Andrew Netherwood: Blog en-us (C) Andrew Netherwood (Andrew Netherwood) Fri, 02 Jun 2017 11:08:00 GMT Fri, 02 Jun 2017 11:08:00 GMT Andrew Netherwood: Blog 95 120 Gwent Board from Witcher 3 A quick post about a design that I did for a Gwent table top play area. Let me give you a brief introduction to this rather unusual card game and where it came from.

The Gwent card game is a virtual subgame of the Fantasy RPG, the Witcher 3.

Witcher 3 (Wikipedialink) is a blockbuster Fantasy role playing game available on Playstation, XBox and PC and is a great Swords and Sorcery epic of love, life and monster hunting set in a mythical fantasy world. The original was a series of books by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski which were then made into a multi award winning RPG by Project Red, a Polish game developer. In the game, which is truly excellent by the way, the protagonist, Geralt, travels around the land hunting monsters, following quests and gathering information from various in game persons who he meets mainly in the taverns and hostelries of the mythical lands. While there he has the option to play this virtual card game with characters that he meets and to obtain further virtual playing cards by either defeating his opponents or buying them from innkeepers and merchants.

In the game Geralt starts off with a limited number of cards of low value and has to collect or win or buy more as he progresses through the story. Rare cards are more powerful and the aim is to build a strong deck with high value and powerful cards. In the computer game Gwent is played virtually, but in a recent release of a new DLC mission, one option was to buy a version that had two decks of the in game cards as actual physical items.


These are handsomely designed cards but the 'play area" that is used in game has no physical equivalent with the real world cards, so I decided to design one. This was then printed onto a heavy duty 61cm wide canvas on my large format Epson Inkjet printer. Heavy weight canvas is pretty durable and rolls up neatly to store and then unrolls without the creases normally associated with game boards. The canvas can also be stretched and glued/stapled more permanently over a piece of wood or fibre board to give a solid play board.




Below is a photo of a game in progress being played on a light wood background version of the canvas "board".


Gwent Card Game on Digitally Printed CanvasGwent Card Game on Digitally Printed CanvasDesign for a Gwent "Board" on which to play the card game with real cards that are now available.


Now, while the Witcher 3 is an exceptional video game in every respect (more to say on the place of video games in the modern state of creative arts in a future post), the Gwent card game is in itself a very fine complex and interesting game. It plays very well as a table top physical game without the need to progress through the difficulties of the video version which demands considerable hand eye coordination and quick reflexes. We older gamers who are "transitioning to maturity" find that the trigger finger is not what it used to be, and a gentle but strategically demanding game of cards is actually very satisfying.


Brief overview of the mechanics of the game

The game is played between two players who each use one deck of cards out of 4 possible decks. In the video game cards have to be collected as you progress through the game but in the physical version two full decks are provided. The game is best of three rounds, each round being decided by who has the most points on the board at the end of the round. Points are calculated from the numerical values printed on the cards and modified by other "special" cards either positively or negatively.


Initially, from the whole deck provided (each different faction/deck has different cards, so strategy varies on the deck you are playing), each player selects a number of cards as his playing deck for one game. He must select at least 22 "unit cards", ie cards that have a numerical value printed on them, and no more than ten of the "special cards", those that modify the effects and numerical values of both your own and your opponents cards. So each player commences with a game playing deck of at least 22 cards and probably more depending on how many special or additional unit cards he has included.

This is an important consideration, as from this playing deck, the player then randomly selects 10 cards which are his "troops" for ALL THREE rounds of the game. Obviously, one tries to put all the high scoring cards into ones deck at the start of each game, but if you have a starting deck of, say 40 cards, your chances of drawing the high cards in considerably less than if you had a starting deck of 22 cards.

Cards are then played in turn from each players 10 card "Hand" onto the board. There are 3 types of unit card. Artillery, Ranged and Close combat, represented by the Catapult, Bow and Sword icons respectively that can be seen in the divisions on the board. Units have to played into their own rows on each side of the board. If it were just playing number cards it would be relatively dull, but the Special cards can significantly modify the  numerical values of the cards and the essential strategic consideration is how to best play the 10 cards you have drawn over the  3 rounds to win two of them. In practice the point count can fluctuate significantly with one or two well placed cards having devastating effects. Each player may pass at any time in each round to conserve his cards for ensuing rounds.

So it is very much a medieval battle simulator in which you as the general has to try to make the best use of your canon fodder as well as your hero units and sometimes it is better to lose the battle so you can win the war.


So, the woodgrain board design is mine and the green back and red back cards and counters seen thereon were included in the Witcher 3 expansion pack which I bought for about AU$ 25 in JB HiFi.

Even if you are not a video game enthusiast, the Gwent card game physical edition, is a very complex, absorbing and challenging game that has much replay value. You don't really need the board once you have learned the game but it does help and looks pretty good IMHO.


P.S. While I enjoy the more strategic current video games available now, I started playing tabletop games at Uni with my friends in the days before home computers and video consoles (pre-history obviously). A good friend of ours has two kids, an 8 year old and a 10 year old and I try and get them away from their screens to play some tabletop games such as Carcasonne and Ticket to Ride Europe. There is a LOT of value in a family sitting down together to play a pleasant game for an hour or two. With a little gentle management the extra competitive ones can be pulled back and the shy ones encouraged to participate and even take a risk or two. Many good life lessons and interpersonal skills can be subliminally absorbed over a good board game.


Check out BoardGameGeek for more information than you probably want to know straight off, but a good resource and beginner's games are usually termed "Gateway" games, ie try one of these easy family friendly games to see if you like them before buying something expensive and over complex that you find too difficult and confusing.





]]> (Andrew Netherwood) Gwent Gwent card game Witcher 3 board" Thu, 14 Jan 2016 05:25:46 GMT
Out of the Illawarra I have one of my large digital works, "The Divinity of Fire" in the Out of the Illawarra Exhibition which is now on at the NSW Parliament House in Sydney until the 28th August 2015.


The Divinity of FireThe Divinity of Fire


Out of the Illawarra is an Exhibition of works from the members of IAVA (The Illawarra Association for the Visual Arts). This is an exhibition of very high quality works showcasing the very talented artists now practicing in the Illawarra region of Australia, which for overseas visitors is just south of Sydney on the east coast of Australia.

My thanks to all the members of IAVA for the work involved in organising and producing this exhibition. Special mentions to Judy Bourke  and Moira Kirkwood for driving the process along and to Joe Frost for curating the exhibition. This exhibition is kindly supported by Mr Gareth Ward MP and Mr Ryan Park MP.

See the IAVA website for more information about this show and all the artists involved.

Out of the Illawarra Catalogue PDF

Out of the Illawarra Invite



]]> (Andrew Netherwood) Andrew Netherwood Contemporary Art IAVA NSW Parliament House Out of the Illawarra Tue, 11 Aug 2015 04:38:34 GMT
Moon Cake Presentation Box My partner Sharon (her personal website here) has recently returned form a trip to China where she was at a meeting of the United Nations Ozone group panel.

Knowing my love of good food and teas, she brought back a rather impressive presentation box containing Moon Cakes, which are a traditional pastry cake that are consumed by Chinese people at the time of The Autumn Festival in China, and is also sometimes called the Moon Cake Festival.

Sharon was staying at the Yuda Palace Hotel in Zhengzhou, and they produced this magnificent presentation box in red silk.

Mooncake Presentation BoxMooncake Presentation BoxA studio shot of a red silk Mooncake Presentation Gift Package including Chrysanthemum Tea

Anyhow the box was so beautiful I decided to take a photo of it, and thought it was worth more than a quick snap. The box lid had a beautiful (silk screen?) print of what I presume is a chrysanthemum, as that  was the accompanying tea that was recommended to drink with the mooncakes and also came in a splendid red silk presentation box of its own. The glass tea container is shown with some of the tea (which is rolled into balls) in front of it on the plate. As you can see, the tea produces a strong golden brew which is very refreshing and goes very well with the mooncakes.

THere are six packages within the big box each containing one mooncake which you can see on the plate, both as a whole and sliced in half, the cut one containing what we think is red bean paste, as this is apparently a traditional filling. The other boxes had differing lettering on them, so maybe the fillings will be different. We shall see in due course as we are eating them slowly as they are very energy intensive.

The small rectangular box in the middle contains plastic utensil to eaat the mooncakes with, which was  a slight letdown, given the opulence of the rest of the package.

Apparently though, other mooncake presentation packages can cost ridiculous amounts of money, so maybe the politicians and big wheels have to buy and give in accordance with their perceived positions in the firmament.

Sharon really liked the small stone turtle, so I included it in the photograph for luck.


Autumn Festival Information Link 1

Autumn Festival Information Link 2

Autumn Festival Information Link 3 - Wikipedia


]]> (Andrew Netherwood) Mooncake Presentation Box Mooncakes Sat, 30 Aug 2014 04:48:50 GMT
Fractured Beauty Exhibition at Wollongong City Gallery 9th September to 26th October 2014

Opening Night, Friday 12 September, 6-6:30pm

i have been invited to show some of my works in this group exhibition for local artists at the Wollongong City Gallery. The theme for this exhibition, which is being curated and organised by Louise Brand, is "Fractured Beauty" and my contribution to the show is a set of photographic prints that explore temporal fracturing.

 It was at one time axiomatic that 'the photograph never lies' and that a photograph captures a single moment in the flow of time. With modern digital software and hardware, neither of these statements holds up any more, and sadly, we have become so inured to photo and image manipulation, CGI in cinema and other special effects, that oftentimes we presume amazing images to be products of the digital darkroom or the result of teams of virtual set designers and 3D artists and animators.

I  have used a number of photographic techniques to play with the  photographic representation of time. One such technique is a 'motion shot' where a number of rapidly shot frames are superimposed into a single image to show the progression of an object through the frame. This technique originated with the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge in the early 1900s, in his attempts to analyse the motion of moving humans and animals, and was the precursor to "moving pictures".

Another method is to use a rapidly flashing light source with a long exposure to freeze the moving object in regular time intervals as it  moves through the frame. This technique is an old chestnut, but I have tried to give it a poetic and philosophical slant with a twist of surrealism.

Finally, I have included a serendipitous shot that I captured while taking a panoramic photo. Nowadays, digital cameras and even smartphones, are able to produce a ready made panorama in camera in three or four blinks of an eye. However, trying to subvert the expectations of the software programmers that design the algorithms that stitch the images together, can produce some interesting and unexpected results. I think Magritte would have enjoyed this photo.


Stella's Joy of GravityStella's Joy of Gravity

I include one of the photos here to pique your interest and invite you to come along to the show and see my other images along with all the other artists works. Group shows are generally stimulating and even if you are not attuned to one artist's style, there is nearly always other good things to see.

Hope to see you there.

]]> (Andrew Netherwood) Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:55:14 GMT
About the "Change the Climate of Your Mind" Artworks Normally I prefer to let the picture do the talking.


However a lot of people really do not like "Untitled" Nos 1-16. I think that once you have titled an artwork, especially an abstract work, you have immediately hugely  limited how viewers interact with that work. In my ideal world, you can stand in front of art and have no thoughts in your mind, just a visual, non verbal, non intellectual connection. The Zen of seeing if you will, but those who meditate will know how very difficult it is to still the mind.


I tend to think that verbose, over theorised, jargonised, wankobabble does not resurrect banal visual art and suddenly transform it into a silk purse. A visual artwork must stand on its own as a purely visual experience that is rich, stimulating and compelling merely by being looked at without any additional written or spoken material. I do not deny that additional intellectual information can add layers of meaning and appreciation to a visual artwork that enhances the overall perception of the work, but I maintain that visual artworks have to have intrinsic visual quality, whatever that may be for different viewers.


Normally I prefer to create self contained abstract artworks, but this "Concept Exhibition" (remember the old days when "groups" made "Concept" Albums) demanded to emerge from my psyche so I followed its path. It became evident to me that these works did actually need some explanation as they are intended to be an ordered progression of a chaotic breakdown. So below are some explanatory words that may or may not help your perception of these works.

"Change the Climate of Your Mind" Online Gallery


" “We can’t negotiate the truth”“We can’t negotiate the truth”Quote from Al Gore

 "We can't negotiate the truth"  (Original quote by Al Gore)


This was an exhibition of digital prints on the human perception of the problem of climate change.

It was at the Hazelhurst Community Gallery in Gymea in southern Sydney, Australia from   29 May to 8 June 2010.

16 digital prints, 60x120cm mounted on Dibond Aluminum panel and 1 digital canvas and acrylic paint diptych.



Exhibition Rationale

The sequence of images in this series. started with a standard NASA planetary map of Earth. Using digital techniques and planetary maps of other solar system bodies, the earth map was progressively degraded by stages to an unrecognisable mindscape. Many of the image titles were taken from quotes in the media on the subject of Climate Change. The title of the first image in the series - "The American Way of Life is Not Negotiable" - by George Bush Senior, epitomises the arrogance and blinkered world view (especially of American exceptionalism) that prevails among multinational capitalism.

While the images portray the degradation of the planet visually, the titles are juxtaposed to indicate the concomitant mental breakdown through denial and delusion to madness. The aim is not to show any scientifically accurate prediction of the effects of climate change, but rather to highlight how the effects of delusory thinking, small minded selfish perception and media manipulation, distort realistic self awareness on how the behaviour of the human race affects this planet.

Science and Perceptual Relativity

In genuine scientific circles there is no debate about the veracity of human induced climate change. All the published work by reputable peer reviewed scientists  in the last decade is pretty much unequivocal. The debate is not whether climate change is due to human activity, rather how quickly it is accelerating and what the effects will be.

As a trained scientist and partner of a scientist whose work includes climate change research in Antarctica, I have watched the progress of both the science itself and the perception of the issue with increasing exasperation.

It is still the case that scientists do not communicate their findings to the lay public with sufficient force and clarity and that a complacent society does not wish to embrace the devastating consequences that are looming. A common misconception or delusion is that because the sun still shines, the buses are still running, the supermarkets still have food and the 4WD can still be filled with petrol that “things” must still be OK. The reality is that when those examples are not the case, and it is “obvious” that something is wrong, it will be far too late to prevent the change from continuing and accelerating for another 50 years at least.

This exhibition is unfortunately, in one sense, about people’s apathy, delusion and wilful ignorance. The message is clear though – that we must acknowledge that we have a problem, before we can really start changing our thought processes, which is the necessary precursor to actually changing our collective behaviour to battle a supposedly unseen and incomprehensible foe, which is actually ourselves. If we as a species do not change our actions, our planet will resemble an abstract wasteland in a surprisingly short amount of time.

Hopefully some of the images and titles will prick some unconsidered or undecided consciences to internal reflection and action.


A Couple of Resources

Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming (Dorling Kindersly Book)
Well illustrated  basic book –  excellent primer for all open minded people.


 ABC Radio National Science Show Podcast (24/11/2012) – Attitudes to Climate Change

Quote from Professor Ken Caldeira: " I think the fundamentals of climate science are rock solid and have been understood for well over a century. I do think there's a lot of uncertainty regarding how climate impacts will affect people, but the fundamentals that our carbon dioxide emissions are causing the Earth to warm is beyond question." (My italics)

Great videos on Caldeira Lab Website.


The printed  images in this exhibition are generated on computers by a variety of software programs. The originals are electronic files.

The prints in this exhibition were printed on Canson Infinity Rag Photographique 210gsm paper using Epson Professional Large Format Inkjet printers using K3 pigment inks. The prints are mounted on archival aluminium composite panels. For the exhibition a temporary hanging system was used.

The canvas work  are digitally printed canvases overlayed with acrylic paint.



]]> (Andrew Netherwood) Climate Change Climate Change Quotes Planetary Map wilful ignorance Wed, 23 Oct 2013 12:04:32 GMT