Champions in Fallen Enchantress are like RPGs writ small: they level up, gain traits, can be equipped with varying equipment, and are the only units that can complete quests and pick up equipment.
The trouble is I can't figure out how to make effective warrior-champions. When I equip a champion with a sword, he's less effective than a unit of three grunts wielding the same sword: to wit, he has about the same attack as just one of those grunts. He may live a bit longer, but he's usually doing pretty terrible damage unless I've gotten lucky and found an excellent weapon. Otherwise, if I buy him equipment from the shop (i.e., the same equipment I can equip my regular units with), he ends up being a very expensive copy of a single figure of a unit, because the shop practices daylight robbery. The unit that I would otherwise build with the same equipment will be cheaper, do more damage (three guys with the same weapon!), and have about the same number of hit points (3 weak guys roughly equals one low-level champion; it only gets worse once I can have 4, 5, or 6 guys in a unit).
Champions make fine mages, doubly so since only champions can be mages. But how do I make a non-mage champion effective?