Deal Me In: Witcher’s Gwent Standalone Hits Closed Beta

Oh sure, Pokémon Go players may be pests, hanging around congested pavements and getting in the way, but they’ve nothing on Gwent players. Imagine if they asked you – all of them asked you – if you had any Gwent cards to sell and they bugged you for battles. Insufferable. NPCs in The Witcher 3 must’ve groaned every time they saw Geralt wandering the streets, deck in hand and a hopeful look on his face.

Thankfully, the free-to-play standalone spin-off Gwent: The Witcher Card Game [official site] will be more Hearthstone than Pokémon Go, with no strolling or nagging. We’ve no word yet on when Gwent will launch but it is now in closed beta, if you’re feeling lucky.

Gwent’s closed beta test started yesterday and will run until spring 2017 or thereabouts, according to developers CD Projekt RED. The first batch of beta invitations have gone out, and more will follow over the months. If you want to throw your name into the hat for a chance to be picked, you can sign up for the beta over here.

Gwent, if you didn’t see it as a minigame in The Witcher 3, is a collectible card game with warriors, monsters, and wizards. They’re split into melee, ranged, and siege units with their own damage scores, and you’re trying to field an army with a higher combined total. Naturally, some cards have abilities like killing units, weakening them, bringing them back, drawing cards, and so on. It’s interesting for splitting each match into a best-of-three without drawing extra cards between rounds, so you need to pick your battles carefully.

It was quite fun in TW3 but became a bit silly towards the end of the Gwent-related questlines, when the way to win was mostly to stuff your deck full of the most powerful cards and fling ’em at foes. I’m quite curious to see how well it’s expanded and polished for a standalone game.

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game will focus on multiplayer against real live opponents but will have a singleplayer story too. It’ll be free-to-play, whenever it ends up launching.


  1. GallonOfAlan says:

    I played the whole of Witcher 3 without playing one game of Gwent beyond those that are part of the tutorial and missions, and I just folded those. Did I miss something?

    • smeaa mario says:

      I was like you. In my first playthrough I didn’t care to play even one game. Second time around, I decided I should give it a go. It was a lot of fun while it lasted. After you have had your time playing against every available NPC and collecting all cards, however, you probably won’t miss it.

    • KingFunk says:

      Yeah, you definitely missed out on many variants of Geralt suggesting a hand of Gwent and also numerous eyebrow/nod gestures in response. Seriously, I was quite surprised how many different dialogue lines they recorded for it.

      Also, I really like Gwent. It reminds me of other card-based games like Dominion or Blue Moon. I would love to have it as a real life card game, but without having to build your own deck. I’ve never been a fan of the time/money investment involved in that. Ideally, you would get a whole range of cards in the box and then you choose the 10 you want to battle with. Anyway, I’ve clearly digressed…

      • Christo4 says:

        Yeah, that is also a thing that annoys me about card games.

        There are just so many cards, so many ways to build them that usually especially if you are a beginner you will fail, a lot.

        Compared to other games, even DOTA2, i feel like the skill ceiling is just so much higher and the time it takes for you to actually be competent is too long.

      • Archonsod says:

        Not to mention some of the finest ‘let’s ignore the urgent plotline’ moments in free-roam RPG’s ever. I love how Geralt basically becomes the epitome of the Magic nerd – “The Wild Hunt are minutes away from the walls, they’ll kill us all!” “How about a quick hand or two while we wait?”

      • Fnord73 says:

        If you got the Hearts of Stone DLC luxury edition for christmas, like some of us did, you would already have the cardgame, just saying :-)

        • KingFunk says:

          Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to purchase that because I spent Christmas in Cusco, Peru as part of an 8 month gallivant through South America. Just saying :-)

          Also, like a poor RPS relative, my PC situation means I’m only able to play TW3 on PS4. Maybe that’ll change when I get my hands on a GTX 1050 Ti…

    • SaunteringLion says:

      The best in-game minigame since Triple Triad.

      I’ve played two 100+ hour playthroughs of the Witcher 3, and amongst many standout aspects, from the side-quests to the voice acting to the treasure hunts to the gorgeous soundtrack, as a minigame Gwent is on equal footing with the rest of my fond memories.

      It’s elegant and fun.

  2. A Wanderer says:

    It depends on what you are interested in.
    Gwent ain’t that extraordinary or amazing in terms of rules or complexity, it’s a quite simple (not simplistic, mind, but simple) card game. What makes it something special is the way it is included in the universe, and how instead of having simple minigames like in THW1 and TW2, the devs included a real card game as a minigame in their RPG.
    So yes, you have missed a small but (at least for me) charming part of the game, but it’s not like you have missed half of the game.

  3. Philopoemen says:

    I’m playing through The Witcher games, at TW2 atm, and I’m hanging for Gwent after the shocking interactive dice poker game of TW2.

    It was an optional diversion, but at least my cards stay on the damned table…

  4. xGryfter says:

    I’m super bummed I didn’t get a beta invite, I love playing Gwent.

  5. Coming Second says:

    I’ve often wondered what Gwent, Wales makes of all this, if anything.

    • KingFunk says:

      I would tread Caerphilly with comments like that, if I were you…

  6. Metalfish says:

    I wish I had some real friends to play Condottiere, the game Gwent is, er, “inspired by”.

    Here’s what Quinns and co said:
    link to