Why I Think Riftwalker is One of The Best Small Box Games

Seth Ryals-Fernandes

Seth Ryals-Fernandes is the owner and main author at TableTopCrazy. His love for modern board games is still budding, and he enjoys writing here at TableTopCrazy as a hobby.

Quick Bits:

  • $13 on Amazon, $20-$25 in Stores
  • Set Collection/Score Attack
  • Competitive
  • 2-4 Players
  • 20-40 Minute Playtime
  • Complexity: Easy
  • Fantasy/Adventure Theme
  • Board Game Geek

Riftwalker and What Sets it Apart

Riftwalker has been in my collection for a long time. By that I mean almost as long as I have been playing board games seriously, which is about 2 years. Most of the time when I buy a small game like this, I only pull it out when I’m playing a game with someone who doesn’t play a lot of complex games. Riftwalker is the best of both worlds in this case. I can usually teach it to someone who is new to modern table top games in about 10 minutes. But I also pull it out often at my own weekly board game night. It is fun and easy to learn, but the level of strategy and complexity can definitely be high when both players are experienced.

What is Riftwalker?

Riftwalker is a card game, it comes in a small box with a single deck of cards in it. There are 2 different kinds of cards in Riftwalker, there are Rifts, and then there are element cards. The Rifts are used to score points. This is done by playing the rift from your hand (exploring), rotating the rift (shifting), and then finally moving the rift to your score pile (bursting). Each rift also has a unique ability. This in itself is not too unique. The part that makes Riftwalker so different is the method by which you do this. This is where the element cards come in.

Riftwalker

Element cards come in a small deck, about twice the amount used to create the 3×3 grid which is the main set piece of the mechanics of the game. At the beginning of your turn you will manipulate one card on the grid. You will do this either by flipping a card, or placing a new card. Whatever the new element of that card is, is the element that you will be manipulating. From there you can either explore a new rift or shift a current rift, making it worth more points.

Scoring:

Not only do you use the grid to play new rifts and increase the amount of points they are worth. When you want to burst a rift, score points for it, you have to have 3 in a row of the corresponding element. Like tic-tac-toe. This is where the real strategy of the game comes into play. You can only play one new card per turn, unless you have a rift ability that lets you manipulate the grid in other ways. So with this one card you have to balance setting yourself up to score points, while also making sure your opponent can’t.

This sounds simple, but when both players make full use of their rift abilities, the game can be complex and have deep strategy.

Why I think Riftwalker is a must-have for any collection

Whether you want to play games with your parents, girlfriend, or fellow board game enthusiasts; Riftwalker is a great go to game. It can be as hard as you want it to be, and can take as long as you let it. You can adjust the amount of rifts you want the game to end at for either a shorter or longer game. They do have recommended amounts based on the number of players, but I often ignore these.

Also if you have already player Riftwalker or think you would like it, it might be a good idea to check out Stem: Epic Heroes. Don’t forget to subscribe to get emails when I post a new article, if you like what you read here. Also I love feedback and any questions or concerns and can be reached through the Contact us page.

Thanks for reading!

Seth Ryals-Fernandes

Seth Ryals-Fernandes is the owner and main author at TableTopCrazy. His love for modern board games is still budding, and he enjoys writing here at TableTopCrazy as a hobby.

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