Today I am Carthage.
First things first: eliminate the Romans. Pursuing peace with them won't work. Take over Sicily by letting the Romans and Greeks play off each other: the Greeks are driven off without me attacking them and the Roman forces are divided. They fall easily...I ally with the Greeks, who need help badly. I give them money.
In the meantime, I'm building up my forces in Spain so that the Spanish won't attack me and I can attack them when the time is right. I'm also building up a super sekrit force in the Belaric Islands. Why? Because Nobody. Will. Suspect. It.
Not that the Rome: Total War AI is intelligent enough to suspect anything.
Finally, I'm ready to attack the Italian mainland. Southern Italy is closer, so the Bruti quickly lose their hold on the mainland. The Scipiones put all of their military resources into a boat and send it towards Sardinia. This is STUPID for several reasons, not the least of which is that I just sank your stupid boat.
The Scipiones fall.
The Senate diddles around like the bunch of politicians they are and fail to attack me when I'm weak. Soon enough, I've built up an entire army that could easily kill Rome. I know this because it did.
Randomly, Spain attacks me. By this time, I've got a full army of SEKRIT forces in the Belarics. By the power of the Navy, they arrive in eastern Spain, which falls without comment. My other forces easily overrun western Spain, and Spain is no longer an issue. Then the Julii ally with Gaul, which makes me nervous. I don't have *that* many SUPER SEKRIT forces.
But they don't press their advantage, and soon I've got the Julii conquered. Rome, except for two or three provinces in Greece where the Bruti were stranded thanks to the Greek Navy, has been deaded. By Carthage. TAKE THAT VERGIL YOU TWITFACE.
Gaul is tricky. But the British have weakened them, my diplomats have bribed away all their stray armies (why does the AI always send things in easily bribeable armies of two or three units apiece?), and soon my conquered provinces in northern Italy and my SEKRIT FORCES in the Belaric Islands have got northern Italy and southern France under my control. At which point in time Britain decides to start a war with me. Idiots. I ignore them (blockades don't matter!) and polish off Gaul, which was stupid and started a war with Britain at about the time I was advancing on its capital.
I take over Britain's mainland territories relatively easily, and then spend about 10 turns building up three armies (one for each of the three territories on Great Britain). During those ten turns, I finally move into the Balkan peninsula. I'm just afer the Bruti, who have taken over most of Greece and Macedon's territory. I don't really care about the territory, so I give the five cities I conquer to Greece, along with some money. Greece repays my generosity by ATTACKING ME. Why did it attack me when it could have attacked Pontus or Egypt or Macedon?
Britain falls without a fuss. This was mainly due to their putting their largest army into a boat and sailing the boat into my navy. Ireland practically throws itself into my control.
So I have Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, and--oh, yeah, and Numidia attacked me somewhere along the line as well. Stupid Numidians. Of course, I was kind of provoking them by marching my armies all over their territories. But I thought--hey, 80 units, 20 by each of your main control areas, is only a small provocation. They won't rise to the bait! Especially since the fact remains I HAVE FOUR ARMIES IN YOUR COUNTRY AND YOU DON'T. But they tried to attack me anyway and were met with elephant smashes.
I get bored of Dacia's continued existence and attack it. I noticed that Scythia had randomly allied with me, so I sent some diplomats to bribe the Eygptian armies that were attacking it. I was awarded with a lot of Egyptian family members coming to my side, and I used them and their mercenaries to attack the Egyptian town that had once been Scythian. I built up two armies, which I sent into a rebel territory north of the Crimean peninsula and into the last remaining Parthian province. HEE.
At around this time, Greece sends a huge army from Rhodes into my possessions on the Greek peninsula. I lose a battle or two, bide my time, and then come roaring out of Thessalonica with my...diplomats. Who bribe all the Greek settlements into my possession. And then I send some very large armies into them. All is well! The computer pops up with the announcement that I own 50 territories and that I've won. I pick to continue playing because the fact Macedon hasn't been wiped out (thanks to my the decision on the part of my Greek "allies" to attack me instead of Macedon) pisses me off.
So all is well.
Except for the Egyptians. The Egyptians? Are a pain in the ass. They've conquered the Middle East and Turkey. Instead of going after what I've left of Macedon and the Greek states, they choose to attack me. Which is STUPID of them because guess what? My diplomats are now all over Turkey! A few hundred thousand denarii less and the Egyptians have no armies in Turkey. Except in the cities, which I'm too lazy to bribe and then force to like me.
I started building new armies in Tunisia and my conquered Numidian provinces and sent them out towards Egypt. Egypt responded by sending the armies that my diplomats in Turkey couldn't reach...into the arms of more diplomats.
Now, if only I can learn the add money cheat for real life.