Originally I was going to allow each side a 'base set' of units, a complete set of infantry, scout, archer, etc. Then I was going to allow a city to research new units, which afterwards could only be popped in that city, unless other cities researched the same unit. However, I like both of your ideas, and may incorporate both of them in the final system.
Also, I was working the other day on my own magic system. It works similar to the erfworld system, except their are four elements instead of three(instead of Matter, Life, and Motion I'm using Mind, Body, Soul, and Void) and four Axises(is that a word? Spell check thinks so...)(Instead of Erf, Fate, and Numbers, I'm using Space, Time, Numbers, and an unnamed fourth axis) This is mainly due to personal preference and won't effect the actual game mechanics as much, so should be easy to replace for a purely Erfworld game.
All of your favorite casters from Erfworld will be converted into more 'serious fantasy' casters, again this is purely based on personal preference.
Croakmancer=Necromancer: Allows for the creation of undead units, I'm also going to introduce 'Graveyards' as a continuous source for sides that rely heavily on Necromantic tactics. I'm thinking necromancers create cheap, weak units, but can produce them faster than living units. Basically "Power in numbers"
Foolamancer=Illusionist: Pretty much the same. Changes the way that opponents perceive the battlefield.
Dirtamancers=Geomancers: Creation of Golems, and the manipulation of earth. I'm also incorporating other elementalists, such as hydro-, pyro- and aero- mancers.
Basically anything that has a common stereotype in common fantasy will be converted.
Mathamancers have me stumped. I was going to include them, using a similar effect as in Sinrus's/Ehbobo's spell list. I'm merely having trouble coming up with a decent name =P. I came up with Arithamancer, but it just doesn't roll off the tongue like I would like. Moneymancers need a decent name as well, because I'm using the "Each city has its own treasury" rule, and would like to provide players a way to quickly move funds from one city to another.
Another aspect that I believe I'll be introducing (because I've not seen it, although I may have missed it) is tundra as an environment. It will have -1 move, while also dealing turn-by-turn damage to units who aren't prepared for the cold (desert will have a similar effect).
I haven't had time to check, but has anyone done anything with natural allies yet? I was going to have them randomly spawn when a hex was entered, and if your stack had a warlord you could try and convince them to join you. They'd either agree, disagree, or respond with violence. Stacks without warlords would attack automatically, and once a side of natural allies had been attacked, they would no longer work with that side.
I was also going to have natural ally production be automatic based on how much money a side gives to their natural allies(in addition to upkeep). Basically natural allies would act like a brand new single variety of unit, which popped faster than normal units and had unique abilities. The down side would be an increased price, and the inability to choose when to pop a warlord(I was going to make warlords pop at random, similar to the caster system).
So far I'm still in the planning stages, as I haven't had a whole lot of 'me' time to work on typing all of this up in an official format. I'm only posting this up so you guys can see that some form of progress (if you can call it that) is being made. I also promise to make sure that anything I come up with can be easily added to a more canon erfworld game without to much hassle, despite all my personal touches for this personal game.
Random Other Stuff:
Was toying with the idea of randomly spawning 'Ruins' which could be searched continuously for treasure, with the chance of finding anything decreasing with each find. Treasure would include Magic Items, currency, and maybe monsters which could be fought for XP or tamed by an appropriate caster.
Random thought: What if everyone teams up against a single player? Would it be fair to offer that player a discount on mercenaries so they have a fighting chance, or should I sit back, and laugh at the slaughter?
Anyway, until next time, 333 is off to dream up some more ideas.