Has anyone beaten this level that wants to share some strategy insight?
It doesn't seem like it should be that difficult, but I feel like I played a few good games and couldn't beat it.
As a summary, there are 4 AI, one in each corner (except yours of course) and one in the center. Initially you're surrounded by all territories with 2 neutral armies, but as you expand into the islands you run into 3's and 5's, which make expansion tough around turn 5. I normally run into the SE, Central, and NW AI's on about the same turn or two turns. By the time you reach them, they all have roughly your income, or higher.
The first game I was able to control some choke points with 15-20 army stacks in the northern islands bordering the volcano while I expanded hard against the SE AI and the Central AI in the middle of the map. That seemed to work and I captured the entire East side of the map and most of the center, but soon all the AI's were overwhelmed by the SW AI. When I ran into that one, initially I was able to "outsmart" him a few times and gain ground, gaining control of a few important bonuses and breaking into his, but he started deploying very heavily against me. By turn 20 or so I had about 75 income, he had 120, the other AI's had all been eliminated, and I couldn't break up his bonuses or hold my own, so I surrendered.
The second attempt I made, I pushed heavily into the Islands against the Central and NW AIs, I made a lot of gains against NW, but Central and SE were throwing everything at me and I couldn't hold up against them, so I surrendered early because things just got out of hand and I was losing bonuses faster than I could break them/ complete them.
I noticed that there don't seem to be a lot of helpful threads on these newer single player levels, and this one seems doable, but my normal approach to these games doesn't seem to be working. I got gold stars the first time I beat the 3 previous levels, but for some reason I can't seem to get past this one. It's always frustrating when you get 20+ turns into a game, keep making progress, outplay all the AIs and force them to keep suiciding all their armies and then just find yourself in a situation where you're getting out-deployed.