First, a quick explainer of what Clash of Clans is and what the ultimate goals are. The game is based around building, and then protecting, a village and attacking the villages of others. As the game progresses — signalled by a higher level Town Hall, the centerpiece of the village — it becomes harder, more expensive, and longer. There are various types of defences (from the cannon to the X-Bow), various types of troops (such as the hog rider or Golem), different sets of heroes (unlocked at higher levels), and an assortment of other things that you will discover as you progress. Gameplay is simple: You either tend to your village (upgrading assets, for example), attack other bases, or engage in Clan Wars (more on those later). To speed up upgrades and to buy more resources (which are broken down into gold, elixir, and dark elixir), Supercell offers gems which can be bought for real money (£3.99 gets you 500, and so on.) At the highest levels, upgrades can take up to two weeks. Speaking of gems, the best way to progress through the game is to save them for a rainy day — or, at least, not spend them all during the tutorial (a strategy that Supercell encourages). Having gems on hand is useful for speeding up upgrades — especially within the last hour of the upgrade — and boosting mines and collectors, which increases the output by 2x. You can also boost the training of troops or buy a shield which protects your village for a period of time. Gems can be harvested from trees, rocks, and so on, which cost a small amount of elixir. Some players spend thousands of dollars on gems to quickly build their village, but the fun of the game comes from successfully saving for things. Having a good village layout is super important, especially if you're playing to win trophies, which come from successfully attacking a village or defending your own and are used to rank players. Choices have to be made at the lower levels of the game as there are few walls to defend buildings but as the game progresses and your village becomes larger, there are plenty of options. Some players chose to place storages — which contain gold, elixir, and dark elixir — in the centre of the base, protecting them, with the Town Hall on the outside. The hope is that attackers will just destroy the Town Hall and leave without plundering resources. Others choose to protect the Town Hall above all else, which can help save trophies, and is a tactic used when there are no more upgrades to save for. There are countless base designs available on the internet and building one of your own isn't too hard. Deciding what you want to protect — trophies or resources — is the most important part. Beyond raiding other villages, one of the best ways to amass resources is to collect them. Gold mines, elixir pumps, and dark elixir drills are all available and can, depending on their level, produce a fair amount of resources. At lower levels, pumps only produce small amounts of resources per hour — around 250 — while a fully upgraded pump can produce up to 3,500 of each resource. During shielded periods — which last up to 15 hours — this can result in a lot of (free) resources. Upgrading storages is also important, as they can house more resources which can then be used to upgrade troops and defences. The Shield protects your village from outside attack for a set period of time. Attacking another village while your shield is still active breaks it, and this is something you want to avoid. Only attacking when your shield goes down — the game gives you a notification when there is 30 minutes left — maximises the time your collectors and mines can produce resources (for free) and reduces the risk of losing trophies. A clan is a group of up to 50 players who can share troops, go to war, and chat within the game. You can create clans yourself, customise the settings (who you want to join, how often you war, and so on), and start hanging out with other players. Being in a clan has multiple advantages: You can go to war which, if you win, rewards you with considerable loot; your clan mates can fill your Clan Castle with troops who will attack anyone attacking your base; and it gives the game a bigger sense of community. The rewards for willing a Clan War are, at the highest level, vast, with some players winning up to one million (around £670) in both gold and elixir. Without good defences, it's impossible to win Clash of Clans. Right from the start, players are encouraged to upgrade defences to the maximum level before moving on — the tradeoff being the time and expense. Don't let this put you off, however. Investing time and gold into getting the highest level archer tower, cannon, or X-Bow, is invaluable and will help ward off attackers at higher levels. Attacking other players — whether in war or for loot — is another essential component of the game, and upgrading troops to the maximum level is important because it means they can do, and survive, more damage. Archers and barbarians are the easiest to upgrade and are described as Tier 1 troops. Giants and wall breakers are Tier 2 and so on. As you progress to higher Town Hall levels, upgrading troops becomes incredibly expensive. For example, a level three PEKKA, a giant, armoured unit, is eight million elixir — and that's just at Town Hall 8.Attacking strategies are very important in Clash of Clans. Some are geared towards doing the maximum damage (this includes GOWIPE, which uses Golums, wizards, and PEKKAs) while others are more cost-effective. In the early stages of the game, using cheap attacks such as Barch (half barbarians, half archers) means that the maximum amount of resources can be collected verses spent on training troops. Choosing the right base — usually inactive ones with full collectors — is important, but Barch can be used for harder villages (as this video proves). This is a strategy that prioritises loot over trophies, allowing attackers easy access to the Town Hall so that they avoid attacking collectors. If you're looking to save for an upgrade, placing the Town Hall on the outside can be a big help. It also gives you a free 12-hour shield after every attack that allows you to either recover from the defeat or celebrate the attack. One of the keys to Clash of Clans success is patience. The game takes over two years to complete from scratch (without gems) and setbacks will occur along the way. Remaining calm will make it so much better.