The main point of Clash of Clans is that it is kind of massively multiplayer. You won't get very far if you try to play the game on your own, although there is a single-player campaign of sorts to embark upon. Playing against the computer's goblin armies gets tough, fast, and most players will need to take on other humans to be able to succeed, either way.
Success in Clash of Clans is measured in stars. The general aim is to completely obliterate the opponents base. While you train troops in your own base, the game then allows you to transport them almost wherever you like in the opponent's base - there's no walking or flying to get anywhere. Once your troops are placed, your attack is counted as a victory if you destroy 50% of the opponent's base or more. If you destroy their Town Hall, you receive a second star (the first being given at 50%). If you destroy their entire base, it's a perfect skirmish and 3 stars are given. If you are on the defense (more on this in the defense sections), you win if your opponent fails to get a 50% rate of destruction.
Winning is very satisfying in Clash of Clans
If you launch an attack but fail to destroy at least 50% of the base, it counts as a loss, and you will lose Trophies. If you are attacked by another player, you lose if 50% or more of your base is destroyed.
Troops are generally trained in the Barracks. Once ready, they sit around the Army Camp waiting to attack. Select the Map and choose your target, be they computer or human. Then, you tap in their base depending on where you want to position your troops. You use the icons along the bottom of the screen to select which type of troops to deploy. Certain areas, such as right in the center of the enemy camp, you are unable to deploy troops. These areas are shown by a white outline. Sometimes you will find gaps in this line, but normally you have to station your army outside the enemy camp, at tactical positions depending on enemy defenses.
Attacking requires careful troop management and planning
Defending is very simple, in that you don't actually have any control over it in real time. Rather, defending in Clash of Clans is more like a tower defense game. You have to set your base up in the best way to defend it in your absence, using things like cannons, walls and traps. The general idea is to force the enemy, normally using walls, into a certain area where your defenses are able to take them out before they can reach the main part of your base.