Game Play Overview
In War of the Avatars, your goal is to carefully cultivate your realm's growth, using economics, diplomacy, and your military might. All three of these forces must be cleverly wielded if your realm is to eventually stretch from the Sea of Swords to the Anauroch Desert. Ignore economics and your armies will wither on the vine. Disdain diplomacy and you'll find yourself surrounded by enemies. Neglect your armies and you'll soon find ugly strangers tromping through your halls, guzzling your best wine and blowing their noses on your finest tapestries.
A truly wise ruler will fine-tune the production of his communities to generate the units and items he needs to encourage his realm's growth. Of course, these needs change from turn to turn, so you must constantly re-evaluate them. At first, you'll want to muster garrisons to guard your communities, as well as mobile armies to explore the neighborhood. Later you may want to muster more specialized troops and craft powerful items, but keep it simple at first. Don't forget to invest in your communities--it pays off in the long run. Once you hit turn 10, start saving up gold to Summon an Avatar as soon after turn 20 as possible. It costs 1,500 gold to Summon an Avatar, but they're worth it! (Sorry--there are no interest-bearing accounts in War of the Avatars. You'll just have to stash your gold under your mattress.)
Your relationships with other realms will have a huge impact on your success as a ruler. Be nasty or uncommunicative, and you may find yourself beset on all sides by hostile neighbors. Be nice and helpful (or at least appear to be), and you may find yourself allied with some very useful pals. If you're lucky, they'll stick with you through thick and thin. Since there's an option for several players to win as an alliance, the friends you make early on in the game could see you through to eventual victory.
As for your military, start with the basics. Muster garrisons and cheap units at first--you're after quantity, not quality, at the start. Send some of the cheap units out exploring, not to get into fights but just to see what's out there. There's a decent chance that they'll quickly run into some computer-controlled forces. Even if these don't volunteer to join your realm, at least you will have scouted out the local opposition. As you clean up the neighborhood and your economy starts booming, begin to muster better and more specialized units. You may want to craft some items, if their abilities fit with your needs. Don't forget that everyone else's armies are getting more powerful too, so be sure to add to your communities' defenses on a regular basis.
And, of course, all your strategies will benefit from knowing what's going on outside your realm. Utilize your local thieves' guilds to investigate the activities of other realms. Get them to infiltrate other realms' armies and craft shops and report back on units and items. Prod the house mages to research the abilities of Avatars.
Keep in mind that the preceding comments are merely general guidelines to consider as you begin playing War of the Avatars. No single strategy will work with every realm and in every situation. The best way to prosper in the War of the Avatars is to be flexible and adjust your strategies to the changing winds of fortune in this titanic struggle. When War of the Avatars hands you lemons, make lemonade!
section for some specific hints about how to come out of the starting gates
in good shape.