So, after fiddling with Spartacus in 1.00, I finally got to playing the game properly in 1.02. Since Sulla was supposed to be easy, I tried him; crushed the Pontics (finally) but never got back to Rome in time. This left me with 4000 or so VP (easily more than anyone else), so a 'minor victory'.
However, according to the intro screen, defeat of Pontus (by anyone) and holding Rome should be a major victory for the Populares... so I would suggest this is a 'loss' for me. :-)
Of course, my next step was to play my hapless victims, Pontus, and unfortunately Sulla elected to high-tail it back to Rome with most of his legions, leaving me to slowly build power in Greece. Time for hard-coding the AI?