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!