I propose to add two another parameters of a unit: controlling player and control mode. Originally, when a unit is created as starting or built, its nationality, visible nation and controlling player are the same; maybe we should add a flag of a "polite" unit that has no visible nationality as it is built (Privateer in CivIII). Non-allied civs (or everybody except the controlling player?) always treat the unit by its visible nation (friendly civs in CivIII that have bombers don't miss an opportunity to train them on your privateer). The control mode may be different:
1. Temporal handing to an ally's command, lend-lease: your units show everybody both flags and their real nationality, the ally can move them for a turn or two (so a problem of aided operations when allied players can't connect simultaneously is solved without full blurring of the individual control over nations), then they automatically return under your control, maybe you also get a payment for lost one.
2. Rented troops - the same but you have back annual payment and can recall the mercenaries any time (at a repute cost); may be accessible even for peace/armistice DS. Can be alternatively done with some Lua magic.
3. False flag - unit's visible nation is hoaxed, the controlling player actually moves it amd sees by it. Establishing this should take some skill and some expense, e.g. you spend a spy to mask a unit. Sight by a player allied with the pretended nation (if it is not barbarian maybe, barbarians will behave like you are also a barbarian) breaks the masquerade and spoils your repute but you can use roads in unseen parts of their empire.
3.1 Maybe introduce deep masquerade - enhanced more expensive version when the unit is learned to forge also the nationality. Some client gimmicks may reveal Chananeans speaking Babylonian too suspicious.
4. POW - at some circumstances units losing in the combat may be captured, they retain their nation but are controlled (partially - no attacks) by the capturer and don't give sight, neither do regenerate the damage. They may be more easily bribed for more troops or set free for better repute.
5. Double agents - your spy may be hiddenly spent to bribe a foreign unit so that it will pretend being loyal but will give you sight and may be any times recalled to openly disaffect. There is a chance to be detected, especially if foreign spies are around the unit. Something should be done for the case that your enemy gives partial control over the unit to their ally or it gets captured by a third side. Of course, you can more easily build an agent net connecting sevretly with your captive units.
What would you like to see in Freeciv? Do you have a good idea what should be improved or how?
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