In The Witcher 3, the Gwent: Old Pals is a side quest, that almost spans the entirety of the game, in which you will challenge different characters to Gwent. However, it is not as easy as it seems. Because if you try to complete Gwent: Old Pals a bit late in The Witcher 3, it will be hard for you to find certain participants.
This quest is important for you to complete in The Witcher 3 as it is associated with one more quest and achievement. You cannot complete the Collect ‘Em All quest and get Card Collector achievement if you miss this one, and Gwent: Old Pals is definitely a missable quest.
The Witcher 3 Gwent: Old Pals walkthrough
Gwent: Old Pals has four opponents: Zoltan, Vernon Roche, Lambert, and Thaler. You can challenge any of them to start the quest. However, we recommend starting Gwent: Old Pals quest by progressing through the main story of The Witcher 3 till you meet Zoltan.
Spy card strategy is the best way to win and complete Gwent: Old Pals. When you have two spy cards in the game, start placing them down in the first round to have a card advantage over the opponents.
You will only have two opportunities to play against Zoltan, both during the Broken Flowers quest. Firstly, when you talk to the girl, you’ll have to come toward Zoltan; now you have to speak to him, and he will be ready to play a round of Gwent with you.
After defeating Zoltan in Gwent, you will get his unique card and some character leads for you to complete this quest. Your second opportunity to play with Zoltan will be afterward you “talk to Priscilla” at the end of this quest.
If you miss both chances, wait till A Poet Under Pressure is completed. Because only then will you get the chance to challenge Zoltan. During the second meeting, Zoltan also gives you “A Dangerous Game” quest in TW3 Wild Hunt.
Vernon Roche is one of the names Zoltan gives you. You will find him in the “Temerian Partisan Hideout Camp.” If you didn’t know about this location, then you must make sure you add this location to your quest menu in The Witcher 3.
There are possibilities that you won’t find him at the camp, and in this case, you will have to wait until An Eye for An Eye quest is completed.
You will get his unique card for defeating Vernon, and now you are ready to move to the next character in the quest, Thaler.
Challenging Thaler in The Witcher 3 for a game of Gwent has its requirements. You can only challenge Thaler after completing A Deadly Plot quest in TW3. This will give you the Gwent: Playing Thaler quest.
You can challenge Thaler right after you save him from the Trolls, and he will happily accept your offer. If not, you can move forward and find him later in Novigrad at the Seven Cats Inn. You can get the Rivia card by defeating Thaler.
You will fail the Playing Thaler quest and be unable to fully complete the Thaler subquest of Gwent: Old Pals in The Witcher 3, if you side with Djikstra and Thaler, dies in Reason of State.
Lambert is also one of your targets told by Zoltan, and I think he’s the strongest target among others. You will encounter him during the “Following the Thread” quest in Witcher 3 Wild Hunt.
You will get an objective to meet Lambert at “The Nowhere Inn,” where you can challenge him to a game of Gwent by selecting “I’ll meet you there“ during the conversation. But do note that after selecting this option, you have to talk to him quickly and choose the option to challenge him for a fight, or he will move to the location of the next quest in The Witcher 3.
But even if you miss him there, you don’t have to worry. You get another chance to meet Lambert later on. Kaer Morhen is the final location where you can talk to Lambert and challenge him to a round of Gwent in The Witcher.
You will automatically get to Kaer Morhen as part of the main story and then talk to Lambert to defeat him and complete Gwent: Old Pals. The unique card you will get for defeating Lambert is the Triss Merigold card.
How to find the Gwent cards of each player if they are not available?
It can happen that you didn’t get the time to play Gwent with one of the four players or didn’t win against them before they die or become unavailable in the game. In this case, you can still get the cards that they would’ve promised if you won against them.
You will be unable to complete Gwent: Old Pals quests but you will still get their unique cards.
If Roche dies, you will automatically get the objective and a quest marker for the Temerian Partisan Hideout. A letter and his card would be found there. If you read the letter, you’ll get the locations of both Lambert and Thaler.
Find both of their cards at Kaer Morhen and at the Seven Cats Inn, respectively. If you happen to stumble upon these locations before finding Roche’s card, you can collect them as loot.