Gwent: My love/hate relationship with a card game

6 mins read

To their behest, company CD Projekt Red did absolutely amazing in creating a mini-game within The Witcher 3 that it was so beloved by their audience they were able to create a whole new game based solely on it.

Gwent is a card-based game that is played against one opponent. Your deck will hold a minimum of 22 cards (which sounds like a lot but it is definitely not enough once you get started).  

At the beginning of each round you will draw 10 cards at random from your deck, from these 10 cards you can re-draw 2 before the game begins. The board is also spilt into three sections, siege, ranged and melee. There are 3 rounds in total, the first player to win 2 rounds wins the game. Simple, or so you would think! 

The aim of the game is to have a higher number of points than your opponent.

You gain points by playing cards, with the points being the number in the top left corner of the card. But each card has special abilities, some will give extra points if placed beside the same type of card, some will spawn 4 more cards of the same type and some, will cause damage to your opponent’s cards.

If your cards can do this, then so can your opponents. So, no matter how far ahead you think you are, someone will end up pulling out the Geralt card and you’ll take 9 damage straight off the bat.

Oh, did I mention that you only have the amount of cards in your deck and that if you use a lot of cards in the first round in order to win, you can run out of cards?

If you have used most of cards in order to secure your round 1 win, then you may have jinxed yourself for the rest of the game. A pitfall that no matter how many times I play, gets me every time.

Alongside the special abilities there are also weather cards which affect the board. For example, you could have spent the entire round building up your ranged cards, these could make up the majority of your points and see you win the round. All of a sudden your opponent will play an ‘Impenetrable Fog’ reducing every single one of these cards to 1 point each. There are so many twists and turns that can occur in a game of Gwent that the player must be prepared for anything to come at them.

The fact that Gwent is such a well-designed logic game, is shocking, what was originally a small mini game within an amazing RPG. The time and detail that has went in to making Gwent the gaming phenomenon and meme that it is within The Witcher fandom is something that should be greatly appreciated.

There are different card packs that represent different areas/beings from the main game.

In the main game and not the new mobile Gwent game, I have encountered 4 packs of cards the northern realms, monsters, Nilfgaard and Scoia’Tael, each with their own leader and their own special abilities that could make or break your game of Gwent.

In the mobile game, there are constant updates that intend to add more cards, card packs and leaders to the game, creating a whole new experience for those that wish to start their Gwent journey.

For myself, within the main game, it is very lucky that Gwent is not the main form of play (unlike in Throne breaker: A Witcher Game). My skills at Gwent have not improved in the 50+ hours I have played, I have also downloaded the mobile game and cannot say that this has helped with my skills either.

I still love the game, and do find it very entertaining, but I do rage quit Gwent at lot more than I do with the normal game, if I’m being truly honest.  

Gwent to me is collecting cards, just so I can have a full collection. They have gorgeous designs and it is just nice to have a full collection in my opinion. I would love copies of the cards to have in real life, like a Pokémon style deck of cards.

I will continue to attempt playing Gwent, in order to get better. I have friends who adore the game and are so good, I really can’t understand what I do wrong, but something about Gwent is just not a fan of me. So I believe Gwent will always sit in that love/hate void of emotions for me.

Feature Image: IGN India

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