Now Presenting: The Witcher: Old World
Another outstanding crowdfunding game is getting close to coming in. It and another one I’ve gotten the final confirmation of my shipping address on. That generally means that they are about a week or so away from shipping out at the fulfillment center. The Witcher: Old World is one that I passed on originally, like The Isofarian Guard, but it kept on popping into my mind as a game that I really did want. So let’s dive into why that was the case.
The Witcher: Old World – Crowdfunding
So let’s start out why I didn’t back this one at first. There were two things that stood out to me, the first being that it is not a cooperative game. You play as Witchers who are learning and fighting over bounties, feuding with each other, basically trying to get to be the most famous Witcher of all time, or at least until Geralt comes around.
The other reason is that I knew someone else who backed the game. But I try not to let that influence my backing decisions too much. Game groups shift over time, I’ve found historically. And while some gamers stick around throughout it all (I suspect this one will continue to), it is a question mark. Plus, a game owned by more means that it’s more likely to get played because it doesn’t need to be lugged around to get played.
But let’s give you an idea as to how this is played. Because I don’t believe the game has changed a ton since the original game plays were done. There is just a lot of content to the game with stretch goals and expansions, so it took a while for a new company to get it out.
But as you can see, it’s a pretty big and sprawling experience. And I think it’s worth noting that a thee player game on camera took almost two hours. Which I expect for a larger epic game. But let’s talk about that because on camera, games like this take longer. They say the camera adds 10 pounds, well in an game play, the camera adds probably 10-15% to game length.
Competitive and Maybe Confrontational
Let’s talk about what I mean by this. There are elements of the game that can be confrontational. You are able to fight another Witcher and knock someone down a peg while raising yourself up. At least in the original game play. But is that the best plan of attack? From what I remember the rewards for that were less than you’d likely run into by doing other things.
So instead, let’s talk about the competitive nature of the game. Because you are still competing over monsters and who can defeat them first. So there will be those moments there when you race, do a riskier battle, and all to defeat a monster that someone else is going for. That’s an element that I don’t mind in games. And with The Witcher: Old World, thematically it makes sense. And a new monster will pop up on the board fast, so the prep to fight a monster likely won’t go to waste.
In fact, this reminds me of another game that I need to play again: Zona: Secrets of Chernobyl. Again you can mess with a player, but it’s really about doing that to slow them down so you can get to the secret first. But also, if you spend too much time on that, the game is counting down to a radiation blast that will take you out, so it can’t just be your focus. It’s about the opportunity and the cost.
The setting is one of the biggest draws to the game. Yes, you aren’t playing as Geralt. But the world of The Witcher is a fascinating one filled with a ton of lore. And to see that brough into a board game is cool. While they don’t bring the setting through a ton of story, they do bring it through the monsters and the world itself. Which, I like as a nice balance.
Kind of as a subtopic on the setting, this type of story, I like to call an emergent story. I tell the story of my Witcher as I go out and learn and adventure. At the end, I’ll have a pretty epic tale. To me that’s the big part of a game like this. Developing my epic tale as I go along because I do want a story in a game, but I don’t need that game to always tell me a story. Some great experiences are the players telling a story through the game.
Final Thoughts on The Witcher: Old World
I have a sneaking suspicion that it won’t matter too much if you missed the Kickstarter campaign. This is a game that I think should come to retail and retailers would be glad to have on their shelves.
But more so than that, the theme is one that will bring in a lot of people who might not game otherwise. They see the Witcher, they are curious, they buy it. It might not work for them. And it’ll bring in a lot of people who are speculating on scarcity, so they buy more to resell. So I don’t think this will be the strongest secondary market. But it’s hard to know because of the IP.
I am really excited to get my hands on the game though. And I haven’t gone over player count, but it is a 1-4 player game. So I can decide to play it solo. I wonder how well that will work, right now most people like it at 2-3 probably because of length at 4 players. But to be able to try it solo, I am always down for that.
So did the world of The Witcher draw you into this game? Are you awaiting a copy like I am?