Gwent in an alternative universe

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Are your vision and CDPR’s vision of how Gwent should look like very different? If so, take the chance, share your vision and show how Gwent could look like in alternative universe, where some madman gave you the opportunity to become Gwent’s lead game designer.
(Note: This thread isn’t about suggesting things how CDPR could improve the current version of Gwent or discussing the current state of the game, but about how you think Gwent should be like)


I've attached mine as pdf (Update 13.8.2019: old file replaced, positioning reworked, artifact-rework added, some card design ideas added)
 

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Back when CDPR started making all units agile (during Agility/Midwinter updates), i thought that the rows kind of lost their meaning and placement of cards didn't matter as much.

It made my think, what if Gwent didn't have rows... but your side of the board was a grid. And all of the cards had Tetris-like shapes when placed on the board. You could get extra points by locking pieces/cards together and it would be like making formations. Plus with a row system you can only have 2 adjacent units maximum, but with a grid you could have many more because of a vertical dimension. So you could have all these adjacency bonuses added to cards.

It would change control too, like you could play a bomb and select an enemy's tile and it would damage all the surrounding tiles on the grid. Or spying cards could be placed in a position to disrupt your opponents placement and make the board awkward (kinda like when you mess up in tetris). Stuff like lacerate could damage just one row/column of the grid, so some units could be hit more than once depending on how many tiles of their body were in the affected row.

I don't know... obviously it would be a ridiculously big change from current/past Gwents. I've just always thought that the placement of cards should be a bigger priority and something like this alternate universe grid system could allow that.
 
Adding 'cross-row' positioning effects are probably really the only option to make positioning a crucial part of the game, but it's actually hard to come up with a good solution as there are so many things to consider. The tiles in my grid are shifted by half a card, because I like the idea of having two tiles before and/or behind each tile (because there are also up to two adjacent units). The downside of this is that there are no real columns, so there are no column based effects. Using columns you could even use positioning related effects, which affect the opponent's side of the board(example: unit with deploy ability: "deal 6 damage equally distributed between all units on the opposite column". So maybe a column based approach would actually be the better than mine.
 
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Are your vision and CDPR’s vision of how Gwent should look like very different?
Quoting from the playgwent site: the "strategy card game" "where skill, not luck, is your greatest weapon" and where you "build an army" to fight on the "battlefield". The current issues with binary stuff, artifacts, unit-less decks, sluggishness and unbalance due to orders and charges, RNG, high variance and limited strategic options due to removal of the third row and a lot of cards not having multiple abilities (row-locked or card combination-wise) all go against this. So, seriously, before we can answer this question, could someone explain what exactly CDPR's vision is?
 
So, seriously, before we can answer this question, could someone explain what exactly CDPR's vision is?

Gwentstone the Gathering: The Thronebreaker Online Mobile Game
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Even though i hated it, i kinda do miss having a Leader focused on weather, and weather being something to be taken seriously.

Aye, anyone having good ideas for a more intriguing weather system?
 
Aye, anyone having good ideas for a more intriguing weather system?

No but I loved your ideas, having given them a look :)

Maybe, if Ragh Nar Roogh and Korathi Heatwave are still a thing, they could get something extra as well instead of just being the same thing.

All weather should go back to affecting both sides though. And it'd be up to you to focus on the row where the weather is not.

I'd say artifacts can stay, but they can only be triggered when a unit is next to them. Especially certain special artifacts, maybe even turn the requirement into a Gold Unit.

Overall, my biggest complaint is that archetypes are, well, no longer archetypes really. If you look at a meta snapshot, multiple Midrange and pure swarm decks dominate it. Granted, this is not an HC exclusive as we've seen Shupe in the beta as well, but it seems to be the case a lot more.

Aside from maybe Svalblod Self wound everything else does not feel like a clear archetype. And I've tried to get into this version, I've played dozens of matches even now that the game has been patched.
 
Overall, my biggest complaint is that archetypes are, well, no longer archetypes really. If you look at a meta snapshot, multiple Midrange and pure swarm decks dominate it. Granted, this is not an HC exclusive as we've seen Shupe in the beta as well, but it seems to be the case a lot more.

I don't think shupe decks would have worked before midwinter. In my opinion it was mainly the result of poor card design.
The current problem goes much deeper than that. Most decks were defined by their bronze core. Thanks to the provision system this isn't the case anymore. Additionally the lower number of bronze copies allowed makes things even worse. Imagine old Gwent, but every deck is a Nova deck....:facepalm:


All weather should go back to affecting both sides though. And it'd be up to you to focus on the row where the weather is not.

Don't see that working tbh. You can't properly play around weather effects on only two rows. Furthermore, on 2nd thought two sided weather would require some sort of row punishing effect. Damage over time like there is now won't do it, because it doesn't matter how much you played on this row as long as any unit is on there. Something like deal 1/2/whatever damage to all units on a row punishes swarmy decks, which doesn't sound right to me. Closed beta weather didn't do that. If it was a temporary effect like in closed beta, but it didn't set all units to one, but halved their power, would that maybe actually be a good idea? Anyway I don't think there is any hope things change. That's why I prefer philosophising about alternative game designs than wasting any time thinking about how HC could be improved.
 
I don't think shupe decks would have worked before midwinter. In my opinion it was mainly the result of poor card design.
The current problem goes much deeper than that. Most decks were defined by their bronze core. Thanks to the provision system this isn't the case anymore. Additionally the lower number of bronze copies allowed makes things even worse. Imagine old Gwent, but every deck is a Nova deck....:facepalm:

Probably not, but while my favourite period of Gwent was pre Midwinter open beta (I left in the middle of the closed beta, right when the positioning update hit, so I can't really talk about the state of the game during the end of the closed beta), I'd take even post midwinter gwent over this any day of the week :p



Don't see that working tbh. You can't properly play around weather effects on only two rows. Furthermore, on 2nd thought two sided weather would require some sort of row punishing effect. Damage over time like there is now won't do it, because it doesn't matter how much you played on this row as long as any unit is on there. Something like deal 1/2/whatever damage to all units on a row punishes swarmy decks, which doesn't sound right to me. Closed beta weather didn't do that. If it was a temporary effect like in closed beta, but it didn't set all units to one, but halved their power, would that maybe actually be a good idea? Anyway I don't think there is any hope things change. That's why I prefer philosophising about alternative game designs than wasting any time thinking about how HC could be improved.

That's quite obvious from the title of the thread. Obviously we are not talking about things that could apply to this version of Gwent :)
 
I liked some ideas but i have a little problem with your opinions.

First of all, as a game like this, you have to be simple for the beggining. Then you have to be as complicated as other TCG's to be played. The other thing which we must know, this game will be on mobile devices.

I was very afraid about new row system too, but right now, it's ok. It's simple and means something considering Beta. Your opinion is really confusing imo for the first comers. Right now, it's simple and works well.
About ability system, crewman was good mechanic. I think we can't make it like old time, It will be very very powerful. Old was grants you +1 or +2 times deploy ability. But it could be damage which dealt can be +1. I think we will see this in future expansions, Demavend still requires some boost.
Faction mechanics are like your opinions. We haven't strengen ability on game but we'll see in future imo again. Nilfgaard's identity is distrupt, gains intel from your deck or hand, locks your units, steals your units, uses spies to fill your board etc. and Nilfgaard has strong military force. Northern Realms is most likely based on military forces, machines, boosting units on board and cursed mechanic. NR has strong military forces too, but NR units are stronger, requires time to grants points. Machines are strong units too, but like soldier units, reqiures time to grant huge points, if they can't, let's your opponent to spend his/her removals. Buffing them is good, makes them harder to remove, cursed synergy is not really strong right now, only has some core units.
I like your idea about weathers, could be new mechanics for next weathers. They need to keep the abilities which damages the most pointed unit, less pointed unit or 2 random unit thing. Weathers not a thing right now because they are granting really low tempo and doesn't have any synergy with them. Was beta, we were pulling weather cards 3-4 point units from deck and cards like drowner, bloody baron etc. makes them more meaningful. I don't think we can play weathers from deck with any units on new HC system.
Hand size is important. First of all, for the mobile, it makes harder to play. And hand size really punishes dry passes. You have to make tempo for card advantage for turn 3, if you have already won round 1. Dry pass is really punishes the players on HC.
I think right now, we are fine about golds. If you want to change anything about golds, it breaks the balance.
 
I liked some ideas but i have a little problem with your opinions.

First of all, as a game like this, you have to be simple for the beggining. Then you have to be as complicated as other TCG's to be played. The other thing which we must know, this game will be on mobile devices.

I was very afraid about new row system too, but right now, it's ok. It's simple and means something considering Beta. Your opinion is really confusing imo for the first comers. Right now, it's simple and works well.
About ability system, crewman was good mechanic. I think we can't make it like old time, It will be very very powerful. Old was grants you +1 or +2 times deploy ability. But it could be damage which dealt can be +1. I think we will see this in future expansions, Demavend still requires some boost.
Faction mechanics are like your opinions. We haven't strengen ability on game but we'll see in future imo again. Nilfgaard's identity is distrupt, gains intel from your deck or hand, locks your units, steals your units, uses spies to fill your board etc. and Nilfgaard has strong military force. Northern Realms is most likely based on military forces, machines, boosting units on board and cursed mechanic. NR has strong military forces too, but NR units are stronger, requires time to grants points. Machines are strong units too, but like soldier units, reqiures time to grant huge points, if they can't, let's your opponent to spend his/her removals. Buffing them is good, makes them harder to remove, cursed synergy is not really strong right now, only has some core units.
I like your idea about weathers, could be new mechanics for next weathers. They need to keep the abilities which damages the most pointed unit, less pointed unit or 2 random unit thing. Weathers not a thing right now because they are granting really low tempo and doesn't have any synergy with them. Was beta, we were pulling weather cards 3-4 point units from deck and cards like drowner, bloody baron etc. makes them more meaningful. I don't think we can play weathers from deck with any units on new HC system.
Hand size is important. First of all, for the mobile, it makes harder to play. And hand size really punishes dry passes. You have to make tempo for card advantage for turn 3, if you have already won round 1. Dry pass is really punishes the players on HC.
I think right now, we are fine about golds. If you want to change anything about golds, it breaks the balance.

I think you're misinterpreting my post as some suggestion thread, but it isn't. It is a complete redesign and shows the game I personally would like to play (with emphasis on personally). Personally I don't care for mobile portability, because I don't play any games on mobile anyway.
The row system would indeed be too complicated, but I'd prefer a game, which focuses on positioning and it isn't easy to find a suitable cross-row positioning system (the column based alternative I've described in a later post seems to be the better alternative as it makes things a little bit simpler).
The hand size limit is much more annoying than drypassing ever was. It makes passing for several turns pretty much pointless and that's one of the reason why HC bores me that much.
 
The hand size limit is much more annoying than drypassing ever was. It makes passing for several turns pretty much pointless and that's one of the reason why HC bores me that much.

Truer words have never been spoken before :p

I get you draw and mulligan more cards between rounds, but now, due to the hand limit and the fact that your primary thinning comes in between the rounds and not from thinners, consistency and above all, engine decks suffer. You simply don't have access to your entire engine for the long round, even if you don't play round 2. Consistent engines never had that problem pre-HC

Hand limit makes sense in Yu Gi Oh, where there's multiple ways to draw cards and even more to play more than one per turn, in a game like Gwent, not so much imo

Granted, in Midwinter, I think the biggest mistake was actually Reconnaissance. An insanely consistent tutor for every faction with no drawbacks, that also functioned just like emissaries, no conditions, no requirements. It should have been 1 card for each faction that lacked a tutor and tailored to each faction's playstyle and archetypes. Like Slyzard and Blue Stripes Scout. ST were in a sore lack of that compared to the other factions. But even so I'd take the over-consistency over inconsistency in the decks any day, especially in a game that has the tag "skill beats luck" :p
 
I get you draw and mulligan more cards between rounds, but now, due to the hand limit and the fact that your primary thinning comes in between the rounds and not from thinners, consistency and above all, engine decks suffer. You simply don't have access to your entire engine for the long round, even if you don't play round 2. Consistent engines never had that problem pre-HC

I wasn't looking at it from a consistency point of view. To illustrate the issue I have with the hand limit I just use the following example: Player B has won the coinflip, it is round 1, player A has a decent lead in points and has 6 cards in hand; it is the turn of player B. In old Gwent usually you'd have to check if you can take the lead within two turns to not go down two cards. Because of the hand limit player B can go down two cards if they have at least 4 cards in hand at the end of the round, then drypass and go into round 3 with even cards. So in the scenario described above they don't even have to check wether it is possible take the lead with two cards (without overcommiting), because it doesn't matter. So let's say player B plays another card. In old gwent player A could decide to pass if A felt like B needs to play another 2 cards to take the lead. This isn't the case anymore, because B can go down two cards and still go into round 3 with even cards + last say by just drypassing next round, so player A wouldn't get any benefits from passing in such a situation..... I'm missing the feeling of having to evaluate every turn if I should pass and the possibility of punishing my opponent for not passing or being punished by my opponent for doing the same.

As for consistency, better blame other questionable changes like allowing only two bronze copies.

Granted, in Midwinter, I think the biggest mistake was actually Reconnaissance. An insanely consistent tutor for every faction with no drawbacks, that also functioned just like emissaries, no conditions, no requirements.

Yes, absolutely.

It should have been 1 card for each faction that lacked a tutor and tailored to each faction's playstyle and archetypes. Like Slyzard and Blue Stripes Scout. ST were in a sore lack of that compared to the other factions.

ST had elven merchants or whatever the unit was called, which could tutor spells.

But even so I'd take the over-consistency over inconsistency in the decks any day, especially in a game that has the tag "skill beats luck"

I agree, but I had a big problem with all the tutoring in the game after midwinter. It wasn't really about the consistency, but having 5-6 cards in every deck, which just play other cards is kind of incredibly boring. That being said I think HC doesn't have enough thinning. You just have to be careful than designing thinning cards. The worst design approach (and what we've seen a lot after the midwinter update) are unconditonal tutors like post-widwinter pirate captain. A better design approach are conditional tutors. Examples are old slyzard, which required a unit in the graveyard or the current Wild Hunt Rider, which requires you to have the biggest unit one board. These conditions are rather simple to meet so there could be certainly more challenging requirements. Another option would be to make it event based. Like one very simple example would be something like "Every two times you apply bleeding to a unit, play a copy from your deck".
 
I wasn't looking at it from a consistency point of view. To illustrate the issue I have with the hand limit I just use the following example: Player B has won the coinflip, it is round 1, player A has a decent lead in points and has 6 cards in hand; it is the turn of player B. In old Gwent usually you'd have to check if you can take the lead within two turns to not go down two cards. Because of the hand limit player B can go down two cards if they have at least 4 cards in hand at the end of the round, then drypass and go into round 3 with even cards. So in the scenario described above they don't even have to check wether it is possible take the lead with two cards (without overcommiting), because it doesn't matter. So let's say player B plays another card. In old gwent player A could decide to pass if A felt like B needs to play another 2 cards to take the lead. This isn't the case anymore, because B can go down two cards and still go into round 3 with even cards + last say by just drypassing next round, so player A wouldn't get any benefits from passing in such a situation..... I'm missing the feeling of having to evaluate every turn if I should pass and the possibility of punishing my opponent for not passing or being punished by my opponent for doing the same.

It never is a one-issue problem. The hand limit does both of those things to limit you. Moreover, there were cases where despite the importance of card advantage, you could still go 2 cards down in the old Gwent (sometimes you had to), Notably, against the old Reveal deck, the golden rule was to never pass. I don't like that this evaluation is gone either.

As for consistency, better blame other questionable changes like allowing only two bronze copies.

Like above, it's never one factor causing the whole problem. This could be mitigated if you had 3 sets of similar engines and certain thinning capabilities. Same way old engine decks (that worked at least) had 2 sets of 3.


ST had elven merchants or whatever the unit was called, which could tutor spells.

Aside from the fact that this was their only one, it functioned just like Vicovaro Novice. I am talking about a unit thinner, because engines are based on units. Consistent access to the units that power the engine is important.



I agree, but I had a big problem with all the tutoring in the game after midwinter. It wasn't really about the consistency, but having 5-6 cards in every deck, which just play other cards is kind of incredibly boring. That being said I think HC doesn't have enough thinning. You just have to be careful than designing thinning cards. The worst design approach (and what we've seen a lot after the midwinter update) are unconditonal tutors like post-widwinter pirate captain. A better design approach are conditional tutors. Examples are old slyzard, which required a unit in the graveyard or the current Wild Hunt Rider, which requires you to have the biggest unit one board. These conditions are rather simple to meet so there could be certainly more challenging requirements. Another option would be to make it event based. Like one very simple example would be something like "Every two times you apply bleeding to a unit, play a copy from your deck".

I like that idea yeah, an engine that is also a thinner. But it wouldn't fit in either version of Gwent due to the rampant removal. The conditional approach seems to work better, a possible vampire tutor could be what you described, but a one time deploy ability. A Dimun Pirate Captain that fit in an Axemen deck could be "if there is a hazard on the opposite row, play a Dimun unit from your deck" or maybe even "when this card is discarded from your hand, play a dimun unit from your deck" for the discard synergy. Something along those lines.

In general I think Open Beta gwent started losing interesting card effects gradually but that reached its peak during midwinter. Where Dol Blathanna Bomber (then Trapper) initially was: "Ambush. Spying. When a unit next appears on the row, flip and damage all units on this row by 5" (later became adjacent, and 4), and Vrihedd Sappers were "Spying. Whenever you play a special card, damage the entire row by 4" (again, over or under-powered is not the point, as values could be tweaked, but how interesting the effect was), now we had "spawn an incinerating trap on the opposite row" and "flip after 2 turns". Not to mention the old Drummond Shieldmaiden which was one of the best designed card effects of the entire game imo

Notable exceptions of course existed (like Vandergrift, an excellent card effect, even though it lacked distinct synergies), the effects became much simpler and what most people affectionately called "dumbed down" :p While in the game now, more complex abilities do exist but with virtually inconceivable synergies, effects themselves and conditions.

This affected all factions but the worst contenders were the top tier decks (Skellige with corsairs and pirate captains, Alchemy with Viper Witchers, dwarves and most elven decks).

I'd have liked if we got something like "Spying. If Spying at the start of your next turn, damage an enemy on this unit's row by the number of alchemy cards in your starting deck, then move to the opposite side" for the Viper Witcher. Without affecting any of its basic properties (power, base strength, ability to be resurrected by Ointment), you single handedly nerf the deck's rampant control capabilities and give the opponent a 1 turn window to counter play (lock, or in the case of spy decks, infiltrators). For Fangs of the Empire, I had a similar idea to the old Vrihedd Sappers, except with Alchemy cards and moving to the opposite side when the opponent passes. Both units representing the need to sneak past enemy lines, sabotage/assassinate, then return to their camp.

Though I am thinking Alzur's Thunder should have only targeted enemies. After all, the whole point of spies is that you don't know they are there to target them :p

As for over-consistency, I had that problem as well, but well, like I said, choosing between that and inconsistency, I'd definitely choose that.
 
I've deleted the old file with my vision and added a new one, because I've changed my 'extended positioning' system (again:shrug:). Furthermore I've added my ideas for the redesign of artifacts (or basically just two examples, but that should be enough to understand the basic idea) and I've also added a 2nd file, which contains some card designs. Maybe I'll make more in the future.

edit: Monsters card 3 should sth. like: "When an enemy dies under fog, spawn a wolf token. Repeat up to three times."

Currently it could go a little bit too crazy. I don't know what I was thinking.
 
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My Vision swill seem backwards for many people.
I want a game, which dont tak to long to play, just 10-15 minutes each game, with an nie athmosphere not to dark and not to bright. I want to enjoy it, not to break m skull out of it. It should be easy to play and fast paced, but not shallow.
For Gwent i want 3 rows at each side, weather at both sides. Immun Goldcards, but with the possiblity to demote them for some counterplay, if needed. I want row-locked cards or at least effects bind to the row. I want different way to play each faction, but i only need 4-5 Factions. All effects should be deploy, automatic triggered- or timer-based effects.
I dont have problem with OP-Decks at higher ranks, as long as other decks are fun to play as well. For balancing, there hould be a count-wise limit to each OP-Cards (aka Gold). So nobody could stack more OP-Cards than others.
 
For balancing, there hould be a count-wise limit to each OP-Cards (aka Gold). So nobody could stack more OP-Cards than others.

I don't quite get that, it sounds a bit weird to me.

I want different way to play each faction, but i only need 4-5 Factions.

Not a fan of too many factions either. It makes it harder to keep factions unique. Btw Syndicate is just an odd choice as a faction. I mean they wanted to turn Gwent into a battlefield (which they did visually, not gameplaywise, so more the opposite of my vision). Now the great empire of Nilfgaard faces .... a bunch of Novigrad's criminals. Yeah, that should make a fine battle.
I know, Monsters don't make much sense either if you look at it that way, but since they play such a big role in the Witcher universe it makes sense to have them as a faction. Novigrad's Underworld on the other hand are actually just a tiny part of Northern Realms.


To expand my vision a little bit. I'd introduce 'subsets'. Meaning I divide one faction into different cardpools, which can't be combined. Obviously, I want the number of different subsets to be small, but once the cardpool becomes too large it could be troublesome without any kind of separation. For example, having Syndicate as a subset of Northern Realms would at least make a little bit more sense.

Already have a nice idea for a new NR faction identity:
Bonus ressources: Different archetypes could have different bonus ressources like coins for SY, mana for mages, crewmen for machines etc. Those ressources are attached to units though. Other cards can use this ressources like 'deal damage equal to the mana of adjacent units and remover their mana'. To keep things interesting they also should have a good amount of cards with more general abilities, which can theoretically be used in several archetypes and all of the archetypes should be played differently, which is a difficult task. To create a whole faction you obviously also need archetypes, which don't use bonus ressources.
 
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