I think most of us agree that the game is excellent in early and mid game. But when all areas are settled, when there are a lot of cities to govern and the factions begin swarming the countryside with endless waves of grunts, the feel of the game changes substantially. Mopping up all those cities and fighting so many pushover battles against enemy armies can quickly become tedious work.
So here's a solution:
The first city is founded by the sovereign, and he can found only one. Cool.
Now instead of pioneers, have heroes found the cities, one per hero!
- This is consistent with the way the first city was founded.
- It leads to cities being a rare sight on the map - keeping the wildland feel for the entire game.
- No longer will you have enough cities and build queues to do everything - now choice is really required.
- The AI has an easier time focusing on building mighty defenses to counter the player's spear tip.
Pioneers could still be used to found outposts, with the added twist of fortress cities being able to man outposts with their own garrison.
Tell me what you think!