After extensive play I've settled on the Khergit nomadic horsemen as my favorites. They're middling offensively, kinda bad defensively, but no-one can match their mobility. A Khergit army only fights when they decide to fight, they're uncatchable. A Khergit army can outmanoeuvre patrols and feast on the soft underbelly of any foe.
I play the first quarter of the game as a pure raider, striking the weak and evading the strong.
Once you've levelled up your fighting skills and earned enough wealth and prestige you can start conquering towns and villages. When the inevitable reprisals begin you can divide and conquer, or just strike behind their lines to keep them chasing you and away from your lands which are not defended as well as they might be.
The last quarter of the game is glorious, you have so much money and such a huge army that it is practical to cherry-pick recruits from the other factions. Now your garrisons are stuffed with expert bowmen, crossbowmen, and Viking shock infantry. Heavy armoured knights ride with your nomads, slowing you down a little but woe unto anyone who does force a battle.
Anyways it's damn fun and if you have any spare time at all you should download it RFN.
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