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Video Game / Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

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Gwent: The Witcher Card Game is a Card Battle Game developed by CD Projekt RED and based on The Witcher universe. It began as a Collectible Card Game Mini-Game within The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt but had so many players Sidetracked By The Golden Saucer that it was expanded and reworked into a standalone version.

Gwent is, at first glance, relatively simple as card games go. Cards have no mana or other resource cost and may be played directly to the field as soon as they're in your hand. The board is divided into two rows, melee and ranged. Players are limited to one card per turn and must play a card on their turn or else pass and forfeit playing any more cards for the remainder of the round. Most cards are units, which all have a single number denoting their strength which adds to the player's totals. The player with the higher strength total at the end of a round wins. The board is wiped clean of all cards at the end of a round. Games are played to best of three rounds.

Decks are composed of a minimum of twenty-five cards. In building a deck, a player selects from one of six factionsnote  and have a choice of one of six leaders per faction, each with a unique powerful ability and differing amounts of Provisions allowed to build a deck with. A suite of neutral cards also exist which may inhabit any deck. At the beginning of a game, players draw ten cards and are bound by a strict ten card hand limit with additional draws converting into mulligans. Each player will draw three cards at the start of the second and third rounds.


The three round structure combined with the limited resources at a players disposal forms a duel of each player attempting to field enough units to overpower the other while at the same time, not over-commit and find themselves unable to win.

Gwent was announced at E3 2016 with a closed beta begun in October of that year. The closed beta test ended May 22, 2017 and open beta began on the 24th. It had a full released in October 2018 for Windows and for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in December later that year. The end of March 2019 saw the release of the first proper expansion, Crimson Curse, themed around vampires, bringing 101 new cards and an additional leader for each faction. A mobile release was also announced for 2019, coming first to iPhone with an Android release to follow.

A standalone single-player Gwent-based RPG called Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales was released alongside the game.


Gwent contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Modesty: Characters that would have been topless in other Witcher media are now relegated to Godiva Hair and Sideboob due to the teen rating.
  • Bad Moon Rising: The Crimson Curse, a special card depicting a vampire ritual that turns the moon blood red. It generates the Blood Moon row effect which buffs vampires for its duration.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Cards are unlocked through kegs which can be purchased individually for in-game currency or in bundles for real money.
  • Came Back Strong: Skellige has several effects that revive units from the graveyard, particularly Eist's leader ability.
  • Cannibalism Super Power: The Consume mechanic available to monsters where they destroy one of their own units but gain a boost equal to the strength of the unit destroyed, usually to enable some other effect either on the unit doing the consuming or on the prey. Necrophages (Ghoul and Ozzrel) consume units in the graveyard, gaining their strength.
  • Card Battle Game
  • Chained to a Rock: The fate of Birna Bran depicted on her card art, battered by waves on a stormy sea.
  • Combination Attack: Any cards with the Bonded modifier, which enhance their abilities when copies of the card are already on the board. Letho's abilities are dependent on his Viper Witcher partners Auckes and Serrit being in hand when he is played, potentially combining both of their effects (locking a unit and dealing damage) into one.
  • Creator Cameo: One of the Scoia'tael units, Pavko Gale, is based on and voiced by community manager Pawel Burza.
    Pavko: Juiciest leeks in town, get 'em here!
    • Walter Veritas, a Syndicate unit, is based on game director Jason Slama.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    Geralt: Let me guess. She's got a dragon.
  • Critical Existence Failure: A single dose of the Poison status does nothing to unit. A second tick and they instantly die.
  • Digital Bikini: Some of the card art in the Chinese client has had this treatment due to local censorship policies.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Nilfgaardian spy Cantarella's card has her leaning in for a kiss with a man, while reaching into his bag to pilfer some important document.
  • Duel to the Death: The Duel mechanic where two units take turns hitting each other according to their current strength until one of them is dead. Typically in favor of the unit who started the duel, as their owner got to choose their target and will stack the odds in their favor.
  • Fan Disservice: Female vampires are shapely, often naked, women and are also monsters with talons and fangs covered in blood.
  • Fastball Special: Implied by the Cyclops, who destroys a friendly unit and then damages an enemy by an amount equal to the strength of the ally he destroyed.
  • Flavor Text: Found on every card in the game, even tokens spawn by other units.
  • Friend or Foe: Many card effects indiscriminately hit either side of the board. It's a common rite of passage in the game for ignorant newbies to accidentally obliterate their own units.
    • Scorch, which destroys the highest unit(s) on the playing field is the prime offender of this. It's gotten to the point that there are message board's dedicated to explaining that if the highest unit is on your side it will be destroyed. To a lesser extent this applies to epidemic which targets all of the lowest unit(s).
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Dryads are always in the nude, but censored strategically to meet the teen rating. Lesser female vampires such as Bruxa and Alp are assaulting in the nude.
  • Gainaxing: Manually shifting Ves's premium card left and right generates a notable jiggle in her chest.
  • Gradual Grinder:
    • Northern Realms' Reinforced Trebuchet harms a random enemy unit on the ranged row for 1 damage every turn.
    • Yennefer: The Conjurer deals 1 damage to the strongest enemy unit every other turn. If the highest strength on the opponent's board is shared by multiple units, Yennefer hurts all of those units. While the one damage is negligible at first, given enough time Yennefer will prove to be a very oppressive presence on the board.
    • Weather effects chip off strength each time the opponent starts their turn.
    • The bleeding status deals damage each turn.
  • Human Sacrifice: Ritual Sacrifice triggers all deathwish effects on your side of the board, in its art Brewess is leading the children of Velen to the sacrifice.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: Count Caldwell will flip sides on the board based on who has the strongest single unit in play.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: The Northern Realms pack a lot of knightly units with big swords and shiny armor, but their vocal callouts pack a lot of bitterness and sarcasm.
    Redanian Knight: Long live etcetera etcetera...
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: An important skill is knowing when to stop playing cards and when to allow your opponent to win the current round so you have enough strength remaining to win the game. There are multiple cards that can get you an advantage should you lose the round:
    • Ciri is not very impressive by herself, having 4 strength while taking up a large amount of precious deckbuilding provisions. However, should you lose the round in which you played her, she returns to your hand instead of going to the graveyard. 4 strength might not be much, but the value she poses as an additional card to play makes her ability powerful.
    • It's also useful to try making your opponent fail to use this trope by deliberately baiting out more of their cards with cards that you can afford to use.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Significant events from the Witcher trilogy and book saga are spoiled by cards. Examples include:
    • Birna Bran's punishment of being chained to a rock at sea, ala Prometheus.
    • The death of Milva.
    • Gwent offers two divergent possible solutions to the quest to determine the ruler of Skellige, showing both Cerys an Craite with a suite of Queensguard and Svanrige an Tuirseach's flavor text naming him king.
    • The Thronebreaker cards are an odd example of this. Many may spoil events of the game they come with due to the cards abilities being based on the events of the game.
  • Magic Cauldron: The Crones are depicted gathered around a cauldron, stirring a skull into a glowing brew of flesh and bones.
  • Market-Based Title: The game is known as Gwint in the original Polish, presumably changed during the English localization of Witcher 3 for ease of pronunciation.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: The Monsters faction has access to the Consume mechanic, allowing their units to chow down on each other and gain power equal to the unit that was destroyed.
  • Mooks: The Monster factions features many of these from the Witcher series, such as Foglets and Nekkers. Many Monster decks use tactics based around these mooks, creating as many copies of them as they can before overwhelming the opponent with sheer numbers.
  • Mook Maker: The monster faction can build around this concept via Explosive Breeder and Spawn Broodling. Some monsters generate tokens under certain conditions. The Arachas Queen leader specializes in this, passively spawning tokens whenever you destroy one of your own units during your turn.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Several cards push the Fanservice as far as possible but conceal the all important nipples. A few female vampires, such as Alp, simply appear not to have any nipples despite full frontal nudity.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the hard M for Mature nature of the source material, Gwent is PG-13 to appeal to a larger audience. In the transition, several things had to be toned down. Notably crass characters Thaler and Zoltan's parrot, Field Marshal Duda, aren't allowed to swear every other breath. The Redanian Elites have been reigned in, instead of being willing to rape for their country, they will... eat worms. Vesimir is still too old for this shit, however.
  • Play Every Day: Win rewards each day are somewhat front-loaded, spaced out such that your first three wins will average about 45 ore/game, the next six are 25 ore/game, the next twelve are 10 ore/game, and anything beyond that is about 2 ore/game. This is approximate as the rewards randomly include scraps or free cards.
  • Random Number God: Several card effects are determined by RNG, such as Tridam Infantry damaging a random enemy whenever it receives a boost. Create is a mostly random mechanic, giving the player a choice of three options within some parameter (e.g. Create a Special card and Play it). Shupe's Day Off plays a random effect out of a pool of abilities based on a choice of three versions of Shupe. Gascon randomly boosts himself by an amount between 0 and 11.
  • She's Got Legs: The premium animation for Vivienne: Oriole begins with her posed to emphasize her exposed lower half, before shifting into her bird-like form.
  • Shout-Out: To Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
    Lady of the Lake: Watery tart? I'll show you.
  • Spin-Off: Popular demand for more of the sidequest Mini-Game from Witcher 3 led to this standalone game.
  • Story and Gameplay Segregation:
    • Witchers, professional monster slayers, are neutral cards that can be played with any faction, including monsters. On the other hand, the Witcher code states that they're supposed to be "neutral".
    • Ge'els is in the Monster deck with the other Wild Hunt characters despite the fact that his biggest contribution to the plot of Witcher 3 is betraying the Wild Hunt to Geralt. This is especially notable since Avallac'h, another Aen Elle elf who doesn't side with the Wild Hunt, reflects this by being a disloyal card.
    • Similarly, the Bloody Baron is a loyal Northern Realms card despite the fact that he was a deserter who tried to negotiate with Nilfgaard.
    • Several cards are based on Witcher potions and can be used on any unit, even though anyone without Witcher mutations would die if they drank one.
    • The White Frost card takes this Up to Eleven. In spite of the fact that it is literally the end of the world, it's a neutral card that can be played by any faction, not just the Monsters.
    • All of the bronze dwarf cards are Scoia'tael cards, and most dwarf cards have benefits dependent on other dwarf cards in play. Thus, several dwarves are placed in the Scoia'tael deck when they weren't actually members or even if they actually opposed the Scoia'tael. This includes:
      • Yarpen Zigrin, who considers the Scoia'tael to be just as racist as the humans they fight.
      • Dennis Cranmer, who was captain of the guard for a Temerian Duke, but isn't in the Northern Realms deck.
      • Zoltan Chivay, which is odd since "Zoltan: Animal Tamer" is a neutral card.
      • Brouver Hoog, who is a leader card despite the fact that he decreed that dwarven youths were not to join the Scoia'tael.
      • The latter two examples combined form a double example of Gameplay and Story Segregation: Zoltan is said to have nothing but contempt for Hoog and his policies but serves under him in-game.
  • Stripped to the Bone: Scorch, appropriately, features unfortunate individuals scorched to the bones on its art.
  • Switch-Out Move: Decoy invokes this idea to swap a unit on the board with the top unit in your deck, but doesn't count as a unit itself. Emhyr's leader ability returns a Nilfgaardian unit to the hand before playing any card in his hand, allowing a unit to swap the place in hand of any other card. Call of the Forest allows you to cycle a unit from the field to the deck and swap it with another unit with the same primary category.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Ritual Sacrifice's art shows Brewess marching chained children to the sacrifice.
  • Zerg Rush: Blue Stripes Commandos, which pull all copies of themselves from the deck, and Kaedweni Revenants, who spawn copies of themselves whenever they destroy a unit, in Northern Realms. Arachas Queen Monster decks inevitably flood the board with weak tokens, either as fodder for consume or self-destroy effects or row based buffs like Commander's Horn.

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