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Barrel (card game)

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Barrel (or "Gwent" in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt video game) was a typical dwarven card game for four players with complicated rules played with intricately drawn cards. It is not unlike the contemporary game of bridge.

Andrzej Sapkowski Edit

Zoltan, Yazon Varda, Caleb Stratton and Percival Schuttenbach sat down near the wagon and without taking a breather played Barrel, their favourite card game, which they devoted every spare minute to, including the previous wet evenings.

The Witcher occasionally sat down to join them and watch them play, as he did during this break. He was still unable to understand the complicated rules of this typical dwarven game, but was fascinated by the amazing, intricate workmanship of the cards and the drawings of the figures. Compared to the cards humans played with, the dwarves' cards were genuine works of art.

— pg(s). 83, Baptism of Fire (UK edition)


...with the dwarves's cards. The king was really regal, the lady comely and curvaceous, and the halberd-wielding knave jauntily moustachioed. The colour cards were called, in Dwarven Speech, the hraval, vaina and ballet, but Zoltan and company used the Common Speech and human names when they played.
— pg(s). 84, Baptism of Fire (UK edition)


The fundamental principle of dwarven Barrel was something resembling an auction at a horse fair, both in its intensity and the volume of the bidders' voices. The pair declaring the highest 'price' would endeavour to win as many tricks as possible, which the rival pair had to impede at all costs. The game was played noisily and heatedly, and a sturdy staff lay beside each player. These staffs were seldom used to beat an opponent, but were often brandished.
— pg(s). 84, Baptism of Fire (UK edition)


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Edit

In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt there is a card mini-game Gwent inspired by Helix / Barrel that also has adaptation for its own - Gwent: The Witcher Card Game.

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