I would like to credit Zack Kline for all the help he gave me in learning the game and the games author David Dunham of a-sharp for making the game in the first place and taking the time to make it as accessible as is.
Exploring is a vital, if dangerous, part of the game. You will unlock events, find treasures and even clans or other people. You can explore the land around your own clan as well as your own land (tula in game terms). Note that, even though you might think so, exploring does not give your clan more land. You have to select how much land your clan has at the start of the game and then manage how it is used on the farming screen. The only other way to get more land is by raiding neighboring clans. This is very difficult though, so it's better if you select a bit more land when you start the game.
It is important to do both every few years and to repeat exploring locations on occasion because new stuff might still be there. The manual also stresses that it is important to explore your own land to keep bandits and chaos in check.
How to go about it?
The map can be a bit tricky and confusing at first, but in actuality, it isn't really possible to make it any more accessible and it is certainly doable to use it.
First, hit menu and then map. This will bring you to the map screen. To start the exploration process, hit the explore button. Don't try to flick over the screen to reach it, but, instead, try touching the bottom right of the screen. It should be to the left of the menu button.
Now you can actually start positioning the exploration cross, as the game calls it. To explore your own land, hit explore again without double-tapping the map icons. This is one instance where two dialogs are positioned on top of each other. This means that there are two explore buttons and only one will do the trick ,namely the one to the RIGHT of the menu button. BEFORE you hit that button you can select who goes exploring and how many weaponthanes and footmen go along. If you explore your own land, to my experience, it's fine to leave the standard value, but exploring other lands is often pretty dangerous and it might be wise to assign a few more if you can spare them.
Exploring Other Lands
tip: It might be worth sacrificing to Vinga (god) first for mysteries so that you learn her blessings. Once you know the pathfinder blessing. Either sacrifice for that to have it active for a year, but better yet build a shrine to her so that you can have it permanently.
To explore other lands, go to menu/map and hit explore. Now you have to select a location on the map. Keep in mind that the map scrolls up and down, but also left and right so it is pretty big. To scroll the map, you use three finger flicks, up, down and left and right. Once you have found an unknown hex that you like, double tap it and select who goes exploring and how many people to send along. Then again hit the explore button to the RIGHT of the menu button.
After you have played for a while, you will notice that there are more labelled locations on the map screen. I think your clan is often located at the south, but this might be random. It is worthwhile to revisit already explored locations because new stuff can happen. Be warned though that exploring distant lands takes more then one season and can be a dangerous business; people might die on the way or just get lost in the wilderness and never return. The pathfinder blessing or shrine will help though, at least where the danger is concerned. Well that is it as far as exploring is concerned.
Hero quests are a pretty important part of the game. You need to complete an x amount to win either the short or the long game. Take note that only different hero quests count towards this amount so doing one over and over again won't do the trick.
Besides needing a certain amount of quests to win the game, they also give in game benefits. Beware though these quests are very difficult and can also result in great harm. Don't do hero quests too often because they are a big happening for your clan with grave consequences.
Before forming a tribe (a requirement to win either the short or the long game), it is important to first do the making of the storm tribe hero quest given by orlanth.
how to prepare for hero quests?
In a hero quest, your chosen champion travels to the realm of the gods and reenacts one of their heroic deeds. To be able to do this, your clan must know what this deed entails. You must sacrifice to the god in question for mysteries once you have learned all their blessings, or you might learn them earlier (I am not sure–it might be random in either you learn a blessing or information about their myths–which you need to hero quest). Once it says you know everything there is to know about that myth, go to the menu/lore section and carefully read the myth of the quest you want to do (start with making of the storm tribe). You have to know what happens and if you haven't learned all you need to know about the quest, details will be left out. First there is a summary. Hit the details button to get all the details.
Once you know what your hero has to do, make sure that you allocate all the points possible to quests during sacred time (having someone who worships eurmal the trickster god on the ring will give you an extra point to allocate).
There are certain years when the omens for hero questing are positive. Doing a hero quest in such a year will be more successful.
If you have allied clans, you can ask one of them to help with the hero quest. Now, once you are prepared, hit menu/magic/select the god you want and hit quest. Then select the quest you want to do, the hero you want to send and the clan you want to invite. Then, in some cases, you can select what you want to gain from a quest. This is your own choice. After that, your hero has to reenact the story and you will either fail or succeed. Other factors might also help while doing hero quest. For Example, if you have the members with the best skills on the ring. To check this, go to the clan menu item, hit reorganize and check the filter combo box. To the left of that, you will see who is in the ring now). Especially strong magic and strong custom might help.
Magic and Sacrificing
The gods and your ancestors are an extremely important part of the game. Magic and blessings from the god are very real and you have your own godtalkers. It is important to keep the gods and your ancestors happy. This, in turn, will guarantee that your magic is strong and that your clan is happy with you.
Sacred time is a pretty important time of the year because here you allocate how you want to spend your magic the next year. How much magic you have is determined by what godworshippers you have on the ring, what is left over or is not left over from last year and your relationship with the gods. So, if possible, it is important to have ring members that worship a different deity on the ring, e.g. someone who worships humakth will grant you an extra point allocatable to war and someone who worships eurmal the trickster god will grant you an extra allocatable quest point. Note that these are only possible allocations and that you don't have enough magic to spend them
Also, pick and choose wisely. It is important to leave some magic in case you get raided or other stuff happens, when you raid someone or you get raided, you can sacrifice to orlanth or huakth and this will cost a magic point. (note that this is something different from the points you allocate to war in the sacred times).
Sometimes you sacrifice in events that occur or you can sacrifice when raiding, as said above. It is best to sacrifice goods and not cows because cows determine the wealth of your clan and also in the eyes of other clans. Make sure that you allocate as many points as possible to mysteries at sacred times. This will help immensely while sacrificing.
You sacrifice to the gods in order to learn new blessings (you don't know many by default) or in some cases to perform a one time service e.g. by sacrificing to your ancestors. You do this by hitting menu and then magic and then selecting the god in the list that you want to sacrifice to. In the next screen, select how many goods or cows you want to sacrifice. Mysteries (new blessings or information) is checked by default. Hit the sacrifice button again. Now the next screen can be a bit tricky because, for some reason, voiceOver can't read it by itself. try touching the middle of the screen, which should give you the result of your sacrifice, or the bottom rightish side of the screen, which should give you the proceed button, if you have that, you can flick left, but just flicking on the screen won't work if you have neither of those in focus.
You can't predict beforehand which of the blessings of a certain god you will learn. Once you know their blessings, it might be worth sacrificing again to learn their mysteries (this is vital for hero questing.
Shrines, Temples and Great Temples
You can build shrines temples and great temples to the gods, but not all of them have all these three and ancestors have neither as do some gods. You can find this out yourself by highlighting the gods name (you can also find a description of the god in question once you do that) and hitting the build button.
You can sacrifice to gain a certain blessing, but this will use up one of your allocated mystery points which you might rather use to learn other blessings or prepare for hero questing. If you build a shrine, you can have one of that gods blessings active permanently. It will cost you a certain amount of goods up front and an x amount of goods and cows each year. If you build a temple to a certain god, you can have 2 blessings active. It might be a good idea to build a great temple to the god that your clan worships first because they might frown upon you if you have a bigger worship house to some other god. Now, once you have built the worship house (this is immediate), you must of course know a blessing before doing so, one of that gods blessings that you know is selected by default. BEFORE selecting another one, if you wish to do that, make sure that the original one the game selected is deselected. Otherwise, you will get an error message that has the seem problem as the sacrificing screen.
Other Clans and Rating
Other clans are a vital part of the game. After all, you want to form a tribe with some of them and, if you play the long game, become king of entire dragon pass. To accomplish this, you will have to focus on your relationships with other clans. To get a feeling of what other clans think about you, you can give them gifts. They might not always tell you the truth though, or if your emissary does not interpret it right, you can cast the divination blessing of your ancestors to see how people think about you.
Clans can owe you favors which you can either claim or leave be. You also owe clans favors which they will come to reclaim eventually. Clans can be your allies or you can have a bloody feud with them.
Besides getting your favors paid back, you can also trade with other clans and even set up a trade route with them (this will earn you an x amount of goods each year and your amount of crafters will increase).
Now, how to do all this
To see your relationships with other clans, go to menu and relations. There you can select from a filter to see e.g. clans that owe you a favor, that you are allied with or that you have a feud with. Clans that are neighboring your land will have this after their name. There is no filter for neighboring clans. If you hit advise, in this screen, probably one of your advisors will tell you which clan likes you the most and which hates you the most. You can send an emissary from this screen. If you hit that button, you will have to select what goal your emissary has. He can call upon a favor by asking for cattle etc. or he can give gifts of his own to improve relations or see what they are like in the first place. After you have given gifts, he can return and propose an alliance. It is a good idea to have an alliance with some of your neighbors because they can warn you about invading enemies. When you form alliances, your popularity with other clans will also go up pretty fast.
I personally try to first set up a trade route with someone and then form an alliance, although I am not sure if these two cumulatively strengthen each other. To trade with other clans, go to menu/trade. In this screen, you first see your trading partners (the ones that you already have a trading route with). Then there is the caravan button so you can start a new trading mission.
You can highlight a clan name to see what relationship you have with them. Select the clan you want to trade with and then either sell/buy or establish route. You then can select if you want to have a small, medium or trade caravan. This applies for both options above. Beware because trade caravans are big targets for bandits.
Instead of calling in favors to get stuff, you can also trade one thing for another e.g. goods for cows. It can take a while for your trading mission to arrive, depending on how far away the target clan is.
Raiding is an important part of the game because the game world is a violent and barbaric one. Cattle raids are just for sport and don't influence your relationship with other clans. Real raids do though of course.
Be sure to look at the raid screen carefully because there you can build defensive fortifications to protect your land, especially the watchtower, which is particularly important. Sometimes allies will help you in a raid. It is important to allocate magic at sacred time towards war and to sacrifice to the gods during a fight, so keep some magic for that if possible. Also, some of humakths blessings are really useful when raiding.
The raid consists of two parts, the initial clash and the extended battle. Before you fight, you and your foe will do magic. Magic also plays a big role in a raid and can mean the difference between defeat and victory.
You can choose a tactic for the initial clash and often also an end goal of the battle. Sometimes your war leader can do heroic deeds during the battle that might improve his or her skills. Some of challana arroys blessings also really help during a fight as do treasures you might come across.
For any questions, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com