Card games are a bigger topic at this year's Gamescom than one would initially assume. In addition to The Elder Scrolls Legends by Bethesda, the new expansion for Hearthstone by Blizzard, the newcomer game Deckbound: Heroes, one title in particular was expected with great anticipation: Gwent - The Witcher Card Game by CD Projekt Red, the Polish developer of the popular computer role-playing game series The Witcher. We were guests of the makers of the digital card game and during the press presentation we saw the current quality of Gwent - The Witcher Card Game convinced. The following test result reveals our first impression.


Gwent redefined: the tried and tested meets the new

Fans have an implementation of the card game Gwent Long wanted as a stand-alone version. Now finally the time has come, and the development of Gwent - The Witcher Card Game turns into the home straight. The closed beta phase of the digital card game begins for PC players and owners of an Xbox One on October 25, 2016, the closed beta for the Playstation 4 begins a little later. At Gamescom 2016 in Cologne, patient fans were given one of the few opportunities Gwent alluding to. We also took the chance to take a closer look at the card game at the CD Projekt Red press conference. In addition to a presentation of the basics of the game, we had the opportunity to play a few matches ourselves. Everyone who came for the first time from Gwent hear, let me explain what this long-awaited card game is all about. The card game comes from the role-playing game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and was originally a game within the game, a so-called minigame. As a physical card game lay Gwent as a bonus to some limited editions of the Role play at. The rules of the minigame served as the basis for the further development of the new ones Gwent - The Witcher Card Game. The stand-alone version comes up trumps with completely new cards, skills and game mechanics that refine the gameplay of the original game and allow ambitious card players new game strategies. “Gwent redefined” can be played by single players as well as competitively as a multiplayer card game. For solo players, CD Projekt Red has implemented a single player campaign that packs exciting card game games into a background story including cutscenes that are set to music. The player moves on a campaign map based on open world games in order to explore numerous locations in addition to opponents for his Gwent matches. New discoveries reward daring players with new content, such as team members and thus new maps. The highlight: decisions have consequences and have a noticeable effect on the game. If an ally has joined the team, but is driven out of the team by wrong decisions or dies, this also applies to the cards he “brought along”. It can therefore be assumed that the deck of cards will constantly change within the single player campaign. A clever trick from the designers at CD Projekt Red, who ensure exciting twists and turns and changing gameplay. The story of Gwent - The Witcher Card Game Incidentally, fills the gaps in the previous Witcher stories, so that real fans of the witcher Geralt von Rivia will hardly miss this title for this reason alone. You will spend over ten hours of playing time per campaign with the game content in the solo version. That sounds like a lot of fun and a detailed story. The stories are driven forward with the help of partially animated cutscenes in a wonderful comic look, which are also set to first-class sound - of course with the original voices from the main game.

Easy to learn, hard to master

Gwent - The Witcher Card Game is designed as a so-called skill-based game, in which the skillful play of cards is the key to success. The game is played in a best-of-3 system. So if you could win two of three rounds, you win the card game. If you do not dominate your opponent in two consecutive rounds, but have to hand in one game round, you create an exciting showdown. Those who have practiced diligently in the single-game campaign will then find equal opponents in competitive online multiplayer matches. It goes without saying that CD Projekt Red also works with Gwent relies on this online component, which has already caused a lot of joys and sorrows among the players in competing titles such as Hearthstone, Hex or The Elder Scrolls Legends. Gwent follows the trend of current online card games and will appear as a free-2-play game that relies on a poor entry. Professionals, on the other hand, enjoy the finely crafted card mechanisms that make putting a deck together a science. Four factions will be available at launch: the Skelligers, the Monsters, the Northern Kingdoms and the Scoia'tael.   

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Each faction works with unique map mechanics. While the Skelliger rely on revivals and thus make the deck cemeteries central game elements, the Scoia'tael work with shady stealth skills. Fans of large armed forces, on the other hand, choose the Northern Kingdoms in order to incite never-ending troops on the opponent's neck. The monsters offer a mixture of brutal clout and the exploitation of the weather mechanisms. The board of Gwent - The Witcher Card Game serves not only for decorative purposes, but offers space for a lot of tactical tricks. For example, fog banks can obstruct the view of ranged fighters and thus reduce their fighting strength in order to give their own troops advantages, which increases the score. That's what every Gwent game is about. Unlike in similar online card games, players must play Gwent blow out the lights of any opponent. The scores of the players decide whether they win or lose. That not only sounds simple, but it is too: Whoever has more points than the opponent wins the round. It becomes tactical through the use of the pass mechanism. During your turn you can decide to pass and let your opponent take the move. This means that he can now play as many cards as he wants. However, such strategies should be treated with caution. Because per game, which is known to consist of three rounds, the players only have total decks available. So if you play a large part of your cards in the first round, you will certainly achieve a high number of victory points, but you will only have limited opportunities to do so in the following rounds. Depending on the chosen faction, you can make an advantage of it by cleverly exploiting the synergies of the cards. Behind Gwent - The Witcher Card Game hides more tactics and skill than one would initially assume.    

Unrivaledness through uniqueness

With the amount of new card game titles you run the risk of Gwent to compare with its competition. However, this doesn't seem to make much sense, because Gwent the Witcher Card Game does a lot of things differently and offers few points of reference for comparisons with titles like Hearthstone or TES: Legends. In the end, personal taste decides which of the digital card games you prefer as a player. Since every title is based on an online multiplayer principle, you will probably have to choose a title - at least if you want to establish yourself as a professional among the best players in the world. There is often not enough time for more than one online card game. Casual gamers, on the other hand, will extensively enjoy regular excursions to the various game worlds. Gwent - The Witcher Card Game is unique due to many game mechanisms. A division of the playing field can also be found in TES: Legends, but as consistently as in Gwent the game board is not used as a game element there. It's not worse, it's just different.

Gamescom 2016: Our conclusion on Gwent - The Witcher Card Game

Hero cards bring additional excitement to the digital card game. The heroes come from the role-playing universe of The Witcher and offer card strategists special skills to make life more difficult for the opponent. With the optical quality of Gwent The designers at CD Projekt Red have done a great job: Not only are the illustrations of the cards convincing, the 3D models also make eyes big and give the Witcher card game a unique look.

Anyone who likes digital card games will not be able to avoid a trip into the Witcher universe. Gwent It already played excellently in the internal alpha and made a good overall impression. The single and multiplayer card game not only impressed us visually and acoustically, but also scored points with its refined gameplay, which, in contrast to the original mini-game, relies on a sophisticated synergy system. Gwent is already in its current form a real card game highlight and will secure a regular place next to the current top titles. What looks like in the long run Gwent is decided not only by the fans, but also by the developers with their design strategy. Regular replenishment of cards has also been announced, as has the in-game purchases that are mandatory for free-2-play games.

Tends to be Gwent - The Witcher Card Game settle at 4 or 5 stars within our rating system, that much can already be said based on the content played. Incidentally, anyone who has not yet registered for the beta can now do so on the official one Website zu Gwent - The Witcher Card Game do. 

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