Victoria has bothered us enough. I dial her up and tell her that we're tired of sharing the same corner of the world. War is declared! Let's look at the battlefield:
I've got a nice little stack of elephants/cats in place, and Vicky has a mixture of spears, axes, and archers on defense. The only dangerous unit there is the spear, since it gets +100% against mounted units (like my elephants). Before I do any attacking of the city though, let's swing the odds in my favor by bombarding the city with my cats to knock out that defensive bonus:
I smack the city with my first cat to drop its defenses a bit, as shown above. Then, I send in my next cat in on a suicide attack to do some collateral damage. Hopefully he'll live, but if he dies that's OK too - just so long as he does some collateral damage to all the units. Watch:
Ooh, got lucky there and had my cat withdraw from combat (basically, he retreated before he would have died). In addition to being able to bomb city defenses, cats and other Siege units in Civ4 cause collateral damage - that is, damage to other units on the same tile as the one you're attacking. They are the anti-"Stack of Doom" weapons, designed to prevent you from grouping all of your units on the same tile. All my units are on the same tile here, true, so I'm violating my own rule - but Vicky hasn't discovered Construction and doesn't have cats yet. Look at the damage done here to the other units aside from the archer. Not too devastating, but suicide 5 cats, and you can shred a stack to pieces. I send the other cat in for suicide damage, and he does get killed, but now the defenders in York have been badly injured:
Now my elephants can clean up the defenders easily. As long as I keep building cats to replace the ones that die, I should be able to tear through England easily (especially once I control that copper and they can't build those nasty spears anymore!) My elephants have no problems killing those weakened units, and York falls to me:
You get money from city captures in Civ4, which is a nice boost. I choose to keep York, and move the units that still have movement left into the city to defend. Notice that the city is in revolt for the next 3 turns; this basically means that I can't do anything with it whatsoever until it comes out of revolt. This is more or less the way a typical capture of a city goes in Civ4. Move up your units, bombard the city defenses, possibly send in collateral damage units, then attack with the main force. Capturing cities is much harder in this game than in Civ3, but each city is much more valuable too. Vicky only has 2 more cities, so I'll move on them once I heal up and should be able to eliminate her fairly quickly.
By the way... lest you think cats are the uber unit in Civ4, keep in mind that horse units like knights can shred them with ease. There's a counter for every unit in Civ4, so no more building a gigantic stack of the best unit in each age (immortals/knights/cavs/etc.) and simply marching them from city to city. You have to use a little more thought in this game.
In the middle of the war, Damascus generates a Great Merchant. Now his special ability is to move to a foreign city and conduct a trade mission for a ton of gold, so I'll move him out to do that and show you a picture when he gets there. Back on the war front, after resting for a few turns, my units move out and target Vicky's southern city in the ice, a total piece of junk if I've ever seen one:
That's the Confucian Holy City? (The little gold star on the religious icon means it's the holy city.) It looks like it should be the capital of the penguin religion. I was going to raze it, but now I'm not so sure I should do it. Ah well, might as well do it and make Confucianism a dead religion. It will be interesting to see what negatives I get in terms of relations from razing a holy city. I don't think I've ever done that before - but never have I seen such a poor holy city either. Let's experiment, shall we?
Bah, it was a worthless icebound city. I don't care how holy it was! (Ooh, got a worker too - nice!) Hmm, doesn't seem to be a huge penalty attached to razing a holy city; probably since nobody has any Confucian cities except for Vicky (I'm sure that if Egypt were Confucian, Hatty would be furious with me now). Victoria, of course, isn't exactly happy with me:
-12 relations, not bad. I've actually seen worse before, been at lower than -20 with Montezuma in one game, but this is still a pretty fierce level of hate. Too bad Vicky won't be around for more than a couple more turns...
London is quite well defended:
The only dangerous unit there though is the one spear. All of the others will fall quite easily to my elephants and cats. I also turned on the resource pointer here to show you that London has one resource I want: Marble. That will help construct some more wonders down the road, no doubt about it. After a couple turns of bombardment to reduce the defenses, the city should fall without too many problems. My cats do their job as usual, with three of them dying but devastating the defenders in turn:
After that mauling, it's just mop-up work for my elephants.
Now if the English had researched longbows and were defending with them... well, it would have been a lot more difficult, let me tell you. Keep in mind this is only Noble, roughly equivalent to Regent in Civ3, so I'm easily cruising through this thing. The AI is no slouch on the higher difficulties! Vicky had some truly terrible land too, so it was almost a mercy killing to remove her.
Next time: post-war reconstruction of my economy, and the overseas age of exploration.