First, install the game according to the instructions for your system. (These are to be found in the files `README' and `INSTALL'.)
Double-click on the Xconq icon (all platforms) or type
at a shell (Unix/Windows). You get an initial screen with several
buttons. Click on "New". You get a screen with a list of available
games. The "Introductory" game will be at the top of the list. Click
on it, then click on "OK". You may get a screen for variants, but if
you do, don't mess with these, just click "OK" again. You then get a
list of sides and players; the default setup is correct already, so
click "OK" again.
After a short pause while Xconq sets up the game, you will get one or more windows, depending on your system. The big window is the one to be interested in; it is a view of your new world.
It's also almost entirely black, representing the unknown. In the middle you should see a small picture of buildings, representing your first town "Jinod", and right below a small picture representing the soldiers of your 1st infantry unit. Your infantry is framed by a scrolling marquee, which indicates that it is your "current" or "selected" unit; the unit to which commands will apply. Your units are in a greenish hexagon, which is their "cell", and the cell is surrounded on five sides by similar cells. All of these represent plains. To the west there is a brownish patterned cell, which means mountains.
When the mouse pointer is over the map, you see that it looks like a gunsight with cross hairs. (On the Mac, this is a small arrow that always points away from the current unit.) This means that you're in "move mode", and that if you click on any location, the unit will try to move there. This happens the same whether you click in an adjacent cell or one far away, or even somewhere out in unknown regions. Your units are smart enough to find its way around some obstacles, and will stop and let you know they need new orders if they are blocked.
Click on the cell east (right) of the town and infantry. Hey, something happened! Your infantry is now out in the open, and it's discovered the sea to the east and northeast. At the same time, there is another infantry inside the town, but it looks fuzzy; that's because it is "incomplete". Your town Jinod will continue to work on the new infantry while you move around. Also note that the turn number is now 5, when it was 4 before. An infantry gets to move once/turn, so when it moved, it was done for the turn, and since there was nothing else to do, Xconq automatically went to the next turn. Your 1st infantry is the only unit not doing something already, so it gets to be the current unit again.
Your infantry can't go into the water (try it, you'll get beeped), so instead click on the land cell to the northwest, then northeast, just following the water's edge. Click to move east; you then discover another town! While your own units have a little blue-and-white flag in the upper right corner, this town (which is named Mebnels) has no such emblem, which means that it is independent. Since you want to save the town from being taken over by the evil robots, try to capture it--just click on the town. The town, not knowing that your benevolent rule is a better fate than being exploited by the evil robots, will try to resist. If it's successful, you'll have to keep trying, once each turn. Mebnels may even destroy your infantry.
At some point during all this, you'll find that the current unit is no longer your 1st infantry! Jinod has been quietly working on your 2nd infantry all along, and the new unit is now ready for orders. Xconq automatically jumps you to it when the 1st infantry is done for the turn. Click on the cell immediately west of Mebnels; you'll see your 2nd infantry appear to jump two cells, then highlight the 1st infantry (if the 1st is still alive, anyway). What actually happened was that you gave a "move to" task to the 2nd; it moved once, the turn ended and a new turn started, the 2nd moved again because it wasn't at the destination yet, and then since 1st wasn't doing anything, it became the current unit.
Continue trying to capture Mebnels. When the 2nd infantry arrives west of Mebnels, you can click on Mebnels to have it attack there as well. This is crucial, because the robots are coming...
In the turn after you've captured Mebnels, you'll see that Mebnels itself becomes the current unit. Towns can't move around, but they can produce new units. Choose "Build" from the Play menu, or type `P'. You will get a prompt asking to choose from a list of letters. To see what they mean, type `?' to get an explanation. You can choose by either clicking on the unit icons on the right side of the window, or by typing one of the letters. Armor is faster than infantry and more powerful too, which will come in handy shortly, so type `a'. You will see a small gray tank picture appear underneath Mebnels' picture.
(On the Mac, you can either type as described above, or use the construction window, which displays Mebnels on one side and a list of unit types on the other. Click on armor and then on "Construct".)
Continue moving your 1st and 2nd infantry east. When you get your 3rd infantry, click anywhere near the location of your 1st or 2nd infantry. The 3rd will work its way up to the others eventually.
Some time about now you'll start seeing units or towns with the red X of the robots. Those are the enemy; attack! As with Mebnels, you just have to click on the enemy unit when your current unit is adjacent to it. Keep an eye on the notices window/pane, it will tell you about how the fighting is going. You'll also see some flashing on the units; bigger means more damage. If one of the units disappears, that will be because it was destroyed.
Since this game is so simple, there is not a lot of strategy to winning it. You need to capture as many towns as possible (search around your first town Jinod to find others to help you build units), and you need to wear down the enemy by capturing its towns. Eventually either the AI will dominate and eventually wipe you out, or you will defeat all its armies and capture all its towns. The AI does not cheat, and doesn't get any special advantage, so if you lose to a mere machine...