I've made a few attempts at starting as Mide like I mentioned in previous threads I've made, but the changes of the DLC and patches have definitely made the start very different, and I was wondering what starting tips the forums might have, as I imagine a large part of the tips and strategies that worked well for me at launch are now outdated.
The biggest thing I've been struggling with is managing estates under the new system. Don't get me wrong, I think the changes they've made ARE for the better as now they actually HAVE an impact that they didn't have when I first played the game. But I find it difficult to appease my nobles AND keep my populace and army fed. Each time I've been given a request for estates, it's for agricultural estates, which I'm finding are the most valuable, as it boosts food production when King Sinna has them, but when given to another noble that boost is flipped into a penalty, meaning as soon as I satisfy the noble in question, I'm hit with a food shortage, even though I've been focusing on building up the pastures in Mide as my very first priority so I can build a larger army.
The second, related issue is being caught between a rock and a hard place between Dyflin and Airgalla starting out. When faced with the choice to help Brega against Dyflin, conquer them first or stay out of it, I try to help Brega since that's the noble thing to do, confident I can fight off Dyflin, as I've done it before, but at the same time, Airgalla seems to like to swoop in and eat up Brega from the opposite side, meaning that while I can claim territory in the middle, Dyflin will retake places, at which point Airgalla will swoop in and take it, meaning it's effectively barred from me unless I start a war with Airgalla that I suspect will not go well for me, especially since Airgalla seems to ally with Ailech, one of the factions best disposed to Mide at the outset (even though in one save they dragged me into a war with Connacht I was NOT ready for, since I'd only been building up Sinna's army and the second one only had Ailill and one company of spears, meaning the border with Connacht was virtually defenseless).
So...I'm kind of stuck trying to figure out how to proceed with the first few turns. I know that as Total War games have gotten better, opening turns can be a LOT more dynamic than Medieval 2: Total War, my entry to the series, was, such that you can't necessarily predict what your immediate neighbors will do in the first few turns in reaction to your own moves, but I've seen this pattern of Airgalla using my fight with Dyflin to steal Brega's land out from under me play out pretty consistently and the first request for estates I've ALWAYS gotten is for agricultural estates, even if I've given the religious estates I have to them to make them happy in anticipation of it, and I've always tried to build my food buildings up first to avoid getting a food shortage.
What would you fine folks suggest? How should I proceed after wiping out the rebels? Thank you!