Clash of the Clans

Lately I have been awfully distressed by a string of notices posted on my iPad informing me that my village was being raided by bands of marauders more menacing even than Tolkien’s Dark Lord of Mordon. More upsetting, though, was the villagers’ urgent appeal for me to return and help them repel these dark forces.

My granddaughter, Gabriela had downloaded “Clash of Clans” on my tablet during our last visit to New York. Gabriela, who often spends the hour or two between the end of her school day and a busy schedule of extra-mural activities with us, like most nine year-olds would relax amusing herself listening to pop music, reading her kindle or playing games on my tablet.

The hostile messages followed by cries for assistance left me with a deep sense of duty to protect my sweet little granddaughter’s kingdom from these plundering thieves.

When I opened the game on my iPad, the primitive village bore no marks of conflict. All the cute, diminutive townsfolk appeared to be in good health and were feverishly active around what seemed to be a gold mine. By tapping a few icons I picked up that the settlement had a clan castle, barracks, a town hall, a builder’s hut and a place to stockpile gold. I also established that there was a store at which you could buy (for real rands) piles, sacks or chests of gems that could be disbursed to build an army, bolster your defenses or decorate the town.

But, my heart sank when one of the buttons revealed a table that detailed a list of the villains that had pillaged my poor little girl’s supply of arms and reserves of elixir and gold. Her defense was worse than Arsenal’s. She had played 8 and lost 8. Her miniature empire was in tatters.

I had to restore Gabriela’s honour, but looking at the screen left me utterly confused. I had absolutely no idea how or where to begin fortifying the town’s defenses and reconstructing the community’s primeval economy. I was in deep trouble and knew I had to submit to some higher authority for guidance.

Paulo, an affable and outgoing young portfolio manager in our office has three passions in life: the stock market, his mother’s cooking and “Clash of Clans”. He cheerfully agreed to an audience at which it took only a few moments to realise that I would never have what it takes to become an elite laird. Paulo showed me his estate. Not even the brutal Genghis Khan would have come close to penetrating his barricaded fortress. He explained, though, that it had taken hours of dedication and perseverance over a three year period to reach that point.

Time was not on my side. I soon acknowledged that I was far too old and irascible to carry on the battle to defend my granddaughter’s realm. I had to lay down arms. Sadly, I downloaded “Clash of Clans” one last time on my iPad and made a touching and poignant speech to the remaining folk in the threadbare village saying that they would always be in my thoughts. I returned to the home screen, pushed hard on the Clash of Clans icon until it quivered, and then pressed delete.      

Clash of Clans is one of 4 popular mobile games created by Supercell, a company formed in Finland in 2010. Two weeks ago Chinese internet giant, Tencent - in which locally listed Naspers has a major stake – acquired 84% of the company for $8.6bn.