As this game has a plethora of nations and diverse playstyles, it is obvious that some nations will excel at certain things. This thread is more of a discussion piece, so we can share our thoughts on the best nations in specific playstyles
I will have a runner up, and the best one for multiple styles of play, depending on what the circumstances need you to do.
This style revolves around quickly attacking the enemy and preventing him from retaliating. These nations can fall off at one point or another, but their early game should always be feared.
Runner up: Tupi.
Simple economy, cheap units, solid early shipments, be certain that you will get swarmed by these guys. What holds them back is them having 2 settlers for different tasks, making early economy tricky to plan
Fellahs are excellent at disabling enemy peasants and you can send them at Age1, when the only defence is hiding in your TC, you know he will lose a good amount of resources from having to defend his villagers from these raiders. Add an Age2 card that gives 13 of them...yeah. Don't be suprised if your opponent ends up starved of resources early on.
Prepare slowly but steadily, and then unleash the beast! These nations rely on that one extremely powerful attack that can decide the game, most often in Age3 or 4.
Runner up: Japanese.
Known for their amazing Samurai and extremely powerful late game, the Japs can use their extremely powerful infantry to demolish the enemy with them only losing a minor amount of units. Add a Shogun to make them stronger, and you basically have a One Punch Man nation. What holds them back is that they are infantry reliant, so countering them is often quite easy.
Superior settlers, so economy is most often great. Excellent skirmisher, Foreign Legion is an extrenely formidable musketeer, and let's not start on their Cuirassier. There is a reason why French are feared late game.
Play it safe, defend, and be unkillable. These nations focus on defending themselves.
Even though they have to wait a long time to produce military, their strong peasants and solid shipments make them able to hold out until they are able to strike a mighty blow.
The nation is a defensive one for a reason. Various princesses for defensive bonuses, strongest forts, durable units, Trossen can counter spies, and walls that can easily reach over 10k HP. Have fun breaching that.
To quote ABBA. Money, Money, Money. These nations focus on accumulating resources, and can give them to a militarist civ to ensure a powerful duo.
Various economy bonuses, free economic buildings, solid slaves, money is not a problem with these guys.
Now imagine having to do 0 economy multitasking. 6+ Banks, you have to spam Ronin or something to drain all that gold. Also, since wood and food is cheap late game, and mercs, no suprise why Dutch have the best economy in the game. It also helps that the banks are extremely durable.
I only included the nations that are complete and playable without editing the game, before I get comments about the Maltese or sth. I hope to hear your thoughts, thanks for reading!