I have an hour and a half free on a Sunday afternoon. A perfect amount of time to check off a few tasks in the world of Witcher 3. My quest log tells me I have to find a dreamer to aid me in my quest to find my lost apprentice Ciri. Simple enough. That is until I see the beautiful icon of a shop appear on my mini map. Have I seen this one yet? I enter the door to find that it is unrecognizable. I know what it is I must do. Skipping past all dialogue with the shop keep I find the option I so desire: How about a round of Gwent. In seconds I am in the throws of a simple yet addictive virtual tabletop card game. I forgot about my quest to find Ciri. I forgot about all the evils of the world. I am one with the board. One with my deck. This is not the game I thought I was going to be playing when I purchased the Witcher 3. And yet, in Gwent I have found no less thrilling an adventure when compared to saving the world from the Wild Hunt.
It is funny that a mini-game built within the Witcher 3’s universe has become so compelling, and yet here I find myself seeking out everyone I can within the world to defeat and claim a new card. What is more surprising is that my first encounter with Gwent, with a scholar in the inn in White Orchard, went so poorly that I walked away from the man and never dared attempt to play him again. It is something that haunts me as I approach hour 60 of this campaign. I had tried to return to that inn in White Orchard, only to find that he was no longer around. I had missed my opportunity to defeat the bastard. To laugh at him, knowing that I had taken down the very man who taught me to play. Sadly, it seems, I will never have that chance again (unless I restart). Since that time, out of pure fear of missing another Gwent opportunity, I have leapt in to battle with every person I can find with a deck. I am afraid to know how many hours of my 60 have been spent playing the game. But that addiction, that need to build the best deck possible in all factions, keeps me enthralled, shedding aside all other responsibilities in spite of their dread. I am hell-bent on getting every card I can. My name is Tom and I have a problem.
Follow Tom on Twitter @thomaskagar