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- I get HIS 2017 1.0x, 2.0x, and 2018 2.0x (two seconds for moving down 3-6 spots and a year's rental)
Massalia Starting Moves
That being said, thus so far I have exclusively played as Massalia in Imperator Rome. I finally got to a position where I feel pretty comfortable that I'm not about to completely lose, and before something inevitably goes wrong and undoes all that and demoralizes me, I wanted to share the various strategies I've assembled through trial and error that got me to this point.
And before I continue, let me give a quick shout-out to Lord Pravus Gaming, whose series on The Redemption of Epirus helped me learn the basic mechanics of the game. https://www.youtube.com/useLordPravusGaming
So, why Massalia? Because it's a tiny little Greek faction on the southern coast of Gaul-- a small beacon of civilization amidst the barbarians. This city is still with us today as France's Marseille, and while they never historically made an empire, maybe we can! I like playing as a small faction that starts out with nothing and building up my own civilization from that, instead of being handed a large territory from the get-go.
Massalia doesn't actually start out as a city state for some strange reason though. It begins the game with four cities: Massalia, Tauroention, Agathe, and Antipolis. Now that doesn't sound too small, right? Well, it's smaller than it looks. Don't get the wrong idea-- Agathe and Antipolis are mostly liabilities for a long time, not assets. Both cities are not adjacent to your other two holdings and are part of two different provinces. Agathe in the west is part of Narbonensis and Agathe in the east is part of Liguria. The latter is even part of a different region, Cisalpine Gaul instead of Transalpine Gaul.
You start out with five cohorts and six triremes. The latter are useless initially because as soon as you let the game start playing stacks of 7 pirates will show up to blockade Massalia and Antipolis. Occasionally two stacks will hit the same port. I think if the pirate stack has an admiral of a low enough martial skill and you put an admiral of high enough martial skill in charge of your fleet you can beat the pirates even outnumbered, but that's a risk we don't need to take-- we'll handle the pirates down the road. The point is that one of your starting assets is nullified and your commerce income is reduced. If having split up cities is handicap #1, this is handicap #2! I hope you like challenges, because this faction is full of them, which is why it's so fun for me (and frustrating!).
Your northern neighbor Salluvia of four cities used to start out with six cohorts, but after 1.01 they now usually start out with nine for some reason. Your eastern neighbor Deciatia of two cities usually starts out with eight cohorts now. If I remember correctly he used to start out with five. The good news is these factions don't immediately recruit more cohorts the way they used to, so things tend to even out more or less. Sometimes their starting numbers vary-- the new game I started as a visual aid for making this guide has a 8 cohort Salluvia and a 10 cohort Deciatia. If they both get extra cohorts it's probably worth restarting the game immediately. So being surrounded by two factions each with a greater starting military is handicap #3!
And that's how we start the game, surrounded by pirates and larger Gaulic factions, whom themselves are surrounded by another layer of Gaulic factions; but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
First thing to do when you open the game is check iron-man mode, because save scumming doesn't befit an adventurous player who would dare play the game as Massalia. Then select Massalia (you'll have to zoom in to find it...). Then check your ruler's stats. If he doesn't have a Charisma of at least six, go back to the main menu, and start a new New Game to re-roll. Without Charisma you'll barely gain oratory points, which will completely paralyze you. It would be nice if he had a decent Finesse too for gaining civic points, but we won't have the citizens to actually make research progress for a long time, so this one won't hurt as much-- you don't need to reroll for Finesse unless you really want to.
Once you have a ruler with acceptable stats, let the fun begin. As soon as you're in the game proper, there's a bunch of little things you need to do before letting the game play out.
- Research Aggressive Protection. This saves you 20 oratory points when you make your first claim on a neighbor's territory. This is important, because we want to get to 150 oratory points as soon as possible (but not before we conquer a neighbor). Do not grab a second research technology at this time.
- Go to the Economy tab. Reduce your navy's upkeep and reduce your commerce rate. Since our fleet is blocked in the capital by pirates we don't need to pay for their morale. Lowering the commerce rate will actually increase our income, because it gives every single province an extra trade route. Since we have cities in three provinces, we thus gain three trade routes, and in the process do our best to make those two isolated cities useful.
- Open up the city management screen for Agathe (two factions west of your capital) and dismantle its fort. Even on reduced fort upkeep that one fort would cost 0.75 gold per turn, literally a quarter of our tax income. That fort isn't even useful, since you can't get to the city to defend it if it ever is sieged. If enemies in that area declare war on you, Agathe will be occupied-- delaying the inevitable with a fort is a futile endeavor.
- Trade time. Here's where we use up the rest of our civic points and why we didn't grab a second research tech. While you've got Agathe's screen open, give them a trade route. Look at your pop happiness. Usually the Freemen are less happy than the Tribesmen, but sometimes they're all unhappy. Thus we want to grab a trade route that makes the Freemen happy-- namely Wine. If you want to placate the Tribesmen (there are more of them, and in theory they make money) instead, try to grab a rourte of Woad. Do the same thing in Antipolis. By the way, I have no clue why, but sometimes Antipolis has an extra trade route. If they do, try to grab the other of those resources. If there isn't another source available after grabbing something for both of these provinces, just grab whatever appeals to you. Grain is always nice if you don't have a preference.
- Capital Trade time. In Massalia, we're following a different strategy. Instead of just worrying about local citizens, we're concerned with creating national surpluses, because these give factional benefits that aren't limited by province. The two resources you start out with in this province are Fish and Stone. Thus it's easy to get a surplus of both by opening a trade route for each. This is my recommendation, but in theory if you wanted a surplus benefit from another resource that you could find two available routes for, you could open two trade routes for the same comodity to get a surplus for it. I'll explain why I highly recommend grabbing the stone surplus later.
- Military time. Check out the commanders of Salluvia and Deciatia compared to your options. If they've got generals with particularly high martial ranks (and/or if you've got particularly weak martially scoring generals), put a general in your army immediately. If both of the enemy generals have a 7 or higher martial score and the best you can field has a 5 or lower, you should probably restart the campaign. If the odds look in your favour, hire that general so your cohorts can max out their morale as soon as possible. Then enable Attachments Allowed on your army, and then click Recruit To Army, and buy four Archers and two Light Infantry (Psiloi and Hydaspists respectively). This will eventually bring our army size to 11 cohorts, which should slightly outnumber either of our neighbors. You may still have to recruit more during the war.
- Omen time. Open the Religion tab (or hit the omen indicator). I highly recommend grabbing the Blessing of Hades for the tax bonus. There are probably good reasons for grabbing other stuff instead, but I find that the rest are either too short-sighted (e.g. Ares) or too long-term oriented (e.g. Demeter). We'll make use of every penny we collect, I promise.
- Go time! Hit play and watch as your campaign falls apart. Er I mean, unfolds spectacularly!
Because the neighboring factions have extra cohorts, we can't make a move yet. You can 5x the game speed as your cohorts are recruited. Every month check the diplomatic screens for both Salluvia and Deciatia, looking for alliances and defensive leagues. Speaking of which, we have one of those ourselves. It's possibly handicap #4! I'll discuss it later, we need to see if our game actually happens or not first. When we're a month out from finishing our 8th and 9th cohorts, pause and confirm that one of your neighbors has no such allies. If both do, immediately restart the game. Ideally we want to hit Salluvia, because they have more cities. It's not too bad if Deciatia ends up the target instead. They should have the same number of pops. The biggest advantage (well, it's a double-edged sword that can be a disadvantage too) of taking Salluvia first is that they border more additional factions. This is good for us usually, because it increases the number of targets we can go after later in the game. More on this later.
And so, if 30 days before your 8th and 9th cohorts are complete, you do in fact have an alliance-free neighbor, we're in business. Open their diplomatic screen, go to Covert Actions, and Fabricate a claim on them. For Salluvia it mostly doesn't matter which province of theirs you target, but I recommend Vocontia because it's the more ambitious goal. It has more pops and one more city. Ideally we're gonna take both provinces anyway, so giving yourself a reason to fight longer by making the war-goal harder is useful.
The claim takes 30 days to manifest, which is why we've timed it now. If you make the claim immediately I am pretty sure the AI is more likely to form an alliance or join a defensive league, and possibly also to recruit more cohorts. The latter might not be true anymore since they start out with more cohorts, but in 1.0.0 I am pretty sure both were true. By timing the claim now, we minimize the chances that the neighbor you make a claim on forms an alliance before you have a big enough army to declare war. And so your army amassing nine cohorts will coincide with the claim making its way to your neighbor, enabling you to declare war.
That last month is the last chance they have to form an alliance. If they do, restart the game. If they're still diplomatically isolated, declare war. You won't be able to attack yet since you're waiting on the ninth cohort to make its way from Tauroention into your army, but that's ok. Once your army is consolidated, attack the AI head on. You should get a green battle indicator when you move your army into the enemy's, estimating your chances of victory being high. If it's yellow you'll probably win. If it's orange or red you need to cancel the movement, and wait until you have 11 cohorts to attack. If that happens, you'll almost certainly want to recruit two more units. The Hydaspists recruit quickly for the numbers advantage (and they attrition less), but the Psiloi perform better in battle-- I leave the choice up to you.
There is a good possibility that they will form an alliance and call that ally into the war subsequent to your declaration of war. That's not the end of the world. Usually it's Arecomicia they call in, and they tend to tunnel vision on Agathe, which you'll get back after you force your target to submit. It's possible that the other neighbor of Salluvia and Deciatia get called in, in which case you might lose the war and have to restart the game. Do you notice a common theme?
Assuming you've ensured that you have a better general than your target, you should win the first battle. You won't usually completely destroy their army at this time though. Check to see where their army is retreating to. If it's a city you can move into, which is to say that a fort does not prevent such movement, ignore any siege for now and chase down their routing army before it can regain morale or join new cohorts. If you can catch it and make battle, you will probably eliminate it this time. If you can't chase it, keep an eye on its movement and on where they are recruit more troops. Once you siege their fort you'll want to break off cohorts such that you leave around 6000 troops on the siege. Only 5000 are necessary, but you will lose some to attrition, and I don't think you can control which cohorts your manpower replenishes, so instead of risking losing siege progress by trying to save one more cohort from attrition, just leave a sixth in place in the siege.
Consolidate the extra troops and situate them in an adjacent city. If you need to chase around either the remnants of the enemy's main army or some brand new cohorts which got away from you, do so. Make sure that any troops that fight enemy troops have a commander, or they might lose to a single brand new cohort. It's ok if your sieging force does not have a commander, as far as I'm aware. If you don't have other issues to deal with, and the enemy is recruiting a new cohort, if you're able, park your second force on top of where they're recruiting and you'll instantly destroy it when it spawns.
If the enemy is able to preserve their main army and/or another faction they've called in manages to bring their army in time, you need to watch that army's movement. These various possibilities are the reason why we didn't destroy the fort in Massalia, this one is initially potentially useful at controlling enemy movements (and it doesn't have upkeep as of 1.0.1). If the enemy force threatens battle with either your sieging force or the force that's too cool to suffer attrition, move the force not threatened into the threatened city, even if this would break off your siege. You should be seeing favourable or even battle odds indicators. As soon as these disappear, cancel your movement. This is because the AI is responding to your consolidation response. Unless they can just walk over your entire combined force (this is possible if your enemy brings in two new allies and they both consolidate their forces, in which case restart the game), they will repeat this dance over and over. Respond in kind until you win the siege.
This is where things are simpler against Deciatia, they don't have a city which a fort blocks entry into. Against Salluvia, you can't enter Arelate until you take their fort. And as I understand, you can't demand all of Salluvian Vocontia until you also take that city, although I might be wrong on that point. You should not need to siege anything in Salluvian Alpes Maritimae, although you may end up doing so in the process of chasing cohorts around.
If your target offers peace, ignore it unless an overwhelming coalition of their new allies threatens to sweep your territory. The reason is their peace offer, even if it includes 100% of their territory, will never include their gold, and we wantses it, Precious. That gold makes a huge difference on rebuilding your economy after recruiting such a large force (as a fraction of your income). If you are about to be swept, accept their peace or just restart. Ideally, whether they bring in new allies or not, you'll be able to siege everything, occupy your target's entire territory, and then demand a peace. In the peace terms, make sure to demand all of their gold in addition to their territory, and then you'll have completed the first part of this guide. You'll get back any territory occupied by their new allies (looking at you, Agathe). By the way, if you get a post-siege dilemna, choose the first option, whatever it's called, that doesn't kill any pops-- you'll need them. In the post-war dilemna, I recommend the second option, whatever it's called, that reduces your Aggressive Expansion score.
So you've conquered an ally, adding anywhere from 2 to 4 new cities to your domain. Pause and take a deep breath-- you actually get to play the game now! Here's what's next:
- Economy Tab: reduce your army's upkeep. They don't need morale if they aren't fighting. If an enemy with comparable or greater numbers declares war on you and invades fast enough that you don't have time to replenish your army's morale with proper upkeep, restart the game. This actually rarely happens. For the most part, you won't need to restart the game until you personally make a blunder, as opposed to the many instances where bad luck in the first part of the campaign can ruin your day. Reducing upkeep is the second step in building a strong economy. Also destroy all forts in your newly conquered territories, they're not worth the upkeep yet.
- You should have 50 oratory power by now, use it to add a Civic Idea in the Nation Overview screen. We want Standardized Construction. This is where our stone surplus finally becomes useful. If you were able to get the ideal peace terms, you should have 70-100 gold in the bank at this point. Spend it on a Marketplace in Massalia. Stone surplus and this Civic Idea together reduce building costs by 40% and build-time by 30%. If the Civic Faction wins the election that's reduced by another 10%. When you hit 60 gold again (or 50 if the Civic Faction takes over), buy another Marketplace in Massalia. Destroy the Fort in Massalia to make room for a third Marketplace in the future.
- Next is a waiting game: We need 150 oratory power after fabricating the claim that started the first war. You might already have 100 power by this time of the game, in which case you just need to wait another half year or so to get the last 50. We're turning this oratory power into more Ideas. I prefer Complex Tarrifs for the second Civic Idea and State Religion for the Religious Idea. Tax Farming as a second Civic Idea is ok, but I never seem to amass that many slaves to make it worth it. You will definitely have enough commerce income down the road to make the commerce bonus worth it.,
- Nabbing two Civic Ideas and one Religious Idea unlocks a faction bonus that gives you another mana point per month and an extra trade route in your capital. If the trade route is available, you should be able to get a Wine surplus whichever neighbor you conquered since both Tegulata and Forum Voconii have wine. If you conquered Deciatia instead of Salluvia, and if wine isn't available or if you just prefer, you can get a wood surplus instead, which will make your triremes better (this will be useful in the future).
- Governor Policies: Another waiting game: check out each of your provinces' Governor Policies. Initially we want Cultural Assimilation in all of them. Down the road we can swap these out for other stuff (to be discussed later). The goal is to have all of your pops sharing the Massalian culture. This has a huge impact on their happiness. Religion matters too, but there are many fewer things to do with your religious points than with your oratory points, so it's fine to convert each pop manually with religious points. Calculate when you need to start saving up religious points to have enough to restart your Omen of Hades based on how many religious points you gain per month-- it would be a bad blunder to use up your religious points right before the first Omen ends. However, since religion does matter, if you need to swap out multiple Governor Policies, swap out Religious Conversion policies last if you have any in place.
- Promote capital pops. Start with Massalia. Once you've swapped out all of your governor policies, use your accumulating Oratory Power to promote any Freemen and Tribesmen into Citizens. You'll probably have noticed that the first war alone completely wrecked your manpower (handicap #5!), and you barely gain any more (50-60 per month). There might be a day where maxing out some province in Freemen to gain manpower is something you might consider, but it is not this day! Thus losing a little bit of your manpower replenishment by promoting Freemen and Tribesmen won't hurt. You're a long way from winning another war no matter what. In Agathe and Antipolis you can promote your Freemen into Citizens, but I'd leave your Tribesmen in place for the little money they give. If you conquered Salluvia, I recommend against promoting anyone in Vocontia. You can promote them in Alpes Maritimae, but prioritize Tauroention before conquered cities.
- Oratory Power: once all non-slaves are promoted to Citizens in Alpes Maritimae, you're gonna start saving up your Oratory Power. As you approach 100% assimilation, it's ok to manually assimilate the remainder in each province so you can swap out of Cultural Assimilation. If your Religious Power gain is really poor, you might need to switch to Religious Conversion if manually converting pops would hamper your ability to always maintain an omen. Eventually you want to swap every province's governor policy to Encourage Trade, which boosts commerce income and provides a new trade route. In your provincial provinces prioritze resources which boost the happiness of your least happy pops, as is possible. If that isn't an option try to establish a surplus of a resource in that province. If that isn't possible, just grab what you can. If you create a trade route and literally nothing is available, just check back every month-- it won't be long until something pops up. Periodically your trade routes will get terminated anyway and you'll use the same strategy then. In your capital continue to try to establish national surpluses.
- Technology: Prioritize techs in this order: Property Tax, Hierchical Haruspication, Standardized Measures, and finally Logistics Bureau, once you level up your Civics Tech. After you get Religious tech level 2, I like F.U.G. and Grain Rations, but I think there's a lot more room for preference at that point, and it depends on whether or not you want to spend your Civic Points as soon as possible or wait for specific tech tiers to unlock. In my ongoing campaign I've never had a good Civic Point accumulation rate, so I've never bothered with the techs that increase tech rate. If you are getting a lot of points you can grab them to speed your tech up.
- The fleet! Your gold expenditure should be prioritized on making Marketplaces in Massalia, but after that it'll be time to break out of the pirates' grip. You should only need to recruit two more triremes before you can break out. It's important that you swap in a trade route for wood into your capital, even if you lose a national surplus to do so, and even if you conquered Deciatia. The reason is you need to recruit triremes only in Massalia itself, where the fleet is docked. If you recruit a trireme in another port it will instantly be destroyed by the pirate blockade and your 20 gold will sink to the bottom of the Mediterranean. Make sure to add an admiral and restore fleet upkeep at least four months before you intend to fight pirates so that their morale is sufficiently high, or they'll instantly route. If the pirates are doubled up as a combined fleet of 14 in one spot you'll need more triremes. In my ongoing campaign I used 9 triremes with an admiral of 10 or 11 martial power to crush the 14stack pirate fleet. You can always move your fleet to engage the pirates and then cancel the move if it shows you an orange or red battle chance indicator. Once you beat the pirates blockading Massalia, dock your ships again until they're repaired to 100% health, then take out the pirates blockading Antipolis. Afterwards reduce the fleet's upkeep again. This will give you a sizeable increase in income. I haven't done the math, but it's even possible that breaking out of the pirate blockade is a bigger priority to making Marketplaces in Massalia, but I leave the math to you.
One quick note: I mentioned earlier that the defensive league you're in could be a liability. I have a theory that maintaining it dissuades other factions from declaring war on you after you win the first war (which is when you're weakest because of a dearth of gold and manpower), but I don't actually know if that's true. If you do get brough into an Iberian war by Emporion or Hemeroskopeion, reduce your army upkeep (as of 1.01 it's automatically restored to normal) and ignore the conflict. I've never lost Agathe to such a conflict nor gained any territory from trying to ship an army to help, so there's no point in worrying about it.
The point of filling your capital with Citizens and Marketplaces is to take advantage of our heavy commerce focus, with the extra benefit of increased research rate.
And so from here you're just building your economy, optimizing your happiness and pop-types, and dealing with the various dilemnas that appear. You'll be playing on 5x for a long time. What you'll find is that expansion beyond this phase of the game is limited most by your neighbors' alliances. Over time these fluctuate, and you'll always be on the look-out for an opportunity, where an enemy is a part of 0 or maybe 1 alliance or has 1 defensive league partner, but only when that opportunity coincides with you having enough Oratory Power to fabricate a claim, having enough cohorts or enough manpower to recruit enough cohorts to win a head-on battle or having enough money to recruit the 16stack mercenary army chilling in Massalia, and having enough morale in your armies.
Preparing your second war is a lengthy process. You need to be on the watch for a good potential target. Once you've identified them, you need to plan when you restore your army's upkeep around when you'll have enough Oratory Power to make the claim. You want your army's morale to max out exactly 1 month after your claim comes into effect, coinciding with the moment you can cross your border and hit your neighbor. It's possible that none of your neighbors will ever shed enough alliances or defensive league partners to make a declaration of war safe. Thus you must also be on the lookout for opportunities against your neighbors' neighbors. If you think you an opportunity is on the horizon, butter your neighbor up to encourage them to give you military access. This is an even more involved process, because it requires you to save extra Oratory points and to plan your upkeep around two possibilities: the first that you can actually get military access and the second that your target remains vulnerable by the time your morale is good.
The reason I'm so obsessed with maintaining reduced army upkeep is it's important to max out your income to gain a big gold surplus. This is because your manpower will remain pitiful for a very long time, so you'll want to recruit that mercenary army. That requires you to have about 200 gold on hand. Thus if you see a potentially vulnerable target, you'll want to plan your fabricate time around the point where you can afford the mercenary army after restoring your upkeep. It's possible that a nearby faction suddenly becomes completely bereft of allies and isn't already being conquered, but I've never seen such an opportunity last long enough for my morale to max out.
You could restore your upkeep as soon as you break out of the pirates' grip, but then you reduce your income, delaying your next benchmark of hitting 200 gold. Either strategy is a gamble, but I find relying on the mercenaries for the second planned war has more consistent results than assuming you'll find a faction with no allies you can beat down with just your own standing army. The problem is that if you exhaust your manpower a second time from both recruiting more troops as is necessary and replenishing those cohorts after the second planned war, that you make yourself extremely vulnerable to attack by any faction, especially since most of your neighbors will have 2-3 alliances. A 1v3 is hard enough in a vacuum, it becomes completely impossible after you eliminate your manpower unless you have the bank to recruit the mercenary army.
I keep talking about the second planned war, but it's not impossible that someone will declare war on you out of the blue. The other faction of Salluvia and Deciatia that you didn't conquer initially will usually fabricate a claim on Alpes Maritimae. The two Ligurian factions and Genua are all likely to Fabricate a claim on Antipolis, Liguria. Occasionally Iberian factions fabricate a claim on Agathe. For the two isolated cities, if a faction you don't border declares war on you over a claim on one of them and you can't get military access to reach it, try to offer peace by handing over the city. You'll get it back later, and you won't lose that much income from it. One thing I haven't tried is buttering up a neighbor as soon as a claim comes out to try to get military access the moment another faction fabricates such a claim. Usually these claims come soon after your first war, where any fresh outbreak of war results in a campaign restart, so it's a non-issue. Don't worry about the claim itself, usually they don't declare war because your standing army is a big enough deterrence.
An unplanned war, especially by a neighbor, is a great way to expand your territory, provided you don't get overrun. If it's not a 1v1 and their allies do show up, you'll probably just restart. Otherwise try to stall until your morale is restored, then go on the offense and win.
In my ongoing campaign, I conquered all of Salluvia initially, and then Deciatia declared war on me down the road with no allies. I conquered him and chilled. My second planned war was against an alliance of Oxybia and Intimilia, both in Liguria. I used the mercenary stack for sieging so as to not diminish my manpower, and combined the mercenary army with my standing army of 20 cohorts (still just archers and light infantry) for set piece battles.
My second unplanned war didn't manifest, as some Iberian tribe that didn't border me declared war without a claim and no fighting took place so a white peace was automatically concluded after enough time. That one was spooky because I had been forced to use my main army for one siege while the mercenary army chased an enemy army around, so my manpower was depleted and the war took long enough that I was about to run out of gold. Luckily I was able to conclude the sieges necessary to exact a separate peace with the each Ligurian faction, giving me enough gold to disband the mercenaries. I had enough of a standing army remaining to hold an attack by the Iberian faction, but not a big enough force to go on the offense, so it was nice that the war petered out.
I'm about to undergo my third planned war against the alliance of Sorbonia and Aremicia using the same strategy. Vocontia has often been the object of war by its neighbors, which has distracted them from me, but somehow their allies never bailed so I could never go after them. Curiously no surviving faction maintains a claim on any of my cities.
And finally, let me mention the ways I've gone wrong in campaigns that won the first war.
- Morale: already mentioned previously, I cannot stress how important it is to remember to restore your army's upkeep and let their morale at least partially recover before you engage any battle. You can triple the enemy's size and still instantly get routed otherwise.
- Alliances: I mentioned before that I don't know if the defensive league you start in is useful or not. Once you're feeling ready for your next war, it's probably a good idea to end the league just to not get drawn into dumb stuff. So far, I have not found a use for any full-blown alliance either. Usually the factions who want in on an alliance are the ones with few enough alliances that they're on my radar to be my next target. When I have tried getting an alliance, the allied faction usually refuses to join my wars, defensive or offensive. If they do join in they've never actually sent their armies when I needed them. More importantly, I did lose one war in a campaign that had been going very well because I allied with Genua. I figured allying them was a nice way to buffer my eastern conquests, already protected by the Alps. It turns out it was a nice way to go to war with Carthage, who far from ignoring me showed up with 18 triremes and an army that instantly erased mine.
- Manpower: Even if it's a winnable war you need to minimize your manpower losses. In one otherwise successful campaign I went to war with Aremicia and some other Iberian faction, maybe Sorbonia, in which I thought it would be an easy victory based on the numbers. I bought the mercenaries, brought in my army with enough morale to fight, beat Aremicia's army and started sieging their territory. The enemy recruited some more cohorts, combined the two factions' armies and fought me in a bitter stalemate of a battle that left us both broken, and soon after I had lost the war with 0 remaining manpower. I can't speak for other factions, but at least with Massalia, manpower is the ultimate limiting resource. Massalia doesn't have a good cap nor a good rate of replenishment.
- Greed: In the campaign I just described, the faction I had fabricated a claim on was the distant faction, so that I could conquer Aremicia while bypassing its additional defensive league. That was great on paper, but I refused to recruit additional cohorts, figuring that since on paper I had more cohorts including the mercenary army at the start of the war that I wouldn't need more. That was the first example of greed. The second was that right before the climactic battle that erased both of our armies, the distant faction ironically offered peace, giving me the province I had a claim on. However I wanted Aremicia's territories since they were adjacent to mine, but since I wasn't done sieging them I couldn't demand it in the peace, so I turned them down. Play for the long-term, only be greedy in the beginning where anything less than total victory isn't worth enduring. As I said before, hand over Agathe or Antipolis to avoid difficult wars, or in this case, accept the peace that preserves your precious manpower.
And that's all I've got, until I learn more about the game, and until I get farther into a successful campaign myself! You can see there's a lot of ways for the campaign to go wrong, especially early in the game. As far as I know what I'm doing is the optimum strategy based on Massalia's starting position, strengths, and weaknesses. If you see ways that I'm making the campaign harder on myself or opportunities to get ahead that I'm not exploiting, please let me know! I'm far from an expert on this game. I hope that what I have uncovered is useful for you all, whether you play Massalia or not. I enjoy the challenge of the difficult starting position, but maybe more importantly, learning under these adverse conditions has helped me learn stuff that will undoubtedly be useful for easier factions, that I might have never learned by starting with them.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, may your conquests be swift and successful!
P.S. The new patch 1.0.2 version name is Cunctator, which is latin for "Delayer". It was the nickname for Quintus Fabius who chose the smart but unpopular tactic of shadowing Hannibal's army during the Second Punic War, after some disastrous early defeats. He chose to do so to give his green troops time to gain experience in the field and to give Hannibal the opportunity to blunder, in hopes that Fabius would spot an opportunity to exploit. He almost did, but Hannibal used a brilliant night-time decoy involving cattle carrying torches as a diversion to escape. Fabius wouldn't accomplish anything in the war until much later, when after Scipio tricked Hannibal into abandoning Tarentum, Fabius was the one to retake it. His rival, who earlier in the war had failed to protect Tarentum, was angry with Fabius when he celebrated that victory in the Senate. His rival claimed that Fabius didn't deserve all the credit, that he had helped him. Fabius agreed, saying that if his rival had not first lost the city, he himself could not have retaken it (Cicero).