a board at all – I was really intrigued about how it might fit into our summer plans.

Seaside board game
Board Game Bag Cover for Seaside by Randolph!

Seaside is designed by Bryan Burgoyne, who designed the game specifically to be playable at the beach. It features a wonderful woven carrying bag filled with wooden tokens that can withstand casual plays in the sand with your beach-loving gaming groups.

You’ll be busy collecting sets of seaside tokens while you sip beverages underneath an umbrella, soaking in the rays and the good times that the Seaside board game offers.

Is the Seaside board game a castle in the sand? Let’s dig our feet into the sand and dive right in!

Seaside Gameplay

The Seaside board game doesn’t have a traditional board; instead, you’ll be designating a common Sea area to accompany the Seasides in front of each player. All of the tokens are shuffled up into the bag and play begins!

On your turn, take a token from the bag and choose which of the two faces you’d like to have face up. Each side has a different effect and scoring mechanism, so you’ll always have two options to choose from. Depending on the token’s border, you’ll either cast that token into the Sea and take another token from the bag, or place it in front of it.

The tokens in the Seaside board game all have a nod to the general ecosystems of the sea. You have Beach tokens that can help you gather more of the Shell tokens from the Sea. Or perhaps you’re interested in the Crabs hiding under the Rocks? The gameplay is remarkable simple and casual, continuing until all of the tokens are out of the bag.

At the end of the game, whoever has the highest stack of tokens wins the game! I’d dub them to be Master Beachcomber, but that’s my flavor entirely.

Staking Our C.L.A.I.M. on Seaside!

Seaside board game icon Components

I’ve already briefly touched on the components for the Seaside board game above, but there is something to revel in the simplicity of the tokens. A pile of wooden tokens is all the game needs to function. There’s no plastic as far as the eye can see, so even if you accidentally leave this at the beach it’s not going to be construed as littering.

Everything is sustainable, which I really appreciate about games these days. It’s something that I immediately notice and actually look for when opening a box, so seeing Seaside have a conscientious approach to the environment when it’s a game about the ocean is really nice to see. A bit of practicing what you preach in action!

Seaside board game icon Luck

You don’t have to worry about any long-winded decision-making trees when you’re playing the Seaside board game. Draw a token and choose one of the sides. There is some thought behind your choice, obviously, especially if you’re thinking about taking a Sandpiper to grab some Isopods. You can only keep your tallest stack of those, but maybe you only want to take two of them so that you don’t make your current stack smaller. There are lots of little decisions like this, but it’s all very relaxing.

A solid strategy seems to be not worrying about building up only one or two sets of tokens; having a wide breadth of tokens generally works better because of the randomness of the token drawing. I especially like the Wave effects, which allow you to flip one of your Beaches and take the effect immediately.

It’s a game of little, carefree combos.

Seaside board game

Seaside board game icon Aesthetics

With its limited color palette and natural wood finish, the Seaside board game doesn’t demand attention at all, but it will still receive it. The simple mechanics lend themselves well to simple art, all of it working together in concert towards a relaxing gaming experience. There’s plenty of differentiation between the different types of tokens, so that if you’re just sitting back in the sand you’re not constantly straining to see what’s what.

Seaside board game icon Interest

As I’ve mentioned a few times, the Seaside board game feels very casual, I don’t mean that in the way that a lot of ‘hardcore’ board game snobs use ‘casual’. I genuinely get a relaxed vibe when playing the game because it all feels so natural; between the theme and the simple mechanics, you don’t have to burn your brain while you’re avoiding sunburn. This is also your reminder to please wear sunscreen!

Other lighter games that give me the same kind of feeling are games like Love Letter, For Sale, or Sushi Go. There’s not a lot of pressure to really keep track of what everyone else is doing, because you can just eye up their stacks to see how you compare. And it’s absolutely perfect for the beach, so sling it into that beach bag with the towels.

Seaside board game

Seaside board game icon Mood

What I like most about the Seaside board game is that the games end up fairly close; it’s genuinely hard to pull ahead by a significant amount unless you’re playing against seagulls or something. To have a shot at winning just by choosing your own strategy, one token side at a time, is a nice feeling. Some people might scoff at that, thinking that if the games are always close then someone is just going to win out of sheer luck?! Winning is nice, but playing the game in a relaxing way just naturally produces a winner; it’s not meant to be some tournament-clad serious affair.

If you want to kick back in the sand, you can do a lot worse than picking up the Seaside board game. And, I might add, the colors look wonderful in the sunset.

Seaside: A Castle in the Sand!

The Seaside board game is one of the chillest board games that I’ve played in recent memory, and the emphasis on natural, sustainable elements of the game is an appreciated production touch. I have this game ready and waiting for my summer trip to the beach, and I think it’ll be a hit with that side of the family as well.

You can find the Seaside board game in the USA through Hachette Boardgames, or try to find it at your FLGS!

Disclaimer: Nerds on Earth was provided a copy of Seaside from Hachette Boardgames in exchange for an honest review.

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