I like the simplicity of the game but I find the 'combat' mechanic really underused - only a few cards have a "remove enemy army" printed on them.
So here are a few rules I'm playing with that would make the game more combat heavy and would add a new layer of strategy:
1. Every time you get a new army, you MAY pay one coin to make one of your new armies "elite" or give it a leader (whichever flavour works for you better). Mark the leader with some cardboard token under the army cube.
2. After completing your card action for the turn you get a new phase - the combat phase. You may skip it or if you have an elite army in the same area as an opponent's army you may pay one coin, select enemy to attack (if there is more than one in that area) then roll a six-sided die for combat.
3. Determine combat results as follows:
a. A roll of 6 always removes 3 enemy armies;
b. A roll of 4 or 5 always removes 2 enemy armies;
c. A roll of 3 always removes 1 enemy army;
d. A roll of 2
- removes 1 enemy army if you have MORE armies than the opponent in that area;
- does nothing if you have EQUAL number of armies;
- removes 1 of YOUR armies if you have LESS armies than the opponent;
e. A roll of 1
- does nothing if you have MORE armies than the opponent in that area;
- removes 1 of YOUR armies if you have EQUAL or LESS armies than the opponent;
you__| 3 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 0 |
equal| 3 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 0 | -1 |
they_| 3 | 2 | 2 | 1 | -1 | -1 |
4. When removing armies for any reason (card or combat dice) you can NOT remove an elite army until all regular armies of that player are removed from that area (the elite is always the last army standing). So it's always nice to have a company for your elites.
5. To balance out the need for more money in the game economy that the combat variant introduces each player starts with 5 additional coins (no matter the number of players).
6. Enjoy. And let me know your thoughts.
Have you tried this?