Games are a great way to learn new things or to re-enforce things and lessons that were learned earlier. They also provide a safe atmosphere to practice life skills, which can be beneficial to your day-to-day activities and interactions.
Clash of Clans, a.k.a COC, is an online game that can be played on tablets or smartphones. According to wikia, 'COC is a strategy game where players can construct and expand one's village, unlock successively more powerful warriors and defenses, raid and pillage resources from other villages, create and join Clans and much, much more.'
Project management (PM), defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI), is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities in order to meet the project requirements. Through playing COC, one can learn skills on managing risks, managing resources, and managing schedule and tasks.
To the professional world, a risk is an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or a negative effect on the project’s objectives. In playing COC, one has to simultaneously manage defensive and offensive risks when your village is open to attack or if you attack a village. Risk management is important in both cases in order to achieve the player's objective. In business, if risk is not properly managed, it can result to rise in costs, delayed projects and loss of revenues while in COC, mismanagement of risk can lead to loss of elixirs and gold, loss of trophies and a potential demotion in rank which leads to lower rewards for every successful raid.
Risk management involves the following steps:
Let’s take a look at a defensive risk management in a COC game using hidden tesla as example.
Know what you are against with.
In the real world, it is prudent to anticipate when things could possible go wrong. Be prepared for emergency. That’s why you have emergency lights, emergency kits, and emergency plans. The project management world is not immune to this need.
In COC, one learns to identify the risks based on the facts he has on hand. For example, the number of hidden traps, and the destructive power of such traps, in the village one will attack is limited by the level of his town hall. For example, there is only a maximum of three hidden teslas at town hall 8. Hidden teslas also take up 2x2 spaces. By using this information, one can make a wise guess where the hidden teslas are and what damage they pose to the player.
Know the potential impact of the risk and the probability of risk occurring.
Once a player is ready to attack the village, he can use the information identified during risk identification to assess what is the impact of hidden teslas to his raid. Will he succeed? Will he meet his objectives?
If he has an army of P.E.K.K.A.’s, he knows that the damage of hidden teslas is double, so his P.E.K.K.A.’s are susceptible. The likelihood of him winning might be small. This is the called the impact of the risk.
What is the probability that there is a hidden tesla somewhere? Once a 2x2 space is empty and is surrounded by structures, there is a high likelihood that there is a hidden tesla planted in that area. Other telltale signs include a lot of tombstones surrounding an empty space. These are the tombstones of the troops from a previous raid attempt.
Developing a risk plan
What to do when the risk occurs?
Once you’ve identified the risks and made the assessment, it is now time to develop a risk plan. Players develop this skill through the game by planning what troops they are to bring for each attack, planning the attack pattern and choosing which village they are likely to succeed if they attack.
As one’s town hall and barracks are upgraded, there will be more troops at disposal. However, bearing in mind the likelihood of having hidden teslas, the player might reinforce his troops by bringing healers, wizards, healing and lightning spells. These troops and spells will allow him to destroy the hidden teslas and prevent further damage to his troops.
Planning the attack pattern
Hidden teslas are unaffected by lightning spells if they are hidden. One can trigger the hidden tesla to appear by deploying a weaker troop (goblin, barbarian) within the tesla’s effective range. Once the hidden tesla is activated, he can use a lightning spell to destroy the now visible tesla.
Also, the player can consider deploying the P.E.K.K.A.’s away from the suspected area where hidden teslas are.
Choosing an alternative village
When attacking, the player has the chance to assess whether he has the appropriate troops to win the attack against the village he was matched up against. He is given 30 seconds to assess the village layout and to decide if he will go ahead with the attack or choose an alternative village. Using risk management principles, the player then decides what is the best course of action.
Mitigate the risk as they arise
Deploy your attack plan
The player now has his troops, his action plan, and all he has to do is to push the ‘attack’ button.
During the raid, there may be some surprises that were not anticipated. Now this is the role of the project manager – to steer the project towards the goal’s direction. This can be done by managing the deployment of the troops, doing an early retreat, or revising the goals to obtain the most beneficial outcome. For example, what was suspected as a hidden tesla was in fact a giant bomb. The player can then choose to deploy the troops on that spot knowing that the trap has gone off, or to continue searching for the hidden teslas before launching as full-scale attack.
So there you have it. This is how risk management principles are learned by playing COC. If you're a COC player, know that it's not just for games and you can have fun and learn at the same time. If you're a parent and if you have a child addicted to COC, maybe you can make use of this fact in order to ensure that he is learning something even if he is 'just' playing games.
I’ll be publishing a book on COC and project management in October 2015 and selling it in this website. Let me know what topics you want to discuss by leaving comments below.
Have fun learning :)
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