I disagree about the city bonuses from terrain types, I actually thing the lack of that feature is Elemental's strength.
In Civ and many other similar games, the tiles mattered, but statistically, it didn't really matter where you placed your cities.
Sure, some spots were better than others, and some spots provided strategic value, but except rare cases, the location of your cities didn't change much.
Of course, it isn't a bad thing, since it provided the necessary balance between wanting peace and wanting to take over an enemy terretory.
In games like AoW, like Elemental, the terrain didn't change much. It was more important to pick spots by strategic values and rare buildings around it. And yet, you could also protect the same buildings with a wondering guard around them, it wasn't really REQUIRED to have a city next to them.
The terrain type itself changed very little, and when it did it was either a farm will be built there or not.
Farms around the cities in AoW was, in a way, not much different from Elemental's manual construction of buildings.
Elemental took it one step further toward a post apocalyptic game: Resources are rare and usually worth starting a war over them.
You want your cities to produce something? Location, location, location.
I do agree that terrains should have differences between them.
But the differences should be in other directions and not economic benefits.
Some suggestions include:
- Swamps and forests spawn different types of creatures.
- Defensive bonuses to the units in certain tiles.
- Different combat zones with different view and tactical value.