Part 1: Mictlan - Turns 1-3
Okay, let's start this off. I'm not going to bother giving a turn-by-turn report because quite frankly the first few turns are boring anyways, and there are likely to be a number of turns this game where nothing interesting happens anyways!
Okay, as I mentioned in the OP, the map is a wraparound. That means as the game goes on we might start getting silly screen shots like this one where you actually player's territories twice. Oh well!
If you look at my commanders on the left I do the most boring, stereotypical, commonplace move in the book. Patrol and prophetize. I also forget to rename my prophet because this is the second iteration of our game (we had to restart due to start locations being screwy in our last attempt).
Patrolling lets you jack up your taxes to get a useful burst of early income, but you end up killing some of your population in the process. I don't really care because early gold is about a million times more valuable than late gold. Also prophetizing someone makes them a very powerful priest, which lets them spread the good word of :Smaug: the best pretender of them all.
There's not really much to do on the first turn so I look at what other people name their gods. I could click on each of these to get some more information about their god (and potentially guess at their design), but players probably want the opportunity to share their gods so I won't do that.
With my newly recruited troops I decide to move out. I really dislike the indies I have nearby. To the south I have a group of monsters called Dark Vines, which are in general an annoying province to take. Above me I see some 70 some guys which will wreck my starting expansion force. To the right is probably my second easiest province to take, as there are relatively few units and they're not tooooooo powerful. However, I settle on going left because its fucking militia and they die like chumps.
Also, as Mictlan, one of the unique features of the nation is their dominion (belief in their god) doesn't spread naturally. The only way to spread it is by making blood sacrifices. To do so you need a priest with blood slaves sacrificing virgins at a temple. So I make my newly prophetized scout go ahead and do that.
Since it's the second turn I go ahead and take a look at graphs. One of the best ways to determine who might have an awake pretender is looking at the starting graphs. If they took a province on turn 1 it's a likely possibility. However, the only person to take a second province is Hinnom, whose starting army is actually strong enough to expand blind. So nothing special here.
However, on the research tab we can see that Arco has something awake. My base assumption until further information becomes available is that it's a rainbow mage. A powerful human mage who is attempting to achieve godhood. They are generally marked by having a lot of magic paths, with a mix of high and low level ones. Players normally take them to fill in gaps that their nation lacks in terms of magic, or to get a strong early game research lead.
Okay, so this is the battle screen. It's kind of blurry and awful, but that's partially due to the small size of the screen shot and because of the awful graphics used by dominions. Whatever. My guys are on the left, the enemies are on the right. I have some green dudes (generic warriors with slings) and some kind of orangeish-brown guys (jaguar warriors, these ones are important.
They're mostly important because they're ballers and also turn into werejaguars when they die. Additionally they have a unit property called sacred, which means a priest can bless them to give them extra benefits that my god imparts.
Blessing benefits come from the magical abilities of your pretender god. Stronger magical capabilities impart better benefits. In this case I have something commonly referred to as an F9 bless (Magic type:Level, in this case meaning fire magic at level 9). It gives my units a second attack where they light dudes on fire and also makes it so they're much more accurate with their swings.
I'll go into what all those stats mean in a different unit mechanics post in a little bit. For now, know that my guys are swinging wooden swords that are also on fire.
Oh also I beat the province because they're militia. Unfortunately my scouting reports are still indicating that the province north of me has 70 dudes in it. However, I am ballsy (Read: stupid) and go ahead and send in my initial expansion party and my newly recruited guys to attack it.