A guide with my own vision and some tips. Just dont expect technical information, learning how to play.
Useful Tips for New Players
General style of play
Depends on the way you want to play. Are you a die hard, settings should be placed on maximum difficulty. At the moment, you have 3 difficulty settings for 2 parameters during setup. Suggestion for other start settings with their own pro and cons : randomize your choices, using a dice for example. Unless you want maximum control in the features of your start.
Anyway, hard levels can be grinding and tough to proceed, while easy might spoil the game of exploration a little to fast. But if you like to replay this game a lot with different approaches, the exploration part is less important. When frustration gets high, consider lower difficulty.
First, take care wich guest NPC’s you accept in your party!
It can be long-term trap. For some quests, you need to accept inactive members who dont fight.
While their wage isnt high, they still need food. Im not sure if they increase your battle rating – making foes stronger and numerous in encounters.
If you are NOT able to complete the quest of the corresponding quest member of your party, this character can become a burden, one extra mouth to feed. So be certain to finish the job very soon after accepting someone.
In case of doubt, just some signs you have a guest-npc in your party: very low wages, cant be altered in equipment and cannot be dismissed. And often dont fight.
A tank matters!
With full armour and health, a tank can absorb a lot of damage and keep multiple foes occupied, allowing you to take on others or backstab them. Maximize their role by activating buffs for individual and group damage reduction. Often, I prefer those defensive boosts versus a single attack.
Often, its good to move them towards or even between hostile forces.
Good usage of a tank allows you a lot of freedom. Just keep their stats checked and send help when drained.
Poison can be a good weapon, in particular in ranged use. It will drain foes over time. Often, a good strike can affect multiple targets. Just make sure your buddies are outside the circle of death unless expendable cannon fodder. You can cure poison with first aid help. In balanced numbers, poison usage can give you a clear edge over time.
Planning of trips
Wasting time means wasting money, for wages are paid every 3th day. You really need to spend some management. Check when wages are paid, make sure your troops are equipped for battles, select mission close and dont hire people you cant pay or feed.
Animals dont need wages, but eat more food, wolves need meat.
Consider wolves or wild boars as cannon fodder. You can also do this with mercenaries – when dismissed right after a battle, you can avoid wages. However, you still pay influence and/or money. Jail recruits ask only money, that can be handy. You capture them with ropes, like you do with handcuffs for humans. First, weaken a foe then use a free non-engaged soldier to get them.
Avoid grinding battles you cant (easily) win.
While you need to practice and learning, in time you should discover encounters on wrong times and places with wrong numbers. Fixing this with repeating the same battle over and over again can be quite grinding. Unless its a very important quest battle with a fair chance, it can be a waste of time.
Exploring should be done with a basic party.
Get rid of cannon fodder like animals and temporary allies and recruits. Make sure to have some supplies and money to scout some areas. Avoid combat for faster exploration of greater coverage. Also: speed buffs are handy for travelling, but can also be very handy to explore and avoid nasty encounters.
Mine, collect goodies and loot.
Convert iron in stuff you can seel like hooks. The tinkler will increase the valua. Example : one iron sells for 5, a hook for 7. Visit (safe) mines and dont ignore free resources close to your path. It can supply you with some extra money and food that can not be missed.
Its a tricky mechanism, just dont get stuck in saves of wrong battles you cant win. Sometimes, new saves are possible – not sure where and why, except the last visited city act as a last-save and return point when you want to restart.
Terrain effects and combat
Use traps, poisonous or burning ground to your advantage, not to mention free spears to throw at foes. Optimize your start positions, study the turn queu of combatants, select the right man on the right position, anticipate hostile moves and go for it.
Melee foes to be approached with buffed tanks. Also, hostile archers really suck in melee combat, its a viable strategy to engage them, limiting their main advantages.