The table (interface)
The game takes place on a separate board - a table. Below you will find the description of the interface elements.
1. Board - you place your cards on your side (bottom) and enemy places his on the top. Each side is divided into three rows - melee units, ranged units and siege units. On the left you can see a slot for cards that improve the statistics of each row.
2. Discarded cards - here you will find a pile of discarded cards - used special cards, the ones destroyed by enemy and all from the board after the round ends.
3. Hand cards - here you will find cards from the deck picked for the game - these are the only ones you can use in the game
4. Score - this is where you can see your and your enemy's score. Below you will be informed if someone folded the round.
5. Card number - this is where you can see the number of cards you and your opponent have in hand. Crystals represent the number of wins/losses - when you lose, the crystal becomes gray.
6. Weather card slot - there are special weather cards available in the game. They affect whole rows of units - both yours and enemies. Active cards are visible here and on the board.
7. Leader card - a special leader card. After using it changes its color to gray. It is wise to know all these cards to know what you can expect from your enemy.
Each participant has his own card deck. The harder opponent, the more rare and unique cards he has. Before each game you can change or improve your own deck. However, you must do it wisely because the game has some rules:
- To start a game you must have at least 22 unit cards,
- You can't have more than 10 special cards in your deck
If you already have 22 unit cards then you should eliminate weak links. Only exception to this rule are some Scoia'tael fraction cards and Monsters because of some special cards that add cards from the deck.
There are four fractions in Gwent: Northern Kingdoms, Nilfgaardian Empire, Monsters and Scoia'tael. You can play with any fraction as long as you have enough cards in your deck. Each fraction is different - it's hard to use the same tactic in two different fractions. In addition to units and their skills, in case of fractions there are some additional factors that differ them from one another. One of them is fraction bonus - exclusive and constant skill of each race. They are as follows:
- Northern Kingdoms - if you win a round you receive a random card from the deck,
- Nilfgaardian Empire -if there is a draw at the end of the round - Nilfgaard wins,
- Monsters - after the round ends one random card remains on the table,
- Scoia'tael - they decide who starts first at the beginning of the round.
Each fraction has unique special cards as well - leaders. This card can be used anytime during the game - but only once!
Each game starts with deciding on the bet size. Then you can select the fraction, modify your deck and pick a leader card. Only after that the game starts. The starting person is selected randomly (unless one of the participants is playing as Scoia'tael - in that case he decides who starts). First you can change two cards drawn "to hand" to other ones from your deck (random choice).
After that, each player places one card on the table. It is best to start with cards-spies. In first round you should place your weakest cards so that you won't be many points ahead of enemy. First person to win two rounds is victorious. Once the round ends, the player that has more points in cards wins. It is possible that you have no more cards and there is one more round to be played. In that case enemy will usually win, unless he has no card that gives points (unit card) and only special card. If that happens, a draw will occur. After a draw you won't receive any rewards but you can play another round.
Unit cards have a visible number of points that are added during the game when a card is played. There are also other cards that have no points. They have an impact on unit card's modifiers, positive or negative. You must remember that character's cards are excluded from the effect of special cards, including positive and negative ones. They cannot be returned back to the game after they were used as well.
First group are weather cards. There are four: Biting Frost, Impenetrable Fog, Torrential Rain and Clear Weather. Each of them reduce the card strength in a specific row (for both sides) to 1. The Frost reduces infantry units, Fog reduces ranged ones and the Rain reduces the siege cards. Clear Weather card removes all weather modifiers. There might be more than one weather card active simultaneously.
Another interesting card is Decoy. It allows you to change any unit on the board and move it to your hand by replacing it with the decoy - which is later a neutral card. It is wise to use the decoy when your cards have special skills. There can be only one decoy in a row.
The penultimate special card is Scorch. It should be used wisely because it eliminates from the board a card or cards with the same strength - the highest one. Your cards can be affected as well.
The last card is a positive one - Commander's Horn. Placed in any row, it doubles each card's modifiers (excluding characters). It cannot be taken off, it works until the round ends.
A standard reward for winning Gwent game is a random card from random fraction. Sadly, you can play each opponent for a card only once. After winning the card, further games will end with you winning only alchemy ingredients or other supplies. A standard bet size with common challengers, like merchants, is 10 crowns. Only exceptions are challengers from quests related to Gwent. By winning with them you can obtain a unique card, not available in any other way. You can meet opponents that will want to play for higher rewards during some parts of standard quests as well. Sometimes playing Gwent is even the only way to peacefully solve some problem or to negotiate.