Just a wild thought: What if villagers had unit stances?
This way you can micro you vills much more easily in battles and makes tech like the Spanish UT much more usefull. Currently we already have a unit which has this panel and can build: Sergeants.
How much would the meta change if this is added to the game?
Spanish vills would be too OP if they had aggressive stance
it is intentional that villagers are not as easy to micro as armies. Just alike how it is intentional monks cannot be used in mass.
Villagers with military capabilities would basically act like Flemish militia but in earlier ages. A bunch of tatics would involve pulling them off resources in early feudal or even dark age, when players normally have more villagers than military to supplement a push and end the game. It would become a game of quick walling in enemy vils and killing them with your vils.
Villagers are civilians. Which adds good immersion. They are not warriors. Unless they are hardcore patriotic partisans, they might even be a war-veteran. But generally civilians are cowards.
Maybe some options n vils behaviour could be interesting. Not military stances, of course, but for example, four differents behaviours when are attacked.
Agressive: If a vil is attacked, it will strike back as if it were a predator attack. If the agressor run away, then the vil will get back to work.
Pros: Some damage dealed. Low idle eco.
Cons: Vils could be exposed to more damage too.
Defensive: The nowadays behaviour. It means, the attacked vil run away a couple of tiles until the agreesion stop, then get back to work.
Pros: Could give you more time to make a move.
Cons: Medium idle eco
Extreme Caution: Same as defensive, but the escape will be triggered by having an enemy unit in line of sight.
Pros: Max vils’ survivability
Cons: High idle eco
Forcing labour: The vil attacked just continue working ignoring the attack.
Pros: None idle eco:
Cons: Require more attention if you want put out of risk your vils.
These options sound useful. In addition, you can have an auto-garrison mode where they will automatically garrison if they get attcked, but need to be ungarrisoned manually.
A hard no… if anything I think villagers shouldn’t even be shooting arrows from towers but I’m a minority of one in advocating for that.