There was this mod for the game that apparantly came out in October in 2009, and I just found out about it.
No, it's not the 2 player hack. That's been out for quite a while. No, it's not a hard mode patch. There's one of those out already. It's a balancing mod.
It does a lot, although unlike a hard mod mode, it actually seems to make things easier, at least from where I'm up to(it's supposed to get harder soon, so we'll see.), which is the very beginning of the Roman era. Overall, it was fun.