I’ve been introduced to this book “Playing to Win” by LittleMoon in the forums, and the book completely blew me out of the water. All the valid points the author has made and how I, without even reading the book before, uncannily done many things already written in the book. To be fair, the author quoted a lot of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” which I have read before (the Chinese version, no less).

Here’s the book: https://sirlin.squarespace.com/ptw

I’ll be covering topics from Prologue to Intermediate’s guide: The Scrub. Here are some nasty truths about gaming that people who play to win need to know.

After reading the book, I understand now why I always clash heads with players in the forums. It is because the mentality we have is vastly different and possibly that we play the game for completely different reasons as well. This is why I find people in global and those who never visit forums so much more agreeable compared to players in the forums or reddit in general.

To prevent copyright and plagiarism, I’ll write down my interpretation of what the author has said.

Firstly, in the prologue the author mentions that there are peaks in every game and people are on the journey to the top. The danger here is that people think that they’re going to the top, but in fact they’re not and they’re stuck in a chasm. A chasm, as the author eloquently said, of scrubdom.

This is what many people do not understand about Clash, as a base building game, that the top means being fully maxed. If you ever read Morgauth’s thread “Min/Max power play coc, fastest journey to the top“, you’ll notice a recurring theme, people asking what is “the top”. Being a base building game, the top simply means the top of the food chain, reaching the end of the journey, ie. maxing everything. Maxed TH9 is not the top, farming 3mil gold per hr is not the top, being an elite TH9 in wars is not the top. Outside of clan wars, the top means maxing everything.

This is where I fall short too. I play to win and its my goal, but not the goal of everyone else. I regrettably force down my ideas of playing to win on people who do not share the same goals and purposes in the game.

Which brings us to the author’s next point, in the next chapter, the author asked “Do you want to win?”. I play to win and there are others who play for fun, and that’s where my knowledge and anger should not be pointed at. I should focus and direct my energy to people who play to win, like me; not at people who play for fun, which makes me look like a prick shoving my ideas down their throats.

The author also state something there, fun is subjective. To the author and to me, winning is fun but it cannot be applied to everyone else. If someone else is playing for fun, they do things that do not contribute to the win, but give them enjoyment. I have nothing against those who just play for fun, but  many play for fun and expect to win, there’s where I’m angered.

Many players in the forums are simply players who “play for fun” and are not in the scope to understand my guides and teachings, which is why I wasted warnings and infractions for people who really wouldn’t understand anything.

Playing to win does not include “enjoying at each TH level”, “storage raiding because its fun”, “trying to use all troops in the game”, “its just a game”. In fact, many of these are counterproductive to the ultimate goal of playing to win and reaching a maxed TH11. Again, one must understand the difference between playing for fun and playing to win.

In coc there are so many maxers want to progress in the game quickly, they’re handicapping themselves by not playing to win. They subscribe to the belief that they’re on the fastest path when they are not. They do not understand the game enough and they play for fun, but they think they’re playing to win.

Many of the forumers and redditors fall into this category, in normal base upgrading and in wars. They are what my brother, who is a game designer, calls “hardcore-wannabes”. They act hardcore and they want to be hardcore, but they have the wrong mentality, ie “want to have fun in the process” and “scrub mentality” that holds them back from what they really want. Its fine if they play for fun and want to have fun in the process, nothing wrong there. The wrong comes in when many players act like they play to win, but do not take actions necessary for the win.

Ultimately, to reach the top and being a maxed TH11, the fastest way is to gem and the best winners here is the gemmer and SC. I have nothing against gemmers except admiration that they’re doing so well in real life that spending in a game means nothing. I personally gem too, about USD$30 for my alts and a total of USD$150 on my main.

On playing to win in wars, one must remember that the only win condition in wars is having more stars than the enemy has. Fancy attacks do not win wars, higher level heroes do not win wars, even 3 stars do not win wars. They certainly help, but they’re not the factor that wins wars. There are no judges in the end of your fancy, impressive QW+ GoGiMiBoPeLaLoon to give you 10,10,10 and rate you a winner. You win by having more stars than your enemy at the end of the war, fullstop.

Afterwards, the author introduces “the scrub”. Since I cannot put it better than how the author puts it, I’ll just copy his definition of the scrub: “A scrub is a player who is handicapped by self-imposed rules that the game knows nothing about. A scrub does not play to win.”

This is where I clash heads most often in the forums, people who self-impose rules and then complain when other players do not follow those rules. The 2 biggest examples are players who cry for nerfs when a troop is dominating or those players who complain about “engineers” or lopsided bases.

A player who cries nerf will learn nothing. If you truly play to win, you will learn to use the troop that maximises your win and ensures that you win all the time. When a troop is really overpowered, use it and master it. You can learn how to use it, how you fail and how to counter it. This is the basis of all MOBA, FPS and card games. If you deem something is overpowered, use it and learn it for yourself. You’ll also learn its weaknesses and how to best counter it. This is why players who calls for nerfs learn nothing in the end, because their mentality is wrong and they do not play to win.

Currently, engineering and roster engineering are the winning strategies that someone who wants to win will surely employ. Players who play to win will adapt and use the current winning strategy, players who fall into the scrub mentality will complain. These players think that they play to win, but in fact they do not. Their self imposed rules of mortality and fairplay do not exist. The game does not care whether you max, or if you have 2 TH11 vs 2 TH10 on top, or whether wars are equal. The game does not care whether #25 triple their #1 or whether their #1 is 2 TH levels above your #1. Ultimately, winning is about and only about getting more stars than your enemy.

Likewise, a player who is an “anti-engineer” does not play to win, they play to have fun in wars. Yet they complain when people who play to win do so, this is the hypocrisy I see in the forums and reddit everyday. One must remember that even in coc wars, that coc is a base building game. Strategy does not only lie in attacking and defending, strategy comes from base building as well. How to tune your base to maximise its war potential is much more important than how you execute your attack or design your base.

Like in a card game, bringing the best decks and anti-meta decks is part of the strategy. Like in a competitive Pokemon, where part of the strategy is breeding the right Pokemon for the job. Like in an FPS, buying the right gun is part of the strategy.

Considering posting this in the forums and see how it goes. Not sure is it worth risking a ban just to get my message across some people in the forums.


  1. Tons of great content here. I don’t use the forums and just browse Reddit, so I have never gotten into an argument about the game. But I have read lots about it these last few months and see a lot of what you describe. As I mentioned in one of my very first comments on here, I could only imagine how years of defending this strategy has jaded you towards other players.

    So much could be said about playing to win and playing for fun. The thing I think that ties it all together, and where I disagree with your premise, is the last few paragraphs regarding self imposed rules. First off, where I think we agree 100% is the self imposed rule of maxxing is dumb. You can be more efficient and successful doing some rushing. People that think every research or wall has to be done before upgrading the TH are just silly.

    But I do disagree with the 2 points about overpowered troops and engineered clans. Because I think most people that are against those 2 things, myself included, aren’t operating from a perspective of self imposed rules, but a perspective of what makes the game more fun. A balanced set of troops that allows for many different ways to succedd at farming and war attacks is in the games best interest because it adds fun and challenge. If there is always one best way to attack, then the game is rinse and repeat and we all might as well play cookie clicker and mindlessly blast the left click button.

    Likewise, with engineered accounts, people are just advocating that SC make changes to the game that allow for players that play ‘the right way’ not be handicapped by those ‘gaming the system’. Obviously we could get into some philosophical discussion about the right and wrong way to play the game, but as you addressed in the beginning, the goal of a base building game is to get everything finished. Because there is a game mechanism that is clan war as part of the way to play and progress, is it not in the best interest of the game to have a war system that rewards players that are normally progressing and/or penalizes players that are ignoring the defensive side of the game? If anything, its only a problem because of the structure of war. With 2 attacks vs 1 defense its advantageous to skip defense. If they limited war to 1 attack per player then there would be virtually no benefit to engineering.

    Anywho, I have rambled for a while now. Genuinely looking forward to your response. Hoping this can be a constructive conversation for us both. (then again with all your experience, there probably isn’t much I can say that you haven’t heard already!)


    • Try reading the book, the author also says there is almost never a case where something is too broken and needs to be banned. In coc, the developers have the power to nerf troops that are OP, but then the second most OP troop comes in and becomes the most OP. It is an unending cycle until every troop is nerfed (like now) and attacking becomes futile. If a troop is OP, use it and learn it, that’s my take. If it really is broken, you should have a guaranteed success rate. Miners and the current loons are not guaranteed at all.

      There are 2 ways to gain the upper hand in wars, one being completely maxing and joining a clan of people who are completely maxed as well; the second being engineering by deliberately having weaker defenses. One rewards progression, one rewards smart management. That’s why engineering is fair, because if you keep facing those types of players, you can just progress to be maxed TH11 and war from there. Because staying at maxed TH9 or maxed TH10 and warring from there “just for fun” does not warrant one to deserve to win because the player does not play to win


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