The Rift is a card-driven space race to build up enough power to seal the Rift that is threatening to consume the galaxy. The game board is made up of hexes and setup it determined in a coordinate fashion, rolling a d12 twice and using the results as the spot to place the planets and players SHIPS.
At the start of the game, each player’s SHIP has a starting power and movement of 4. Determine the start player. The Turn order sequence is printed on the board.
The first thing is events. Draw a card from the event and resolve it’s text.
Certain events will place an event counter on the board in the same manner as the planets using d12 rolls. Once an event counter is on the board, it will move around the board until it is destroyed or moves off of the board.
Movement direction is based upon a d6 roll and compared to the diagram printed on the board.
The player can move his/her SHIP. Players can attack each other, event counters, or attempt to subjugate a planet. Combat is determined by die rolls and needed results are found on a combat chart in the rules.
Successfully subjugating a planet allows you to collect Alien cards based upon the number on the planet.
The player also places their flag on that planet.
Alien cards gathered serve 2 purposes: can be discarded to add value to combat or discarded for tech points to purchase technology cards. Technology cards can be purchased and used giving certain advantages and benefits to the players as they purchase them.
Over the course of the game, players are racing around the galaxy gathering up enough technology to increase their power in an attempt to seal the Rift. Players need to travel to the edge of the board next to the rift and roll a d12 and add tech bonuses to the roll.
If the total equals or exceeds 20, the rift is sealed.If not, that player must discard a random piece of technology.
The Rift is a fun family game. It is on the lighter side with much of the game influenced by the randomness of the Event Deck. This, coupled with the random placement of SHIPS and planets at setup keep the replayability high, with each game creating a different feel. Artwork is functional for the game and does lend the space setting for the game. Thematically, the game seems a bit weak. Here is the description of the game: It looms before you like a great gaping maw, threatening to consume everything: a vast hole in space and time, of matter and void, warping the very fabric of reality, causing chaos and unexplainable, horrific events. It grows at an exponential rate, leaving you precious little time to research the cause and find a solution that will mend the Rift and save the universe! From 2-4 players will race across the Cosmos trying to gather enough technology to seal the Rift before it’s too late. Conquer planets, fight aliens and avoid deadly hazards. They are only means to an end in your time-critical mission. The title and game description make it seem like the Rift is going to destroy everything but it never does. The game actually is a race to be the first to seal the Rift and the only bad thing that happens is if an attempt to seal the Rift fails, that player loses a piece of technology. There are no set number of turns that make the game time-critical. The thematic element could be improved by having a separate set of events for The Rift that occur every set number of turns until it is sealed. The events that occur during the game present more of a threat to the players that the Rift actually does. There is a light bit of strategy for the game in planning out what planets to subjugate in order to gather aliens. The Event cards determine what happens at the start of each turn, so things can change rapidly and so long term planning can be challenging in this game. You may be planning on traveling to a planet to subjugate it, only to have an event occur, where that planet’s population is decreased, making your trip there not worthwhile. Traveling to unoccupied planets and subjugating them to gather aliens is key in the game. Using the Alien cards to buy technologies is a great way to gain advantage over the other players. The combat is lucked based with die rolls. You do have technologies that can be added to die rolls and also Alien cards that can be discarded for power bonuses to help ensure victory in battle. The event counters present a fun challenge. Their movements each turn are determined by a deflection roll and compared to the movement chart on the board. With this deflection roll, you never know which way the event counter will move, so you may end up being attacked by it. The more event counters on the board, the more chaotic the game becomes and adds some excitement there.
Despite the weakness in the theme, The Rift does present itself as a game that a family can enjoy, especially younger players. Simple setup and simple rules make this a game that is quick to get from the box to the table and can offer hours of family fun racing to seal the Rift. The cards are easy to read and the board has the turn sequence on there as a reminder of what to do. After reading the rules once, the only time you should need to reference the rules is for the combat charts.
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