Oh, speaking of Byzantium (again), I've got an old Byzantium game that I completed several months ago but was too lazy to post here. But hey, what better time than now?
Basically my goal in this game was one thing and one thing only: Crusading. Crusading, crusading, crusading. Crusading as far east and west as possible, within reason. Obviously I avoided worthless areas such as the steppes and the Himalayas, as you can see, but other than that it was just killing spree after killing spree for the whole game.
And you can't be a crusader without being highly religious, so almost all my provinces are Orthodox at this point. I also Restored the Pentarchy a while ago (conquered the Italian provinces through missions).
This was from a 1401 start because I wasn't anywhere near good enough to handle Byzantium from 1399 (probably still not good enough ). Obviously it's not nearly as good as what other people have done with a warmongering Byzantium, but I'm pretty happy with it myself.
You might notice I own a big chunk of Japan. That's because the daimyo's DOWed me in the late 1700s, so I decided to teach them a lesson and just eat a piece of Japan for the sheer novelty of it.
And here's another really old game as Denmark -> Scandinavia.
This was also a pretty conventional game. Starting as Denmark I just had to keep the Kalmar Union together, which proved a little bit of a challenge at first, but once I inherited Norway and Sweden it got a lot easier. I decided to do some RPing with this game, colonizing only areas that were geographically similar to the Scandinavian homeland, meaning Iceland, Greenland, Canada and the NW United States (I had no interest in Siberia). Other than colonization, another goal was to make the Baltic my private lake, which was a fun challenge.
This game taught me firsthand, for the first time, how worthless the far northern provinces are. Only after getting my hands on some Canadian fur did I begin to rake in some decent amounts of cash.
I originally planned to stay out of HRE politics, but as was the case with my Germany game on the previous page, it was impossible. In the very early game, alliances and small mission wars around the Baltic inevitably brought me into conflict with several of the HRE minors to my south, which were easy pickings for force-vassalization. And of course, a few vassals = more power = more war = more force-vassalizing = vassal electors. Also, as happens pretty often, when other electors got eaten, a couple of my vassals got chosen as new electors. So becoming HRE was pretty much automatic by 1500, and following it through to Revoking the Privilegia was just irresistible.
Also, note the monster Persia. It's been like that for almost the entire game, so I'm pretty proud of it, because it's not every day you see the AI create a stable, powerful Asian empire.