By Matthew Rondina
As I began my journey in Witcher III: Wild Hunt I knew I was in for a treat when it came to compelling characters and incredible storytelling, and the game delivered on all accounts. While adventuring through the Northern Kingdom the world came alive around me; amazing vistas, detailed lore and wise cracking locals helped to transport me into the boots of Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunting Witcher.
After a long day of exploring and slaying evil creatures, it was time to unwind with one of the best mini games an RPG has ever seen, Gwent. This card-based mini game, ended up spawning it’s very own standalone title and is pushing it’s way into the competitive gaming scene.
The fast paced, two-player, duelling card game can be played in many locales within Witcher 3’s open world. At first the card game only existed within virtual medieval pubs and streets, allowing you to challenge NPCs. The community’s love of the mini-game soon brought it into the real world for many others to enjoy. Fans around the globe painstakingly recreated Gwent decks by hand, transcending the game, allowing them to continue playing long after the credits rolled in Witcher 3.
CD Projekt Red, Witcher 3’s developer, saw the popularity of the mini-game grow and got the ball rolling on a standalone version: Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. Gwent is currently making a lot of noise on the pro gaming scene drawing over hardcore Hearthstone players.
The beauty of Gwent is that it’s easy to pick up and play, but difficult to master at higher levels of competition. It’s allure is clear with some professional players equating it’s strategic complexity to a game of chess, with the added intensity of poker-like bluffing.
The general idea is you and your opponent get to choose a battling faction from the classes found within the Witcher 3 and have a three round, turn-based battle to the death. The key to survival is playing your hand properly and employing a faction you are comfortable with. Each group has their pluses and minuses, understanding the correct strategy to use with each can yield many victories.
The rules of Gwent are straight forward:
The best strategy when starting out with Gwent is to pick one faction and stick with it early on. I recommend going with the Northern Realms as this deck features a short learning curve and straight forward strategies to deploy on the battlefield. Using this strategy also means that you will learn more about the powers that each card contains and when to effectively drop them into the fray.
Know When To Hold Em’
When facing down an opponent early remember to keep your cool, if high level cards hit the table early, your opponent may be goading you into dropping cards. In short, don’t do it! The goal in the first round is to use as few cards as possible. Remember, you have ten cards to play over three rounds, a smart strategy is to play weaker cards, or pass to preserve cards for a later showdown. Keep the more powerful cards in your deck as long as possible, many battles come down to the wire and that ace up your sleeve could land you the victory.
Know When To Fold Em’
Another key component to winning early on is knowing when to “pass” your turn. If you are handily beating an opponent in a round stop putting cards down by passing, this will preserve your cards for the next round and give your more options on the battlefield. On the flip side if the round is not going your way “pass” preserve your deck and live to fight another day.
I hope these tips will help you around the Gwent table, see you online!
About the Author: Matthew Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been in love with teaching, technology and gaming for over 20 years. Follow Matthew’s gaming adventures on twitter and join in on the fun!