CD Projekt Red have confirmed that their closed beta will be commencing on October 25th. Am I excited? You bet. As a confirmed Gwent addict, I’ve been looking forward to getting my fix in this new game, devoted entirely to the deck building card game, born as a simple mini game in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I say simple, but any Gwent player would tell you that the beauty of the game is its easy to grasp basics, hiding a deeper set of mechanics that quickly draw you in. I first realised how much the Gwent mini game had taken over, when I completed one The Witcher 3 quest to be offered a reward of either gold or three rare Gwent cards. I grabbed the Gwent cards without moment’s hesitation, therefore confirming my obsession.

In fact, I became so obsessed with the mini game that I decided I just had to order a set of limited edition physical decks, for which I paid as much as the value of the set to get it shipped over to the UK. Now that’s the mark of an obsession. You can see the deck above, as modelled by my handsome assistant Stewie the bear. Look, he was cheap labour, OK…

So How Does Gwent work?

Each player has three rows on the battlefield, one for each unit type – Melee, Ranged and Siege. Players must place a card every turn or be forced to pass the rest of the round, and no cards are drawn after the starting draw, unless triggered by a specific card’s ability. This leads to the most important mechanic of the game, card management.

To win a match, you must win two rounds, with just your opening hand. If you blow all your cards on the first round, trying to overwhelm your opponent, you may just leave them with an easy win on the next two. So the strategy is to accumulated as much combat points as you can with as few cards as possible, and this is where the mechanics get deeper. Certain cards have certain abilities and some have synergy with other cards with the same abilities, making them stronger, the more you have on the battlefield.

There’s nothing more satisfying than building a deck that with the placement of just a few cards, amasses such crazy combat points that it obliterates the enemy while still retaining a healthy hand for the next game.

Back at E3 CD Projekt Red announced that they would be commencing their Beta in September but then decided to set it back to October, as they felt they needed more time to work on it. Kill the server Beta tests were run for just two sessions at the end of September. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take part as I was away for both sessions, which is probably why the servers lived to fight another day.

If you want to join in the upcoming Beta test then you can sign up here. I’m certainly hoping to be there.