In Clash Royale, players are ranked by their level, trophies, and arena. The maximum level is thirteen, obtained by getting more experience from donating or leveling up cards. There are fourteen arenas (excluding training camp) in total, with each arena having a certain trophy limit.
A player wins a battle or challenge by destroying more towers than the opponent, or by destroying the opponent's "King's Tower", which grants an automatic three "crown" victory.
Players battle through 13 arenas (excluding Training Camp and Mountain Everest), each requiring a certain amount of trophies, win battle or challenges and get trophies.
At the start of each game, both players are given a "hand" of four cards from a "deck" of eight cards chosen by the player. Cards can be used to attack and defend. To play the cards, the player must have enough "elixir", one elixir automatically being replenished every 2.8 seconds (every 1.4 seconds during 'Double Elixir', during the last 60 seconds of the game). Once a card is placed, a new card from the deck is drawn to the hand.
As a free-to-play game, Clash Royale offers players the ability to purchase "gems" in the card shop using currency. "Gems" can be used to start tournaments, enter challenges, and purchase chests, cards, gold and gems from the shop.
When a player wins a multiplayer battle, they will obtain a "chest", which takes a certain amount of time to open depending on the rarity of the chest. Chests take a certain amount of time to unlock: Wooden Chests take 5 seconds to unlock, Silver Chests take 3 hours, Golden and Rare Chests take 8 hours, Giant, Magical and Epic Chests take 12 hours, while Super Magical and Legendary Chests take 24 hours. Gems may be used to speed up unlocking or can be used to purchase a chest. Chests contain cards and gold, and free chests and crown chests will also contain gems. Different levels of chests contain different numbers or types of cards. When the player has a certain number of a troop's cards, they can upgrade it, using gold, to increase its statistics. A player can hold a maximum of 4 chests at one time; to open up chest slots a chest will need to be opened. Free chests are also given to the player once every 4 hours, and only two of these can be stored. Every 24 hours, the player also has the chance to win a Crown Chest by claiming 10 "crowns" from battle victories. A Clan Chest appears from Friday midnight to Monday midnight. There are ten stages to it, with each stage increasing the reward. Crown chests stack twice. Both the Free and Crown Chests unlock instantly.
Gameplay of the Clan Battles Gamemode; a 4 person clan vs. clan gamemode.
Players may also form clans, but must be level 3 or above to participate in clans. Clan members may engage in "friendly battles" with one another, the outcome of which does not affect trophies or chests but does however, contribute to the 'practice with friends' achievement. The "friendly battle" feature allows for live spectating from other clanmates. Clan members may also donate or request cards from one another.
In August 2017, Supercell will introduced a new "Tournament" feature. This feature is unlocked at level 8. Tournaments can only be created by using gems, and the creator can choose to make it password protected or open. Based on tournament performance, players are rewarded with tournament chests. As well as tournaments, there are two types of Victory Challenges in which the goal is to win 12 times while losing no more than two times. A Grand Challenge costs 100 gems to enter, and a Classic Challenge costs 10. Completing (or getting 12 wins) a Classic Challenge gives you 2000 gold and 100 cards, and a Grand Challenge will reward you 22,000 gold and 1,100 cards. Supercell has also added various event challenges, for limited periods of time, that add special features to the battles, or allow players to receive special cards. These event challenges can also be played in Friendly Battles.
In January 2018, "Leagues" were added to the game. Once above 4000 trophies, players are placed in one of nine different leagues ranging from Challenger I to Ultimate Champion. At the end of each season, players receive rewards based on the highest league achieved during that season. Another feature that was introduced is "Clan Battles". Two players get to battle side by side with another member of their clan facing off against 2 other opponents from another clan. This is the first update to include a new game mode.