It would be easy to say that I love it because you can run any game in Rifts that you can imagine. This is true but that is not why I love this setting. You will hear people say that the setting is gonzo and over the top but it doesn't have to be. The story is what you and your play group make it out to be. It can be as balanced as you want by restricting some of the more extreme OCC's at either end of the power scale. None of this is what I love about the setting though. The thing that I truly love about the setting is the Coalition!
For many the Coalition is an evil group of Human Supremacists. Fans of Rifts may even tell you they are the greatest villains a game could have. They will kill innocent DBees, or magic users. They are right when they say this but the Coalition doesn't have to be all evil. When I think of the Coalition I see heroes who are just trying to keep the Human race alive. Many probably don't want to hurt innocent DBees and magic users. It can be borderline realistic with what our current military faces when in combat if the game master chooses to run it that way.
So when it comes to the types of games I want to play in Rifts most revolve around the Coalition. Below are just a few ideas that I think would be an absolute blast. The 1st one I will be running possibly at BrigadeCon.
1. Players are Coalition Soldiers and are former Burb Rejects. They are all privates and are on their first mission or one of their first missions. A common patrol with a psi-stalker, a few dog boys, and a few other dead boys like themselves. What kind of trouble can they possibly find for themselves?
2. Similiar to scenario 1 the players are Coalition Soldiers but part of a new special operations group. Maybe they are trained SAMAS Pilots. This would be all about big guns and big power armor. The players could enjoying blowing up major threats. A game or campaign like this I could see causing a lot of morality questions when they blow up a village of DBees and find out they hurt innocent humans as well.
3. A team of special operatives that are sent on covert operations. These could be nice little sneak in, plant explosives, and head out before detonating. They could be getting behind enemy lines and taking the fight to them from the inside.
4. Xiticix Invasion in which the players as Coalition Soldiers have to defend humanity from the large humanoid bugs. Maybe they push them back and have to attack the hive at some point? This is an easier game for the players to realize they are good and the Xiticix are evil.
5. The Coalition is looking to expand into more areas. They send scout teams out to patrol and find the resources which could sustain their expansion into surrounding areas.
Ultimately these could all be combined into one single campaign of pure Coalition awesomeness! The most interesting aspect of Rifts for me is hands down the Coalition.
If you want to read more about ways to use the Coalition there are numerous books released by Palladium books which are all about the Coalition. In the Rifts Ultimate Edition hardcover book page 230 has a bit on the ways you can run the Coalition in your games too. Everything I mentioned above can be done with just the core Rifts Ultimate Edition hardcover book. That book contains so many great things for players and game masters alike.
With the recent Kickstarter of Savage Rifts which is this setting for the Savage Worlds rules is shaping up nicely. I have all of the books in PDF at this time I believe. They even added a new faction called the Tomorrow Legion. In these PDFs they refer to the Coalition as the bad guys more often than not. It is still really simple to make Coalition themed players using the M.A.R.S. iconic class. They released a small PDF of Coalition equipment and gear that you can outfit these characters with. So all of the above ideas for Coalition games could easily be replicated in Savage Rifts.
Many Rifts fans I know tell me there are so many other great things about Rifts than the Coalition and while I think there are too the Coalition is what excites me the most and always has. I have re-skinned a Coalition soldier in a couple of games that I have played in Rifts. They were all one shots. The first game of Rifts I played as a former Coalition soldier. Julius who is employed by Palladium Books ran the game at a library in Westland. I have been drawn to the Coalition ever since.
This winter I am looking forward to getting new Rifts books to run some Coalition themed games. Whether I run them in Savage Rifts of Palladium Books Rifts I am still unsure of. Either way it is going to be an exciting Winter and Spring.