The mystery of giants

Giants are the first place where you realize Clash-likes are puzzles. Your first troops are warriors and archers. Those work well as a team. Next come goblins. They have no role in your warrior/archer army, but aren’t supposed to. Goblins are for the alternate “steal more, kill less” strategy. So goblins make sense. Then come giants.

It seems you’re meant to replace 5 warriors with 1 giant. The warrior’s job is to stand in front, sucking up damage. They did that pretty well until the defenders got area of effect mortars. That’s where giants come in. They’re basically mortar-resistant mega-warriors.

But then you notice giants target defensive buildings, which is not helpful. When you try to attack a bunch of gold mines, your giants walk sideways towards a cannon, exposing some of your archers. Possibly worse, giants can walk too deep into enemy territory, needlessly getting shot to ribbons. Defense-targeting is not a helpful ability for your attack strategy. Giants are also slow. Not a little slow; slow-slow. The archers can get ahead of them. It’s almost as if they don’t want you to blindly swap giants for warriors.

After a while, you figure maybe you’re meant to take advantage of giants’ new defense targeting skills. A mass of giants could take out only the cannons, making the area safe for archers. But there’s another problem. Not only are giants slow, they do very low damage. Their toughness makes up for it, but the slowness runs out the clock on your attack. Another problem, giants move to the currently nearest defense, sometimes making a zig-zag path through. When the skip even one cannon, your archers are in trouble.

It’s not that giants are bad. It’s that they don’t have any one thing they’re meant for. You’ve got several clunky attack strategies to choose from. That’s the point. A game that told you which army to make would be boring. Or at least the army part would be.

Almost to mock us, the game eventually hands out the perfect meat-shield. But the Pekka costs a massive 25 warriors. Now it’s too tough and expensive for what we need. Plus, by that point in the game we’re beyond that attack plan. It’s yet another unit that is probably useful, but has no one obvious purpose. That’s what makes the game fun.