Clash of Clans: Intro to the Game

In the last few years only a handful of games have proven to be massively popular and as addicting as Clash of Clans. I heard about Clash of Clans through my girlfriend. She said all of her co-workers were addicted to this game and checking their iPhones every 15 minutes. Naturally, I had to see what this commotion was all about. Darn. Clash of Clans is incredible. It’s like War Craft 1 meets Internet Relay Chat meets a Social Network. Combining an addictive and engaging game play (think Real Time Strategy/Tactics) with a very alive community of gamers who can group together and form Clans. The Clan feature is what really hooked me. Just days after installing the game, I found myself in a Clan and was hooked and playing daily. I want to write an article on my strategy for playing the game and share all of the tips and tricks I’ve amassed but to do that I first need to describe the game (below) and then I’ll write another post on Strategy.

Generally speaking, Clash of Clans is a lot like Farmville. You create a Base, and you add things to your base, such as Barracks, Army Camps, Gold Mines, Walls, Mortars, Cannons, and Archer Towers. These buildings all come together to form your individual base. The goal of the game is to improve the level of each building and upgrade your army units so that you can defend your base and easily attack other bases. Battling with other clans is a lot of fun, but without upgraded troops (and a large army obtained via upgrading the Army Camp), the battles are short and depressing. Thus, you should spend a lot of the initial game play focusing on upgrading buildings.

A sample Early Base

Simple early base in Clash of Clans

There are four types of resources that are necessary for game-play: Gems, Gold, Dark Elixer, and Elixer (in order of rarity and value).

  • Gems: The only unit that real life money can buy. Consequently, it is highly valuable. Gems are used to speed up wait times on building buildings and units, and they can also buy Builders, which as the name indicates are necessary for building construction.
  • Gold: The most common resource used to upgrade almost all of the important buildings and structures (i.e., defenses) . Searching for other clans to battle also requires the use of gold.
  • Dark Elixer (DE): A newly introduced resource used to buy special types of units. You can safely ignore this resource for now. It becomes more valuable when you are farther into the game.
  • Elixer: The primary resource for building army troops and upgrading certain types of buildings.

Attaining Gold, DE, and Elixer is not difficult. There are ways to “hunt for gold,” also called “Farming,” which allows you to easily acquire everything except for gems.

Ultimately, Clash of Clans comes down to what you do while you wait for buildings to upgrade. The wait-time for upgrades can vary depending on the type and level of the structure. For example, to upgrade an Army Camp from Level 1 to Level 2 might take a few hundred Elixer and 5 minutes, while upgrading from Level 4 to Level 5 might require tens thousand Elixer and a few days.

Middle-stage base in Clash of Clans

Middle-stage base in Clash of Clans

Gems can speed up build times. Gems are also the currency used for buying Builders. Builders allow parallelism: you can be upgrading more than 1 or 2 things at a time. You can have a total of 5 builders. The cost of builders ranges from 250 (2nd builder) to 2,000 (5th builder) Gems. You’ll start with enough Gems to buy your second builder. You can buy your 3rd builder for 500 Gems and those Gems can come from accomplishing the 1250 Trophies Achievement. The 4th and 5th builder you’ll have to spend cold, hard cash on (if you decide it is worth it). Never spend Gems to speed up the completion of buildings. It’s just not worth it. Gems are too valuable.

“So I should just sit around and wait for stuff to finish building and upgrading?” Yes. :) Each Gem equates to about 3 minutes of speed up. So if you have a building that will take 100 minutes to complete, then you will spend 33 Gems. Some buildings take 4 days to upgrade. That’s about 5760 minutes, or 2,000 Gems! So what are Gems good for? Buying Builders! The higher the level your buildings, then the longer their next upgrade wait period will be… so while it’s tempting to speed early upgrades you should refrain because that will only make the latest upgrade wait periods harder to deal with (emotionally).

Some upgrades can take days. Just relax and let it happen. It can cost thousands of Gems to upgrade faster so it’s just not worth it. Use that time to attack other clans and collect other forms of resources.


My Later Staged Base

My Later Staged Base

Next Article: How to Farm Efficiently & Other Tricks in Clash of Clans. A sneak peak of what I’ll talk about can be seen in this video I recorded of me Farming for Gold. This is a training video for my clan that lasts about 10 minutes.