I recently completed a game playing as Elizabeth, noble, normal speed, small continents. I had managed to turn Kubla and Charlemagne into vassals on my continent. Then Fredrick (from another continent) declared war on me. But oddly enough, he wasn't attacking. Then I noticed that he was researching philosophy (or something). But he had 98 turns to complete it. So I thought "he's going for a cultural victory. Fredrick might be vulnerable right now." I was in pretty good shape for war. I had a dozen cannons and I was creating infantry and machine guns from my 3 largest cities at the rate of 1 per turn. I also had combustion. I started building destroyers and troop carriers. I launched my first invasion force, which included 6 cannons, 6 machine guns and 6 infantry. It took about 5 turns to get there. My cannons brought down the defenses of his coastal city with room to spare. I could see Fredrick only had trebuchets, longbowman and knights. I didn't waste time. I used the cannons that were left after the first barrage to hit his units in the city. Then I was able to take the city with my infantry (all in a single turn). So on the next turn, I bring all my forces into the city. I moved over 4 airships and waited for the counter attack. It came 3 turns later. I was using my air ships for recon and never saw the approaching stack. My new city felt like a single little "grain of sand" amidst "an ocean" of Fredrick's culture. That's probably how his stack managed to move 4 squares and attack all in a single turn. This would appear to be further proof that even on Noble level, the AI has some pretty nice advantages. So I just sit back and wait to see how it turns out? No way, I'm at the edge of my seat. He hits me with a bunch of trebs and catapults. Then it's one knight after another. I thought it was never going to end. It seemed to take 5 minutes. My double infantry turn to single. The same happens with the machine guns. Then one infantry goes down, then another. Then a machine gun dies. I''m starting to think, "wow, even with this sort of a technological edge, I still need to bring 2 dozen units in order to survive a counter attack." Fredrick is losing one unit after another in his desperate move to retake his city. And then it finally stops. I can't believe it, my troops held. The invading stack only has 3 units left (sigh of relief) I send one airship to recon and what's this I see to the north? Not only has Fredrick moved units 4 squares and attacked me in a single turn. But in the same turn a half dozen of those same units (including trebs) also managed to retreat about 3 squares (as evidenced by their low health). Hmmm. There was a second counter attack, but it was about 6 turns away. By then, I had brought in fresh troops and started to break out. I suspect that Fredrick lost a fourth of his army in that first counter attack. My third wave included tanks. I had to take 3 other cities, before the culture of the first coastal city would pop out of a single square. Eventually, I made Fredrick a vassal and even gave him back one of his cities that was going to turn over to Portugal.