Expand through diplomacy or force
Will you use your armies to subject your neighbors or will you offer them friendship? Use envoys to establish relationships with those around you. Building trust is sometimes just as effective as domination. But riding a war elephant is so much fun.
Compete For Influence
As your influence over cities grows and you develop villages, rivals will attempt to usurp your power. Will you maintain control through force or diplomacy?
The more powerful a city under your influence is the more tribute they will give you. Invest in the villages near a city and watch your power grow.