After a bit of time into the game (we really need a year counter or some way to determine how much time has passed, even counting from year/cycle 0) into the game, the Athenians landed 8-10ships worth of troops at the standard spot of Aegea. I had not taken Methone yet and was leaving Athens alone concentrating on Illyrians and the northern leagues (Strobi area and west of there).
It really caught me off guard with my two spearmen units and Pella militia and a phalangites out of Aegea responding. However, once I moved the troops from the various cities, they sieged Aegea with other land troops, which now had no troops in it.
Needless to say, I reloaded from a save, and replaced spearmen with phalangites and had some peltasts ready instead of just spearmen. Meant a smaller invading army, but those are the trade offs.
A year counter or something like it to measure time would be nice yes... maybe unpaused payminutes? xD
For your athens invasion you said they invaded aegae then with land troops do you mean with the ones from the ship or with troops send over the land path from methone?
Also are you playing expert or normal? =]
As for reloading I have to say I found the game much more interesting with not reloading my games.
For example I invaded diabolis as well as the city right from that (diabolis invasion came from the city under it which i had captured beforehand) and a third invasion into south to penetrate further into thessaly.
The Illyrians managed to destroy my whole army at the fort that is protecting the city which I had taken but now they pushed my troops out and sieged the fort, on top of that while my army was marching towards diabolis the troops i have had left in the city weren't enough to prevent a rebellion so it turned Illyrian with me sieging diabolis at the very same moment. I hoped I could take it but counting from 2700 downwards my troops finally surrendered when it was down at 180 well on top of that my army in thessaly got beaten too because I didn't payed too much attention to that front so instead of gaining 3 cities which I intendet to take I took none and even lost my only illyrian city.
I wanted to reload but instead I sticked with it, formed new invasion armies and pushed again with the recovered plus some new troops. On this campaign I did not only retake my city but took all 3 cities ending the illyrian thread once and for all + pushing further into thessaly with ballistas sheep taking to more cities. :D
Yes I could have reloaded, waited with my attacks for catapults, sheep, more troops etc and then make my move and thus not loosing a single campaign, but it was so satisfying this way and I achieved everything I wanted before with a single well planned revenge :D
It is also more realistic. You win some, you loose some, then you come again and kick ass xD If you would just only gain then you would become too powerful too early =]
Also I think reloading is kinda addictive. Once I start reloading then soon I will reload because of mostly everything that goes horribly wrong. Best thing is to not play with reloads, plan alot, think alot and use pause alot :D
Especially since your troops and generals don't die forever like in total war i.e. but just need some time to recover in their home city =] Even loosing your whole army doesn't mean your done for.