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Subject: Capsule Review - The Witcher rss

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Richard A. Edwards
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The Witcher Adventure Game. Fantasy Flight Games, 2014. $60. Designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek. Game board, Learn to Play and Rules Reference Guide books, 4 hero figures and sheets, 48 Quest cards, 120 Investigation cards, 40 Foul Fate cards, 20 Good Fortune cards, 60 Development cards, 4 companion cards, 30 Monster tokens, 150+ assorted tokens and 9 dice. 2-4 players. 120+ minutes.

Players take on the roles of heroes from the world of The Witcher (Geralt, Triss, Dandelion, or Yarpen), investigating leads and fighting enemies to complete quests. During their turn, each hero can perform two actions including: travel (move), investigate (draw a card potentially leading to leads), rest (heal), or develop (gain a card improving their equipment or skills). Each hero also has a special action unique to them. The goal of these actions is to complete quest cards which gain the player victory points to win the game.

Quest cards offer several options, including a Main Quest, Side Quest, and Support Quests. Quests require certain resources (mostly “proofs” which are obtained by first gaining “leads”), fights or locations to complete. Leads are gained in several ways including traveling to various locations.

Heroes also encounter obstacles, various challenges represented by “foul fate” cards and battles with monsters. Battles are resolved using the hero’s dice and battle dice as well as various card effects. Heroes can be wounded, resulting in a loss of potential actions until they heal, but cannot die.

The rules are well written, easy to learn and quick to begin play. The heroes are all very unique and their style of play and development which creates different approaches to the game. Good Fortune and Foul Fate cards can make or break your day!

At first it can be interesting to move your developing hero around the map, gaining clues and investigations and completing quests, but it can become repetitive. Though the goals may shift, the main focus is almost always gain clues, gain proofs, go here, go there, finish quest, score points. Player interaction is very limited. Players can complete side quests on other player’s quest cards, but this is merely a matter of expending the required resources and gaining victory points.

While a solid board game displaying fantasy adventure thematic moments, with fairly repetitive mechanics and little player interaction, only Witcher fans will play it more than a few times.
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azza rein
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How does it compare to say, Talisman/Runebound/Prophecy? Cheers...
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Ed M

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Thanks for the review. I was wondering how it will work for solo play with a doom track variant? Also, I enjoy roll and move type games with randomness and luck involved in the vein of Talisman and Runebound.

This sound similar...would you agree?
 
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Richard A. Edwards
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I think it has more to it than Talisman, in terms of both game and theme. It is less complicated than Runebound, though I don't think it has Runebounds breadth of possible activities and play.
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Chris J Davis
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SirRoke wrote:
I think it has more to it than Talisman, in terms of both game and theme. It is less complicated than Runebound, though I don't think it has Runebounds breadth of possible activities and play.


Runebound is very "kill monster, buy upgrades, kill next monster", rinse, repeat. I was hoping the whole "investigation" aspect might give a bit more variety and differences to playstyle between the characters. Is this true? Or is the whole investigation aspect really paint-drying dull?
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Richard A. Edwards
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bleached_lizard wrote:
I was hoping the whole "investigation" aspect might give a bit more variety and differences to playstyle between the characters. Is this true? Or is the whole investigation aspect really paint-drying dull?

Investigate is one of the actions a hero can take. When you do, you draw one card from one of the investigation decks. There are three: Diplomacy, Magic, and Combat. And there are 40 different cards for EACH type.
The card is then resolved, which can gain you leads or battles or other encounters. Some are even kept for further effect. Setbacks often bring negative effects.

Here's an example:
Magic investigation card: "Terrible News" (Setback) "You receive news that another one of your contacts has vanished amidst the violence consuming the land." Receive 1 red [lead], advance the war track, and discard 1 of your faceup investigation cards. Then you may draw 1 blue [magic] investigation card and resolve it."

So this card:
Gives you 1 red [lead];
Advances the war track; ("The war track gauges the turmoil caused
by the Nilfgaardians, and it populates the board with various obstacles.") [You then take the obstacle shown in the space of the war track and placeit in your current region's obstacle zone.]
Discard 1 faceup investigation card (potentially losing any benefits).
Draw 1 blue investigation card.

So if the next blue investigation card was...
"The Lodge Library", "You are certain that the secrets you are looking for lie somewhere within the ancient tomes of the Lodge library." Receive 1 blue [lead]. For each LODGE OF SORCERESSES card you have, receive 1 additional blue [lead]. Keep this card for its trait."

So this card:
Gives you 1 blue [lead].
Gives you potentially many more blue leads if you've kept any other cards with the LODGE OF SORCERESSES trait.
Gives you this card to keep adding to your faceup investigation cards with Traits.

Does that help?

The main point is to do investigations to gain leads which are exchanged for Proofs which allow you to complete Quests when you're in the right spot. Completing Quests is the main way you gain Victory Points (defeating monsters can also gain VP) which win the game.
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Run with me
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Oh man...now I'm very torn whether to go ahead and make this purchase or wait for more feedback on it...I want to love it but if it plays worse than talisman (which I do kinda like despite some negative feedback) then I sincerely don't know
 
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Chris J Davis
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SirRoke wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
I was hoping the whole "investigation" aspect might give a bit more variety and differences to playstyle between the characters. Is this true? Or is the whole investigation aspect really paint-drying dull?

Investigate is one of the actions a hero can take. When you do, you draw one card from one of the investigation decks. There are three: Diplomacy, Magic, and Combat. And there are 40 different cards for EACH type.
The card is then resolved, which can gain you leads or battles or other encounters. Some are even kept for further effect. Setbacks often bring negative effects.

Here's an example:
Magic investigation card: "Terrible News" (Setback) "You receive news that another one of your contacts has vanished amidst the violence consuming the land." Receive 1 red [lead], advance the war track, and discard 1 of your faceup investigation cards. Then you may draw 1 blue [magic] investigation card and resolve it."

So this card:
Gives you 1 red [lead];
Advances the war track; ("The war track gauges the turmoil caused
by the Nilfgaardians, and it populates the board with various obstacles.") [You then take the obstacle shown in the space of the war track and placeit in your current region's obstacle zone.]
Discard 1 faceup investigation card (potentially losing any benefits).
Draw 1 blue investigation card.

So if the next blue investigation card was...
"The Lodge Library", "You are certain that the secrets you are looking for lie somewhere within the ancient tomes of the Lodge library." Receive 1 blue [lead]. For each LODGE OF SORCERESSES card you have, receive 1 additional blue [lead]. Keep this card for its trait."

So this card:
Gives you 1 blue [lead].
Gives you potentially many more blue leads if you've kept any other cards with the LODGE OF SORCERESSES trait.
Gives you this card to keep adding to your faceup investigation cards with Traits.

Does that help?

The main point is to do investigations to gain leads which are exchanged for Proofs which allow you to complete Quests when you're in the right spot. Completing Quests is the main way you gain Victory Points (defeating monsters can also gain VP) which win the game.


Yes, but is it FUN?

I guess it depends on whether it feels more like the game is happening TO you, or you feel like you're in control of the game. I was maybe even considering a variant where the Investigation cards are placed on the board faceup by way of gaining leads, so that player have to choose where to race to first.
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Richard A. Edwards
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Yes, but is it FUN?

I guess it depends on whether it feels more like the game is happening TO you, or you feel like you're in control of the game. I was maybe even considering a variant where the Investigation cards are placed on the board faceup by way of gaining leads, so that player have to choose where to race to first.


Great question. And like most subjective emotions, it depends more on the individual than the circumstance.

I enjoyed playing the game the first time or two, but then for me (and I'm not a Witcher fan), it seemed to get repetitive and the game play is fairly straightforward and limited. Move, get leads, move, exchange leads for proofs, move, complete quest, get victory points, get new quest, repeat. The battles and investigations and especially hero development were "fun" but, for me, did not bear repeated playing.

I put this game in the same category as Firefly.
That game, for me, wasn't much fun. Very limited player interaction, get job, move, get stuff to do job, move, finish job, get money toward winning, repeat. And I *love* Firefly. The game is very thematic, but for me wasn't much fun and not played very often.

If you're a Witcher fan who lights light-medium games, you may *love* this game. But I think it has a narrow audience.
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John
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Thanks for the review!

SirRoke wrote:
Move, get leads, move, exchange leads for proofs, move, complete quest, get victory points, get new quest, repeat.

How does this compare to Arkham Horror/Eldritch Horror where the players need to obtain clues to solve mysteries or close gates? I see similarities here.
 
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Magallian wrote:
How does this compare to Arkham Horror/Eldritch Horror where the players need to obtain clues to solve mysteries or close gates? I see similarities here.

Really good question. I am not as familiar with Arkham Horror (though I have played it) as I am with Eldritch Horror, so my comments will reflect more about EH.

The first thing that strikes me is that, being fully cooperative, there is a LOT more player interaction/planning. The lack of player interaction in The Witcher tends to make for down time when it's not your turn instead of being constantly involved.

There just seems to be more ways things occur in AH/EH than in The Witcher. There is a lot of decisions to be made about when to try to close a gate, when to clear out monster, what to encounter, etc.

Closing a gate in EH heads you toward your group winning the game. Finishing a quest in WAG gives you points which count toward your victory. Very different feel.

The AH/EH monsters seem more thematic with more abilities, but perhaps it is just that I know the Cthulu mythos better than The Witcher world.

The heroes in The Witcher undergo more development during the game than the characters of AH/EH. Each Witcher hero has a specialized deck of cards that they use actions to develop. But even so I just didn't find them as engaging. Again, perhaps because of the world with which I am not as familiar.

I certainly enjoy Eldritch Horror more. But it may be because it's cooperative and has a lot of player interaction and I know/like the setting better.

Which is why I said in my review that fans of The Witcher world might well appreciate the game more than those of us who are not.

The Witcher Adventure Game is not a bad game. It's a decent game. But in the light of a hobby with many great games, for me (not a Witcher world fan), it does not bear repeated playing. For fans of the world who can immerse themselves in the theme, perhaps it is enough to tip the scale from just a decent game to a good game for them.
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John
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Thanks for the detailed explanation SirRoke! Eldritch Horror is one of the most favourite games friends and I bring to the table lately. Although I have barely tried out the digital beta version of the Witcher Adventure Game, I find the details about the lack of player interaction worrisome.

Perhaps my expections were too high in the first place with Ignacy Trzewiczek (I really really enjoy Robinson Crusoe) designing an adventure boardgame of my favourite RPG videogame (Witcher 2 is awesome, and cant wait to get my hands on part 3 upcoming february) with FFG's high quality production values and CD Project's supervision.

As a Witcher-fan I will consider ordering a copy. But with the unavoidable reservations seeing how the game is perceived.
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CJ
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SirRoke wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
Yes, but is it FUN?

I guess it depends on whether it feels more like the game is happening TO you, or you feel like you're in control of the game. I was maybe even considering a variant where the Investigation cards are placed on the board faceup by way of gaining leads, so that player have to choose where to race to first.


Great question. And like most subjective emotions, it depends more on the individual than the circumstance.


Quite. I found this game devoid of meaningful decisions and consequently terrible. I refused to continue playing after 40 minutes. However I don't necessarily think it is a bad game so much as know that it is a bad choice for me.
 
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John Varela
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elgin_j wrote:
I refused to continue playing after 40 minutes. However I don't necessarily think it is a bad game so much as know that it is a bad choice for me.

That's a good way to put it! This isn't a hard game to learn/play and it feels like a safe game to play with people who don't need direct conflict and doesn't want to play another cooperative game. This fits right in the middle and it's not as much of a question about is the game good as it is a question about the game being a good fit for me and my group? Do you already have something light-medium to fit that need or not, and if not, will my group have fun with this?

To me, something in this realm would be Race for the Galaxy and the Witcher is less card game more dice game version of multiplayer solitaire, if that comparison makes sense.
 
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