In The Witcher series, I found the GWENT mini-game a welcome distraction from the other, more critical quests I was working through. The collection aspect, the mini scenes, the sweet smell of victory in the morning; I couldn’t get enough. Looking back, I’m sure this little card game took up more of my game time than the main story!
So, when I saw there was a standalone game on Xbox Game Preview (for free!) I snapped it up. It hasn’t disappointed yet. So far, I have managed to complete all challenges and won myself a half-dozen multiplayer matches (which are cross-platform, mind you), so I feel qualified to give you my take.
Basically, it is a multiplayer card collection-based strategy game. The tutorial is a quick and painless introduction to the game mechanics and then you’re off! There are a series of single player challenges that I highly recommend completing first to unable you to get enough cards to have a chance of winning in multiplayer. Challenges unlock special cards and introduce you to the different deck factions – a must if you’re going to get an understanding of how your opponents tactics sit in the strengths of their chosen deck.
Once you have completed all single player events (probably 5 hours gameplay if you’re decent at these sorts of games) it’s important to customise a deck before going into multiplayer. I made the mistake of going for a few matches with the default Northern Realms deck and got completely owned. The reason you need to customise is because some cards suit a specific strategy and if, let’s say, you are bad at knowing what cards to discard; a deck weighted with summon ally cards should be your go to.
The deck creator looks clunky from the outset but with a little bit of filtering it is easy to meet the colour-based deck requirements that suit your playstyle. Some tips would be not to focus on card power but more on rarity. I say this because using common strong cards gives your opponent too much knowledge about your strategy. Example, if they see you spawn a common card with a round lock, they will know to kill it immediately as it will follow you into the next round. More uncommon cards are less likely to trigger an immediate reaction.
Another tip would be to avoid putting in just your best cards because some abilities counteract each other. You wouldn’t want a spawn deck mixed with ‘damage lowest’ specials. The risk of wiping out your whole board is too high should you incorrectly play a card. Only select cards that complement each other. If you are making a boosting deck, only choose cards that add to total power and eliminate all scorch cards, for example.
Do the above and you will go into multiplayer prepared for the fun grind of winning matches to level up, get more card kegs and repeat!