Jul 13, 2017
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game is a standalone version of Geralt of Rivia’s favourite pastime in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which is available to play now in beta format on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows. This highly addictive turn-based strategy game is becoming more and more popular, and could soon be about to challenge established eSports games such as Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Here is a quick guide on how to get started and prepare yourself for some intense online battles.

Ever since the poker boom in the 2000s and the rise of online poker tournaments and sit-and-go games, there has been a clear market for card games which require skill and tactics to master. This had led to the invention of fantasy card games which take some inspiration from poker, but also incorporate fantasy elements. Gwent is the latest offering for gamers seeking something different from a traditional deck of cards. It is also, arguably the game which requires more strategic thinking with a lower element of luck involved.

In Gwent, each card possesses a numerical value. The aim of the game is to outscore your opponent in a best-of-three-rounds scenario as you take it in turns to place cards on your side of the playing board. Players are initially dealt eleven cards from their individual decks, then after the first round they are dealt two more, and in the final round one more card. In the first round the have the option to swap three cards out, and in the second and third rounds they can swap one card each time. Along with contributing to point value on your side of the board, cards also have special powers. For instance, Triss Merigold is worth seven points to the player who puts the card down, but she also has the ability to knock five points from a card on the opposite side of the board.

First-time players need to choose a card faction out of a choice of Monsters, Skellige, Nilfgaard, Scoia’tael, and Northern Realms. Each deck requires a different playing strategy, and it is a good idea to stick to one once you have chosen and master its cards’ abilities. For instance, the Nilfgaard deck relies heavily on spying units that can be placed on your opponent’s side of the board but then allow the player to draw an additional card from their deck. The Monsters deck features a number of cards that can consume other units, and units that boost their value each time an ally is consumed. It may sound difficult to grasp at the moment, but through playing numerous games you quickly get the hang of each card’s unique abilities.

One of the aims of the game is to develop your deck through winning games and buying cards with the in-game currency which is Ore. Once you have a strong-enough deck constructed, you can then play ranked matches online and move up the world leaderboard. The best way to learn is through constant playing, but it is by no means a chore. Gwent is one of the most enjoyable console games of 2017.
Our score: /10

Great - An excellent piece of kit that offers value for money and adheres to high quality standards.
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