So I got the demo, read the manual, read a few AARs and launched into the Four emperors scenario. Since Vespasian won in real life, I took his army against those of Otto and Lettelus (or something like that). I am writing this from memory, so some names are fuzzy.
Having no idea what to do, I noted that one force (or stack) up North is fixed, whereas the Palestine force under Vespasian is poised to put down the Jewish revolt in Palestine. My third major force is in Asia Minor, but the briefing says that historically, they met Otto near Northern Italy and defeated him, and after putting down the Jewish revolt, Vespasian and his son Titus came and took Rome.There is also a smaller friendly force in Alexandria, which I figured I could bring by boat up to help Vespasian.
Here I made my first disastrous mistake: I figured that Vespasian could put down the Jewish revolt while picking his nose, and decided to achieve the historical victory over Otto by moving my other main force to Italy. Well, it is along way to Tipperary, and the scenario is only 12 moves (months) long, so I decided to send them by boats which just happened to be available nearby. So I loaded them up and sent them to the heel of Italy, where Croton didn't seem to be well fortified. This is in December, but there didn't seem to be any storms so it should be OK. And it was - until the second month. The first month, the navy took a bit of attrition which is normal,but on the second month, they hit a major storm and the whole fleet was sunk and only the three generals survived! Two legions and two auxiliaries were lost at sea. (Varus, where are my two legions?!!!(as I bang my head against the wall).
In the meantime, The force from Alexandria moved up to Samarra (the port city below Sidon and NW of Jerusalem)while Vespasian assaulted the nearest Jewish force - and hit air, as they escaped after taking light casualties. So I ordered Vespasian to assault Jerusalem, which unfortunately is well fortified, which means a looonng siege. In the meantime other Jewish forces were picking off my nearby cities protected by weak garrisons. Someone asassinated some guy who controls North Africa (I had been given the option and had refused to try), and his holdings fell to me for some unclear reason, and I now controlled North Africa.
The Alexandrian force had holed up in Samarra to recuperate, and found themselves under siege from a weak Jewish force with only one unit, but try as I might, I was unable to get the much stronger Alexandrians with two legions to come out and beat them to death.Titus showed up and I sent him there and put the troops under his command, but still they would not come out.
Some moves later, Jerusalem fell, but the Jews still controlled some cities, we were over halfway through the game, I had no units to speak of except those in Palestine, the Parthians were threatening to declare war, my cities were falling like dominoes all over the place, so I decided that my chances of ever reaching Italy not to mention Rome were less than nil, so I gave up and went to read more AARs.