Gwent and the Rise of Fantasy Card Games

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was recognised as the Game of the Year by IGN in 2016, and it included plenty of elements to be impressed about. What may have come as a surprise to developers CD Projekt RED, however, was just how popular the mini-game-within-a-game Gwent became and the amazing feedback that they got from players. This led them to develop Gwent as a standalone game, which has the potential to be even bigger than Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

Hearthstone only came about in 2014, but rose to instant fame due to its close relationship with the already hugely popular Warcraft series. It’s a turn-based card game with a twist; instead of numerical cards that trump those of lower value, cards have powers such as magical ability. There are also stunning visuals and animations that add to the fantastical nature of the game. The game already has over 50 million players, and is even played competitively on TV.

The market potential for these kinds of games is plain to see. Card games have always been popular, especially those that give players the opportunity to overcome their opponents through strategy rather than luck. Poker is played by millions of people worldwide, with social poker revenue bringing in $73 million in 2017. For example, 888poker alone has 10 million registered members, and has branched out so that it can be played on numerous devices. With professional poker players like Daniel Negreanu also playing Hearthstone competitively, there is plenty of scope for crossover between poker and fantasy card games.

Gwent appears to be coming about at the ideal time, and could overthrow Hearthstone as the number one fantasy card game. Players of The Witcher 3 already got a taste of how addictive it was, as some even preferred to follow the Gwent quests rather than play the main storyline. Beating every NPC that Geralt of Rivia came across was not just satisfying, players were also awarded a card from the defeated opponent. With five different decks to choose from, the game was so detailed that different players could adopt entirely diverse strategies. For instance, a player who preferred the muster technique which draws extra cards from the deck would have enjoyed using Monsters, whereas a player with a spy-heavy strategy would do better with Nilfgaard.

It’s this potential for varied gameplay that will make Gwent such an incredible game to play online against people from all over the world. And there will be plenty of cool additional features such as new cards included once the full game is ready. At the moment it is in BETA and can be played for free, and will be rolled out on PS4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows later in the year.

With cards based on much-loved characters from the Witcher series, animations, and varying strategies, Gwent is doubtlessly going to be a major hit. For those who have yet to experience the card game, check it out within the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt now and get practicing.


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