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The last time I play game within a game was on Yakuza 2 PS2. The games especially golf ⛳ & baseball ⚾ were really stressful, as you must timed to push the button very precisely and achieve like 8 consecutive hits (IIRC) to get the achievement. Gwent is so much fun. It is strategic but also with mix of luck.
When you finish the game, there's nothing stopping you from going back and playing all the Gwent you want. Just because you haven't been doing it as you progress through the quests doesn't mean you can't do it in the future. I ignored it right up until I was in Novigrad but seeing the Gwent-related quests in the quest menu start to build up started to get on my nerves so I went back to everywhere I'd been throughout the game thus far and played all the Gwent I could. I believe I'm a pretty competent Gwent player now. Although I'm sure some people on this board could wipe the floor with me.