Say hello to Pentaherp, ruled over by Prince QuinDraco. At the moment Prince QuinDraco doesn't really have much to his name, does he? He's got a stack of Warriors- those three barechested men wielding clubs- and a Settler northeast of them. That's alright, though. Something tells me he'll get quite lucky shortly.
Before we talk about how QuinDraco got lucky, let's talk about rules.
Here's a nice labeled map.
A - Settler. Settlers have no defences whatsoever. If an enemy runs into a settler unit alone, it loses the fight automatically. It's gone forever, wasted. Settlers are the only unit capable of creating new cities- you start with one at the beginning of the game, and can create more with any city you have.
B- Warrior unit. See E.
C- Clams are a water hex improvement. Improvements can be found all over the world, in the form of fish, cows, wheat, corn, stone, oil, the list goes on. If it's not a tree, if it's not a unit, and it's in a hex, it's probably an improvement of some sort. Clams in particular give an additional +2 food when the hex is being fished. I'll explain that in a moment.
D- Tribal Hut. Tribal Huts are barbarians, setting up camp perpetually. If you move a unit over them, they're liable to give you something nice, or occasionally, spawn a group of enemy units and attack the crap out of you for disturbing them. They can give you gold, free technologies, settlers, scouts, and workers.
E- The screen showing your warrior unit's stats. You can see it has a Strength of 2 ARMS, and a movement of 1 FOOT (It's disabled, I guess). Strength determines how it fares in combat- an easy, although not 100% accurate way of gauging who'll win a combat is matching up their Strengths. Whoever has more ARMS wins.
F- This is a score-list of everyone in the game, ranked top to bottom by score. Later in the game, it'll also show you what you know about their religion, if you're trading with them, and if your spying is good enough, even what they're researching. You can initiate trades using their names in the list.
This is Pentaherp's settler. When you click on a settler, you can see the resources produced naturally by every hex. You can also turn this viewing on/off permanently via a button over the minimap. The blue circles are the game, telling us that "This is a good place to make a city." The purple outline is the local area the city will have if created where the Settlers are.
Hexes produce three kinds of resources: Food(Bread), Commerce(Coins), and Hammers(Hammers).
Food is required to feed your population- 1 food for every 1 population. Excess food is stored and increases your population. If you're not bringing in enough food, your people will starve, and you'll begin to lose the excess food and eventually, population.
Commerce funds your cities with culture, research, spy points, and can be converted into wealth to fund your empire. The percentage in the upper left corner determines where the commerce goes: 100% Research means all commerce gained goes right into your current technology research. Any leftover percentage goes into Wealth. Wealth doesn't have much use early-game except for upkeep and potentially, trading with other civilizations who actually value money. It's also used to upgrade your units as upgrades become available- it can cost between 100 and 200 gold to make a single warrior into an axemen, for example. Late-game, it can be used to rush building productions, and it can also be used to fund spy activities.
Hammers are what your cities use to produce units and buildings. Say a worker costs 40 hammers to make- you need to bring in 40 hammers to pop it. If you only have a 2 hammer tile to work, it's going to take 10 turns to produce that worker.
Hey, look, Pentaherp's scout invaded those barbarians' huts and they gave a Settler! Pentaherp will be able to immediately settle a second city!
Pentaherp's second settler moves down south to take advantage of that second "VERY GOOD SPOT TO PLANT ROOTS" the game is telling us all about.
Capital City Pentaherp popped! QuinDraco's a KING, now. Let's go over some city basics.
A- The purple area around the city is Pentaherp's land. It's land his workers can improve. More importantly, it's land that the city can draw resources from. Since Pentaherp only has a population of 1, it can only work a single hex. Right now, it's working that 2-food, 1-hammer hex in the lower right.
B- This tells us what the city is currently producing. It's not making any money, but producing 9 research points a turn. It's upkeep is .12 gold a turn.
C- Trade Routes. When it gets them, they'll be here. Trade routes improve what a city produces.
D- Buildings in the city. Each building can contribute to (or take away) commerce, food, and hammers. The Palace is part of every Capital Site, and delivers +1 Happiness, +8 Commerce, and +4 Espionage points. It also reduces maintenance in nearby cities.
E- This is the Culture bar. Culture is produced by buildings, civics, and technologies, and is what creates and maintains the purple borders around the city. With more culture, those borders will expand, making more of the land yours. Poor Pentaherp is only producing 2 culture a turn.
F- Unused at the moment, but later in the game, certain civics will allow you to whip your population to death, or spend pure wealth. Either causes the current production in that city to complete immediately.
G- Instead of working hexes, you can turn the population into in-city workers. The option for them opens up as technologies are discovered. Right now, the only thing you can make your population into is a Worker- who gives +1 hammer every turn. As there are available hexes giving both food AND hammer, it's silly to do that. Later options are more viable.
Although the border only extends 1 hex out from the city, the city can, when the border expands, make use of every hex within the red squares, forming The Cross, for a total of 21 possible hexes it can work (the city always automatically works the hex its on.)
What a hex produces is determined by what it is- green plains produce food, moreso if they are near rivers. Hills produce more hammer, as do forests. Yellow grasslands produce commerce. Deserts produce very little of anything at all. The list goes on.
Pentaherp's doing pretty well for itself. Two cities off the bat, some nice, lush forests to chop down, an oceanic view, and it's working on learning how those sticks and strings can catch fish. Let's move away from Pentaherp for now- we haven't had any time to give them character, so caught up in the rules as we've been! We'll have to do something about that next time.