Theres no balance in Native, and B&S *is* balanced. It gives 300 troop armies, BUT, you can easily build up your own army if you have the right background. The economy is revamped, and a suit of plate armour costs 11,000 denars. The Barbarian background starts with 0 denars, a good sword and very good stats.
Pop gives a bland map, uninteresting factions, badly textured armour, a very overpowered sprinkle of somewhat invincible deathknights everywhere you go, which are faster than you, the Kingdom management is a laugh because it takes 300 hours to get that stage. Ive got 242 hours clocked for 5-6 months.
For the first 70 days, i was stuck with 80 militia that i had no hope in hell of upgrading and sustaining, and i was constantly raped by the minor parties.
The only way i could defeat the ridiclous knight parties of 5 was by couch lancing all of them, which was unreliable.
Why? because 5 knights could smash through 80 militia and 5 barclays footmen as if they were fighting wooden dummies.
I was on day 80 in POP and i didn't have a single unit recruited from a village with decent armour. In b&s, it takes 30 seconds, AND there are troop trees for ranged, melee and calvary which are randomly selected when you try to recruit.
So if i go to a village and look for recruits, i could get an offer of
5-10 calvary for a high price
7-15 infantry for a medium price
Or 10-20 ranged for dirt cheap prices.