Success is never so interesting as Struggle.
Oh, me alone! Make you a sword of me?
I don't think it makes thematic sense for babies to be born in grassland potentially miles away from the nearest city. I prefer to play with the following rule changes.
4ndrew's city rule variants:
Each player starts with a level 2 city and one disc. The city and disc must start the game adjacent to each other.
Discs on grassland can no longer produce babies. Instead, cities produce babies. The city does not need to be built on grassland in order to produce a baby. The baby/disc is placed in any hex adjacent to the city, provided the hex is not occupied by an enemy disc or water. Normal stacking rules apply.
The rule preventing a player with three or fewer occupied hexes being attacked is replaced with a rule that a player's last remaining city cannot be attacked.
Clarification: Each city may only have one baby per "have babies" action. Therefore, if the era allows you to have two babies per "have babies" action, they must be born in two different cities. If the two cities having babies are separated by only one hex between them, the player may choose to place both babies on the hex between the cities (normal stacking limits apply).
This sounds good. I'll try it out next time we play & let you know how it goes.
I wonder if there will be situations where someone's city gets completely surrounded by enemy discs to try & stop them having babies. In practice that's probably difficult to achieve unless everyone gangs up on one player (& that can probably happen with grassland anyway). We'll have to see...