Step 1: Starting your game
- Start your game with no Mods, including Music Mods, because my Ironman savegames don't load with even Ironman-compatible music Mods like "Themes of the Old World."
- Start a New Game as Judea with Ironman Mode ON with Very Easy, because playing as Judea is Hard, and Ironman Mode is Hard.
- Choose a Savegame Name like JudeaPlaythrough#, and checkmark Save to Cloud. A player online claimed that you need to Save to your Cloud for the Achievements to work.
- Ideally, you want to start a game with a Mercenary unit available with 15 Martial points who costs 2 gold per month or less.
- Choose State Religion, Haruspicy (for your clients' loyalty), and Hospitium (for Improving Opinion) as your Ideas
- Choose "Appeasement" Diplomacy to reduce your Aggressive Impact
- Cancel Tribute to Antigones
- Improve Egypt's Opinion of you
- Choose an Influence Scheme for your Ruler
- Call on David for the Tax Bonus
- Choose 3 Oratory Inventions that reduce your Aggressive Expansion (not Defending Liberty, because you need its one-time -10 reduction bonus for when you already have Expansion points to lower), and Choose the Civic Citizen Output Invention to help pay for your Merc.
- Choose Earthenware and Dates for your capitol imports to get a bonus from each
- Marry your Ruler to a woman with high Martial or FInesse (the wreath symbol). Shouldn't I marry my Primary heir off at this point?
- Integrate the Phoenician and Aramaic cultures. I read that the ideal number of integrated cultures is 2-3, and having up to 5 is OK, so I like to integrate these two plus the Punic culture, as they are historically the closest to the Judean culture. The Phoenicians may have been two of the northern Israelite tribes, Josephus considered the Punics of Carthage to be a colony of one of the northern Israelite tribes, and the rabbis adopted Aramaic as a secondary language by the 1st century AD.
- Don't start your Mission Tree yet, because Consulting your Court cuts down your War Score in Peace Negotiations. Wait until you've conquered one of the provinces around Judea first.
- I like to put one of the Zadokites as my Kahen (priest) because 3rd century Judea had a major tradition of keeping the priesthood within the Zadoktie dynasty, descended from David's chief priest, Zadok. I find that often the Zadokite family in the game starts with high Zeal points (eg. 11), that one of them is a non-religious researcher, that the candidate in the priest office does not have high zeal points, and that another candidate besides a Zadokite will do about just as in the researcher's office.
- Summon your War Council and get a Cassus Belli on Antigones or his client states like Samaria, preferably on a province near Judea. A Cassus Belli on Antigones option seems pre-set for your Council's October 2 meeting.
- Get Military Access on Antigones' client states in the Levant or south Turkey
- Send a gift to Egypt
- When Egypt asks you for an alliance, accept it. It may take from a few weeks to almost a year for Egypt to request it. Restart your game if you can't get Egypt to accept an alliance proposal from you before Egypt and Antigones fight.
- Once Egypt has an alliance with you and you have 100 gold, hire a Merc that costs less monthly than you make per month. Switch the Merc's Tactic to its most effective one (eg. Bulldog) and bring the Merc to one of your 3 closest territories (eg. Lydda) to Askalon.
- When your Merc gets to one of your spots nearest Askalon, raise your Palestinian Levy in the same territory as your Merc is waiting. Switch your Levy's Tactic to the most effective one (eg. rabbit).
- Choose 2 Iron goods for your imports to help with fighting
- Declare War on Antigones, calling Egypt in as an ally
- Move your Merc and Levy to Askalon and siege it until you capture it.
- Then move them to occupy Apollonia in Samaria, and then have them besiege Tyre or Gadara.
- By now, Egypt should be doing well fighting Antigones' troops, so let them do the heavy fighting.
- At this point, you seem to have two alternate strategies:
- Clientizing Antioch: Head straight to occupy Antioch. But don't get too far ahead of Egypt's forces or Antioch will devastate you. The Seleucids, Thrace, or Macedon will join in fighting against Antigones and will cut down Antigones' empire. When the Seleucids make a peace deal with Antigones, Antigones will move his capitol if it's occupied. In that case, rush to capture Antigones' new capitol before Egypt or anyone else takes it. As soon as possible, make a peace deal with Antigones that clientizes Antigones. You might be able to also get some territory directly as part of the peace deal, preferably on the coast.
- Instead of trying to clientize Antioch, take as much land as possible so that you can annex it in a peace deal, like in Syria, Phoenicia, and south Turkey, and then before the Seleucids make their peace deal with Antigones that gives away much land, take alot for yourself.
- Judea - Imperator Wiki (https://imperator.paradoxwikis.com/Judea). It recommends choosing Siege Ability Inventions, also allying with Cyrenaica.