5 reasons why I’m oddly obsessed with Clash Royale right now

Clash Royale isn’t exactly new. The real-time strategy (RTS) game has been around since 2016. Its older brother Clash of Clans has been around since 2012. Why does anyone care about this game right now?
I only picked up Clash Royale what… last year? I don’t even know anymore.

#1: It’s difficult (but I still want to get better at it)

I know a lot of people try and pick up Clash Royale nowadays but then immediately uninstall. It’s difficult to climb up a ladder-based game when hundreds (thousands?) of people have been playing it for a few years now.
But, that hasn’t stopped me from trying to reach trophy rank 4000 (current goal). I’ve slowly learnt the long and hard way that I need to analyse my decks. I’ve also learned that I need to stick to my decks, making sure to upgrade my cards to their max levels. (I’m not a fast learner, so yes, these things took me a while).

#2: It needs so much strategy (but it’s fun)

I’ve always loved RTS games like Age of Empires. I love the idea of gathering resources, managing those resources and how best to approach a siege. What’s even more fun is either defending your own base or planning a massive attack (even better with friends).
For me, Clash Royale brings similar sentiments. Obviously, you’re working with a smaller map but it’s still all about: resource management (elixir), tower defence and attacking your opponents.

#3: You’re always against another real player

I’m used to playing a lot of either solo or co-op games. I often shy away from directly competitive games because I dislike confronting strangers. Closest I’ve been is through those leaderboards for puzzle games but that doesn’t really count. You’re not going head-to-head.
Despite my dislike of a direct competitive format, I somehow manage to enjoy it on Clash Royale. Early on I found myself avoiding 1v1 because I’d be so afraid of losing. But, I’ve learnt that this is all part of my own long term game: gather information, try different strategies and learn for next time. A loss could lead to a potential win later.
Or, it’s just a good exercise in sucking it up when you do lose: you can’t expect yourself to always be on your A game and you can’t expect to have the right card cycle from the get-go. You learn to forgive yourself for mistakes, really ?

#4: You learn to read teammate intentions really well

Compared to many other multiplayer games I’ve played… Clash Royale is probably the biggest one out. That is, if you’ve ever played it before, you can’t just type whatever when you’re playing 2v2. You have a set of 8 max emotes and 8 default messages like “Good luck!” or “Oops”.
There’s a little sense of Journey’s non-verbal communication in there (note: I’ve not played Journey but I’ve read and heard that that kind of player interaction is a massive feature).
I love playing 2v2 with strangers because you have to focus on two things: 1) Understanding how their deck works with your deck and 2) Figuring out how they might play and how you need to react or coordinate with them… without sharing specific instructions.
It’s absolutely beautiful when you pair up with someone you immediately click with. You somehow pair your cards and timing perfectly then you win like you didn’t even have to try. I’ve played 2v2 over and over again just to experience that synced brainwave because it’s mind-bending to experience.

#5: They keep updating the damn thing

I sound like I complain but this is actually a good thing. Only a nerd like me would enjoy comparing card and meta stats from balance update to balance update. It’s also exciting to know that that one card you really like has been given a teeeeeeeny boost (looking at you Witch).
I mean, look, the last update was from the 6th of May:

And just look at how they announce new freaking emotes too. Like wtf? It’s cute and it’s fun and wait… am I still playing a pretty difficult game here? Screw it, I’m looking up the new emotes -is distracted-.

Anyway, while this entire thing came off a bit grumpy, you must understand that its difficulty is why I enjoy it. Clash Royale is the kind of game you work at and work at until you get you some wins. And when you do win, it’s extremely, extremely satisfying. ???