Review: Riftwalker

I Never Thought Match 3 In A Board Game Would Be This Fun

We’ve started up a weekly family game night at my house lately, it’s a good way to de-stress and unwind and unplug. We normally did this on the weekends, but have decided to add a day to the week to help us through. Recently, we were given the privilege of obtaining a copy of Riftwalker to try out and we really enjoyed it. So let me tell you all about it. It plays 2-4 players and takes about a half an hour to play. The rules say up to 45 minutes, but in our playthroughs we never found it taking quite that long.

Fire ElementThe game uses a 3×3 grid of element cards as its main mechanic, each one is double sided and shows a nice corner peel effect to show you what element is on the other side. The goal of the element cards is to get 3 in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally (like tic-tac-toe) so that you can burst your rifts to get points. On a player’s turn they must either flip one of the element cards to its other side,  or place a new one from the deck, which effectively sends whatever element was there to the bottom of the draw deck. Players will then play a rift card from their hand that corresponds with the color that they flipped to or placed. This is called exploring a rift.

Rift cards are the bread and butter of the game here, they are laid out horizontally with no point value, each one has unique effects that change the flow of the game; from letting you search the deck for other cards, manipulate other rifts on the table, manipulate the element grid, and lots more. You have 3 cards in hand to choose from, and once you’ve laid out a rift, on following turns you can then shift the rifts, rotating the card to see it’s point value increase each time. The first shift is worth 3, and the second is worth 7. After doing this you then move on and start bursting rifts, to burst a rift there must be 3 elements lined up on the grid that match the rift you’re going to burst. You can only do this once (unless card rules override) per turn, so you’ve gotta make it count!

So that’s essentially the game, after this you refresh your cards and draw back up to 3 and check to see how many rifts have been burst, depending on the number of players, after X amount of bursts have occurred, each player gets 1 more turn and then the game ends. You total up your points from the rifts and see who had the most, and they’re the winner.

Quick, Easy, Approachable

The game’s artwork is gorgeous, the production value of the cards is spot on what you’d expect from someone like AEG or Fantasy Flight, and the bright colors really appealed to my kiddos. My son who is almost 10 needed no help playing the game, and my daughter who is almost 7 needed help with some of the card mechanics but got the rest of it just fine. Not that this game is being marketed to kids, but I just like to toss in just how easy it was to pick up and play this game with less than 5 minutes of reading rules, prep, etc. We found ourselves saying shift the rift a lot during the game, because has a nice ring to it too!

The game isn’t funded on Kickstarter yet, so if you’re interested, you should really head over and back it! Riftwalker is a unique, fun little game that can be played by anyone, and might even serve as a cool gateway game into the hobby for those acclimated. Until next time, game excellently with one another!


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