First off, thanks for your kind words regarding the game. I am glad that you are enjoying it.
1) "Pontian" aid is somewhat anachronistic here. Perhaps "Illyrian" aid would be more appropriate. Of course only the name would change. For the 1.0.3 patch I am going to content myself with an addendum to the manual. For a future patch I intend to update the manual itself and that would be a good time to make this change.
2) It does get difficult after a while to engage the Romans with Hannibal. But you can keep trying it and eventually get lucky and force a battle ("so and so was outmaneuvered and must accept battle"). When Fabius or Otacilius (his nephew) is one of the consuls (not proconsul) the Roman Senate is more wary of Hannibal. Here is a small hint: when the Romans are "shadowing" Hannibal they will still try to capture cities in Hannibal's province, unless Hannibal's reputation has grown so large that they are afraid that they cannot defend even in a camp. If a leader doesn't think that he could defend even in a camp battle then he won't risk any interception to attack a city. Otherwise he'll usually try to capture a city and this gives you another chance. This can help in all provinces in Italy except Latium-Campania to some extent. In the other provinces you can capture a minor city and then leave it as bait for Roman forces in Hannibal's province. Roman leaders abroad don't do this as much because they are afraid of being cut off from their only port in the province.
3) As nalivayko said, this is a cosmetic feature only. Some day I intend to introduce option rules for logistics and then the grain, pasture, and vineyards will have an active function. Now, I hate to advertise "vaporware" and I must say that I don't know how soon "Hannibal" will get rules for logistics. Maybe not until next year (2012).
4) As nalivayko said (And thanks, nalivayko, for helping out ).
5) Part of the reason for making Syracuse a Capital city is in fact Archimedes and his anti-siege weapons. But I suppose that a special static unit could be created. That won't get into 1.0.3, however. I'll have to think about the best way to do this.
6) I am not sure what you are asking. Do you mean Masinissa the Numidian prince? Or the city of Massilia? I do agree with nalivayko that having an option card means that the option is there. The "Revolution in Syracuse/Diplomacy in Syracuse" options are the only exceptions. If Rome is losing it's usually not as hard to keep them out of Africa entirely.
7) It's hard to get Rome under siege. A good ploy is to get two or three powerful armies with at least one being Hannibal in the field. Then Hannibal can use a Hannibal On The March card to gather those armies together and make a lightning strike against Rome. If Hannibal's army has the usual mix of Infantry, Cavalry, and an Elephants unit or two, you'll want about 4 to 1 in numbers to storm Rome. If there are extra Roman or Latin Allied legions in Rome you might need 5 to 1. But if you build up and wear the Romans down you can eventually get those numbers in place. Make sure not to tip your hand early by building up really large armies (about 18 field units or larger) unnecessarily. That can cause the AI (under 1.0.3) to decide to move units to Rome to prevent this.
As for Hannibal's strategy, the game makes the judgment that large-scale defections are unlikely. Now if you happen to draw extra Treachery cards you can use them to capture more cities some of the time. It's true that Tarentum often has a Roman general in it and that precludes the use of "Treachery." But sometimes it will be unguarded - especially when Hannibal is in that province.
Remember that I have programmed the AI to try to shadow and harass Hannibal in the field even though there is no formal mechanism in the game that requires the Roman Senate to do this. By that I mean that the AI isn't "punished" for not shadowing Hannibal. But it usually will try anyway.
Sorry for the long-winded post. I hope that this helps.
Forced March Games, LLC