Your character plays a role in the game. You can choose to play a small role or a major role. It is up to you. You can choose to develop your character with actions or development turns. You get one development turn and twenty action points per game year. If you are new to the game or a bit unsure as to how to play, it is probably best to stick to a supportive role and not be a clan leader.
With a maximum of 162 clans in the game, there can be plenty of clans you can choose to join.
The gameworld is a vast and sometimes dangerous place for your character to live in, so it is best to be in a clan together with other players who can be your friends and allies. On the other hand joining a clan with lots of other players will make it hard for your character to get noticed.
Try not to get caught up in the statistics, sure it is important, but remember there is also roleplay besides strategy. Immerse yourself into the gameworld and the story. Winning is not everything. Sometimes playing the role of the underdog can be more fun, than being the ruler of a powerful empire.
As the game progresses, so too will your character. There are a variety of ways to gain experience for your statistics:
A game round spans centuries and thus has more game years than the lifespan of any character. As such it is very likely that your character will not survive the full length of a game round, so do not get too attached to your character. In case your character dies, it will be succeeded. Your successor may inherit the abilities of your previous character.
Your character is part of a clan. If your character is the only member of a clan, then your character automatically becomes the head of that clan. If there are multiple members in a clan, then the character that gets the most votes of all the clan members, becomes the head of the clan. In case the vote is tied, then the player who registered first is elected as head of the clan.
The head of the clan is known as a Daimyo (great name). Only the Daimyo is able to conduct diplomacy and therefore can declare war or make pacts, or sign a ceasefire.
The Daimyo may get a greater cut of the total income of a clan than ordinary members.