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I was surprised when after ordering my Privateer to attack a weakened city, he conquered it for me! I was not aware that ships can capture cities in Civ 5.

This makes me wonder: what ships are capable of capturing cities?

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This is not true in the base game. Just to clarify - you're playing with Gods and Kings or Brave New World, yes? – Raven Dreamer Jul 30 '13 at 3:19
I am playing Gods and Kings; fixed the tags. I was just trying to steal some money from the city, and BAM! it's mine! – Ryre Jul 30 '13 at 14:46
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Any ship with a melee attack can capture a city; ships with ranged attacks can't. There's even an achievement for it in the Fall Of Rome scenario.

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