Our preview post below was published on May 24.
The Witcher: Old World is a fantasy adventure game for 1-5 players, featuring deck-building and narrative components, and set in the world of The Witcher books and video games. The events of the board game take place in the “Old World”, decades before the events depicted in the already released material. The goal of the game is to be the first to get four trophies. You gain trophies by slaying monsters or by battling against other Witchers. It will launch on Kickstarter on May 25.
You start the game by first choosing your Witcher School (Cat, Viper, Bear, Wolf, Griffin), setting up your hero board, miniature, and starting deck of 10 cards. Your character has four attributes that are tracked on your player board: Combat (allows you to draw more cards each turn during a fight), Defense (increases your maximum number of shields), Alchemy (increases the number of potions you may consume during a fight), and an attribute that is specific to your unique school and which you will have the chance to upgrade. You also track your number of shields and your current level.
During your turn, you go through three phases. In the first phase, Travel, you play matching cards to move from one location to the next. Then, you can either fight (if you meet a fellow Witcher or a monster), explore, or meditate. If you explore, you draw an event card with a story snippet and usually some decision to make, Choose Your Own Adventure-style. Each choice carries unknown consequences that may be beneficial or detrimental.
When you fight a monster, another player will act as the monster and draw as many cards from the monster deck as the monster HP. You don’t start with a full hand since you may have discarded cards to travel. On your turn, you play a card combo. The first can be of any color, the following ones must match the “extension” symbol (if any) of the previously played card. Each damage dealt to the monster forces it to discard one card. You finish the turn by drawing new cards from your deck. The number of cards you draw at the end of each turn is determined by your Combat stat. You can also drink potions up to the limit of your Alchemy stat.
Then the monster strikes by revealing a card from its deck. The player in charge of the monster decides between two options, “Charge” or “Bite”. All damage forces you to discard cards first from your deck, then from your hand. Combat turns alternate this way until either you or the monster runs out of cards. If you defeat the monster, you earn the corresponding trophy. Each trophy brings a permanent attribute that will upgrade your character throughout the game. However, trophies “fatigue” you and force you to discard a card from your deck permanently.
If you encounter a Witcher, you also engage in a fight that follows similar rules as the monster fight. You can also play dice poker against this Witcher. If you defeat the Witcher through dueling, you will get a trophy of that Witcher’s School. In the third phase, you can acquire new cards for your deck. New cards bring better powers (attacks, dodges, magic attacks, etc.) and better opportunities for combos. The size of the deck also represents your life pool. During your adventure, you can gain new cards but also lose some (from events or due to the fatigue effect after earning a trophy), forcing you to adapt your strategy.
Little is known about the solo mode, as several core components of the game (fights between Witchers to earn trophies, dice poker, player-driven Monster AI) are not immediately soloable. However, the base game will come with a solo variant. Furthermore, the KS campaign will include the Wild Hunt co-op expansion in the basic pledge, that can be fully played solo with a single character.