SNAP Review – Riftforce
The Rifts changed our world. Even as villages were torn apart, the Riftforce spread across the land. What once seemed lifeless began to rise and awake. Gifted individuals were able to control these living elementals. Now they have come together to share knowledge and forge temporary alliances to defend access to the Rifts.
(Is this a movie trailer? No, it’s a SNAP review for Riftforce!)
Riftforce is a two player card game designed by Carlo Bortolini and published by 1 More Time Games.
Two players, ages 10 and up, can battle for control of the Rifts in about 30 minutes.
The art in Riftforce – by Miguel Coimbra – is fantastic. We just wish there was more of it! Each set of cards has a summoner reference, then all other cards are identical “elementals” with a single large number in the upper corner.
The cards are really easy to push-shuffle, which is good, because you’ll need to shuffle a small deck very thoroughly to start the game.
Start by laying out the five rift cards and two score cards to create a central play area. Both players will take a random summoner, then they take turns drafting from the available summoners until each player has four. Shuffle the elementals for your four summoners to make a single play deck, and then draw a hand of seven cards.
On your turn, you can do one of three actions. Either:
- Play up to three cards onto your side of the rift. These cards must be all the same type (suit/elemental) or all the same number, and must be placed either all in the same space or in adjacent spaces.
- Activate up to three of your elemental cards. Play a single card from your hand and announce whether you are activating the matching TYPE or the matching NUMBER. Then you may activate the elemental attack power of up to three cards (already played) that match that.
- Check and Draw. Draw back up to a hand of seven cards, and gain Rift power if your elementals control any spaces that are unopposed on the opposite side.
You gain Rift power on a check and draw, but also any time you defeat an opposing elemental with the “activate” action. Rift power is the score track. But it’s also the trigger for the end game – when one player reaches or passes “12” on the Rift track, finish the round and then the game ends. Whoever has more Rift power is the winner!
We generally like two player battle games. We play them against each other, and against our older son. The setup here of facing-off across a “rift” reminded us at first of Fight for Olympus, but with a deck-mash-up mechanic that reminded us of Smash Up. Being able to draft your elementals and make a new deck is a really cool idea.
The art looks great and building an army with four different factions would give a lot of variation to each play – especially since you start with a random summoner (you can’t count on picking the same one every time).
Even though the components of Riftforce are straightforward (10 suits with three numbers in each suit), the summoner powers and the rules governing what can be played together (all the same suit or all the same number) make Riftforce a surprisingly strategic game.
Every turn, you’ll choose between getting more elementals on the board, or attacking your opponent, or drawing more cards. The “Draw and Check” action can be used to your advantage to gain points – but only if you time it well (which I’m bad at).
We constantly needed to refer back to the reference “summoner” cards. Four factions might be too much. We can’t remember what they all do in a given game – and due to the luck of the draw, often end up leaning heavily on just one or two.
I’m also a little disappointed that the box makes this look like a bigger game than it is. It’s 110 cards and 28 tokens. You could fit this entire thing in a sandwich baggie.
We were not prepared for the game to be quite so fiddly. You’re adding small damage tokens to multiple cards, and often trying to move the “front” card in a stack, which means pulling everything else out of the way.
But it sure does feel good to take those opposing elementals off the board and get your Rift points!
Do we recommend Riftforce?
I think Riftforce is best for preteens, teens, and adults who are ready for a head-to-head battle (over the Rift).
It’s easy to learn but it will keep your brain engaged, trying to activate your elementals in just the right order to take down your opponent. It’s definitely not a game for sore losers, since you’re so invested in what is happeneing, and there is still a lot of luck involved too.
We rate Riftforce 3 out of 5 elementals
Find it on Amazon or at your local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Riftforce from 1 More Time Games for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Age Range: 10+
Number of Players: 2
Playtime: about 30 minutes