As we play it:
I highly recommend you to play with a dummy card (it existed on the playtest version) that is just a bluff card and doesn't count for hand limit. So the opponent doesn't know if you are playing or not a card at the card selection phase.
Sounds interesting. Is the dummy card included in the final version? I'm still waiting for my ordered copy...
I think the rules (7.1) as written are not totally clear.
Then players reveal their cards and declare how they will be played, beginning with the player without initiative on each front.
Could be treated as both revealing cards (simultaneously) and afterwards declaring use
OR as you wrote: reveal, declare, reveal, declare.
But the summary sheet supports your version:
The player(s) without the initiative (starting on the northern front) plays and declares first.