I am finishing up parts of my guide, and I will make a website on the Cumans, so as to give folks pics..:P
This is on Normal and using Xtra large (2x) units. The Cumans are stuck, between Kiev, Hungary, Poland and the Sea.
So what does a good pagan do...He conquers!!
1) bad loyalty!
2) bad $
3) needs to create happines bldgs in EVERY PROV to keep folks from revolting
4) bad strategic position without allies
5) generally poor units that cost a bunch
6) no navy
1) weak neighbors
2) can usually get allies soon
3) Blitzkrieg style attacks (fast foot/cavalry mix)
The Cumans have 3 MAJOR Aspects to move
West, South, North
1) Heading North
The Russian Steppes are poor, and make for a challenging game as money is ALWAYS and issue!!! The Cumans also have an issue with crummy generals and poor loyalty!
Go east and take out the Volgas!!! (make sure you also take Georgia). Try to have 1 Dhow in Black Sea to protect against "suprises"
Go West and go after the Lithuanians
By this time, you SHOULD HAVE the Novos, Byz, Poles, Turks & Hungarians allies or asking for marriage! I got lucky in that I also got Kiev which normally hates the cumans guts! (Make sure you have a Dhow in Black Sea) Start creating pagan sites and shamans in Crimea, and have them 'spread the word"... by keeping the empire pagan, no "religious uprisings" can occur.
You'll have the southern 'half' of the steppes basically and with allies (hopefully) with the Byz, Hungarians, Poles, you'll be in position to hit the Novos hard and fast
This is where you backstab the Novos and keep an eye on Kiev! Novo & Moscow will be good cash cow provs to later become core provs once the Mongols hit you!
With Novo taken, use those 'better' bldgs to hopefully create cuman warriors, as the Novos seems to really concentrate on bows & horses. Novo and Moscow will be your cash cow provs and your 'high tech' area when the Mongols hit later on.
Take out Livonia, Estonia, and secure your north-west border. Taking these will give you some decent provs that are already pagan, so your shamans can kep out those pesky catholics..:P Also by having these, you deal a 'strategic blow' to danish and swedish expansion efforts, which is important.
Take out Kiev and fortify your borders! You know you have to take out your real enemies at some point!
Step 6: Take out Scandinavia! (used as a core "Safe" region if Mongols go nuts and conquer everything in sight). Now, with Scandinavia taken, you can use Vikings and there fighting prowes to help fight back those Mongol hordes.. so this is why I take this region..:)
At this point, I am making a good amount, but I am still no Sugar Daddy like the Byz or Fatamids..:P I still run out of money often, so looking after your money is critical as you HAVE TO BE CAREFUL of what your making!
If the Fatamids are kicking Byz butt, then switch allies to the Fatamids... If the Byz are holding them off, then keep the Byz, as the Byz seem like good allies that don't seem to break em (like I do...lol)
Mid game expansion!
Thus the Cumans have another set of 3 MAJOR ASPECTS,
West: the UK (England/Scotland/Ireland) via navy attack (France will usually join in)
South: Germany, via Danish provs (since nobody likes them anyways)
Onslaught: Build up and strike Poland/Hungary/Bohemia & Germany! (using the Byz/Fatamids as allies in the south
2 Heading West:
In all games I generally see of the Cumans, they fight and war aginst the Poles and Hungarians! So why not do what the computer does! Remember to build town watches and crank out militia as they will be your main early fighting unit! Also remember, your strikes must come from multiple directions and be swift (think Blitzkrieg!!)
Waiting those few critical turns before attacking! This is a crucial step in you must wait probably 2 or 3 turns, maybe 4 before striking, as by then, the hungarians are usually at war verses SOMEBODY (The germans are good)
So go after the hungarians while they are weak...
take out HUngary with a big enough stack so as to leave 1/2 stack by the coast and 1/2 a stack in HUngary proper (as defence)
GO after Poland via that long skinny independant prov and via Hungary, so as to take out Poland in 1 swift blow! That way, Poland falls swiftly and you still have plenty of troops to occupy your gains!
To be continued..:P
3) Heading South
This one strikes fear in the Byz, and using your fellow Turks as allies. The trick is to turn all of the Middle East into Cuman terriory!
Striking against the Byz. Speed and a few medium stacks with even 3* gens will do the trick verses your first few provs taken! Those provs will be the turkish ones, so you will turn the Black Sea into the Cumans bathtub, and also have a launching pad verses the Turks in due time!
Constantinople! In this one, your creating some troops and with an inn, hopefully buying some mercs to create a good stack to strike against Bulgaria and (if your lucky) towards the jewel itself!
Remember to hit hit small stacks with BIG stacks, as the Byz generals are like 6* and 7* golden boys!, you need MASSIVE #s to hit the Byz hard at this time! $ is going to take and ugly turn at this point!
Step 3) to be continued...:P