I’ve narrowed down three areas which overall would have a good improvement and make games more interesting and they would mostly benefit those civs most at risk of power creep.
The main issue with livestock is the entry barrier. It makes time and resources to get started. So its hard to pull off in supremacy games.
My proposals this:
Livestock pen is reduced in cost to at most 100 wood. Making it a more equitable choice in the opening stages of the game compared to a market or trading post.
Cows/llama/Water Buffalo are available by default in the fortress age no cards needed of course ranching cards will need to be reworked
-Random mercenaries are problematic since they often overlap, or you get 2 or more age IV mercenaries. I’d suggest that slot 1 can be any Infantry mercenary that isn’t locked till industrial age. Slot 2 can be any infantry or cavalry mercenary not locked to industrial, slot 3 can be any mercenary.
-Make one time mercenary shipments enable what they ship at the tavern, Much like USA and Mexico get legion units at the fortress and sweden gets mercenaries unlocked at normal military buildings
Renegade shipments currently are inferior versions of legion shipments…but since aztec/lakota/iro have no fortress building perhaps they could become trainable at war huts and corals.
-Work on balancing asian outlaws too
-Give asians and europeans have access to 3 outlaws per map not 2 since the other eight factions have a fixed roster of 3 outlaws.
100 wood seems a bit cheap. Unlike a market or trade post, you are never going to build one in Age 1 because the investments for it are food which you need all of. Something on par with Chinese villages (180 wood) would be reasonable. I think the goal should be to make it a viable strategy for maps with lots of herdables that you can capture but not so optimal on maps where you would have to start from scratch.
A build limit on Livestock Pens might also be needed if they are a super cheap, high-health building.
I would change it as follows:
Increase the base cost of cows and llamas to 100 food and 90 food respectively
Have a modestly priced Fortress Age upgrade at the Livestock Pen to enable cows/llamas and slightly decrease the cost of livestock (something like -10%)
The Ranching card changed as follows: Enables training cows at the livestock pen & -20% cost for all livestock (this keeps it the same for cows, but it now also buffs sheep). Possibly also deliver a couple of skinny cows.
A card to make livestock pens passively generate cows (would require a build limit on Livestock Pens). This might be best as a card for a revolution option.
An Advanced Livestock Pen as I suggested here:
The approach should be to reduce the access to Outlaws for some of the factions rather than adding more outlaws for Europeans and Asians. Africans have an overwhelming unit roster already so there’s no reason that they need guaranteed access to the most powerful Outlaws. It would be fine for USA to keep their unique Outlaws as a civ specific perk.
That’s the same as locking them behind a card. Besides naturalist is strong as she is since getting extra settlers immediately once you age up is good since you can’t train any during the transition
Age one is the ideal time to build a livestock pen, in age 2 you have to worry about spending wood on houses Barracks, stables, market upgrades as well as troops.
Meanwhile during the transition during age 1 to age 2 you can reinvest your hunting income into sheep giving you a supply of fattened sheep by the time your huntables run out. Also there are maps where there are livestock to capture and you want them fattened ASAP.
Card to increase production or limit for Livestock pan
The cows and sheep are limited to 20 anyways and you still need settlers to kill them.
Maybe a card to make them automatically kill and collect food.
Age 3 Heavy Infantry or Light Cavalry (Anti Cavalry Unit)
Age 3 Light Infantry or Heavy Cavalry
Age 4 Mercenary
Also the mercenary pool depends on the continent. (If there are not enough possible ones on the continent then some others are added too)
The game could also use some new Mercenaries. Like there are no Native American Mercenaries in the game while they exist for Africa and Asia aside of Minor Civilisations.
Some existing units could be changed to become Mercenaries. Like Gurkha should be Mercenaries. They aren’t Indian at all so they should not be an Indian unit. India would get an actual Indian unit instead with the same stats.
Basically the opposite to what happened to the Hakkapelit.
Skull Knights and Tokala Soldier (They were not Lakota in real life anyway) could be turned into Age 4 mercenaries that are made available to other civilisations too.
Their stats or costs(summon time) might be slightly improved because the mercenary tag would be a small additional weakness.
They would still be available to Aztecs and Lakota in the same way as they used to be.