The Witcher’s fave card game, Gwent, is now in open beta

Drizzle-soaked Welsh county and card game of tavern scoundrels, Gwent [official site], is now in open beta. Originally an in-game pastime from The Witcher 3, developers CD Projekt RED are casting it out into the world to see if it can survive on its own with naught but a pair of free-to-play clogs. It involves pitting your fightcards against the enemy’s fightcards on a wooden battlefield and borrows at least some ideas from the card game of sublime Italian cowardice Condottiere. But if you’re unfamiliar, we have a trailer below which explains it much better.

You’ll need the GOG Galaxy client to install it if you’re aching for some of those bluffy mind games. I haven’t Witchered very much but I do enjoy flinging ethereal cards at people I can’t see, so I’m probably going to take a punt at it. Last autumn we also sent Martin Gaston into the Gwent tavern to see how it was shaping up. Here’s a bit of what he said about it:

“One of Gwent’s most devilishly maddening decisions is that you can either play a card every turn or pass, but doing the latter forces you to sit out the rest of the round and allows your opponent to play whatever they want uncontested. You will lose rounds through callous arrogance, smugly throwing in the towel and then watching everything turn upside down.”

I love it when things go upside down. We’re not sure when Gwent: The Witcher Card Game (to give it the full proper name) is due to properly launch, but it’s out in the wild now, so you may as well get your grubby peasant hands on it.

19 Comments

  1. peterako1989 says:

    I think this is in order

  2. heretikeen says:

    Far too simplistic for a standalone game. Works as a single player addon to a full game, but can’t stand alone due to its ruleset.

    • ArbiterLibera says:

      Not really because GWENT the standalone game is not a 1:1 translation of the Witcher 3 mini-game, but greatly expanded version.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      It’s basically a completely different game to the point where it might put off some who liked the mini-game as it was.

      • heretikeen says:

        Good to hear. So it’s no longer “let’s hope my opponent won’t just delete my best row” and “good thing I got better cards than you (because there’s no such thing as cost)”?

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          Ninja Dodo says:

          Not going to say the original game was perfectly balanced or without flaw or anything but there *were* counters for that kind of thing (eg Clear Sky to counter weather effects, not having all your highest cards with the same strength to counter Destroy, etc). I played the physical cards version a bunch (with the modifier of max 5 hero cards per deck) which avoided the “who has the best cards” problem (because you both have the same cards to build decks from) and it was a lot of fun.

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    I enjoyed the closed beta. Not sure how I feel yet about the (major) changes in the open beta. Faction abilities are gone and weather cards are completely different now. A lot of my favourite tactics involved clever use of weather on both sides. Can’t do those anymore.

    Not really used to playing WIP multiplayer games. I guess that’s just how it goes.

    • Wormerine says:

      I love the changes. I am playing mostly monster deck and I am relying on frost a lot. I think the game has more depth now. The weather cards are overall more impactful, and there is more decision making in where to place your units and were to put weather cards. Also now there is a reason to dispel weather immediately. I am enjoying he whole thing much more now.

  4. Sly-Lupin says:

    I am… not a fan. Controls are buggy, it seems to be missing mechanics from the original mini-game, and the rules seem really weird (like why does my opponent get to draw three cards after a win?). The overall effects are solid, the the lack of flavor text on the cards makes it a lot less enjoyable overall compared to the original–there’s just none of that lovely Witcher ambience.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      I haven’t really given it a fair shake yet, but my impressions after about an hour weren’t too favorable either. I quite enjoyed it in TW3, but I found the new rules impenetrable.

      What the hell does the “Mulligan” ability do? What does it mean if a card says “Deploy, Clash”? How does “Bravery” work? None of this is covered in the tutorial (or anywhere else in-game, as far as I could tell).

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        I believe Mulligan is when you swap out a card you don’t want for another. Deploy is when you put a card on the table/field. The others I’m not sure. It’s pretty confusing compared to previous versions.

      • DoctorDaddy says:

        All of these things are in tooltips, if you simply hover your pointer on the card with the abilities in question.

        • TheAngriestHobo says:

          Fair enough, and thank you. That’s the kind of helpful hint that should really be communicated in the tutorial, though.

      • PatrickBatman says:

        Brave/Bravery applies the extra points only when your opponent is winning the current round. (If you’re tied/winning the round ability points don’t apply)

        • PatrickBatman says:

          Forgot to add (about brave) this is calculated AFTER the card is deployed (and other cards it may spawn).

          Meaning if your opponent is winning say by 9 points (that round) and you play brave geralt gold card, you’ll be ahead by 1 point after the 10 point geralt gold card is applied, so you wont get the 3 brave.

          But if your opponent was ahead by 11 or more points then geralt would be “brave” giving you 13 points, kind of confusing.

          You apply the card value without the brave ability to see if you’ll be ahead beforehand (in your head), if you are the brave wont apply.

    • DoctorDaddy says:

      Not sure where you’re getting the idea anyone draws three cards after a win. Each player draws two additional cards in round 2 and 1 additional in round 3.

      All of this is covered in the tutorial.

  5. Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

    We prefer “business sense” to “cowardice”, sir. I mean, you could get their money and spend your army fighting, OR you could get their money and keep your army by pretending to fight.

  6. Vandelay says:

    I feel I started too big with card games, after my initial intrigue with Hearthstone. I’ve been spoilt by playing Netrunner and Doomtown that many of these computer based ones (which in theory could possibly provide greater depth,) always feel far too basic and lacking in any real strategy during play. They generally seem to boil down to whose deck is better constructed and a little bit of luck (or avoiding bad.)

    Add to the fact that playing a physical card game is so much more engaging, particularly with friends, and I just haven’t found an electronic card game that can compete. Plus, none of them have adopted the far better Living Card Game format l, instead of the random cards in booster pack style, which is tedious and a money pit (not that LCGs can’t become that too, but they at least feel fair.)

    I only played Gwent briefly in closed beta, but it didn’t seem like it was going to change any of that.

  7. Hunchback says:

    Gwent looks deceivingly simple. Yet, the mechanics, tactics and all are really great and take a while to figure out.

    It really is a completely different kind of game, if you want to compare it with Hearthstone or the likes – it’d be like comparing Poker with Bridge. There are cards, but that’s about all there’s in common. Sadly, i am afraid this huge difference might be a big stopping point for many potential players who come from other DCGs and are looking for a similar experience to what they are used to.
    But i doubt a big studio like CDPR will just abandon it, even if it doesn’t get big. It might just be one of “those” games that have a small but hardcore following.