Back to playing again, though I did a few scenarios first before having another go at this one. It's a map with just towers and no forts. Though I playtested this successfully with just towers, this time I wanted to use a combination of lion tamers (which are replaceable with gladiators) and prefects to complement the tower defense.
The hippodrome was used for extra entertainment points to upgrade the grand insulae block. For the forced walker loop, I used a uniform look for all grand insulae. Promotion was held off (using culture) until the final immigrant has settled into the city.
Played at usual rules at hard difficulty, no debt, no rescue loan, no festivals, no gifts to Caesar, entertainment venues with shows, stable population.
Btw, my go-to map for a refresher course on C3 is Sardinia et Corsica. It's a leisurely paced scenario, plenty of food resources, easy to make a profit, no military and just a beautifully designed map to look at.
You can check out the Sardinia map here
It's by Bob the Lethargic who's other scenarios are definitely worth checking out.