A Riftforce has torn through the land and changed the world. Two players draft 4 unique guilds to go into battle to control locations and destroy other elementals. Will your team have what it takes to rise to power?
Riftforce is a game from 1 More Time Games and Capstone Games. 2 players begin the game by drafting a total of 4 guilds out of the 10 included in the game. This draft is straight forward and goes back-and-forth until both players have their team.
Each guild has a summoner reference card and a set of 9 elemental cards with numbers 5 through 7 on them. Players will shuffle these elemental card sets together into a single deck and draw 7 cards to start the game. The 4 summoner reference cards will sit to the side of the play area. The play area is made out of 7 cards in the center of the table. 2 of these are for score keeping and the other 5 are Riftforce locations that will be controlled by the players cards.
There are 3 actions that are available on the players turn. “Play” means that up to 3 cards can be played onto the Riftforce in the center of the table. They must contain the same number or elemental symbol on their card. “Activate” means that the player can use the ability of up to 3 cards in the play area (containing the same number or symbol). “Check & Draw” is the action that gives players points for controlling an uncontested location and refilling a players hand to 7 cards. You will pick one of these actions each turn.
The rhythm of the game is easy to grasp, it’s finding that synergies between the different guilds that’s the heart of Riftforce.
Each guild attacks, heals or allows the relocation of cards in different ways. The fire guild is hard hitting but only affects the first elemental card on the enemies side of the Riftforce. The plant guild damages a neighboring elemental then pulls them into the same row as the attacking card. It’s really fun trying to find new combinations that deal more damage or control your opponents card locations.
Taking Control of the Riftforce
Both players are trying be the first to earn 12 Riftforce which marks the end of the game. Players earn this by destroying their opponents elemental cards or “checking” a location where there’s no enemy present. An elemental card with the number 5 on it is destroyed when it is dealt 5 or more damage.
Much of the game feels like a tug of war where 1 to 3 points can be earned on a turn. There’s a balance between attacking your opponent but also playing cards that defend against checking empty locations.
The meat of Riftforce is finding the right combos and exploiting any weakness that you can find in the enemies play area. I love that the shadow guild earns an additional Riftforce when their elemental defeats an enemy. The light guild is the only one that can remove damage tokens. This can be critical if played properly. With 10 different guilds that all play differently, there are lots of combinations to try.
My only concern with Riftforce is finding the right audience for this particular game. There are more and more 2-player dueling card games hitting the market each year. This game is absolutely more accessible (and affordable) than jumping into Magic the Gathering or other collectable card games on the market. If a gamer already enjoys this style of game, chances are that they already own one of the dozens of card battling games on the market.
Riftforce has excellent art and an easy to learn system which I think makes it a good option for families who game. It’s a solid game that a parent and kid can enjoy without getting too overwhelmed with options and different card abilities. Having everything being contained in one box and no need for booster packs means it might be a great gift for teens that are getting into card games.
Overall, Riftforce may not offer enough depth to keep seasoned gamers engaged long-term. However, it’s probably just the right game for new gamers that are looking to experience a tight head-to-head card battle game with their spouse or child. For us, this game will stay in our collection as Erin and I enjoy finding new guild combinations and enjoying our competitive matches over coffee on the weekends.
Riftforce makes its debut at GenCon and Origins 2021 and will be available from your local game store this Fall. Purchase the game online from Capstone Games webstore.
This game was provided to us by the publisher for review. Read more about our review policies at One Board Family.
- Each guild has great artwork and unique abilities
- Finding new synergies between guilds is really fun
- 10 different guilds leads to great replayability
- The game may not have enough depth for seasoned gamers
- Damage tokens feel a little small