The world of RIFTS, as introduced 18 years ago in the role-playing game of that name, is marked by two factors: danger and diversity. Earth has become crisscrossed with key lines of magical power and pockmarked by gates into other dimensions. Demons, vampires and dinosaurs stalk the land while the Earthlings themselves, dabbling in hand-me-down science and newfound sorcery, have formed into factions engaged in constant warfare.
In the new RIFTS Collectible Card Game, players lead these factions to take over what's left of North America. Each player starts with one of nine faction cards, a deck (the size of which is dictated by the faction) and a hand (likewise). Most cards in the hand are drawn at random from the deck, but some are chosen before the game begins.
Some cards can generate resources. On each turn each player "rotates" cards to play other cards from their hand, with certain restrictions. "Base" cards, representing cities and other large installations, can only be played using resources generated by a faction card. Other cards can require resources with a specific attribute; for instance, a factional restriction such as "2 Pecos" means the resources must be generated by cards with the "Pecos Empire" attribute (so only the Pecos Empire or its allies can use it). Other limitations such as "Tech" "Magic" or "Techno-Wizard" prevent all-magic factions from controlling armies of giant robots unless they have some source of technological resources.
One type of card, the Unit, is rated for Attack, Counter-Attack and Damage Capacity as well as special abilities (almost all units have them). During the combat phase, a player can order Units to attack another player. When this is done, the defender takes damage equal to the attacking units' Attack, while the attacking units take damage equal to the defenders' Counter-Attack. Counter-Attack points equal to an attacking units Damage Capacity kill that unit, whereas Attack points kill defending Units or Bases or can be "Decked" meaning the defender discards that many cards from their deck or hand.
When a player's deck runs out of cards they are out of the game. The last player standing wins.
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