Battles are relatively quick two player games played on a map with two castles. The goal is to eliminate your opponent, there are no resources to take or technologies to research.
An average battle lasts from 45 minutes to two hours depending on game size and the player's move speed.
There are two main varieties of battles. For new players, only one is available. This type is "Standard" which has set scenarios to play, with the troops chosen for the players and both players have the same exact troops as the other.
Once a player is a bit more advanced, "Custom" battles are offered. In these, players choose ("buy") troops from a list using different amounts of points ("gold") to make their army. Each player has their own choice and the possibilities of matchups are endless. There are three different sized games available, 3000 points, 4500 points and 6000 points.
To join a battle, go to the BATTLES>Show Games page. Click on the battle you wish to enter and follow the steps. You will be presented with a series of choices to make about what sort of game you wish to play.
There are three classes of troops available currently, Medieval troops, Barbarian troops and Demonic troops. If you are playing a Standard battle, you will see options for different scenarios presented. Choose one of them and join the game.
Open your map and you will see your troops in a castle. Your vision is limited to nine hex spaces away so although you will see the whole map you won't immediately see your opponent, who is in his or her own castle on the opposite end of the map, beyond your range of vision. Once you have an opponent and it is your turn, move out of the castle toward the center of the map. Make a good formation that protects your ranged (arrow shooting) troops and won't allow your opponent an easy way to break through your front.
When you have moved all your troops and/or made any attacks you want to make, your turn is over. Go back to the Game Page (not the map, but the page that displays Game information) and refresh the page. Once you do, a button titled "End Turn" appears. As soon as you click it your opponent's turn begins. You can go back to your Map page and refresh it to see what sort of move your opponent is making and to think about what you will do on your next turn. If your troops show that they have movement points after you refresh, it is your turn. You can also go back to the game page and refresh it for a popup telling you it is your turn.
To find an opponent you can use the instant messaging system on the COMMUNITY>Who's Online page to ask players to join you in the battle. You can message multiple players at once to increase your chances of finding an opponent quickly. Another way to find an opponent is to enter IRC or WEB chat and ask there. Or, you can just enter a battle and hope someone else will join without asking.
For more information about how to battle effectively, check out the TRAINING>Tutorials page for battles. There are many things you should know to battle intelligently that aren't absolutely necessary to know to play a first game, but rising higher will take a few lessons, either from hard experience or other's knowledge.
There is one other variety of battle, the four player battle. This is played on a special four castle map. These are "Choose your own troop" battles and are often played as team games. Be prepared, they are rather time-consuming, taking three to four hours to play generally.