My experience with them is that it takes too long to get horse archers out...and when I do, they are worse than the warrior + archer ancient era combo while costing more. Their range of 1 is too crippling. By this time you probably have warriors + archers anyway because of war happy AIs and they work way better than horse archers. The only situation i can see horse archers being better is if someone is spamming nothing but slow melee units at you for some silly reason...even horsemen hard counter horse archers and other civs get it at the same tech level. Kurgans are also less than impressive because their adjacency bonus is faith, not gold. Unfortunately, having tons of faith doesnt help you to do much other than found a pantheon at this point, since you need a holy site anyway which is hammer intensive. You need to found a religion to make full use of extra faith (yes i know you can rush buy GPs with faith but thats super expensive anyway and not relevant when you are trying to do early game warring). I find it hard to justify working Kurgan tiles when i need food/hammers way more in the early game. By the time i got horse archers out, enemy cities were at the 30+ strength range, which makes them nearly invulnerable to archers/horse archers...and thats BEFORE they get walls. Also funfact : Spearmen take almost no damage from horse archers...because of the anti-cav bonus, another reason for the warrior + archer combo being superior. Also they cant upgrade to crossbow men, so in the medieval era, even if you did well and got tons of veteran horse archers, you have them sitting around being useless, because you cant upgrade them till you get field canons. I think horse archers should come out at the same time as archery...you need to get archery anyway, to defend your cities and thats the perfect spot for you to go on the offensive with horse archers as unwalled cities aren't too powerful. The Kurgan adjaceny yield bonus should be gold, not faith so you can afford the horse archer's higher maintenance, and horse archers should be upgradable to crossbows. Any tips for playing Scythians?