Pontus is a medium sized regional power located along the Euxine (Black) Sea, a Persianized tribal kingdom straddling the eastern parts of Bithynia and Cappadocia rising from the fall of the Achaemenid Empire. One of several moderately sized states in northern Anatolia and the Caucasus, Pontus is squeezed between its fellow Persianized kingdoms of Paphlagonia and Armenia to the east and west and the Greek city states of the coast with the large Diadochi kingdoms of Phrygia and Seleukid Empire not far away, almost all of whom are larger and stronger than Pontus at start. Historically, Pontus would rise to greatness under the Mithridatid dynasty (ruling in Kios in 450 AUC), who founded a syncretic Helleno-Persian kingdom that rose to become a significant regional power, dominating the whole Euxine Sea region and briefly contending with the might of Rome itself for control over all of Anatolia during the Mithridatic Wars before its defeat and eventual annexation.
- Main article: Mithridates events
There is a small event chain that starts a few years after the beginning of the game by which the Mithridatid dynasty, ruling Kios at the start, can come to power in Pontus. Paphlagonia will be first be offered the choice to either give refuge to the Ciusan prince Mithridates or return him to Phrygia; if he is allowed to stay, then several years later Pontus will get an event that will allow him to take the throne. Accepting this will reform Pontus into an Autocratic Monarchy without having to go through the normal tribal reformation process, as well as improving relations with Paphlagonia and unlocking the two Pontus-specific decisions below.
If it is destroyed, Pontus can be reformed by any nation that has Pontic primary culture or the Mithridatid dynasty in power. This primarily refers to Kios, which the Mithridatids rule at the start of the game, but any nation can potentially form Pontus if they recruit a Mithridatid scion and manage to raise him/her to become ruler.
Once a proud kingdom of its own Pontus was reduced to a Satrapy under the Achaemenids and later devolved into a no mans land under the Successors. We must restore the great state that once was and create a new Pontic Kingdom.
Pontus has a couple of country-specific decisions revolving around moving its capital and religious syncretism, if the country chose to embrace greater Hellenistic influences in its country-specific events. They can be found in .
Pontic Capital of Sinope
It is time to leave our old capital behind, and move our administration to Sinope. Settled at a defensive position of the northern Anatolian coastline, it is the perfect location from which to rule our nation.
Embrace Greco-Pontic Omens
Our people look to many different deities, be it Zoroastrian, Cybelene or Hellenic. It is time for us to start celebrating and worshipping these gods and goddesses as well, rather than limiting ourselves to only those of our ancient past.
The days of Cyrus and Darius are long gone, but the Persian people remember the great empires built by their own. It is time to throw off the shackles of our foreign oppressors, and unite our people once again!
Pontus is a difficult nation, not only because it starts out weaker than even Paphlagonia, but it also has a tricky series of events that need to fire for the historical Pontus to exist. The key figure concerning early game Pontus is Mithridates, son of the King of Kios, who starts out as a ward in the court of Antigonus of Phrygia. In order for all the important Pontus events to fire, Mithridates must survive long enough to become the King of Pontus, and must also not be stuck in permanent imprisonment before he does so.
In 2-2.5 years after game start, Mithridates will move from Phrygia to Paphlagonia; while a human controlled Paphlagonia may refuse this, the AI never will. Then comes the frustrating part. It takes 10-20 years for the next event to fire which will move Mithridates from Paphlagonia to Pontus. During that time, Paphlagonia must survive, as well as Mithridates, and this is the most frustrating part, Mithridates cannot be imprisoned or else the event won't fire. If Mithridates is imprisoned it is likely that he will never get out, and everything you have done will be for nothing. If you manage to make it 12 to 22.5 years into the game and the event with make Mithridates King of Pontus actually fire, then Pontus will become an autocratic Monarchy and the real game can begin.
4-5 years later the event which lets you choose between Hellenistic and Persian attributes fires. Both options give you a temporary 10 year modifier, but the Hellenistic option will give you the modifier Greco-Pontic traditions which gives you access to the two unique Pontus decisions.
The first decision will allow you to accept Pontic omens, which are a unique set of deities that can be worshipped if Pontus is Hellenic, Cybelene, or Zoroastrian, which makes it easier to switch religion without losing access to as many deities. The Zoroastrian religion passive bonus is -5% army maintenance, the Cybelene religion passive bonus is +5% wrong culture happiness (applies to cultures within Persian group that aren't Pontic), and Hellenic religion passive bonus is +10 citizen happiness. Essentially the zoroastrian allows for a larger army, the Cybelene bonus combines with Pontic heritage to give +10% wrong culture happiness, which means that in a high tyranny build, non-pontic persian culture group pops are actually more productive than your primary culture pops and with no AE or tyranny those pops are just as productive as your primary culture pops, and the hellenic bonus give you a nice tech boost early to mid game when citizen happiness is not 100%, but does almost nothing late game when citizens are almost always at 100% happiness. These happiness bonuses should be seriously considered, since a 10% bonus to citizen happiness or wrong culture happiness is usually more than a 10% increase in output if pops aren't at 100% happiness.
The second decision allows you to move your capital to Sinope in the province of Paphlagonia inferior. You should always take this decision because Sinope being a coastal port is already a better capital than Amaseia, but the decision also addes the Euxine capital modifier which give +5 pop capacity, +10% commerce income, +0.1% pop growth and +5 civilization value, making this by far the best capital for Pontus.
At this point, your actual expansion plan can begin. Conquering Paphlagonia and consolidating the entire region of Bithynia should be your first goal. From there, the only important threats are likely to be Phrygia, the Seleukid Empire, and the Cauacasian kingdoms of Armenia, Iberia, Albania, and Colchis who ally into a swarm just as often as they turn on each-other. If you want to be historical, you can also conquer your way up to the Black Sea and unite the Pontus Euxinus under a single Pontic empire, though it would probably be more prudent to fight Phrygia and the Seleukid Empire first, because the more land they assimilate to Macedonian, the harder it will be to assimilate them back to the Persian culture group.