Downloaded it and have now played twice on the highest difficulty level.
Game One saw the Romans play a very aggressive overseas strategy where they invaded Spain and North Africa and continued to reinforce these efforts.
I was forced to use Hannibal's main force as a fire brigade, rushing them to Spain and then to North Africa. Despite winning every major battle, Hannibal was not allowed to return to Italy at a critical juncture and so the Romans were able to contintue to raise new armies with the powerful recruiting grounds in Italy undisturbed. After 20 turns, the war ended and despite being unbeaten in the field, Carthage capitulated.
In Game Two, I was determined that the Romans would not have the luxury of recruiting in Italy without interference. After invading Cisalpine Gaul, I recruited aggressively and defeated the Roman army there. The Romans did not invade Spain the way that they usually do, but rather combined armies and came after Hannibal. I avoided battle and force marched into southern Italy. After conquering both of the southern provinces and recruiting Italian forces there, the romans followed. A victory in the south drove them off and forced them to wait while they rebuilt their armies. Meanwhile Syracuse came over to my side and conquered the rest of Sicily, and the combined fleets (Syracuse and Carthage) won a couple of naval battles to secure the waters around Sicily.
By the time the Roman army was rebuilt and drove south to re-take Rhegium, Hannibal slipped north to Cisalpine Gaul again and recruited more Guals, and was reinforced with forces from Spain and Carthage... Hannibal's main force was now 43 units strong vs. 23 for the main Roman army in the south.
What happened next was a bit odd: Instead of moving north to protect Rome, the main Roman army marched East to reconquer the cities of Brundisium. In doing so, they laid Rome open and took 5 critical losses, bringing their main force down to 18. At this point, all of Italy had been stripped of recruits and Rome had only 1 unit above the 8 unit garrison. I marched on Rome and took it without much of a problem.
So, the AI in the new update seems much more aggressive in attacking overseas and/ or coming after Hannibal when they outnumber him, but it also may rank re-conquering Italian cities higher than defending Rome.
Seems like one more tweak may be in order. Either:
a) Always leave extra troops in Rome to make storming it near impossible, or
b) put in a calculation where if a carthaginian army is in Italy, the garrison of Rome must always equal 50% of that army.
All things considered though, this AI is a real bear, and even with perfect strategy, Hannibal has a real challenge on his hands.
GREAT GAME! I can't stop playing it. (Played it 40+ times already with no end in sight...when is the next game coming????)
< Message edited by gdrover -- 11/20/2011 9:04:59 PM >