My observations on winning on Normal & Hard:
1. There is not much difference between normal and hard modes once you have captured the 3 central Italian major cities (Pisa, Ancona and Asculum) with Hannibal and 2 other generals in the area. This is because you can survive turns were the Carthaginian Senate is not cooperating with your plans on the reinforcements of those cities, and you are lessening the Roman reinforcements at the same time.
2. With those central Italian cities in hand, and Hannibal in the field, you can limit the Roman ability to take action in the area, and many times crush attempts they make at them.
3. You must counter the Roman fleet by recruiting the largest navy that you can. Take every opportunity the hit the Roman fleet when they are not concentrated.
4. The turning point in most games is early on, before the Carthaginians have established their hold on central Italy. This is were the Romans have the inititave and resources to eradicate you before you can get started.
5. Having one more general to move between other areas to gather troops, although not entire necessary, is something that can seal the game if you can achieve it.
6. Rome is agressive. Use this against them. In every game there is a time where you can either smash a Roman army or two by just giving them the opportunity to move/attack. The game's AI has a roleplaying aspect in that it does not respect Hannibal's abilities until he has proven himself against it.
7. Once you have sieged Rome for 3 years, you should muster all your forces (having more than 2 to 1 strength than Rome's) and storm Rome. This is preferable to giving the Romans another 2 turns to pull something off.
In Summary, I have won and lost my share of games, but I have won on both Normal and Hard (and have only had the game 2 days). In the hard game I just finished, I had my entire fleet of 8 ships sunk in a storm, and still managed to win. There is a lot of thinking on your feet, which makes every game fun and different. But the strategy I have outlined above has been effective for me.
Do any of you have any solid strategies that differ greatly from what I have outlined? Any agruments with it?
Edited for grammer and spelling.
< Message edited by Gargoil -- 11/16/2011 4:37:57 PM >