Gwent: It takes strategy, it's pretty much free to play, and most's addicti

Yeah, I know. It's Destiny 2 season and everyone will probably be playing that by the time this little piece drops. However I felt it imperative that I write it. This isn't a game break-down nor is it really a review. It's more of a hype piece than anything else, and where as hype is usually made for things to come. I think we have a great thing here already that never truly got the hype it deserved or deserves.

I want to start off by disclaiming that I never played the Witcher series. So the nostalgia of this game is lost on me. With that being said, I can say that I am a huge card game guy. From Pokemon to Yugioh to the DC v Marvel card game, to my late introduction to Magic the Gathering just a few short years ago. There are other lesser known card games I've played too, but suffice it to say I get down. Now when we get to the realm of card games ported to digital they've all tried their hand. Even Dragon Ball Z tried to get in on the actions many years ago. To me they all felt as though they were missing something, something I couldn't really put my finger on, but it never really felt right. I mean don't get me wrong I played them, but never for long. This is where Gwent really shines. Outside of The Witcher, this game has no predisposed notions and the mechanics of the game are built for console or pc play. Matches are short, sweet, and rewarding. Gaining levels feel earned and opening loot is everything one would expect from tearing open a booster pack for your favorite card game. Gwent really didn't miss a beat here, but I digress, I'm getting ahead of myself. Lets talk about what Gwent even is for those of you, like me, unfamiliar with The Witcher.

I'm not going to even reference The Witcher as it pertains to Gwent. However, suffice it say that it was a card game you could play in The Witcher to pass the time. Gwent as I know it though, is a player v player card game where you and your opponent create a faction deck and battle it out. A game consists of 3 rounds. 2 out of 3 wins the battle. Sounds simple right? And it is in a sense, but that couldn't be further from the whole story. First of all decks consist of a minimum of 25 cards to a maximum of 40. Cards consist of Bronze types, Silver types, and Gold types.Within that you have special cards, tactic cards, spell cards, character cards, and leader cards. (To name a FEW). The type of leader you have access to depends on your faction. Of this there are 5 choices to choose from: Skellige, Northern Realms, Monsters, Scoia'Tael, and Nilfgaard. Each leader card can be activated/played once per game. Oh and winning the game isn't as easy as just beating out your opponent. You've got to have the most points at the end of the round to do it. Point's are gained from the cards you have in play. Other cards increase your power, while others decrease your opponents. What makes the game especially unique and challenging is that your starting hand is pretty much it. The 7 cards you draw in the beginning plus your leader card is what you pretty much get to carry you to victory. I mean, sure you get to draw 2 cards at the start of round 2, and 1 card at the start of round 3. However, if you blow your load in the beginning and your opponent has Nilgaard, which is seemingly all about summoning cards from your deck, you can really find your self losing hard. This is truly a game of some times you've gotta lose the battle to win the war. And everything I'm mentioning here is just scratching the top of the proverbial deck. There is so much more to say and discover but at the risk of making the game sound more complicated than it is I'm summarizing here. However, trust me. This is a game that if you like card games, you have got to play for yourself to see just how deep it can get. (That's what she said).

Now lets talk modes. In my opinion a Card Games doesn't need many other modes other than Multiplayer...however in addition to Casual and Friend match multiplayer you can unlock Ranked match after level 10. You also get a single player mode with challenges that help unlock crucial materials like Ore, Junk, or Meteorite. These can be used to purchase Kegs (Booster Packs) or create cards. Single player challenges also gives you access to other Faction leaders that you can use in your deck creation. Something of note is that Pawel, the community specialist for Gwent announced Thronebreaker. Which is an actual single player campaign. This will introduce quests, 20 new cards, new play mechanics for single player, and more. That's coming available for purchase, later this year.

So lets talk about the thing that really gets people talking. Pay to win. I can say with confidence that this is not a pay to win game. You can't just merely buy only good cards. Since cards come in boosters and nothing is set in stone. However, even if it was, you're not guaranteed victory. Also there is nothing that i can't do with actually money that I can't do with the in game currency rewarded to me me for leveling, accomplishing daily rewards, etc. Between that and crafting, unless I just really wanted a specific card to help me carry out a specific strategy, for a specific can spend no money and be just as good as those who do.

In closing Gwent is a game that no one is really talking about, but everyone show be playing. The developers have promised even more content to come in the form of a new faction, new leaders, and new modes. Even as I'm writing this review, I haven't truly stopped playing Gwent. The only thing it's missing is cross-platform synchronization and maybe an app for Android. However, what we have now is just the Golden Standard for how a card game should play on console or PC.