The player with the most Scouts wins. If you have 1k (1,000) Scouts and they have 500 Scouts you will win the battle with some Scout casualties. You will gain information on their cities based on your Beacon Tower LvL along with Informatics LvL. If your Scouts are defeated by their Scouts or you don't have Scouts protecting your city.... They will learn information on you.
Depending on the LvL of Beacon Tower and Informatics... You can gain the following information Scouting an Enemy: How many resources and gold they have, What buildings and how many of each building they have, How many resource buildings and what ones they have, The LvLs of all the buildings they have, Their army size (Includes what troops and how many), and what they have for Wall Defenses.
When scouting you may get a report back that only says a few of these or a horde of those... here is what that means
Few = 1 – 24
Pack = 25 – 49
Lots = 50 – 99
Horde = 100 – 249
Throng = 250 – 499
Swarm = 500 – 999
Zounds = 1,000 – 2,499
Legion = 2,500 – 4,999
Bulk = 5,000 – 10,000
Giga = 10,000 - “Infinite”
Before you leave BP you should have about 500 Scouts. That way if someone Scouts you, you kill their Scouts, Gain Honor, and they don't get a Scout Report.
Scouts do NOT need a Hero to make a few trips to Cities. Some use HIGH Intel Heros to get "more" Information. I'm not too sure that's helpful. I NEVER use one and always get good Information back. Try both ways, have fun with it and see what works best for you. The reason I don't use a Hero is so I can use the Hero for an Attack while Scouts are our Scouting."