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So lately I've been playing a lot of Gwent. I've been a fan of card games forever, having dabbled with Magic:The Gathering, Hearthstone, Scrolls, SolForge, among many others. Gwent's "play a card a turn" and limited draw mechanics make resource management, bluffing and sequencing very important, and I've found myself absorbed enough in the game to have climbed to a top 20 position on the global ranking leader board.
Recently, The Gwentlemen's Club, a group of high ranking Gwent players, held a design a card competition. The challenge was to design a card that would appeal to each of the Timmy, Johnny and Spike player archetypes (as defined by Magic: The Gathering's Mark Rosewater). The Gwentlemen also wrote an article about the player archetypes, with examples on how they applied in Gwent.
I had a lot of fun designing the cards for this competition, and my Johnny entry was even picked as the winner. I thought it would be nice to show the cards I made here, as well as some of the thought processes that went into making them.
I tried to create the 3 cards as a set that would have cards that would appeal to the separate archetypes, while still having a coherent theme, mutual synergies and references to the Witcher 3 game. The theme I chose was Vampires, and I riffed on the existing Regis card and its theme of transformation.
Dettlaff. Silver, Melee, 6. Epic.
Vampire. When weakened by a Special Card you played or a unit on your side of the battlefield, transform into The Beast of Beauclair. "Betrayal by a loved one can turn even the most gentle of souls into a savage beast"
The Beast of Beauclair. Silver, Melee, 13. Epic.
Vampire. "You will come to Tesham Mutna and explain all. If you do not, I will raze Beauclair to the ground. This I promise you."
(This card is the simplest of the cards I chose to make. The number 13 was chosen both for its high strength to appeal to the Timmies, and for its supernatural connotations )
Orianna: Silver, Ranged, 2. Legendary.
Vampire. Spawn 2 Orphaned Child units on random rows. After 2 turns, transform into Orianna: Higher Vampire. "Wolves asleepin' midst the trees, Bats all aswayin' in the breeze"
Orphan Child. Bronze, Agile, 1. Legendary.
Human. When removed from the battlefield, add 1 strength to all your Vampire units. "Lady Orianna took care of us! She took us off the street, brought us sweets, sang to us! Leave her be!"
Orianna: Higher Vampire: Silver, Ranged, 4. Legendary.
Vampire. Remove 2 strength from 2 non-Gold units. "I never said I helped these children out of the kindness of my heart"
( As is befitting of a Johnny Card, this card is complicated, narrowly powerful, and requires going deep into Vampires to get maximum value.)
The Unseen Elder. Gold. Agile. 6. Epic.
Vampire, Ambush. Ambush: When a revealed unit appears on this row, destroy it and absorb its strength. Remove an amount equal to this unit's strength from an opposing unit. "The Unseen Elder despises guests"
(Best used when predicting a spy card from the enemy, but still flexible enough to be triggered by smart placement of your own units while creating significant value. Allows Spikes to feel like they've outsmarted the opponent through clever plays. Unfortunately since Ambush is purely an Scoia'tael mechanic right now the mind-game aspect of this card does suffer a bit when playing outside of Scoia'tael )
Aside from the obvious perk of the Orphan Child units giving strength to all three cards, there are also some cool combos you can pull off when playing these cards together. You can have Orianna:Higher Vampire hit Dettlaff so he transforms for extra strength. If the enemy correctly predicts The Unseen Elder and refuses to play a spy into him, you can either get lucky with the Orphan Child spawn from Orianna into The Elder Titan's row for value, or you can play Dettlaff into him to take out basically any gold unit on the opponent's side.
The cards also all reference events that happen in the Blood and Wine expansion, for extra appeal to the Vorthos lore fans.
So here I am, a little older, probably not that much wiser. I'm done with formal education (for now), have been a Productive Member of Society(TM) for the past 9 months or so, and spend my days and nights huddled over liquid crystal screens that drip feed me information, entertainment and communication. I share a somewhat cluttered apartment with the girl I love and Xephyris, the three of us forming our own little dysfunctional family. All in all, life is pretty good. Or at least, it should be pretty good, right? I'm my own man in my favourite city in the world, surrounded by the people who love me, having more than enough cash to afford my occassional (and some, Xephyris included, might say, frivously extravagant) indulgences.
What more could anybody want?
I've never been good at being content. There's a part of me, a little hollow part that always aches for more, always hungers. Behind every ridiculous goal I've set myself always lies the hope that "With this, I'll be done. With this, I'll be happy", and yet once acheived, the goals that took so much to acheive look less like badges of honor or trophies to be displayed, and more like toys put on sale to make space for the newest action figures. There's also the period of anxiety and confusion in the period between when I've finished one goal and have yet to decide on my next - those days drag on for me as I ponder "Well, what now?"
I don't know what now.
Scarily enough, I really don't. I really don't.