I want to be a bully
Some other civ stole my lunch money and now I want to take it out on some poor little City State.
I admit, the topic is a lie, I actually want to strengthen city states under my protection if possible.
Anyone have some data on when and why you can bully a CS?
I'm number one military by a large margin, but checking random states and I can bully a few, but not all.
Is the states own military a factor?
I know you can sometime get quest to buff a city state to strengthen it against bullying, maybe the AI get those quest too?
You need the military, and it needs to be near the CS.
I've taken my entire army and put it around a city state thats bordering my land and it still wasn't afraid.
Now the state had a good sized army with strong units at the time.
BTW: It's an or either be the strongest military or having your army on top of it, but sometimes neither cow the city state and I've never seen AI's put armies on CS to cow them, so they purely bully based on overall strength.
That still doesn't explain why one state can be bullied and another think I'm a wimp.
Maybe the AI bullying doesn't use the same rules as players, but even then it leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
Another cue that CS is susceptible to bullying, besides the hover text, is that its influence bar will turn orange.
Here are some other things off the top of my head:
You can't bully city-states with influences of -20 or lower (I think that's the number...).
Proximity is a factor; you're not going to bully city-states on the other side of the map. Though, I don't think you really need to be "on top of them", in attack formation around their city, to get them to crack.
I'm not exactly sure if it works this way, but another hidden factor that may make it harder to bully a CS is whether or not it has protection from other Civs. If nobody is protecting it, it'll be more susceptible. If it has protection, it'll probably be more bold; maybe even more so with multiple pledges of protection. "Those" are the ones where you probably need to surround their city and prepare to attack for them to give-in. It would make sense. <shrug>