My first FPGA
If you have this exact FPGA, I highly recommend this site: https://land-boards.com/blwiki/index.php?title=Cyclone_II_EP2C5_Mini_Dev_Board
There is a list of the features and all of the I/O mappings (like clocks, LEDs and the one button)
If you want to see some advanced Verilog implementions, I recommend this site:
That site just nails the explanations and provide a ton of applications for an FPGA board.
I bought some time ago a really cheap Cyclone II EP2C5T114C8N development board. It's really a bare minimum: 4 user leds and one button. That's all. At least the programmer was included. (a USB Blaster)
For the programming side, Quartus II seems to be the most popular software to do Verilog and VHDL programming, at least with the Cyclone series.
Only weird thing is that the FPGA requires external 5-9 V supply. I just modified couple of cables I had lying around and connected the supply directly to a USB port.
So, now what? What can we do with an FPGA? What is it exactly?
FPGA is like logic on drugs. You can program the logic the way you want and implement your own hardware designs. These things are pretty darn powerful as you can build the hardware to your own needs.
FPGAs are often used as display drivers (like VGA and HDMI), hardware emulators (CPUs and even entire systems) and hardware accelerators.