“Chief, your troops are ready for battle!” This is one of a few different notifications you will get while you are playing Clash of Clans on your phone or tablet. Clash of Clans is one of the few apps where I look forward to the push notifications, and slide to the right in order to rectify whatever is amiss or otherwise needs my attention. I am the Chief after all; the leader of a people. So why is that this game is so popular, and what makes it different than other similar games that are free to play, but allow players to purchase additional in game currency with real money? Let's first talk about what Clash of Clans is before we answer that question.

 Clash of Clans is a combat/village building/tower defense game. You begin the game with a small village that has a defense or two, a town hall, and some buildings that collect and store gold (gold will be used for weapon, troop, and some building upgrades) and elixir (elixir is used to train troops, upgrade them, and upgrade certain buildings). You also have builders that build and upgrade additional things for you. The builders take time to build the things you tell them to, and if you do not have any available, you cannot build anything. Clash has an in-game premium currency called gems, and you can buy these with real money to speed up production on anything, as well as buy additional amounts of gold and elixir.Clash partyCredit: http://virtualeconomists.com/blogs/news/10823889-6-free-to-play-design-lessons-from-clash-of-clans-to-engage-players-and-increase-profits

 The primary point to the game is to attack other player’s villages, or prepare the best defense you can against other people from doing the same. When you attack other people or defend against them, something happens to what is called your trophy count. You win or lose trophies based on if you win or lose attacks or defenses. Your trophy count is used by the game (as well as your town hall level) to match you up with opponents who are relatively at the same level you. This makes it so that you will not have top-level money dumpers come through and destroy your humble abode without even thinking about it. As your trophy count and town hall level rises, so does the difficulty of your opponents.

 As you upgrade your town hall, laboratory, and barracks, you will be able to unlock additional defense types, troop types, and upgrade those defenses and troops in order to vanquish every thought your enemy has of conquering you. The game is comprised of many types of land and air troops, and most of them have a unique ability that helps you. For example the giants target enemy defenses before other buildings, and goblins will aim for the resources first. This is why it is important to build your army with the units that fit your objective best. You want to use barbarians for a resource raid!!! All of your clan mates will laugh at you as you fail.

BattleCredit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ox49LBFLZzY

When you attack a village, you are able to select the troop type you want and location of deployment. You cannot control your troops once they have been deployed. Your troops will go after what they are designed to go after until that specific thing no longer exists, at which point they will begin attacking whatever is closest.  Knowing where, and how many of what troops to deploy is where the strategy is in the game, as well as how to orientate your village walls and defenses. There are a ton of different options, however you will find a lot of online resources that advise players to do things a certain way.

 Clans are my favorite part about Clash of Clans. Anyone can join or start a clan and play together with their friends. While in a clan, you will be able to give and receive troops to help in attacking and defending. You can also share replays of attacks and defenses with your clan to show everyone how you are doing.  There is an internal clan chat system that lets you keep up to date with people in your clan and discuss strategies or whatever you want… Like making fun of the guy who made a resource raid with barbarians… What a loser! I am currently in a clan with many of my co-workers, and it is a blast ragging on each other and competing for the top spots in the clan (which is dictated by that trophy count we talked about earlier). It is a great game to play around the office (just don’t get caught flipping out your phone for a quick raid while on the clock).BarbKingCredit: http://b-i.forbesimg.com/karstenstrauss/files/2013/04/barbarianKing_infoScreen_1_large.png

 The two things that make this game shine for me, and makes it better than other games, is the fact that you do not need to pay in order to have a good time with this game, and the time commitment is minimal. You can spend as much or as little time as you want in the game and still have a lot of fun. Many games like this have you get to a certain point where you if you do not spend a little money, you fall way behind or get slaughtered my people who do. You will not run into this problem with Clash of Clans. This game is free and is a perfect game to waste a little time when you get bored or are waiting in line. Play with your kids, play with your wives, and play with your husbands, because everyone is playing it out here!