I’ve never gotten into the “digital boardgame” titles before, with the exception of a brief round of Settlers of Catan. Video games can do so much more than just shift static pieces across a digital board, after all. But The Witcher Adventure Game caught my eye, and I can say it has changed my former impressions of digital boardgames.
If nothing else, the mere fact that The Witcher Adventure Game is set in The Witcher universe should be enough to draw in plenty of players—and despite its very different presentation from other Witcher games, it manages to capture the same feel.
What caught me about The Witcher Adventure Game is that every round plays out like a story being written. At the beginning of each round, each player is presented with a choice of main quests. These can range from quests to travel to a certain town and kill a certain monster, to finding a wounded NPC on the road and guiding them safety to a set location. In addition to the Main Quest, however, each player has sub-quests, and as you go about completing these quests, the stories and actions of each player will alter the game world and affect all players.
As the game goes on, powerful monsters will rise. Plagues may begin their spread. Some players may become injured and need to rest. In other words, as you play, the world of The Witcher comes to life, and it grows in depth as each round ends.
The game can be played offline against the computer, or online against other players. You can also choose about how long you’d like to play for (which is a great feature). You can choose between a 10-20 minute game, a 40-70 minute game, or a 90-120 minute game.
At the start of each match, you’ll also select your character. You can play as either Geralt the Witcher, Dandelion the bard, Triss Merigold the sorceress, or Yarpen Zigrin the dwarven warrior.
Each of the four characters plays differently and has their own unique abilities and deck of cards, and even with each character you can use different approaches within their niche. Geralt, for example, is more combat oriented and players can choose to take his path with either his use of elixers (which can help in combat) or with his Witcher signs (basically magic abilities).
Dandelion’s path is one around charm, which means bribing people or calling on friends for help. Triss uses magic and diplomacy. Yarpen has a fellowship of dwarves behind him.
The game will have you hunting monsters, taking on and completing quests, earning gold, and interacting with different characters in the world. And actions don’t just work within the cards and NPCs either. Players can also help each other along the way.
The game has a surprising amount of depth, but does this with surprising simplicity and with a pleasantly clean interface. It also has 10 tutorial videos built in, each of reasonable length (from around 30 seconds to 3 minutes), that explain the gameplay well and thoroughly.
Every playthrough feels different. Every character you play as brings along their own unique style of gameplay. And all around, these give The Witcher Adventure Game both a great deal of replay value and a sense that you’re actually roleplaying your character.
In more technical terms, the game is also wonderfully presented. It has a hand-drawn look, combined with 3D enemies and player pieces. Animated clouds hang over mountains in the snowy north, cities pop up when you zoom in, and the dice and game pieces do well to emulate the sense you’re playing a boardgame with friends.
The music is also done very well—on par with the atmosphere and quality in The Witcher 2.
I highly recommend The Witcher Adventure Game, and you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to platforms. I did find it took a long time for the game to locate other players for multiplayer, but I had a blast with single player. The game is available for PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Windows tablets. It goes for $9.99.