Monday, 2 February 2015

Playing 'The Witcher'

A couple of weeks ago I brought you the Geralt of Rivia miniatures. Well, it is time to play the game!

Lots of cards and tokens, as usual, but don't worry, not that difficult
For the game, each player picks a character and wanders through the world, trying to achieve different missions. That can consist in gathering some objects, killing a determined monster or bringing some stuff to a shrine. Besides, each player has a couple of side quests, which are not essential, but contribute to get some victory points.
The characters have two actions per turn. The most usual one will be travelling between cities. You can move from one to another adjacent through the route (you can bypass the city and move to the following one, but when you push it that way, bad things can happen... We'll get into that later on) and then get 'lead tokens', i.e., the clues in order to achieve your goals. Depending on the location the leads will be of different colours. Each character can spend a different number of lead tokens to get a 'proof token' (These being the items that effectively lead you to victory).
The other action can be 'develop' (draw a 'develop' card, giving you skills or objects), 'investigate' (draw an 'investigate' card, giving you new events), 'rest' to recover your injuries, etc. They can have different actions (for example, Dandelion can 'sing' and get some gold for it)
When you have fulfilled the actions, then you must face the obstacle that will be awaiting for you at every city (for this is an adventure game, right? You are expected to find obstacles everywhere!)

Geralt travels from Kaer Morhen to Ard Carraigh and finds an Echinops
When facing creatures, all characters will roll three dice plus their own special die/dice. Depending on the swords/shields you get, you effectively kill the monster or avoid harm. Be aware that both things can happen, if you get lots of swords you will kill the creature, but if you get no shields, it will wound you!

Geralt is a badass who uses three special dice. He kills the beast but receives one injury
We'll deal with wounds later. Monsters can be categorised in three kinds, bronze/silver/gold, depending on how tough they are. If there are two or more monsters on a location, you can choose which one to confront.

Dandelion travels from Oxenfurt to Tretogor and Triss from Wyzima to Oxenfurt
She fails on her encounter with a Nekker, so she suffers one wound and a Silver monster is placed
There are some other rules, but the core game is developed just this way. The characters have to look for the items they need and fulfil their side quests.

These are the kind of random encounters you can read on the novels
Not enough swords, but no harm done
Dandelion draws an investigation card...

More harm than good! Life's hard...
The skull represents a 'foul fate' event. When you suffer a wound, you must place a token on any of your skills. Until you don't recover it (by resting or by whatever other means) you won't be able to use that skill. When you receive a foul fate token, you also place it on any skill. You can use it, but whenever you do it, you must draw a foul fate card (that also happens when you travel fast, we'll see some examples later...)

Dandelion kills the Harpy of Ard Carraigh
So does Geralt with the Nekker of Oxenfurt
The blurry image of Triss arrives to Duén Canell, where she can heal a wound for free (the heart below is not for designing this one as the city of love)
Besides, getting there was one of her side quests. Victory points!
So the game goes on and on, wandering from here to there...

It's a big, dangerous world... (And Nilfgaard is not even on the map!)
Dandelion gets a proof token at Wyzima...
...and hits the score!
Merry encounters!
When a character fulfils his main quest, he gets some cards, usually a 'good fortune' card (in opposition to the 'fate foul' ones) and investigation cards. Then the character embarks on a new adventure, drawing a new objective card.

Cards, cards everywhere
Maybe this world is not so big after all...
This wasn't in the rulebook...
As the game unfolds, foul fate will play a more leading role. Chraracters will need to travel fast or will be somehow reluctant to face silver or gold monsters. Sometimes, foul fate cards will affect only the player who draws the card, but sometimes it can affect the others. Dandelion drew one card which stated that he would be forced to lose two victory points and that the player with most victory points would also lose two. Unfortunately... that was him!

The most epic roll of all the game. You don't need a single shield for this one...
Ehm... Correction. This was definitely he most epic roll of the game
Dandelion finally fulfilled his third objective and boosted his victory points:

Woooo! Victory!!
So we ended the game and claimed Dandelion as the bard of bards!

The game is really dynamic and rapid once you got the basics. It's all about being constantly on the move, so it caches pretty well the wandering adventure effect. We used little magic, if any, I think we just focused on 'kil kil kil' and some strategy can be useful here. We didn't get bored at all, as you constantly have to be taking chances and the turns resolve really swiftly, which is really good. The game is simple (which is great for me) and you immediately feel yourself transported to the world of Geralt of Rivia, battling monsters and living adventures.
The only thing I believe can be improved is the characters issue, as you only have four. Even if a four player basis is suitable (we were three this time), I think that some more variety would be great. Who knows, if an expansion is ever made, I'd bet for adding the rest of the characters!


  1. Well Blogspot did not publish my comment... so I´ll make it again :)

    The fact is that I enjoyed the game a lot and it was very funny. But the fact I was playing with Jaskier reminded me of an old April´s fool video from CD Projeckt Red: The Bard Saviour of Queens:

    I loved the "Mandolin Fighting Style"

    1. XDDDD but that's exactly what happened! :D

      Glad you enjoyed the game, I believe it was real fun!

  2. It looks really complicated but that's just me, someone who has never played board games much since the days of Monopoly. And the minis you painted definitely makes the game look that much nicer. :)

    1. Well, it may look complicated on a first view, but once you begin to roll dice and move from here to there everything suddenly turns out really simple. Thanks, glad it caught your attention! :)