- Ruined dynamic between opposing cards
- Broken cards and abilities
- Lack of sophisticated abilities on the cards
Lack of sophisticated abilities on the cards:
Of course, sophisticated and cool abilities are important in making gaming experience fun and providing players with puzzles to solve and decisions to make, which in turn makes the game skill based.
But that is not all there is to it...
See, in the traditional card games we all know, "removal" cards are very different: some destroy units with 3 strength or less, some with 5 or more, some destroy only specific type or "tribe" of units, some have a requirement from your side of the board. In Gwent though, every card simply deals "x" damage and destroys any unit, and this is where the problem began... I will refer to this as "simplicity".
Dynamic between "engine" cards and "removal" cards:
In Gwent resources are very limited. You can play only 1 copy of a golden card (which would be horrible even in a game like MtG). But not only that, your starting hand is the size of 10 and you only draw 6 cards through entire game. I will refer to this as "environment".
None of this is considered by developers, so the "removal" heavily overwhelms "engines".
- If we look at the sheer numbers, the amount of "removal" cards is simply staggering, there are also no restrictions on how many "removal" cards you can put in a deck, then there is the "environment" and plus the "simplicity". 4 of these things create a situation where you have to play a deck full of "engine" cards or have no "engine" cards at all, because you can expect any "engine" card you play (because of "simplicity") any amount of times (because of abundance of "removal" cards and no deck restrictions) to be removed and for you to lose 10% percent of your resources (because of "environment", 10% is 1/10 of a maximum hand size), meaning you are better off playing cards which give you immediate and higher value, unless you can match the amount of removal.
- While numbers are important, there is another thing a lot of people miss. Some decks revolve or could in theory revolve around a gold "engine" card. And because your ability to play gold cards is limited to 1 copy per card, the value resting on the shoulders of gold "engine" cards is extremely immense. Because of this "removal" cards achieve even greater value when removing a gold "engine" card -- something which might not be obvious on the surface.
Let's get to the simple stuff.
- Poison is OP. It let's you remove any card as long as you can target it, it's way too versatile and universally good. The cards which provide poison are very cheap and due to nature of how poison works -- universal. 2 bronze cards of 4 provision cost should not be able to remove 100 strength card. Even worse, uncircumstantially and without any skill requirement. Another problem poison has is the fact that due to things mentioned above poison cards see a lot more play than the cards which are supposed to counter them. Purify and veil have very limited use, and the cards which provide them are very bad in all categories. So once again the balance of another dynamic is ruined.
- Geralt: Yrden is a great example of a horrible card. The effect is simply ridiculous, card has no counter-play and requires no skill to achieve the fullest extent of it's ability (which is only one). You can't call a card fair simply because it has a deck cost and chance of not working. Just like giving player the ability to equip wallhack and aimbot, but with a downside of halving player's health and equipment having the 50% chance of not being applied at the start of every game, is not fair. Design of every card should be striving to make the card fair (among other things) in every game, not only 50%, while other 50% of players can suffer. Additional 2 problems are the fact that the game has only 2 rows in the fist place, which makes it very difficult to play around the card, and the fact that a player has access to only 1 defender card and the staggering amount of "removal" cards push players towards placing all of their cards in 1 row. Another example of ruined balance of the dynamic.
- Make sophisticated and cool abilities.
- Make "removal" situational and require skill to play. Consider making some "removal" being unable to target gold cards.
- Make the amount of "engines" equal to or slightly higher than the amount of "removal" for the average game by introducing serious cost for running heavy "removal" (and "engine") decks, which would make it worth to choose such rout but only if you know what you are doing. Make it creative.
- Rework poison.
- Rework Geralt: Yrden.