Riftforce: Strategy tips for new players
Games with simple mechanics can be difficult to play well. Like I mentioned in my review of Ritforce, it can be difficult to know exactly what leads to our defeat. However, there are three core principles we can rely on in our pursuit of victory: Keeping our opponent in check, being efficient and making the powers of each elemental an integral part of our plan.
KEEP YOUR OPPONENT IN CHECK
The most important strategic consideration in Riftforce is to always keep our opponent in check. Riftforce is very tight in both points and actions. If we allow our opponent to get ahead, it’s going to be difficult to turn the game around. Prevention is better than the cure and proactively keeping the pace with our rival is key to win.
Don’t let your opponent be present anywhere you are not. This is especially important in the first turns of the game. If your opponent plays elementals on a new row, you should do the same immediately afterwards. To not do so is to give up chunks of the board, which allows your opponent to get them for free. Contest them from the start and you’ll have an easier time later on.
After all, dropping elementals later risks them being blown up. A wall of muscle gives you the option to fight if you need it. But if you have no presence on the board, you can’t do that. Unsurprisingly, giving up combat in a game based around it will make you lose. Even not having enough elementals of the same type can be a problem. Save yourself some trouble and bring them to the board from turn one.
Above all, don’t let your opponent score while drawing cards. Normally the Check &Draw action slows players down. It doesn’t affect the actual battle, so it’s a dead turn. But if you are able to both score and draw at the same time, it becomes extremely potent. It bypasses the need to fight in order to push ahead, which saves entire turns worth of actions.
More importantly, being ahead takes off weight from our opponent. It means they can more easily afford to make mistakes and take less impactful actions. For example, they can trade one-for-one and still win. In other words, they no longer need to bother to score several points per turn. Don’t allow the enemy summoner to gain a big margin. Get down and bring your allies to the board as quickly as possible.
The second most important part of Riftforce‘s strategy is to be efficient. You have a finite set of actions and must make the best out of them. When bringing new elementals to the board, try to play as many as possible. Similarly, try to activate as many troops as possible whenever you can. Ideally, you would play and activate the maximum of three each time.
Of course, given the maximum hand size is seven, that’s not really possible. You’ll need to play and activate fewer from time to time. You won’t always have the right cards to hit maximum efficiency, either, and, even if you do, having to keep the opponent in check will sometimes require you to set efficiency aside. This is by design and acts as the central challenge of the game.
Still, avoid spending your whole turn just to destroy one elemental. While gaining a point seems fine enough, the rhythm of the game is faster than that. It will set you back in the long run and should be avoided. Try to damage other foes and force your opponent to take care of more than one problem at once.
After all, playing or activating three cards is 50% better than hitting just two. And it’s massively better than doing one. If your moves are not as efficient as your opponent, you’ll eventually fall behind as they get more actions than you do. This also applies to the Draw & Check action. Drawing with one or no cards in hand is much better than drawing with four.More importantly, having enough elementals on the table creates more opportunities. If you have a large number of troops, it will be easier to activate three of them than if you have not. Things get harder the fewer cards you have, particularly if they are of different types. Being efficient from the beginning of the game will make the transition to the late game much simpler.
HAVE A PLAN
Doing well at Riftforce, however, requires more than bringing troops to the board. Each guild has a different playstyle and, while most combinations work, some are more appropriate than others. We should understand what drives our deck from the very beginning and form a plan to use our elementals to the fullest.
From my perspective, all successful decks must do two things. The first is to deal enough raw damage to destroy an enemy force. Defeating elementals is the main source of points in the game. Hence, being able to deal 60 or 70 points of damage is key. Try to include at least one hard-hitting guild on your team like Fire or Crystal. Lightning and Ice may also work if given proper support.
The second is to deal enough chip damage to threaten a large portion of the board. Air and Water may struggle to finish off enemies, but they do harm several elementals at once. This allows your hard hitters to destroy enemies with one blow or do away with heavily damaged opponents without having to spend your whole turn on it.
Remember, you can activate elementals of any type with cards that match them in number. This means you don’t need to flood the board in Shadow types in order to use them. Keep your options open and try to bring down elementals of different types that share a number. After all, the more you play of each type, the fewer you’ll have to activate them. Balance both and you’ll be able to declare yourself the victor.