How to play Clash of Clans

An army of giants lumber toward a village wall. A wizard standing atop a tower incinerates them. You pump your fist in victory. This is Clash of Clans.

There’s a good reason “CoC” continues to be a top 10 game on the Google and Apple app stores week after week. Sure, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but that’s why we’re here. Just follow these steps and you’ll be demolishing archer towers and scooping up loot in no time!

How to play Clash of Clans

What you need to know

Clash of Clans can be a complex game, but the built-in tutorial is easy to follow. The key to the game is to build a base surrounded by great defenses while raiding other players’ bases for loot and trophies. The loot allows you to upgrade your base or create stronger troops. As you level up, you may choose to join a “clan” of other players to battle rival clans around the world.

When you first start playing, your base is defended by a shield. The shield gives you a 72-hour window of safety when enemies can’t attack your base and steal your loot. If your shield is down, attackers could swoop in, but the shield will return to defend you after a catastrophic loss.

How do you upgrade your squad? Clash has one currency and three resources within the game. Gems are the “money” in the game. You’ll earn them by removing obstacles around your base. If you’re less patient, you can purchase them in-game with real money. Think of gems as a shortcut to repair your heroes and speed up construction.

Clash has three resources: gold, elixir, and dark elixir. All three can be “mined” with structures in your base or looted from other players. Gold is used to create buildings. You’ll spend elixir to create your troops and helpful spells. Dark elixir appears later in the game, unlocking even more powerful elements. Bottom line: Grab all of this stuff as often as possible and you’ll get more powerful.

The initial setup

As you begin gameplay, a helpful tutorial makes it impossible to mess up. The heart of your base is the town hall, and you want to protect that at all costs. Try placing your town hall at the center of the map and surround it with buildings. This way, enemy raiders will need to go through multiple levels of buildings before getting to the town hall.

Walls will slow down the enemy, so put those around your precious town hall, along with your gold and elixir storage units. If you’re short on walls, you can place your defensive buildings (cannons, archer towers, etc.) outside the barriers. Hopefully, your defenses will shred the enemy before they can get to your goodies.

At the beginning of the game, try to save all your gems so you can buy builder huts. These structures are critical to building up your base, so don’t waste gems on minor time-savers. (Yes, the tutorial will tell you to spend gems recklessly. Ignore it. Save those gems for the builder huts.)

During the tutorial, you are given five wizards to destroy an enemy base, but you only need two. Just don’t deploy the other three! They’ll simply wait in your army camp. Since wizards don’t unlock for a few town hall updates, having three extra wizards will give you extra firepower in the future.

Another key tip: Don’t bother building extra gold or elixir storages at the beginning. It will be a while before you can fill them, so they’re mostly a waste of your resources.

Protecting your base

The key to a strong defense is to upgrade defensive weapons quickly. Improve your cannons, archer towers, and mortars and they’ll rip through opposing armies. As you level up your town hall, more defensive weapons will be unlocked. But you should resist the urge to upgrade the town hall until all your other buildings have been maxed out. Yes, you should even upgrade all your walls before making the leap to a new town hall.

It’s also important to keep your base compact. If you’re too spread out, your defenses won’t be able to tag-team incoming armies. One exception to the rule? Put your builder huts in the very corners of your map. The extra travel time for opposing armies could prevent a perfect 3-star attack.

In addition to defensive buildings, you can also set traps to thwart your enemies. While defensive buildings keep firing until they’re destroyed, traps only go off once. For a great defensive base, place your slower and longer-range defenses (like mortars or air defense) closer to the center. Cannons and archer towers should be placed to protect the slower defenses while still defending the town hall and your gold and elixir storages. When your base is protected, your trophy count stays high.

Attacking others

Now that your base is protected, it’s time to blow up your enemies on their turf. Whether you’re taking on other humans or the computer-led goblin bases, there is a method to the madness.

Before you start the attack, look at the loot that is available. Generally, you will want to target bases that have weak defenses, but lots of available gold and elixir. Win a battle and you’ll gain trophies. Lose and (you guessed it) your trophy count goes down. Each successful attack helps you earn bonuses, adding more gold and elixir to your stash.

For maximum victory, you’re aiming for a 3-star attack. That means that the base is 100 percent destroyed. You’ll get one star for destroying half an enemy’s base or taking out their town hall. The only way to get all three stars is to blow up every structure on the map. (It’s extremely gratifying.)

The key to a great attack is to find a base’s weakest point. Is there a spot where the walls are weak? Can you snipe some structures with long-range archers before sending in the slow, heavy giants? Or can you wipe out the big guns with your heavy troops before sending in the less expensive, faster-firing fighters? Think strategically and you’ll increase your odds.

Ways to raid resources

Simply looking to grab loot as fast as possible? Here are two great attack methods that have proven to be successful at all levels of Clash. The first is the Goblin Rush.

Goblin Rush

  • 4 Wall Breakers
  • 4 Giants
  • Fill the rest of your army with goblins

This attack method relies on overwhelming numbers and luck. Release the giants to absorb damage while your wall breakers take out the walls. Once the barriers are gone, send in the goblins. These greedy little guys target elixir and gold storages and collectors, providing maximum return on minimum investment. When deployed properly, a 1-star is guaranteed and you’ll gain tons of loot.

Barbarian Rush

  • All Barbarians

This attack relies on massive troop numbers to overwhelm a base’s defenses. The method works best against weak walls. You will need to deploy your barbarians quickly, but it does risk a zero-star attack if your troops get held up.

In addition to the regular player-vs.-player gameplay, there are also side games that involve your clan fighting other clans and a builder village with different troops and defenses. No matter how you clash, you’re bound to have a lot of fun for years with this top-notch freemium game.

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