If you are starting the game for the first time, you should first try to follow the tutorial and work through as many of the quests as you can. But after a while it becomes more difficult to fulfill the quest, and they usually last longer. Now the time has come for you to go out on your own and deal with your city:
The nuts and bolts of a successful city is production. Only if you produce enough coins and supplies will you be able to get the newest buildings and military units. Be sure, though, to have as many residential buildings and production buildings as possible, since they give you your main income. Compare the buildings you are able to build carefully – there is always a building that is best suited to your playing style. Almost as important is the happiness level of your people, because if your citizens are happy, their production is much more efficient. So build cultural buildings and decorations, and always try to keep your people inspired.
At the top of your city view in the center, there is a display showing your Forge Points. Every hour you get one more, until you have reached your maximum. These points are the engine that drives forth your empire: You need them to trade, to level up Great Buildings and, more importantly, for research. You conduct research by investing into technologies in the research tree with your points. If you have come up with the required amount and (if necessary) the unlocking costs, the advantages of the new technology will be available to you and you can build something new in your city from your building menu.
Map and Battles
You should never lose sight of the continent map. Acquire provinces, because only then will you get more expansions to your city and can exploit essential good deposits. Whether you trade for your sectors or conquer them is your decision. At first, it is easy to defeat the armies of your enemy with military units, but soon the battles become more challenging. Prepare yourself well for this: pay close attention to what units your opponent has, and bring units on to the field which are a good match for them. Very roughly speaking, fast units are good at fighting against ranged units, and melee units are good against fast units. Ranged fighters in turn have an advantage against melee units. You can do more to increase your chances in battle: If you infiltrate a sector, the enemy units are already damaged at the beginning of the battle, which proves to be a great advantage. Furthermore, if you are utilizing the terrain on the battlemap wisely and always try to gang up on an enemy unit with several units of your own, you should prevail in battle and crush resistance.
You are not alone in the world: In your neighborhood you can find other players with whom you can trade. If you deal well with others, they might visit your town and support you. Of course you can also visit cities and polish or motivate up the buildings of your fellow players.
This gives you a few extra coins that can be of good use early in the game, as well as a small chance to find a valuable blueprint-piece for a Great Building. Great Buildings will provide great advantages to any player that manages to build one. However, to benefit even more from a legendary building like this, it needs to be leveled up. The owner and all visitors to the city can contribute to this by donating their Forge Points. Whenever a Great Building reaches a new level, valuable rewards are paid out to the top contributors. In addition to peaceful coexistence, you also have the opportunity to fight against your opponent: If you and your attacking army defeat the defenders of the enemy, you can plunder a building – this can generate additional income, but you should realize that such behavior does not win you friends. However, if you participate in tournaments, you can get coveted medals, but there will be almost no way around having to fight a lot.
After some time you will need goods. Always keep in mind and plan ahead as to ensure you never get to a point where you are stuck because you lack the necessary goods. You do not have to produce all the goods yourself – concentrate on those which you found good deposits for on the continent map. Team up with other players and trade these goods with them to get ones you don't have. You can also exchange goods with non-player dealers; but their exchange rate is so bad that you should do it only if you really have no other choice. There is also another way to get goods: If you employ your army, with skill and good timing, you can rob your neighbor of goods productions.
Do not let any of your Forge Points lapse
Make sure to get goods as early as you can
Use your goods deposits and trade for profit in the market
Use your building site effectively
Get all the expansions you can – they never expire and are essential for development
Do not forget the daily bonus from your town hall
Always pay attention to the level of happiness
Visit the cities of other players and motivate or polish their buildings if you need to get coins fast
In battle: infiltrate! Look at the enemy's set up and employ counter units! Use terrain advantages! Attack a unit with several units!