A recent Fantasy Flight announcement caught my attention. No, not XCOM, we’ll get to that. The Witcher is a competitive fantasy adventure game set in the universe of the Witcher video games. I’ve never played the games but I do love a good fantasy adventure.
Originally I thought the game was cooperative, but while players do not directly attack each other, they’re actually competing to complete quests.
Players will travel across the countryside collecting “leads” which can eventually be traded in for some sort of relics. Relics must then be brought to certain locations to complete a quest. Along the way players will face monsters as well as other unfortunate encounters.
Each player has a unique role – there’s a witcher, a sorceress, a bard, and… well, for some reason the Dwarf is always its own class. Anyways, these roles have unique abilities and decks of equipment that can be gained. The Witcher is great at Combat, while the Sorceress can cast powerful spells and the Bard can perform to collect extra gold among other things. I played as the Dwarf who had several travelling companions he could command to boost his abilities.
The most interesting thing about this game was the characters. Aside from cool abilities, the wound mechanism was pretty neat – instead of just having some running total of hit points, players who received a wound had to place it on one of the action choices. A single wound wouldn’t do much, but when the wound turns critical it blocks that action from being used, until it was healed. So it was a clever way of raising the stakes with injuries but not in a way that resulted in player elimination. (A player can always rest to remove wounds).
The rest of the game was fine, although kinda generic. At least it wasn’t overly convoluted with unnecessary rules, and there’s definitely room to explore more of what’s there. But it was pretty standard stuff for fantasy adventure – move around, draw a card, read an effect, roll some dice. If you roll well, good stuff happens. If not, bad stuff. It was not quite that straightforward and there is plenty of room for players to make choices and not just live at the whim of the dice, so we’ll see. If I get the chance to play more in the future I will definitely take it.
If fantasy adventure sounds fun to you, definitely check this out. The rules are fairly easy to learn and the mechanisms are fairly streamlined for a fantasy game, so it could be worthy of adding to your collection. If you want something a little more unique to add to your collection, you can probably skip this one.