Today, I tried to take a city state.

It was a side theater to my larger war against the Aztecs, I figured that it would fall like the rest of the domino cities in the region.

So wrong

Firstly, the Aztecs were in the Renaissance, I was in the late Industrial. My Infantry were wiping the floor against their Crossbowmen and Longswordsmen with Cannon support, even though the Artillery was lagging two or three tiles behind the front. As I approached the city of Tyre, a longtime ally of the Aztecs, they declared war on me. I sent two Infantry and an Artillery to take the city, which was one Infantry more than my usual tactics called for.

Now, Tyre was rather secluded from the Aztecs, on the other side of three tiles of unclaimed Plains Forest. The worst possible thing to advance through. The place where Tyre's territory began was only one tile away from the city, on a line of hills that included the city. Between their first claimed tile and the city tile ran a river. It was a coastal city, so it didn't have much on the other side of the city, just two tiles of plains on either side with the ocean at its back. I figured I'd ford the river with my Infantry and hit it from the tiles that would avoid the river, while my artillery ripped the city open.

My Infantry got to three tiles away from the city. They're in the Forest Plains, the Hill where Tyre land is two tiles away. BOOM artillery hits them from the city. I'm concerned, I haven't fought any Arty in the past few battles, but I figure my Infantry with four upgrades can take it long enough to get the city.

My Infantry SPLIT APART and go for the flanking attack I talked about. I emphasis the split because it separates them from each other's medic bonuses, plus it negates the Honor policy tree's upgrade to adjacent combat units. My Arty advances behind them and is now in the firing position I had planned for it.

BOOM hostile Arty, BOOM Tyre's defenses and the surprise BOOM F______ IRONCLAD! There was an IRONCLAD stationed in Tyre and it just scored the kill on my 4x upgraded Infantry! Then if that wasn't enough Riflemen pop their heads over the hill and say 'Hi! would you like a minie ball? I happen to have some right here in this ammo pouch for you!'

Needless to say, I pull in a full retreat, the Infantry gets hit by the Arty on the way out but it's still about 2/3 alive. I back up my Arty a tile to get them out of the Arty range, and the next turn, I send a volley over on the Riflemen. They're a little more than half dead, so I fortify my Infantry and wait for the healing outside the 3 tile from the city mark.

BOOM! Tyre's one and only Arty battery is on top of the hill, and it has my second 4x upgraded Infantry at about 1/4 health! The Riflemen rush them, and they just barely have a stalemate. Three of the little Riflemen are left, and only one Infantry guy is left standing I back my guys off ANOTHER tile and I get the Riflemen with my Arty. Can you believe the little buggers kept coming with about 1/10 health? Must have thought they were Japanese with the Bushido perk.

Now, a few turns ago when the Ironclad showed its ugly face, I started moving things around on the front. Coming in to teach Tyre a lesson were five Infantry squads that had been trained in my capital, where my Barracks, Armory, Military Academy and the WORLD WONDER BRANDENBURG GATE stacked to make veteran super soldiers out of fresh units. All of these guys had Medic, so they could take a beating so long as I never split them up. Coming in to support them was a veteran Artillery from the Aztec front with at least three promotions. FINALLY I pulled one of my Great Generals from the front to help out. His name (I jest not) was Leonidas. THIS IS SPARTA! Or at least Rome.

Tyre had irked me.

>By the time all my reinforcements had arrived, my Infantry was fully powered up and back from death's door. I formed my Infantry into a cup formation designed to wrap around Tyre and squeeze the life out of it. Behind it, my Arty were all line up and ready to roll.

Tyre's first Arty shot, three damage on the leading Infantry. Instantly healed at turn's end by all the Medics around it. next turn, the triple shot focused on the same target, doing a total of 6 damage. I heal back four. Next turn, the line advances. the front prongs are now in Tyre controlled hill tiles, and the Arty is in position to pound. I also move Leonidas a tile over so his bonus affects the hit Infantry.

Next turn, advance, the triple shot hits that soldier for a total of five damage, he makes back four but he's still in the hole three now, seven to go. My Arties send a volley and do significant damage to the city, but I know it's not enough to save my soldier. My guys are now in position, so this turn I tell them to fortify, but at the end of the turn the volley on that trooper does six damage and he makes back five on the next turn. That means he's down four, another volley that does six damage will kill him.

The next turn, I hit them with the Arty, the city is down to about half health, but my guys might die at the end of the turn. I take a risk and rush the town. The first wave hits hard, but not enough. Looking at the odds, I figure that attacking across a river for a 25% disadvantage is worse that attacking with a unit that's only 6/10 strong, and I rush from across the river. Good, but not enough. I send the other group on the river, and Tyre is ALMOST down. I've got one last unit with anything left to do, and it's that 6/10 health guy.

I look at the battle stats. Costly. the whole of my guy's bar is blinking, but so is the whole bar for Tyre. I send him in. He'll die at the end of the turn anyways, right?

His animation fires, the rockets from the city obscure both tiles with their trails, and in the half second my computer takes to process it, I don't know what just happened. Then...

Tada! Tyre defeated! Would you like to Annex, Install a puppet, or raze the city? Annex please, thanks for your city. I click the city tile. there's just one little soldier hanging out in the burning buildings. I tell him to garrison the city and stay there for the rest of the game, and he's happy to get off the front.

Moral to the story, take cities seriously.