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For example, can I set aside my Lighthouse on an Island to protect myself from attacks throughout the game?

My opinion is that Yes, cards set aside using Islands are still 'In Play', as this makes sense from a mechanism and theme point of view (Lighthouse on an Island).

However, if this is the case, I wonder what happens when combining Island with Goons, Hoard or Quarry...

Since everyone has an opinion, I'm really looking for material references one way or the other.

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The flavor of the Island is supposed to be that you're sending things off to an island completely separate from the kingdom where all the action is taking place. –  Jefromi Mar 12 '13 at 5:56
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3 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

No, cards Set Aside cards are not In Play

The Seaside Rules states rather specifically on page 4 that set aside cards are not in play, only played cards are.

In play cards are those you have played - not those set aside, trashed, or discarded. Nor are they cards in your hand, deck, supply or discard piles. (page4, sidebar)

“In play” -- Action cards and Treasure cards played face-up in a player’s play area are in play until they are moved somewhere else—usually until they are discarded during a Clean-up phase. Only played cards are in play; set aside cards, trashed cards, cards in the supply, and cards in hands, decks, and discard piles are not in play. Reaction abilities like Moat's do not put those cards into play.

Island – [...] Island and the card set aside with it are set aside face up on the Island player mat provided. They should not be shuffled back into your deck when you shuffle your discard pile. [...]

Additionally, the Intrigue rules, define Set Aside (page 4, Intrigue), and instruct you to not follow rules text for cards set aside. And while play is never defined in the rules, it is only used in two contexts while appearing 63 times (3 if you count the single instance in the sidebar, "play passes clockwise").

  • to play (verb): to place an Action card from your hand to the play area, and follow the instructions on the card or place a Treasure card from your hand to the play area adding their value to any coins provided by action cards then Gain any Card from the supply of equal or lesser value.

  • play area: the place where Action cards and Treasure cards are placed during a players Action/Buy phases. These cards are usually placed in a player's Discard during the Clean-Up phase.

In the Action phase, the player may play one Action card. [...] To play an Action, the player takes an Action card from his hand and lays it face-up in his play area. He announces which card he is playing and follows the instructions written on that card from top to bottom. [...] Any Action cards played remain in the player’s play area until the Clean-up phase of the turn unless otherwise indicated on the card. Players should not discard the cards prior to the Clean-up phase, unless directed to by the card or another action.

In the Buy phase, the player can gain one card from the Supply by paying its cost. [...] The player may play some or all of the Treasure cards from his hand to his play area on the table and add to their value the coins provided by Action cards played this turn. The player may then gain any card in the Supply of equal or lesser value.

"Set Aside” – when a player sets aside a card, he places it face-up on the table (unless otherwise indicated) without following any instructions on the card. An Action that requires a player to set aside cards will instruct him on what to do with these cards.

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My, that was thorough! –  shujaa Mar 12 '13 at 4:33
    
@shujaa, I don't know. A little wordy for my taste, but I felt I had to quote Intrigue as well as Seaside, because Intrigue specifically defines Set Aside and defines what playing and Action/Treasure means. –  user1873 Mar 12 '13 at 4:38
    
I think it's exactly what the OP is looking for. –  shujaa Mar 12 '13 at 4:42
    
It was, and this answer gets the prize! Thankyou @user1873! –  brice Mar 12 '13 at 10:46
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No.

It's pretty simple - you don't play the Lighthouse, so it's never In Play. You set it aside in a special area that isn't the play area.

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No. If you set aside a Lighthouse (reaction text: While this is in play, when another player plays an Attack card, it doesn't affect you) with an Island, which card did you play? Not the Lighthouse, the Island! The Lighthouse never enters play on that turn. The Island doesn't stay "in play" either, it is set aside (analogous to Exile if you play Magic).

At the end of your turn you clean up (put in discard pile) all cards that are in play except for duration cards that entered play on the current turn. If you played an Island, you set it aside with another card, neither are in play, neither get cleaned up, and neither are accessible by anything else or have any affect on anything else until the end of the game.

I don't see how it would make sense from a mechanism point of view. From a theme point of view, I think of Island as a desert island where something gets stranded and only just makes it back to be counted at the end of the game.

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