Draim Arena is played with several different rules sets, two rules sets are presented on the official website and two additional tournament setups for each rules set. The two rules sets are called 9-cards and 30-cards after the difference between the number of cards used. Most of the rules are common to both rule sets and the difference is primarily the number of cards in the deck.
In the game players put armies against each other and the player whose army is defeated loses the game, the winner is the player that in the end stands alone. The armies are built one character at a time, a player cannot attack opponents during a turn that a new character is added to the army and players therefore have to balance play between reinforcing the army and playing aggressive to defeat opponents.
The use of character cards are central to the game, these form the army and are needed to play arena cards. Each character can take damage two times, the first time they are turned and the second the are dead and put in the grave. Cards in the grave cannot be used during the rest of the same game. Turned characters can be healed, either by use of some arena cards or by turning another character in your own army during phase two. This last choice prevents that same player from attacking or playing a character card that turn, however and this should therefore be considered.
Game play is built around four phases that divide each player's turn. These four phases allow different actions and card types to be played. Every time a player starts a turn it begins with phase one and continues through all four until the turn is over and next player starts. The phases allow the following:1. play phase 1 arena cards. 2. play a new character card, switch places between two characters, heal a character or attack a player. 3. preparation for battle (only in case of attack during phase2). 4. battle (only in case of attack during phase2). If attack is chosen during phase two a special tactical dice is used to decide which character in the attacking and the defending armies that will fight. The fight during phase four is primarily decided with the use of another dice, called battle dice. The use of dice has been compared with pencil-and-paper Role-playing games and set this game apart from most other card games.
In this rule set each player build a deck of nine cards, with a free mix of character cards and arena cards. All cards are played in the hand from the start and can therefore be played at any time.
In this rule set each player uses a total of 30 cards. 25 arena cards and 5 character cards. The major difference från 9-cards play is that all arena cards are put in a library from start and are therefore not available to play. To make the cards in the library available the player has to do one of two things, either turning a character in phase one and draw one card from the library or by killing a character in an opponent army.
Two different tournament formats are used in official play; emperor and conqueror. The difference between them are basically that emperor is a format with pre-made decks and conqueror is a variation of sealed deck. During play in conqueror format some changes are applied, primarily concerning how many instances of each card and card type can be used.
Like other Trading card games deck building is a central part of the strategy of the game since this offers a chance to build a unique deck and surprise your opponents. Depending on which type of game you prefer, 9 or 30 cards, the setup of the deck vary a lot. The use of arena cards are often more central in play with 30 cards. In 30-cards the deck may only include one of each character and two of each arena card and in 9-cards it may only consist one of each. During tournaments in the conqueror format there is no limit to this, and a deck can have any number of each card, the deck however cannot be bigger than 20 cards in this format.
The game is set in a fantasy world called Draimia. Like other comparable fantasy worlds such as Middle-earth this is a high fantasy setting, featuring a number of different creatures and species unique to this world. The game also features an open use of magic and enchanted artifacts that enhances characters in a number of ways. The company Draim that is behind the game mentions on their Swedish official website a number of other future uses of this world for example comic books, board game and a Role-playing game. The story behind the game is released a bit at a time so that players will find out more as it progresses.