nef wrote:I think this clearly indicates that (some) 'bigland' units could be (and were) carried on triremes. I do not understand the point of denial.
The key word in the above quote is "some". Catapults used in Civ are wall-breaking heavy units that create a big advantage in the field. Not the ones that were being carried by triremes/galleons. I don't know if there ever was a battle in pre-1000AD history where naval bombardment contributed in taking a city. I'd say there was quite the opposite: all ships stayed well outside the range of missile weapons positioned on the coasts because their weapons - adjusted for light weight so that they can be installed on a ship - were no mach for the machine firmly dug into the ground.
So we could
have a different kind of catapults that can be carried on triremes, but such catapults shouldn't have Attack strength more than 2.
I am not sufficiently familiar with Civilization II, so I don't know where the limitation of non-marines comes into freeciv; the same wikipedia entry on triremes refers to the boarding troops as "marines". This issue seems to put freeciv ruleset devs at sixes and sevens. Personally I would like to see freeciv special rulesets (classic, civ2civ3, experimental) offer a musket marine with a suitable graphic (upright soldier in high vis uniform), and to provide the marine attribute to at least one unit in the pre gunpowder era such that it could be used at any time a player can build a galley. This would fix the one tile island problem once and for all.
I hope you are aware that ancient battles didn't look remotely similar to the stuff we see in Hollywood movies today. There were no charges and a massive collection of individual duels. One strategy was crucial, and nothing ever came close to it: holding a line. After you hold a line, you can consider what to do with taht line, move forward, back, left or right, but unless you hold a line very firmly, you are about to be slaughtered.
Units landing from ships are not doing so in a line. They are doing it in disarray which lasts quite enough for any defences present to kill them off. There is a video on Youtube describing don't remember which battle between Macedonians and Romans, where Macedonians lost for one reason: they weren't able to set up a line quickly enough before the Roman line came to them. And they were both advancing, all in plain sight, no surprises, on an open field. And now imagine the chaos of jumping off the ships and trying to arrange your men into a square or whatever while the shield wall is about to smash into you in probably less than half a minute.
So, I'm afraid, no "marine" flag would be even remotely realistic until way after Musketeers. We can discuss playability, but then that would depend on what kind of game you want.
However, I agree very much with your comments about rivers. Yes, definitely! Something has been bugging me for a while and taht was it. Rivers should actually eat up all unit's movement when it is crossing it and have no influence when it is moving along the river. In Civ 3 (I think) rivers were redesigned so that they were flowing between the tiles, separating them. That made perfect sense. Unfortunately, we don't have that here. A second best solution would be that a river takes a lot of MPs cross (increasnig the cost instead of reducing it), but you can still have boats that are able to carry units along.