Wait a minute… this isn’t like The Witcher games I’ve played. The Witcher Adventure Game is a digital release of the physical tabletop board game by the same name. While the tabletop game will put you back about $60, this version will only make you cough up 1/6 that amount. Not that it should matter, but this format offers those who don’t have the space (or friends) for the board game with the chance to play. There is even a version for iOS, but today we are reviewing the PC version.
The Witcher Adventure Game physical release.
Enough of the aesthetics, let’s get into the game. Starting the game up for the first time, you will be greeted with a tutorial session, which I highly recommend watching! It should only take about 10-15 minutes, and you don’t have to worry about playing a “tutorial” game to get your bearings (thank you Can Explode/CD Projekt Red). Okay, now that you got the tutorials out of the way, we can get into the game that I thought we were going to get into before.
The Witcher Adventure Game offers both local offline play and online play (both 1-4 players). Offline you can set up a game between you and up to three other friends/computers, or easily find a game online your friends are playing. You can also go completely random and join a game with strangers. Strangers or not, this definitely beats out the tabletop version in online capabilities.
The game modes are pretty straight forward: short, medium, or long. A short game will run about 10-20 minutes in which the first player to complete a main quest will end the game. I started off with this mode to get a taste of the game and to learn how to play. Sure enough, the game finished in about that time, and I was crowned winner of the game *humble brag*. The medium and long version increase the number of main quests (called Quest Goals) that have to be completed before the game ends, and in these modes you really have to work for those Victory Points (VP) if you want to win. VP are earned by completing main quests, side quests, support quests, and completing obstacles and challenges, and the player with the most VP is the winner. These are the modes you want to play to get any real enjoyment out of The Witcher Adventure Game.
For playable characters, you have the option to play as Geralt of Rivia, Triss Merigold, Dandelion the Bard, or Yarpin Zigrin the Dwarf. These characters have different playing styles and skill sets, giving each character an advantage in different aspects of the game. Geralt is a combat character, so he will have more abilities at his disposal, as well as dice, when dealing with enemy obstacles. Geralt also has the ability to cast signs and brew potions to use in combat or other situations. All characters gain new abilities by taking a turn to develop themselves. On the other end, a character like Yarpen relies on his dwarven brethren to help in battles, and can command several at a time. Triss relies on spells, and I noticed at some times she can string a ton of them together to beef up her turn to get the most out of each roll and action. Dandelion can make money singing, and can spend that money on bonuses and bardic abilities. This all means that each character has a strategy apart from the strategy of completing quests.
This also means your character has a real feel of progression in the longer matches, as you build up enough abilities that will allow you to take on the stronger enemies, in turn giving you some big rewards. Almost RPG-like. But with all that power, you are sure to run in to some bad luck, thanks to the gut checking Foul Fate cards that will kick you when your up, and kick you when you are down. Foul Fates can range from any frustrating circumstance like losing VP or suffering penalties for moving to another town, to suffering wounds that inflict even more penalties on your in-game actions. At first, I despised these cards. No, hated these cards. But as I kept playing, I learned that these annoyances are part of the game, and they keep everyone on a level playing field. It’s a love/hate sort of thing.
Visually, the game looks pretty. Witcher can easily run on your laptop (check the requirements though!), but can also look great on a bigger screen with all the bells and whistles graphically. Fans of the series will recognize the locations you visit and enemies you have to fight. The music and sound effects are add a nice ambiance, but you will get sick of the clicking noise. It happens a lot. There is an option to mute the game, to which I did and pumped on some jams while I played.
Oh ya, I got this. Sorry Foul Fate.
In the end, I had an enjoyable experience with The Witcher Adventure Game. But that doesn’t mean the game doesn’t have its downfalls. If you want to play this game beyond several matches, you have to go online. Or play with friends. Playing the computer got boring in the longer rounds, because part of a board game is the banter you have with your buddies and the reactions you give after someone gets a string of awful luck. While some of this can be conveyed in the chat window online, I think this game would be best suited for playing with friends locally (or using voice chat online).
Also, playing the computer would be much easier if I could speed read. The cards that they pick up appear and disappear so quickly that you have to go back through the activity panel to see what happened, to which I felt no connection to their turns. With longer game times, I found myself playing my turn, then walking away or browsing Reddit for a bit before coming back to see what had happened to my opponents. This lack of engagement is expected in playing AI-controlled opponents in a board game, so you either will like this or hate this.
Overall, The Witcher Adventure Game is a great interactive board game experience, but that’s all it really is in the end. If you enjoy board games, or you are a fan of The Witcher series, then I highly recommend checking this game out. If you don’t fall into these categories, then you may want to skip over this one.
Go Aard or go home.
Gameplay - 7.5/10
Challenge - 7.0/10
Design - 8.0/10
The Witcher Adventure Game is a fun board game that benefits from the fundamentals of such a rich and storied franchise. Without The Witcher name, however, you may never have picked this game up to begin with.