Yep, it worked like a charm in the King Arthur game as well.
Maybe the most underrated and under the radar game in history...?
IMHO, of course... But it is a pretty stellar game that no one has really heard of.
One thing I LOVE about Elemental and something that really turned me off of King Arthur is that "I" am not represented as a unit in King Arthur. In Elemental, I am the Sovereign adventuring, battling, and casting spells. In King Arthur, I am Arthur, a great hero of legend, who never actually fights in any battles... Other major characters of the Arthur mythos were included as units so I never understood why the designers didn't represent Arthur on screen.
Otherwise, King Arthur was a good game that got too little press. On a side note, I'm still hoping that Creative Assembly (Total War) departs from history one of these years and does a game based in Hyboria.
But, to keep this relevant to the topic at hand, lots of great ideas recently regarding why big armies would make Elemental richer (IMHO). I doubt the engine could ever really do justice to a battle like the Pelennor Fields, though. The Rohirrim alone numbered over 6,000 in that climactic engagement and various references put the forces of Mordor at over 80,000... A 1:1 ratio won't cut it for armies that big in this engine...and in no way would I expect Elemental lore to support armies of that size. I'm just wondering if there is any way an accurately-sized LOTR mod could be done... It would definitely require dropping the 1:1 ratio and allowing heroes to join units, though...neither of which I've ever seen the designers say is something they will consider adding to the engine. Although, the engine cannot represent the Elemental armies pre-cataclysm, either. Some of those battles had over 100,000 combatants...
I'd pay for a future expansion that changed the focus of heroes to a system where they have a ton of options regarding leading cities, questing, adventuring, fighting other heroes, performing acts of subterfuge, engaging in diplomacy, travelling with armies, etc. On the battlefield, though, they join army units to provide them all kinds of special abilities, cast spells as befitting their abilities, add attack/defense bonuses and also fight 1:1 with other heroes, unit leaders, etc. Heroes can be wounded in unit combat, be killed in personal combat with other heroes, etc. Hyborian War PBM represented heroes like this, as did the Rune Wars boardgame. The War of the Ring boardgame also did a good job of (abstractly) showing the capabilities of heroes both while leading armies and while performing activities like protecting the ringbearer on the quest to Mordor, hunting for the ring, activating neutral armies, etc.
Typically, in this type of system, armies on the global map do not DIRECTLY attack adventuring heroes and vice-versa (think armies vs. parties.) Armies interact with armies and heroes interact with heroes (at the global level). Heroes only get involved in army-level battles when they embed in an army unit. There are often INDIRECT affects of armies on heroes, however (armies may block hero movement, cause them to retreat out of the area, etc.) However, armies cannot scour dungeons, find ancient treasures and relics of power, etc. Both have a place and both are critical to the success of a kingdom. This type of system also allows for asymmetrical gameplay where some kingdoms are army strong, others are hero strong, etc.
Anyway, as I've said before, what I would love to see in the game is probably way out on the fringe of what other gamers would like. Notwithstanding my tangents, at least this thread has become more constructive in the past few days.