Game review: Shadowrift enables gamers to protect a fantasy village from encroaching darkness
Posted July 15
The fantasy village of Haven Town is being attacked by a horde of deadly monsters, and only the players stand in their way. In the game Shadowrift, players build a hand of cards turn by turn to create powerful combinations to defeat evil. Heroes rise!
With the ability to accommodate from one to six players, Shadowrift has gamers covered, with solo play all the way up to death-defying six-gamer defense. Games last about 90 minutes to two hours, depending on the number of players.
A giant board featuring the different locations of Haven Town is placed on the table top. There are places on the board for purchasing new spells and weapons, fighting monsters, meeting townspeople, building walls and creating seals to get rid of the magical rift that keeps letting monsters in.
The heart of Shadowrift is deck-building. To those new to deck-builders, the main mechanic of the game is to build a personal deck of cards containing basic actions, abilities and powers into powerful combinations, deadly attacks and fantastic powers by purchasing new cards and adding them to their own decks.
For example, each turn a player draws five cards from his or her deck. They use these cards to perform actions such as purchasing additional cards, attacking monsters, building walls to protect the city or sealing the shadowrifts.
There are three different types of resources in the game: prowess, coins and magic. In addition to using cards for purchasing more powerful cards or helping the town, resources can boost the power of existing cards for special attacks and maneuvers.
One of the coolest aspects of this game that sets it apart from other fantasy deck-builders is the way the monsters operate. They don't just come out on the board and sit around waiting to be defeated. Oh no. Each turn they advance and perform some sort of effect. And if they progress too far, they can no longer be defeated but they continue to wreak havoc.
Another unique aspect of the game is the presence of different townspeople on the board each turn. Players can seek aid from any available townspeople and apply their effects to play. However, townspeople can die and become corpses. Too many corpses can cause the heroes to lose, so watch out.
The game ends in a variety of ways. The players win if they can either build eight walls or seal all of the shadowrifts. The players lose if a monster has the annihilation action and uses it, too many corpses are placed in the village or if at the start of a player's turn, there are no villagers or walls in the town square.
It's important to note that this game is highly replayable. There are different cards that can be used each game, including monster factions. One game the players may be fighting dragons and the next game they may be fighting necromancers. The different combinations make each game something special, and there are hundreds of combinations.
I have a strong suspicion that many people are not familiar with Shadowrift and may be finding out about it for the first time from this review. This game is one of those diamonds in the rough. It is fun to play, challenging, plays differently each time and has great components. Find out more or purchase it at Game Salute.