Thursday, June 20, 2024

‘Claim’: Gain Faction Favor to Claim the Throne

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If you’re someone who liked to play War as a kid, you’re bound to enjoy what Claim has to offer. The two-player card game was designed by Scott Almes with art by Mihajlo Dimitrievski and Martijn Haddering and is published by Deep Water Games (Fantastic Factories). Claim has opponents compete to gain the favor of five factions in order to come out on top as King, and while some of the rules are a little hard to catch onto at first, once the first few rounds pass, the game is very much straightforward.

Claim’s box
What’s in the Box?
  • Claim Rules Sheet
  • 2 Faction Overview Cards
  • 52 Faction Cards
    • 14 Goblin Cards
    • 10 Dwarf Cards
    • 10 Undead Cards
    • 10 Dopperganger Cards
    • 8 Knight Cards
Claim Box and Cards
Claim box and cards
How to Play Claim

Each game of Claim has two Phases. To start Phase One, the deck of faction cards is shuffled and each player is dealt 13 cards each. The remaining cards are stacked in a deck and placed between the two players. This deck is where each player will gain their followers. The top card of the deck is revealed, and the youngest player of the game – the Leader for this trick – plays a card from any faction to try and win the follower.

After the first Phase is finished

The second player must play a card from the same faction, and the person with the highest number wins the follower and is the Leader for the next trick. They will take their new follower and begin a face-down pile of cards – their Follower deck – and then take the card they played and put it in an upward-facing pile – their Score deck. Whoever loses also chooses a card from the follower deck without revealing to the other place what it is, and creates the same Follower and Score decks. This Phase is played until the Follower deck is depleted.

If the second player cannot pull a card from the same faction, then the Leader automatically wins. The only times this doesn’t happen are when a Knight is drawn after a Goblin, or when a Doppelganger with a higher number is drawn, as Doppelgangers can be used to in lieu of the asked suit. If an Undead card is played, whoever wins will take both undead cards and add them to their Score pile.

Phase Two of Claim

In Phase Two of the game, the rules regarding who the Leader is and the matching factions are the same, as well as the rules about Knights and Goblins. Instead of the rules about the Undead being the same, the second Phase instead has the loser of any round where a Dwarf card is played receiving any Dwarf cards played. Phase two proceeds similarly to Phase One: the Leader plays a card, the second player follows with a card of the same faction, and whoever has the highest number wins that round and goes on to be the Leader of the next round.

When all of the cards are depleted, the players will go on to add up the totals of each faction that they have. Whoever has the highest score in at least three of the factions is the play who will win and go on to become the new King of the realm. In the case of there being a tie in one of the Faction scores, the person with the highest single card number will win that faction’s vote.

Final Faction Counts for each player.
What Do We Think?

Claim is a great two-player game that’s relatively easy to pick up on, and while there might be some parts that are hard to grasp at first, once you settle into the game, it’s very enjoyable.

While most of the rules are pretty clear-cut, remembering to switch Leaders can slip the mind at times. The same could be said about the rules about Knight and Goblin cards. The rules about the Undead cards and the Dwarf cards are easier to remember, but that’s because they always apply, unlike the Knight-Goblin rule that isn’t always guaranteed to happen in each trick.

The art and design of the cards is also something that should be complimented. The entire aesthetic is immersive, aided by the higher numbered cards having larger and seemingly stronger members of the Factions drawn on them than the lower ones. It would have been easy to just have the same image across each Faction of cards, but the creativity just makes the game better.

It should be said that if you’re someone that uses a lot of pressure to shuffle cards, you should be careful with this game. The card stock is a bit more fragile than a usual deck of playing cards, so I would recommend either overhand shuffling the cards or just spreading them around your playing surface at random before putting them back in a deck.

Overall, Claim is some good fun for two players. Its fast pace means that it’s great if you wanna just play a few rounds with the same person, or you could easily set up a tournament-style competition with a group of friends to see who the one true King will be.

Images and Review Copy Courtesy of Deep Water Games

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