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France Strategy - Culture by Conquest

Discussion in 'Strategy Section' started by TheGoodHunter, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. TheGoodHunter

    TheGoodHunter Chieftain

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    Hey guys, new(ish) user of Vox Populi. Been really digging how domination works in this patch/overhaul and decided to try out France. I noticed that there are pretty much zero threads discussing strategies for it, so I've decided to make one. I'm going to test this strat on Prince and report back, but if anyone sees me going the completely wrong way with France feel free to point it out and give advice/criticism where needed. With all that out of the way, I present to you: France - Culture by Conquest!

    KIT
    All right so let's start off by addressing France's kit.
    • The UA is indeed unique in that it specifically lends itself towards gaining a CV through conquest - when you conquer a city, you get GW/GA/GM points in the capital and a temporary boost to culture and hammers in all your cities. It seems that this UA is most optimally utilized if France is an odd combination of both wide and tall - around 3-4 main cities should be built nice and tall to aid your inevitable culture victory and provide a good base for most of the infrastructure of the rest your sprawling empire. There's also the +10% Damage for every attack against a single target in a turn, which is handy for focusing a city down quickly among other things.
    • France's UB, the Chateau, is essentially a Fort that provides healthy amounts of culture, food, and GPT. The only catch is that it must be built next to a Luxury Resource and, like a regular fort, can't be built adjacent to another Chateau. A very (very!) nice complement to our UA that stays useful in every era.
    • And finally for the UU, the reliable musketeer. Very solid Renaissance Era unit that starts with the Lightning Warfare promotion for free (for gunpowder units this means plus 15% attack and they get to ignore the enemy zone of control). Again a very nice compliment to our powerhouse UA. I would not recommend putting off wars just to tech into this unit, however - we want to get the ball rolling on our UA bonuses as soon as possible. Look forward to this unit and cherish it while it isn't obsolete, but don't base your wars around it.
    THE EARLY GAME
    Build Order (I hate "build orders". Everything is situational - take the following with a grain of salt): Shrine (France has no inherent way of generating faith in its kit so we need every point of faith we can get.)---->pathfinder---->monument---->pathfinder/worker (do you want to explore or work on your city more?)---->granary/well/both---->archer/settler (do you need/desire to expand or do you need to defend/attack?)

    Explore. A lot. You need ruins, locations of capitals, cleared barb camps, wonders, and resource locations. Be nice to other civs and city-states (trade with them, don't make demands, don't be aggressive with your city settlements) unless you plan to get them to DoW on you to avoid warmonger penalties. Even then, be very careful because even if you only mean to piss one guy off you can quickly have 2 or 3 civs ragging on you and then suddenly DoW and then you're fighting a multiple front war. Be smart with your aggression, is what I'm saying.

    *It has been reported that the Great Wall wonder works well when you're trying to focus one civ down and don't want 2-4 other civs DoW and running up on your capital. Highly recommended to build this!*

    Techs: Again, highly situational depending on the luxuries/strategic resources you start by. If you start next to gold and quartz deposits, mining and construction first and foremost. Next to cotton/wine - plantation. In a jungle? The wheel (to reveal bananas). Basically, just tech into what you need in order to get your infrastructure up. From there start to focus more on the military and economic techs to start building those two things up in preparation for your first conquest(s).

    Social Policy: Authority or Tradition. Social policy choices are explained in their own section below.

    The First War: By the time you've teched into Chataeus and Armories you should have 2-3 or 3-4 (depending on how your early game went) well-built cities with a sizeable military and a strong economy. Now it's time to set your sights on your first target. Do you want to just rush in and crush a civ that's been pissing you off? Now's the time. Do you want to bribe one of your friends to DoW on and enemy and then take them both out once they're weakened from war spending/weariness? Now is your opportunity to do that, friendo. The world is your oyster, and as long as you're successful in your first line of wars, the rest of the game is pretty much just plusses on top of plusses. You keep gaining resources through your UA, Puppets, Vassals, and annexed/puppeted Capitals and use those to push ahead toward your CV. Or if you want you can just crush the world Domination-style because of how far ahead you'll be in culture (social policies) and science (techs).

    SOCIAL POLICIES
    • For our main route, CV through Conquest, we will want Authority/Tradition, Artistry, and Industry. Authority for expanding our empire or Tradition for our core cities and wonder-building, Artistry for aiding with CV and many (many!) other useful bonuses like better Golden Ages, and Industry to build/maintain our economy.
    • If you instead just want to go straight Domination, Authority/Fealty/Imperialism or Authority/Industry/Imperialism would work best.
    • Ideologies depend on how your game has gone up until now. If you have really good Culture and Tourism and are ready/want to dial it back on your war machine or you haven't been utilizing war very much in the first place, Freedom will help finish off your CV. If instead you're close to taking the last few capitals and don't see the point in stopping now, delve into Autocracy and clinch the Domination Victory. Order has also been theorized to work well as long as you can keep your empire's happiness high. Requires testing.

    And that... that's pretty much it. I hope you guys enjoyed this little guide/strat layout and if you have any criticisms/corrections/suggestions let me know! Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
  2. CrazyG

    CrazyG Warlord

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    A brilliant truth that more people need to realize.

    BTW, in VP bananas actually do nothing by themselves, they have the same yields as just a jungle. They don't get +1 food after you build a granary

    You might want to try going artistry->industry. This should be quite a bit stronger overall than fealty->artistry. Generally speaking the three final trees are much more powerful than the previous one. Overall you seem to have a pretty good plan.
     
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  3. tu_79

    tu_79 Warlord

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    In my current France gameplay, I needed to go Tradition. Then, artistry and industrialism. I was doubting between imperialism, but I don't want to expand forever.

    Tradition allowed me to found religion, with ancestor worship, at least in emperor.

    Funny. I didn't explore too much in the beginning. I was too focused trying to found. Also, I got caged quite early, and couldn't produce ships in a while, since I was rushing Great Wall, then Chivalry.
    This wonder allows me to focus in one target and ignore the others. So, basically, I declare war on one civ, get to war against 3 or 4, but actual fighting is only against my target.

    I thought I could focus on science for rushing Chivalry faster, but my neighbor got a bit aggressive.

    EDIT. What I find interesting about France is its absolute lack of early bonuses. Esprit de Corps is just a drop if you want to fight early on. This is good for testing new AI handicaps.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
  4. TheGoodHunter

    TheGoodHunter Chieftain

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    Thank you for the reply! I will edit your suggestions into the guide. And kudos on the bananas thing - I had no idea!
     
  5. TheGoodHunter

    TheGoodHunter Chieftain

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    Thanks for your reply! Interesting that you went Tradition and I hope it worked out for you! I still recommend Authority in most cases however, as it helps tremendously with early skirmishes and expansion. I'll add in your commentary on the Great Wall wonder to the guide - thanks a bunch for that!
     
  6. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Chieftain

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    I've been trying to get a France game going recently. One thing I have noticed is that warmongering too soon ends up getting you Artists/Writers/Musicians that don't have great work slots to fill. A musician in the early game that doesn't have a slot to fill is especially useless for the most part. For that reason my plan has been to go Tradition, only settle a total of 3 core cities (who will go on to have great infrastructure and population to support guilds), and then play defense and allow other civs to settle cities all around. The more cities they settle around you the better as you'll just end up taking them in the mid game once you are ready to start warmongering and gaining all those great person points for your trouble. Settling lots of your own cities just reduces the number of cities you could take from the AI.

    I also like Tradition for France because it should help with building wonders (more great engineers for fast building) so that you have more slots for all those great works.

    Last, I've been less focused on founding a religion. Having fewer early cities makes it harder to found a religion in the first place and I assume at some point I will conquer a holy city to obtain a religion for myself anyway. I feel free to grab a pantheon with the best overall early game yield bonuses rather than getting one that will give me the best chance of founding.
     
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  7. tu_79

    tu_79 Warlord

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    I took Tradition partly for the same reasons. But I've managed to found with Ancestor Worship in Emperor (well, tweaked difficulty down).
     
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  8. TheGoodHunter

    TheGoodHunter Chieftain

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    Thank you for your in-depth reply! Well that's two people that have suggested Tradition now (two people that seem to have much more experience than me), so I'll add it to the guide.
     
  9. tu_79

    tu_79 Warlord

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    Ideologies depend on what you achieved. If you have stunning culture and tourism, but didn't conquer too much, then Freedom might be good. If you are near the Domination victory, Autocracy will put you there. I don't think Order fits with the cultural warmonger, but I might be wrong.
     
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  10. Paramecium

    Paramecium Chieftain

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    In my opinion, order can be very strong for cultural victory if you can keep an high happiness, the tier 3 tenet can be a monster. But for good happiness it is better to have a good religion which might be not one of france strength. I have not played enough with artistry lately, so that might change the subject.
     
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  11. TheGoodHunter

    TheGoodHunter Chieftain

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    Will work these perspectives into the OP - just what I needed to fill out the Ideology subsection. Kudos to both of you!
     
  12. tu_79

    tu_79 Warlord

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    Problem is that France needs to keep fighting to trigger Esprit de corps, and this hurts happiness badly. You don't make many friends by being so aggressive.
     
  13. Gokudo01

    Gokudo01 Chieftain

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    order is bad with france for 3 reasons :

    first, it's the worst UI enhancer
    Second, it doesn't enhance great work or historical event
    third , while bringing TONS of happiness, you can't have the most happiness if you kept fighting all game long.
     
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  14. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Chieftain

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    After playing a few games with France going for a domination aided cultural victory, one major conundrum is that taking lots of cities tends to work against your culture victory in a lot of ways. The diplomatic repercussions of domination can really hurt you overtake that last cultural powerhouse. Specifically, things like open borders and trade routes as positive modifiers on your tourism rate to other civs can be hard to maintain when everyone hates you and either declare war on you or vote to sanction you in the world congress. It can be especially difficult to use late game Musician bombs when at war or lacking open borders.

    One option is to only take some cities throughout the game to lessen the hate directed your way and make sure to maintain friendships with high culture civs so that your positive tourism modifiers stay in place with them. However, I think the much better solution which more fully utilizes France's kit is to just go all out with the domination and constantly take whatever cities you can, and if possible specifically go after high culture civs. The huge numbers of Artists/Writers/Musicians generated from conquering along with directly weakening high culture civs through domination should make up for the lack of positive tourism modifiers and allow a culture victory anyway.

    If I play another France game I will certainly plan to take the hyper aggressive approach, whereas before I was maybe hedging too much and hoping to maintain those positive modifiers and keep friends with certain civs. I will especially try to identify who the culture runaways are early and make sure my path of destruction leads to them.
     
  15. Gidoza

    Gidoza Chieftain

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    Another way to go about it that avoids the wide problem of spreading tourism would be to go on lots of invasions and burn most of the cities you encounter to the ground. If you can manage the military for it, then you're focusing all those Great Works in only a few cities and thus generating massive tourism with minimal penalties. I find this works with Japan as well.
     

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