In the beginning, the villas were placed to work with an expanding Macedonian Kingdom. Having the villas concentrated closer to the Macedonian homeland like this, became a problem when we added the sandbox play.
The improved manpower system also caused problems... Now, with the exception of the healing shrines, the player must create and maintain an unbroken connection back to a unit's home city to enable replacements. This put more of a demand on the limited number of preset market nodes.
All said and done, the easiest solution, while making changes for Gold, was to just scrap the villas.
We'll be doing something more dynamic to create market nodes for the next game in the series. I like the villa concept and we'll keep it on the agenda.