For hundreds of years Hellenic colonists have lived and traded in the cities on the southern coast of the Pontos Euxine, but only a few miles inland their influence stopped and their hardy mountain neighbors kept the hills and passes to themselves. Alexandros brought the Makedonian spear and horse and unified all of Anatolia, but his death and the vastness of his empire have spread his successors too thin. Their attention diverted, a new kingdom has quietly crept along the coasts and mountain edges. Mithridates, descended from a long line of Persian satraps who continued to serve Alexandros and his successors, has seized towns and allied himself with the newly arrived Galatians, and within the last decade has dared to rebel against Alexandros' successors. Though tensions have been eased, the new kingdom of Pontos, ruled by an opportunistic Persian family, in possession of several Hellenic colonies and determined to avail themselves of the benefits the Hellenes have provided them, find themselves trying to secure the mountain regions under their control and expand along the coastline. The Pontos Euxine is there for the taking and the riches that trade brings to them, along with its influence in the Aegean and Mediterranean, will be the source of their power. Starting positions of Pontos
Pontos sits on the edge of the wine-dark, cool waters of the Pontos Euxine. And even though you hail from the foothills of the Pontic Alps, it is the destiny of your kingdom to rule the waves. Together with Hellenic ingenuity and your own followers’ natural seamanship, your goal must be to make Pontos a mighty sea-borne power, for it is not by land that you should hope to gain your glory. No, for that, the Seleukids are too powerful, and too wary of your designs as an independent ruler. You must look north, to the waterways that will lead you to the rich granaries of the Tauric Bosporos. Only once your supremacy is established on the waves that have given name to your state, can you hope to begin expanding your influence over the more traditional Hellenistic world. For you to succeed, your enemies must be bled white before you make them bleed red.
A mixture of Hellenic, Anatolian, and old Persian units are available to the rulers of this new kingdom. But choose wisely; peoples with many different methods of war surround you. Persian spear infantry will keep the order in your cities, but it will take Hellenic hoplites to take control of their other Hellenic brothers on the coasts. The inland axemen and more types of spear and javelin will provide you with the power needed to move in from the coasts, and should you equip them properly, the Galatians can provide elite and versatile spearmen as well. Light peltasts and slingers will be recruitable, and for more money Syrian bows will aid your cause. Of course, cavalry will be a great aid in your conquests. Light javelin cavalry can be trained quickly. Heavier steppe cavalry from the north and east can also be recruited and your Persian ancestors will provide elite armored units that may ride into battle alongside exotic scythed chariots if you choose.
With Pontos, inherently, you will look to secure your power first by controlling the sea and nearby coastal regions, a number of whom are other petty kingdoms come together as allies against the Seleukids. But their individual cities are tempting targets, and they will be such to other powers as well. The Armenians are weak, but know their mountain passes well and have horse enough to thwart you. Expansion across the sea is possible, where Thraikians have territories too vast to control effectively, but can strike your trade routes and destroy your power centers there if you do not provide enough support. The Thraikians, and further away the Makedonians, are more Hellenized, but powerful foes. Yet the single largest threats to your fledgling kingdom are those whom you know best: the Seleukids. If you are not cautious, they will send armies over the mountains, take back their lost possessions, and push your armies into your beloved sea. If you handle the situation carefully, alliances through marriage and profit and against common enemies may keep them at bay long enough for you to build your strength. Yours is the newest kingdom of countless ones that have been established on the shorelines that feed into the great ocean at Herakles’ pillars. Heed the failures of those that came before you. It depends on you and no-one else, if your fledgling kingdom will wither and die like any other, or rise to the challenge and follow in the great footsteps of its ancestors.
Shielded by the Pontic Alps from the central Anatolian plateau the shore of the Pontos Euxinus (Black Sea) has often had a history separate from that of the rest of Anatolia. The name Pontos is geographical, not ethnic, in origin, and was first used to designate that part of Kappadokia which bordered on the "Pontos," as the Euxine was often termed. The configuration of the country included a beautiful but narrow, riparian margin, backed by a noble range of mountains parallel to the coast, while these in turn were broken by the streams that forced their way from the interior plains down to the sea; the valleys, narrower or wider, were fertile and productive, as were the wide plains of the interior such as the Chiliokomon and Phanaroea. The mountain slopes were originally clothed with heavy forests of beech, pine and oak of different species, and when the country was well afforested, the rainfall must have been better adequate than now to the needs of luxuriant vegetation.
Between 2000 BC and 1800 BC, Assyrian merchants from northern Mesopotamia established a number of trading colonies in the central and eastern Anatolian cities, thereby drawing the region into wider Middle Eastern culture. The unification of Anatolia was achieved by the Hittites and this region became the center of power for the Hittites.
As the Hittite power shrunk under the hammer blows of the Sea Peoples and other invaders hardy Greek adventurers appeared from the West sailing along the Euxine main in quest of lands to exploit and conquer and colonize. Miletus, sent out colonists through the Bosporus, and along the southern shore of the Black Sea. Greek culture by slow degrees took root along the coastal towns mixing with the local cultures and the later Persians. Following the Persian overthrow of Lydia, Pontos was loosely joined to the great Achaemenid Empire and rule was by Persian satraps.
During the domination of the Achaemenid Persian Empire eastern Asia Minor was colonized by the Persians. The uplands of Anatolia resembled those of Persia in climate and soil, and were especially adapted to the raising of horses. The main influence on the societies of Pontos had come from Persia with its temple priests and Persianized feudal nobles which ruled over villages inhabited by a heterogeneous population. Greek culture would have some influence but mostly superficially until later in the kingdoms history. In Kappadokia and even in Pontos the aristocracy who owned the soil belonged to the conquering Persians. Under the various governments which followed after the death of Alexander, those landlords would remain the real masters of the country. They retained their hereditary holdings throughout the political turmoil until the time of the Romans. This military and feudal aristocracy furnished Mithradates Eupator a considerable number of the officers who helped him in his long defiance of Rome, and later defended the threatened independence of Armenia against the enterprises of the Romans. These warriors worshiped Mithra as the protecting god of their arms, and this is the reason why Mithra always, even in the Latin world, remained the “invincible” god, the lord of armies, held in special honor by warriors.
Alongside them were the native clan chieftains governing the districts where the Anatolian tribes held dominion. These tribes residing in the eastern part of Northern Anatolia were known to the Greeks as the Mossynoecians, Makrones, Tibarenians and Leucosyrians as well as the Chalybes or Chaldaei. The Tzanoi lived mainly in Pontic Alps, their range extending into the land of the Colchians or Kolchoi, to whom they are related and the Tibareni and Chaldaei, who also extend as far as Colchis. It is from these men that the bulk of the tribal levy is formed.
Besides the Persian nobility a Persian clergy had also become established in the peninsula. It officiated in famous temples, at Zela in Pontos and Hierocaesarea in Lydia. The sacrifices of the fire priests which Strabo observed in Kappadokia recall all the peculiarities of the Avestan liturgy. The same prayers were recited before the altar of the fire while the priest held the sacred fasces and the same offerings were made of milk, oil and honey, and the same precautions were taken to prevent the priest's breath from polluting the divine flame.
Recent discoveries of bilingual inscriptions have succeeded in establishing the fact that the language used, or at least written, by the Persian colonies of Asia Minor was not that of their ancient Aryan homeland, but rather Aramaic. Under the Achemenides this was the diplomatic and commercial language of all countries west of the Tigris. In Kappadokia and Armenia it remained the literary and probably also the liturgical language until it was slowly supplanted by Greek during the Hellenistic period.
Pontos had acquired nominal independence from Persia around 363 BC and was able to maintain it during the Macedonian period. Following the Anatolian conquests of Alexander the Great attempts were made to rule Kappadokia through a Macedonian appointed commander, but the ruling classes and people resisted and declared a Persian aristocrat, as king. Alexander had never conquered this country completely, and this last Persian satrap, a man named Ariarathes, had created a kingdom of his own. Kappadokia and Paphlagonia fell to Eumenes in the settlement of Babylon, who was charged with defending the region as far as Trapezus and with continuing hostilities against this Ariarthes, the only chieftain refusing alliance to Macedon. His claims were made good in 322 by the regent Perdikkas who crucified Ariarathes; but in the dissensions following Eumenes death, the son of Ariarathes recovered his inheritance and left it to a line of successors, who mostly bore the name of the founder of the dynasty. Pontos became a separate kingdom later in the 3rd Century, and here forges its own history separate from that of Kappadokia.
In Pontos Mithradates I, was the son of a Persian satrap taking advantage of the confusion caused by the Wars of the Diadochi, came to Pontos with only six horsemen and was able to assume the title of king, he died in 266 after a reign of thirty-six years. The kings of Pontos, Persian by descent, formed close ties with Greece and from the beginning Hellenistic culture found an entrance into Pontos.
Under the last king, Mithradates Eupator, commonly called the Great, the realm of Pontos included not only Pontika Kappadokia but also the shore from Bithynia to Kolchis as well as all of Paphlagonia. Claiming to be a descendant of Darius the Persian Mithridates Eupator took power in Pontos and proved to be a ruthless king. His father, before his death, had appointed him his successor, and had given him his mother as guardian, who was to govern jointly with him. He began his reign by putting his mother and brother to death. Mithradates was a sinister character to the Romans and it is said that he was a suspicious and paranoid man but then anyone growing up at a Hellenistic court had good reasons to be paranoid. Without the charismatic and daring leadership of Mithradates, the kingdom of Pontos would never have become a military power capable of challenging the power of Rome itself. He could never quite match Rome’s military power, and with his defeat and death the kingdom of Pontos came to an end as an independent political entity. 
Pontos has access to a wide selection of troops, with Galatians, Thracians & Cappadocians nearby, and if they expand across the Black Sea, numerous Scythian units as well. While being influenced by Macedonian military traditions, Pontos does not have the troops of good enough quality to fight the Diadochoi in the Macedonian manner, and any Pontic general should find other tactics and troops to level the playing field, should Pontos find itself at war with either Makedonia to the west or Arche Seleukeia to the south.