Supercell’s immensely popular mobile title Clash of Clans has long been the target of replication, from both a gameplay and monetization perspective. Traditional free-to-play time-gating makes the game easy to play for both casual once-a-day players and whales that want to rocket to the top quickly. I’ve played the title on and off, but the recent introduction of Clan Wars is a huge draw to the title that didn’t exist before.

While it’s completely optional to engage in Clan Wars, for those that enjoy more structured, group-oriented gameplay typically associated with clans or guilds in MMORPGs, it’s a compelling addition.

Clan Wars takes your group and pits them against a group of relatively equal strength. It’s up to your Clan to communicate and determine the best way to acquire the most “stars” through attacking opposing defenses. Every member of the clan gets two attacks, and it’s really all about placing the right offense with the right defense. Sure, your clan’s resident kingpin with hundreds of powerful units could defeat anyone on the opposing team with ease, but is probably best paired with the opposing two strongest defenses, leaving your smaller players to handle the minor defenses. This lets players of all levels and investments (both time and money) play for some nice prizes in a balanced environment.

The Clan Wars timing windows let everyone have a shot at earning the substantial Clan Wars bounty pools, and are far more interesting than just randomly swiping encampment after encampment to find someone to battle. With a day of preparation and a day of battle, the Clan War structure gives people a chance to chat within their groups, even if it’s just to say “Alright, I’m taking on Player Y and Player Z, shooting for three-star victories on each, I think we should avoid Player Q because there’s a ton of defense there and we’ll just be wasting our attacks.” Clan Wars features camaraderie and communication, much like you’d find in a casual raid environment, along with more meaningful competition and rewards.

As someone that checks my Clash of Clans roughly once a day for a few minutes, Clan Wars are definitely my preferred activity right now – I don’t even bother cycling through random people to attack or the single-player goblin missions. As mobile titles become more and more invested in communities and the games-as-service model, these kinds of experiences are the ones that will separate entertaining and engaging fare from the lifeless cash-cows.