Gwent: The Witcher Card Game


Uh, in the first map of Thronebreaker it seems if you

stea… I mean, re-appropriate the stolen jewels from the monastery, there is a character that won’t join your group later.


I’m surprised more folks aren’t talking about this one, it looks awesome and is getting incredible reviews. Not a lot of interest around here?

I would grab it in a heart beat but I’m saving my pennies for a big project, AND I have a ton of games on my plate already, plus RDR 2 dropping tomorrow night. But watching some gameplay/reviews here just now I’m all in as soon as I can swing it comfortably.


Lots of interest, but I think you mentioned the 800lb gorilla everyone is waiting for.


I’m thinking it will be the game I pick up after I get done with Battlestar Galactica Deadlock.


Yeah, pretty interested in this game. Never dabbled in Gwent, since I avoid Early Access titles, so been waiting for the finished single player version since they announced this “spin-off”. However, I’m not buying this 2 days before RDR drops, it’ll have to wait until next year…


I’d play it right now if it were a 12 hour game. I don’t have the time so it goes into the deep backlog.


Gwent has improved considerably. The biggest gameplay change is that there are now only two rows per side, but each row has more importance: some cards have ranged attacks, some don’t; some cards behave differently depending on which row they occupy; etc. It has the side benefit of making it easier to see the splendid artwork on the cards. To me, that’s one of the coolest things about Gwent – the illustrations, especially the animated ones.

They’ve made other extensive changes to gameplay. They’ve mitigated the “coinflip” (the who-goes-first issue) by giving a bonus card to the side who has to play first. There’s a 10-card hand limit. Mulligans are handled better; you get a varying number depending on your leader, and you can choose which round(s) to use them. Also, the new UI makes clear that mulliganed cards don’t go back in the deck before you draw the replacement cards. I think spies are gone, and card advantage seems less decisive than before, which is okay with me.

Some of the UI needs tweaking. The scores don’t align with the rows. There’s no drag-and-drop option now (it’s coming back, though). You just click and place (which I prefer, but most people don’t). No tooltips over some of the new icons. Little stuff like that.

All in all, I’m very pleased with the changes.


Ooh I am really into the tutorial. I don’t know if I’ve played a tutorial where the story was weaved in so seamlessly.


The design of Gent is more safe, more controlled to not have unintended card combos and super unbalanced stuff, but maybe the game has lost a bit of spark because of that. They have introduced a max card limit in hand (so passing a round to have advantage in the next one is harder), a max card limit in a row (no more super row stacking), they have reduced the power from lots of units, etc.
In general they have capped some of the most crazy combos.

It seems they have two expansions in the works, one for Redania that should reintroduce armor into the game, and one for Monsters.

Thronebreaker also have some design flaws. The progression is a bit poor: you barely need to craft new units to win (and that’s playing on Hard), with the base units + extra cards you win by doing some quests or exploring you are ok, and there isn’t a lot of upgrades to your camp and some of them are stupid (like +%speed in the map, it’s just for convenience sake as there is no action in the campaign, and if you can make the game more convenient, why lock that behind a paid option?).

The combat itself has a much more sublle flaw. It’s totally binary. Or you win, or you lose and has to reload and try again. There is no degree of success, nor degrees of defeat. When you win, it doesn’t matter if it’s by a lot or by a hair, you don’t have hit points like in an action game, your units aren’t wounded like in Xcom, you don’t incur in resource costs nor win extra xp. The same if you lose, it’s automatic game over.
Design wise, it’s like an old platformer where or you jump the cliff right, or you fall and die, there is no intermediate option, or like a shooter where it doesn’t matter your health or your ammo as they are always regenerating.

It would be more interesting if you would have to spend supply points in every fight (gained through exploration of the map and as reward for good victories), or some bronze cards could incur in a wounded status so you had to replace them by another type, obligating you to adapt your playstyle.


That’s true of nearly every deck builder game, though. I’m sure there are some that have legacy-esque mechanics, but I can’t think of any big ones off the top of my head. Matches are usually self-contained.


The new tutorial in Gwent is much better than the old one. It’s like a mini-chunk of Thronebreaker. There are story bits and a decision you have to make outside of the card battles while it eases you into the game concepts. The presentation is great.

I think all card games need a tutorial for the actual deck-building, but almost none of them have one. Unfortunately, Gwent also leaves newbies to figure that out on their own as well. Oh well.

I hadn’t played this since the mechanical revamp and it’s much snappier now. As @TurinTur notes, some high-level stacking combos are impossible after the change, which is good and bad. It does hurt the “drama” of pro play, but it keeps regular matches from taking so long. This is almost Hearthstone speedy now.

I still royally suck at it, so that hasn’t changed.


The Gwent tutorial is very nice, buuut… they have lost the old challenges.
Before there was the tutorial, and in addition, 3 or 4 challenges per faction I think?, which were a kind of advanced faction-specific tutorials. Completing them would unlock a leader for that faction, too.


There isn’t a lot of deck builder proper single player games, right? Something more advanced a series of matches, so Prismata for example wouldn’t count. I think in the context of a game like this one, where you also have a progression system, and can choose in what order do some quests, and have collection of resources etc, it could have been done.


It could have been done, sure, it just wouldn’t have occurred to me to expect it. Not least because Gwent itself didn’t have any. The progression is getting new cards.


From the new Gwent, I’m not a fan of how ‘capped’ it feels in some aspects, like capped hand size or capped row size.

But for the rest, I like it. I like the Order system as a way to give a chance the opponent to remove the card if he thinks it’s very valuable, basically the equivalent to summon sickness, but also they still keep the ability to play an effect immediately (deploy/zeal) for variety, or even play around with re-using the effect with Charges.

I like having different mulligans for leaders, and different number of uses of effects, it gives more variety between them.

I actually like having less consistency of the game, with a minimum of 25 cards on the decks and max 2 bronzes, although I know some people loved how consistent it was before. But for me, it was more like hyper-consistency, with decks playing very similarly between games, and the games themselves being too focused on deckbuilding (where you design your synergistic super combo of death based on a concept, like siege engines or consume or dwarf buff) and the games were more about putting your super combo on the board and the opponent doing the same, and he who had a better combo won. I mean, the game is still notably more consistent than other card games, but a lil’ less than before.

Obviously having some kind of solution to the coin flip is good, too. Weather feels in a good spot, after so many iterations of being OP or UP.

edit: Swim shows 14 different good decks


Almost 10 hours played of TB.

The game has the flaw, like The Wicher 3, of being too easy. Like, damn, how hard can be to put a very hard more that is challenging, for the veterans. And it isn’t like I’m a pro Gwent player, I played casually for two months close to one year ago, and except the puzzles, I’m beating the fights by a difference of 40-70 points, playing in Hard already.


Thanks for the link to the Swim video. I watched a fair bit of it, and it was helpful. That said, I’m always so far behind him, in terms of cards collected, that I often have trouble following what he’s saying. I just don’t know the cards well enough. Still, I did learn from this.

I like most of the changes, but I’m a heretic on one thing: I wish the minimum deck size were larger, like 30 or even more cards. With 25, you use most of your deck every game. As you were saying, that does make for a less RNG-ish game, which is one of Gwent’s selling points vis-a-vis Hearthstone. But a bit more variance in the “play of the hand” would suit me. I suppose one would need a larger universe of cards to support that high a deck size. And even with a larger deck size, net-decking would still be a thing.

Anyway, for now, I’m focusing on Thronebreaker. Good fun.


BTW, Nilfgaard in this game seems to be a really evil empire in TB. Slaving people, burning entire cities, being cocky, etc, and it’s a different tone than the one used in The Witcher 2/3, where they were presented in a bit more neutral guy, the bad guys, but just another side in the war, not inherently evil.
The typical grey morality from The Witcher games is presented in hard decisions you have to take in a hard situation, and less in the characters or the setting itself. Meve is presented as very upright queen who will fight to the death the enemy, and I think it would have been interesting to remark more her flaws, she seems uncompromising to a fault, she is uptight, she doesn’t seem to be able to use a more broad perspective.

For example there was a moment that seemed funny to me, in her capital she exclaims, without a pinch of irony, how Nilfgaard will stole their freedoms if they surrender. Funny, because she said that as an absolute monarch! Her normal citizens will have as much freedom under Emhyr than under her.

Although, you know, there could be a way to reconcile everything; the story you play is a tale told by the guy from the intro. So it could be an ‘embellished’ tale, or a biased look or hearsay, not what happened in an objective way.


Holy crap, this game is sometimes some Apocalypse Now shit, fantasy version. I’m talking of the forest in Aedirn. At least that’s how I imagine her entering in the dark woods finding more and more twisted scenes, and the fight being more and more cruel. The writing is superb, and some of the scenes (the delirious wounded men tied to the tree being used as bait when suddenly the tree burst into flames, the field hospital in the cave, the burnt mill full of human skulls, the constant ambushes) are some of the most hard hitting stuff for Scoia’tel in the three Witcher games.


Heh, I haven’t gotten to that part yet. Sounds cool!

I agree that Niilfgard was a bit more nuanced in the Witcher 3. The garrison commander, for example, was a decent guy. But there was plenty of evil too. As for Meve, I find I’m making tough morally-ambiguous decisions all the time. I’m often uneasy about what I decide, which is sort of how I felt playing the Witcher 3. (I didn’t play Witcher 2, and I didn’t get far in Witcher 1.)

I’m also playing on hard difficulty, and so far the “standard” battles have been pretty easy. But the puzzles can be tricky! Sometimes I get them in one, but usually it takes me a couple tries. They do a great job of teaching how certain cards work. Spoiler example: For example, I never owned the famous Scorch card in Gwent, and it’s so easy to overlook that it targets all top cards of equal value. One of the puzzles depends on remembering that.