April 13, 2024

#UnboxingDay – Claws of the Tiger: The Japanese Invasion of Malaya 1941-1942

Michael Eckefels, 17 June 2021 ~ #UnboxingDay

Claws of the Tiger is a two-player game with a solitaire variant, where the player takes on the role of the British in defending the Malaya peninsula, including Singapore, from Japanese invaders at the start of World War II. The solo game system guides the player in moving and attacking with Japanese forces while the player does their best to slow and hopefully stop the invaders.


click images to enlarge


The invasion was an odd one in that the British outnumbered the Japanese, but the latter’s tactics proved to be too much for the defenders. The supposedly invincible Singapore bastion fell fairly quickly and the Japanese quickly pushed on towards India, though fortunately that advance was not nearly as speedy.



The game is unusual in that it has a much different combat resolution system than you’d normally expect to find in board games. I’ve read through it but couldn’t do it justice in just an unboxing article, so I’ll avoid that depth of discussion. Regardless, this fact alone makes this a very intriguing title.



The rule book is full color with a lot of examples and illustrations, which greatly helps. It still took me a few reads (as well as a YouTube video on this game) to figure things out, which I’ll need to do again to put it through its paces.



Since it only comes in at eight pages, though, it’s very easy to jump into. I believe this is a staple for White Dog Games in keeping rules manageable (at least, in my experience with the handful of their titles that I own).



Included are two Tactical Detail Sheets, each back-printed with their side’s flag – a nice design choice. These are used, I believe, when resolving combat – unit counters are placed to facilitate the fracas.



Each side also has a Force Detail Sheet, designed the same as the Tactical Detail Sheets. Forces are represented by a ‘Force’ counter (A through H for the Japanese and A through G for the British). Each Force has units assigned to it, and these Force counters are what are moved around on the map.



An Extended Example of Play is included to give players a chance to set up a game and follow along as the instructions walk them through the various game procedures. The Solo Variant document gives the player a guide on how to play solo (go figure!). 



The counter sheet includes 176 high-quality, thick counters with interesting artwork. Unit types are infantry, armor, and artillery, and numbers on each side of the counter which harkens to block-type wargames where the top facing indicates that unit’s strength.



The back side of the counter sheet.



The map, neatly folded, hints at an excellent design.



Unfolded, it is indeed a nice design; it simply focuses on the Malaya Peninsula itself, with a lot of empty space that doesn’t feel like its wasted.



A close-up of Singapore. 



And a close-up of another part of the map. The detail is nice without being overwhelming, and is easily discerned at a glance.

An interesting wargame covering an area that doesn’t get a lot of attention, this one. I’m looking forward to learning more about it.

Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed our recon of our recent acquisitions.
You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
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