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What at first seems a cynical attempt to hitch a ride on the coattails of Hearthstone soon reveals itself as an entirely different beast. While both games shrink expansive RPGs down to tabletop proportions, this is more board game than card battler, a story-led adventure built on The Witcher’s core elements: brewing
potions, slaying monsters and reading copious amounts of fantasy fiction.

“Hearthstone is a card game that is mostly PvP and our game is, well, a board game with a quite different set of rules,” says The Witcher franchise director Rafal Jaki. “We’ve been working on this for about two years. It may not seem so but developing an AAA board game is a very complicated process. I think the whole team that we have in the credits is around 50 people.”

Essentially, players travel the board completing quests and earning victory points. Whoever has the most VP by the end wins. Completing quests is a matter of clicking a tick icon, but these icons are greyed out until you bank enough resources to unlock them.Each turn offers six available actions.
Travel, fast travel and rest are self-explanatory. In investigate you solve a random quest, develop has you drawing new battle cards, and the last is character-specific. Potion-guzzler Geralt uses brew to gain more potion cards, magical redhead Triss uses prepare for more spell cards, roguish bard Dandelion sings to earn coins, and dwarven fight bastard Yarpen commands companions to assist him.

As Triss, my chosen character for this multiplayer beta, I am working to restore the sorceress Keira after some numbskull turned her into a carved figurine. To do this, I first travel to Oxenfurt, then use the investigate action to resolve a random issue. “The best way to get information is to buy a few rounds at the local tavern,” reads the card. I spend three scrolls and receive three leads in return. These are exchanged for proof, which is used to complete the overarching quest.

Later in the turn, a wolf attacks. Fights are decided by dice rolls: match your dice to the icons on the table to win. Using battle cards, you can modify dice. For example, my meteor spell splits one die into four.
 It is built on The Witcher’s core elements: brewing potions and slaying monsters 
Fail the fight and you’ll forfeit one of your actions (although this can be regained by resting). Luck is on my side this time, and  I vanquish the beast.Adventure Game  is slow, like a version  of The Witcher played entirely in menu screens, but at the very least it successfully distills the RPG’s core components into a 
board game angry losers can’t tip over. 

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