Witcher The Old World: Honest & Precise Review

Witcher The Old World

Fantastic Production Values and Eye-Catching Components

Let’s kick things off with the game’s aesthetics – it’s a stunner. The moment you open the box, you’re greeted with premium quality components. Double-layered player boards, beautifully themed graphics, finely crafted miniatures depicting iconic monsters, and dynamic poses for Witchers and Mages, all add up to make Witcher one of the most visually appealing games on your gaming table.

Immersive, Especially for Witcher Fans

For die-hard Witcher fans, this game is a love letter. It’s got a slew of familiar monsters, including Striga and Bruxa. The map features recognizable locations, Witcher schools, poker, and tavern brawls – it’s a Witcher universe dream come true. However, what truly immerses you are the events. The event deck is hefty, and it can take numerous play sessions before you encounter the same event again. The writing is on point, capturing the essence of the original IP. If you’re here primarily for the Witcher theme, you’re in for a treat.

Deckbuilding Has Its Moments But Falls Short

Sadly, the game’s strong points end here. The core of the game revolves around deckbuilding, where you use cards to move and handle encounters. The issue is that the variety of available cards is surprisingly limited, with most differing only in attack and defense icons. Sure, there are a few unique cards, but it’s often more effective to stick with cheaper ones for mobility around the map.

Combat Starts Fun but Gets Repetitive

Combat initially sounds fun, at least on paper. It might be the first time you’ll be wishing for dice instead of cards. Constructing a card sequence for combat feels cool in the beginning, but like Tainted Grail, it becomes repetitive and time-consuming after a while. A simplistic approach to card usage takes away from what could have been an engaging element.s.

Simple, Repetitive, and Lacking Depth

Now, onto the game’s biggest drawback – it’s just plain dull. The map is dotted with various locations, each offering a single action, and these actions are often repeated. Town A boosts defense, town B enhances attack, town C bolsters your elixir stat, and so on. The majority of towns involve playing poker, with only a few offering slightly more intricate, yet unnecessary actions for victory.

In competitive mode, reaching level 4 of reputation is the goal. You gain reputation for defeating monsters, battling other Witchers, or achieving level 5 in one of your four stats. If you level up quickly, you can get 3 reputation points just from leveling. The last point must come from either slaying a monster or fighting another Witcher. The fastest route? Repeatedly visit the same locations to boost stats, take breaks to earn coins via poker, and grab elixirs for more cards if you’re lucky. With the Skellige expansion, it’s even faster, as one island lets you enhance any stat you desire. There’s simply no incentive to risk early monster encounters. They may look good on the table, but they don’t impact gameplay.

Event effects are entirely random, making them irrelevant to your strategy. It would have been wiser to follow the Eldritch Horror model, where each town offers specific rewards more frequently during events. While Witcher’s events enhance immersion, the rest of the gameplay lacks depth and becomes monotonous quickly.The idea of different Witcher schools sounds promising, but the sole distinction lies in one unique skill per school. Unfortunately, these skills are underwhelming, and it feels like the designer hesitated to introduce asymmetry and break the balance. What initially appears to offer numerous strategies soon reveals itself as repetitive gameplay.

Competitive Mode Drags On

Be prepared for extensive downtime, especially in competitive mode. During your turn, you can visit multiple locations, perform actions at each one, including poker and combat. While this might sound great for the active player, others have nothing to do. With three players, you can easily wait 20 minutes for your turn, and this issue only worsens with more participants.

Co-op Mode Loses Appeal Quickly

After two competitive sessions, our group decided that playing this game more didn’t make sense, so we tried co-op mode. It started well and felt more natural. The goal is to strengthen yourselves while weakening the final boss. It’s reminiscent of Runebound, which works, but there’s a catch. Once you defeat the boss, there’s little reason to revisit co-op mode. The smaller deck of events for co-op play

Expansions Add Little Value

People often ask us which expansion to get first. The quick answer: none of them, as they introduce minimal changes to the core mechanics, offering more of the same. But if you must choose one, Legendary Encounters might be the way to go, as it adds more impressive miniatures to the mix. However, it doesn’t make the game more engaging. The Skellige expansion makes an already easy game easier, while the Mages add-on adds some complexity but ultimately changes little.


In conclusion, Witcher: The Old World met our initial expectations. We backed this project with content creation in mind, not expecting something groundbreaking. It’s not a terrible game, but it’s a mediocre one, with straightforward, unengaging mechanics, and expansions that hardly elevate the gameplay. Prolonged downtime between turns and easily achievable victory conditions make the game lose its appeal over time. On the plus side, it boasts an impressive table presence, captivating artwork, remarkable miniatures, and immersive events, albeit with limited impact on gameplay. It’s for these reasons alone that we’re giving the game a final score of 6 out of 10 scratches. While hardcore gamers might not find the gameplay here satisfying, die-hard Witcher fans, especially those new to board gaming, might still derive some enjoyment from it. Our copy was sold immediately after this review, and we don’t regret the decision. Once again, marketing overshadowed the final product. Publishers and designers, we’re still waiting for the Witcher board game we deserve. – David

Scratches: 6.0/10

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