1. Add a deployment phase prior to tactical battles: A minor annoyance for me is that my battlebrothers never spawn in the formation, I would like them to. In particular, the AI tends to put all my spearmen on one end of the line and all the sword/axe/club guys on the other end. This could also flesh out the difference between attacking and being ambushed since the player wouldn’t get a deployment phase in the latter case.
I agree a deployment phase would be very useful, but with a little limitation. When you attack, as any attacker, you should choose the time and place and formation of attack. But when you join an existing battle or are ambushed, it should be as it is now, rather confusing and random.
There’s another detail I’d like to see improved a bit. Time of battles on the map. Twice so far I was herding some weak enemy scouts towards a village for annihilation. And the militia intercepted them, but by the time I got close and clicked to join the battle, it was over. Maybe make a battle appear there a little longer, giving the player time to intervene.