For some ideas, you can watch the game videos at
Also there is a beta wiki - it is a little outdated, but still has useful information
My normal game strategy (only played a few games)
Build workshop - or whatever it is that produces 1 material. Build on the nearest fertile land you can - there is usually one close to your starting city (might take a few turns).
Once you have the fertile land and the workshop - you should be able to build a house or two so your city expands.
In the mean time - create something to defend your town - I usually summon a creature and leave it in the village, but gorstagg trains a peasant or two. Either should work - but if you leave your town completely undefended, you could easily lose it (on normal difficulty).
while the city is defended and building up, I send my king/queen to go out scouting, picking up any random things that require 1 adventure skill, looking for a second place to start a second city.
I usually pick a mage with fire, and can win most battles in auto combat using the 'burn' spell. The more cautious people might summon some units to help the mage.
From here, it is up to you. Do you want a strong economy ? research civics. Someone to kill ? research weapons. Lots of random stuff that you can't use? research adventuring.
For my first real 'army' - I like to rush research for bows. I don't even care about amour so much, as having bows usually lets you kill whatever it is before it gets close to you. This might change in future releases.
Note - you do have to build an archery range before you can train anyone using the bow.
If you want 'groups' of units - that live longer and kill larger creatures, you can research parties and squads in the warfare tech.
Back to city development - early on, it is really helpful to get at least one the following resources
fertile land - so your city can grow
old forest - so you get building material
metal mine - so you can use armor and sharp weapons (and if you trade with the AI, metal is worth more gold.. I forgot the transfer rate, but I think it is 5 or 10 a piece)
If you can, building on the libraries/towers (I think they are towers) to increase tech research can help speed things up.
BTW - the current research interface has a really useful feature - if you don't know what something does (like a building)- you can click on it within the research screen to learn more about it.
Most city buildings provide a bonus to your base value. Some things increase the base value of things, but are very low (usually 1 or 2). To get real production out of a city, you really need to build on the 'rare' structures around the city (mines, farms, old forests, ect).
If you can play tactical battles - I find the firestorm spell very useful. If I have the correct name, it is one of the first spells with a radius effect. This allows you to kill up to 9 units with one spell (if they are all grouped together). Very nice to have - I think it is a lvl 3 spell.
Hope this helps, and have fun. If it crashes, read the guide on crashes and report it properly.
If you want to chat about the game, join us in the IRC chat room (there's a forum post somewhere on the details).