Having played games up through emperor, it warms my heart to see that the Roman war machine is as strong as ever. I warmongered as Rome in Civ3, and so I will keep doing for civ4. That being said, war takes a lot more cunning and strategy in this game. Upkeep, diverse tech paths, and unit promotions force the would be warmonger to make decisions well in advance and to keep as much versatility in resources as possible. Though many players on these forums are probably accomplished warmongers, I would still like to present my guide to wielding the power of Rome. Technology One of the keys to successful conquest as any civ is correctly choosing the path of your research. The designers did a good job in spreading out buildings and benefits across the tech tree, so you must know what is important and what is not. To begin, there are four technologies that all Romans must possess. These are Bronze Working, Iron Working, The Wheel, and Code of Laws. You must be able to chop rush, build praetorians, connect the iron you find, and build courthouses. My recommended research order is as follows: 1.) Bronze Working -> 2.) Iron Working -> 3.) The Wheel 4.) Mysticism 5.) Meditation -> 6.) Priesthood 7.) Pottery -> 8.) Writing 9.) Code of Laws (usually by chop rushing oracle) A few comments: I always chop rush 2 warriors and then a settler. As a result, my second city is always settled before I get iron working. I do not recommend holding expansion or altering city locations in order to camp on iron. So long as it is 2 or less squares away from one of your cities, you'll be fine. You should learn early to defend your iron...building the city on top of it is a crutch and loses you valuable hammer production. Mysticism is not just a pre-req, it is there for chop rushing obelisks. This will only be useful for your first few cities, but those first few are the ones that will produce 75% of your army. They must be ready by the time iron is connected to the empire. The oracle is a valid way to acquire Code of Laws, even on higher difficulties. The AI does not prioritize it and it can be chop rushed easily. Use it for the quick tech and for the early great prophet. Also, even though many players seem to advocate oracle-ing Metal Casting, I belief this is a mistake. Metal Casting provides access to the forge. For a Roman player, the forge costs the equivalent of 3 praetorians. In order to benefit from the forge, a city will have to produce more than twelve praetorians. This feat will take even the best early cities 50 turns. If you do not develop Code of Laws, you might not make it through 50 turns of warfare with any semblance of a good economy. City Placement This one is short and easy... Place Roman cities in locations where they can produce many hammers. Use slave cities to produce commerce. You should have 4 core cities to turn out praetorians. These good, Roman cities should seek to have several hills and a food resource in their radius. The goal is 10 hammers per turn. At this rate you will receive the equivalent of 1 praetorian per turn to keep the war machine rolling. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Forget about pretty city placement, forget about overlap. The four core cities would ideally be as close as possible, providing that each had the required 10 hammers...and you have iron. The iron is simply a matter of luck. If you stick to building cities near hills, this is usually not a problem. But if you cannot acquire iron...bronze will be acceptable for axeman storming. If you have neither within reach....god hates you and wants you to use catapults. Retool and pray.... Build Order for Core Cities -The capital should build worker, chop 2 warriors, chop settler, build warrior -concurrently, settler founds city and current worker chops a new worker in the new city -new city chops 2 warriors and a settler with its own worker -capital chops warrior in progress plus one more and another settler -capital should now either make a few key terrain improvements or chop oracle -new settlers should found 3rd and 4th cities -chop workers for the 3rd and 4th cities and then chop obelisks in the three cities that aren't the capital -connect iron as soon as it becomes visible -all cities build barracks -> commence praetorians and never look back This is obviously the ideal, but it is frequently very possible. On a temperate map, you will usually have 4-8 forests near the capital. Also, remember that chopping forests outside your cultural radius still works...and the penalty is usually not too great for a few tiles of distance. War Most everyone should know how to fight a fairly effective war, so I won't waste time on repeating stuff. Follow the basics: -advance along defensible terrain -always have a medic I unit in a stack if possible -never promote unless necesarry..save them for when you know what you are up against. suffice to say each stack should have a "medic one" and a "shock" unit. If they have cats already...you are being slow...but add a "charge" unit when you get 10 exp. -assume you will get unlucky with the RNG...take 2x numbers when possible Now for some (possibly) more insightful suggestions: -always take a worker along on an offensive...consider him a combat engineer. He should be building roads as you advance and should be ready to chop rush a courthouse once the city comes online. 2 chops will save you a lot of money. Don't drown your core cities in workers...you simply can't use more than 6-9 tiles in the beggining anyway. Send those workers out to where they can help...save your economy. Also, you must be ready to connect any resources you find *especially happiness resources. Workers can be your best tools to fight war weariness. -Once you specialize a unit by promoting "shock", consider giving it medic one in order to get march. It is redundant to have multiple medics, but what you want is march. The plus 35% against melee you already have is good enough to win most field combat, and being able to move the unit from engagement to engagement without stopping to heal is invaluable. -Don't waste time building anything but praetorians. I frequently never build anything but praetorians until they are obsolete. Use a garrison of 2-3 lightly promoted praetorians to guard cities. They may cost more than an archer...but the flexibility of being able to charge out of the city, or support an attack is important. Plus, the numbers of "shock" upgraded praetorians you have will be useful for this role...since the most prominent early city slayers are melee units. Civics Suggestions -ignore slavery, you can't afford to lose the turn to anarchy -adopt caste system when you get code of laws...see slave cities for reasons why -prioritize hereditary rule as a research path after getting the necesities. The extra 2-3 happy faces will help stave off war weariness. -shoot towards vassalage and theocracy. You should at least get one so that each new unit can instantly promote twice. Being 2 exp away from promotion three is a compelling reason for both. Plus, you are organized...put the 50% civic cost to work for you. Slave Cities This, as much as fighting, will make or break you. Always be discerning about what cities you keep. Everyone will hate you anyway, so feel free to raze garbage cities. Ideally you want cities with food bonuses and flat land. The slave cities will be what produces your commerce. -Use the 50% courthouses to immediately chop one upon putting down the city resistance. At the same time, use an artist from caste system to expand your borders to the fat cross. If the city is close to enemy borders...chances are it is starving anyway. -Chop rush a worker....this should be a habit for new cities by now.... -After the cultural radius grows, maximize food production first with your new worker (the old one should be already building roads towards the next conquest). The key is to use caste system to turn two workers into merchants. Early on, the city won't have the infrastructure for utilizing commerce from the land but a merchant will always produce at least 3 gold. If each captured city has a courthouse and 2 merchants, you will be doing very well economically. -Once the city grows a bit more, make another citizen into a scientist. Even if the city can grow larger or develop more, stunt its growth 1 shy of the happiness limit. New cities will experience war weariness and take a hit from the bums wanting to return to their motherland. Turn riots into science every time, thanks to caste system. (if you haven't figured it out yet, caste system is the warmongers single best tool to make instant use of conquered cities) Closing Comments Use your early advantage to fight as long as possible. Keep up the pressure until you simply cannot gain any more ground. If you have handled your empire as I recommend, you will not have serious economic issues. War weariness may become a factor, but you can cycle between wars in order to keep it to a minimum. Get every last attack out of your praetorians and they will give you the world. After you accomplish the required research, consider getting monarchy and feudalism. The two civics will help you out. Also, consider beelining for currency... the +1 trade routes per city means 1 gold for every city you own. Not too shabby. And if you used the chop oracle -> code of laws method, you will be getting 1 gold from each city with your religion too. Throughout all this warring, try and find the person farthest from you and be somewhat nice to them. Even though you are warmongering, it is nice to have those lucrative foreign trade routes. Also, having someone who will actually give you tech when not at knife point will be useful. The AI seems to be stingy with the tech tributes even when you are about to wipe them out. Knife point -> cross trade ... its how business gets done. I hope you find my guide useful for supercharging the mighty Roman War Machine. Between a UU that trounces all its contemporaries and the benefits of 50% of courthouses/cheaper civic upkeep, Rome is truly a power to be feared.