For my eldest son’s birthday, my gift was THE WITCHER Old World Boardgame and 3 expansion sets.
The sets I got: The Core Box, Skellige, Legendary Hunt, & Mages. You can pick these up at Noble Knight Games. We only delved into the main box during this session of course.
My eldest son read the rules, and off we were, figuring out the system.
As with many modern adventure boardgames, there were a number of familiar RPG elements. We each got a character, who would advance in skill and gear over the course of play. We even got to name our PC.
I named him Mertyn and selected School of the Griffin for my class – a magic user.
I started out in Kaer Seren. Note the Griffon icon.
Each player gets a pair of rules summary cards.
This is not a cooperative game; the players are competing Witchers. There are a few monsters scattered about, but it’s not advised for new Witchers to go after them early on. Instead, the characters go around visiting various settlements, never staying long. Each settlement has somewhat unique features, levelling up particular skills, or gambling. This is followed by an Exploration, in town or out, with a problem to solve.
The Witcher Old World is a card-based game. Your cards are your hit points, your movement, and your fighting abilities. There is a lot of card drawing, discarding (and returning), and removal.
Dice, by contrast, are used mostly for gambling. Suit determines winner (three-of-a-kind, full house, etc).
Coins are acquired and spent on various needs.
Alchemy, and acquiring potions, is important.
Here’s an example of an Exploration. It’s like old school Choose Your Own Adventure. Another player reads the brief encounter vignette, and the active player must decide which course of action to take, based on that limited information. Other player then reads the result to the active player.
Mertyn’s character card after a bit of play:
Witchers can fight and gamble if they are in the same settlement (gambling can be done with NPCs in settlements with the coin symbol).
Movement is done via cards. Each settlement has a Forest, Waves, or Mountain icon, and you have to spend a card with that icon to move there.
We had a great session, and have plenty more ahead of us!