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The Romans are an interesting faction in Civ 5. The previously overpowered legion unit has been brought to heel, and the faction can adapt to a number of play styles that centre around having a strong capital. Romanes eunt domus!
Continents or Pangaea. It’s important to be able to link additional cities to Rome as quickly as possible, waiting for a Harbor to connect cities separated by water is not recommended.
Other than a large landmass to work with, the Romans don’t need to be concerned about specific tile types. However having Rome in a position where production and growth targets can be met is important.
If a building has been built in Rome, then all your other cities can build it faster. This is a big advantage and it is tempting to go for a large empire with a large number of cities all taking advantage of this ability. That is not necessarily wrong, but remember the ability works regardless of how many cities you have.
Rome has two unique units, the Legion and the Ballista. These units lean towards an aggressive strategy while the Glory of Rome ability leads to peaceful, if industrious, building. Take your pick really. You won’t get the same advantage if your cities are busy churning out Legion units instead of building a Stable 25% faster, but there are combat advantages. With your two units out relatively early, conquest is an achievable goal.
If you would rather focus on building, the Legion is still a unit worth building. As well as fighting it can build roads, making the unit ideal for connecting distant cities through terrain subject to barbarian raid. Build infrastructure while taking out nearby camps.
Getting Mining and taking yourself towards Iron Working for the Legion units is a good idea. Otherwise you can focus your research on areas that give Rome another building to construct.
Your first policy
A strong Rome is vital, and so Tradition, with its bonuses for your capital, is an important consideration. If you want to build a large empire, taking Liberty soon after is a good idea too.
First 50 turns
As with most faction, scouting for good new city locations is your first task of the game. Build a couple of workers to develop Rome as fast as you can.
Pantheon of Choice
Messenger of the Gods (+2 science for all cities connected to the capital) is my usual choice for Rome. Otherwise, anything likely to give me a growth or production bonus in Rome will be chosen.
Domination is possible and you can build a few cities and get those Ballista and Legion units burning their way through the map for you,
Otherwise building towards Diplomatic or Scientific victory is a fine choice for Rome. Vae Victis!