Posted on December 2, 2014, Marshall Lemon The Witcher Adventure Game – Dark Fantasy Roll-Playing
It may only have two video games to its name, but The Witcher is still a title that excites legions of fans. Thanks to its engaging characters and dark fantasy setting, many players have been pulled into Geralt’s world and can’t wait for his adventures to continue in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Thankfully, that wait just got a little easier with The Witcher Adventure Game, which brings Geralt, his companions, and their adventures to a highly-detailed board game, available in physical and digital formats.
The end result is a fun, well-balanced game that will attract long-time Witcher fans and newcomers alike. The Witcher Adventure Game satisfying adapts each player’s skills to a dice-and-card-based ruleset, making you feel like a badass warrior, capable mage, or scheming rogue. On top of that, the digital version gets players started without needing to fuss over hundreds of cards and tokens manually. While the game doesn’t go quite far enough to flesh out Geralt’s world and the digital version faces its share of technical problems, it remains a solid fantasy game that’s well worth trying out.
The Witcher Adventure Game
Platform: PC (reviewed), Mac, iOS (reviewed), Android, Windows 8 Tablets, Board Game
Developer: CD Projekt RED, Can Explode
Publisher: CD Projekt RED, Fantasy Flight Games (Board Game)
Release Date: Nov. 27, 2014
MSRP: $9.99 (digital), $59.99 (physical)
Available: GoG.com, Steam, App Store, Google Play
The Witcher Adventure Game brings up to four players together to take on the quests, monsters, and exploits of The Witcher novels and games in a tabletop setting. Choosing from recognizable characters like the sorceress Triss Merigold, the bard Dandelion, the dwarven leader Yarpen Zigrin, or the Witcher Geralt of Rivia himself, players attempt to complete adventures tailored to their specific sets of skills.
The rules, as with most Fantasy Flight board games, are straightforward yet layered enough for deeper strategies. In each game, the players choose a quest goal benchmark (1, 3, or 5 main quests) that determines the length of the game. Once a single player has resolved enough main quests to reach that goal, all other players resolve one more turn before the game ends. At that point, whoever has collected the most victory points (rewarded by completing main and side quests, defeating monsters, using diplomatic contacts, and other tasks) wins the game. That’s not to say the game must be especially competitive; the narrative play style means you can go through an entire game without interacting with other characters, and support quests keep things friendly by allowing characters to assist each other.
Each character brings a unique set of hero dice and development cards specializing in particular quest decks. As a monster hunter, Geralt has a heavy focus on combat abilities. Triss’s magic gives her access to powerful spells. Dandelion is a man of intrigue, making him well-equipped for diplomacy play styles. Finally, dwarven leader Yarpen can take on battle and diplomacy quests, and is generally capable in both play styles. While these characters won’t be interacting with each other like they do in the RPGs, the art, music, and play styles really help the board game feel like an authentic Witcher experience; one that can be enjoyed by long-time fans and newcomers alike.