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Optimal start with France (SVN)

Discussion in 'Rhye's and Fall: Europe' started by Chep, May 7, 2013.

  1. Chep

    Chep Chieftain

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    Hey, I hope it is okay if I do this kind of "story-thread" here where I will post my idea of how to start playing France with maybe some pictures and often ask you your opinion. If you don't feel like this belongs here, I can understand and will stop/you can get it moved to where you'd prefer having it.

    That said: I chose France, since their first UHV seems to be one of the tougher ones and unlike the Ottomans (who I find to be harder) it is less luck-dependent.

    I want to try winning without exploits like capitol-squatting (founding Dijon as my capitol instead of Paris for example).
     
  2. Chep

    Chep Chieftain

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    So, here we go.
    The starting screen:
    we have 3 settlers + 3 archers + 1 missionary and 4 axemen.

    There will be the following cities on the map soon:
    Lyon (2 archers, flat)
    Marseille (1 archer, flat)
    Milan (1 archer, flat)
    Firenze (1 archer, hill)
    Toulouse (1-3 archers, flat)
    Bordeaux (2-3 archers, flat)

    Bordeaux and Toulouse are barbarian -> they wont suffer barbs attacking them and won't be burned down, so we can wait with conquering them (especially Bordeaux since it has poor production, also some of the archers there tend to wander off)



    My first thought was moving Paris 1 southwest, so that it is between the horses and the cow (orange circle), giving more options for settling the other city in Orleans. But that would leave Paris without the Iron for a few turns reducing it's production and the cow and horses can only be pastured after ~7-8 turns.
    Also: Paris would have less hills in its BFC, meaning it won't be able to produce mounted sergeants in 5-6 turns later. But for the lategame I think I'd prefer this spot.
    I'd then settle the Orleans-city probably north of the other cow,, leaving less of a gaping hole in central France :D

    Anyway: Paris will probably be founded on the spot. Then the Orleans-city will be the one 1N of the wheat, with the horse in its inner circle (since we won't have an increase soon).
    OR would you go 1 more tile to the west and use the missionary for this city? (red circle) It would mean less overlap, better tiles and more space for another city in the Orleans-province later. And probably that the city we will found in northern Aquitaine won't be the one on the existing town (between salt & wine) and instead closer to the coast.

    That leaves the last settler. I used him to found a city in the Champagne (Picardie also is an option but I think it is better to settle there later, just before the independent city spawns (or take that one).
    I really liked the spot on the wine next to the iron. (red circle) It gives you an instant happy-res you won't be able to get otherwise for a while and you have an iron-hill for production. But once Dijon is founded that city will suck.



    my first instinct was the green circle, leaving a maximum of space for Paris and the new city plus Calais without getting into trouble with Dijon.
    But the wine won't be usable before the time for UHV 1 runs out and also the iron is not in the inner circle -> won't be usable for quite a while.
    Or we could use the missionary here in order to get the iron quicker...but then the barbs often come from this direction so I think it will get pillaged quite often...
    What do you recommend?

    once the settling is discussed I'll continue with the first conquests :)
     
  3. Chep

    Chep Chieftain

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    120 views and no comments? I'm sure most of you have won the UHV before or at least tried.
    Come on, give me a piece of your mind. If no one responds before this has 250 views I'll try on my own, but I'm not sure if I can pull it off on Emperor...
     
  4. konkoka

    konkoka Chieftain

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    I prefer settling Blois on the forest as second city, since it gives u access to the Horse, Wheat and Cow after it has expanded to its BFC.
     
  5. Chep

    Chep Chieftain

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    hm that sounds interesting. yeah. it would leave central France less empty. the missionary goes to Blois then? (isn't that the city where da Vinci rests?)
    (the pope always spreads catholicism in my champagne-city but it takes forever to reach that city, at least during my last 3 tries)

    but it means you won't get the dye...unless you settle strangely and don't settle on the coast but with costal tiles in the bfc... (with your x-th city...but one usually founds one north of bordeaux, I think.
     
  6. rfcfanatic

    rfcfanatic Mercantilist

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    I've been struggling with this on Monarch, so I decided to revert back to Viceroy where I successfully tested this configuration of cities:



    On Viceroy, there are no barbs, but maybe this configuration would help to shield the iron resource from barb pillage attempts on higher difficulty levels. When cities are closer targets than iron, maybe they would prefer attacking cities to pillaging? Another good thing about this configuration is that all cities instantly have a trade route because of road connection. Well, at least until Manorialism civic which kills the only trade route each city has. Or until the roads get pillaged by barbs. Also, settling Picardy early would give me some time to prepare the defences against the Vikings.

    Next thing I did was to get the Chain Mail tech quickly in order to have an access to Swordsmen. As city attackers, they are the only ones that can get the job done. Axemen suck badly and Mounted Sergeants are an anti-thesis to what a city attacker should be. They are expensive as hell and even with Flanking II they barely withdraw from a lost battle and most of the time they don't even damage the Archer they are attacking. I've tested it out and it doesn't work.

    After building some Swordsmen, I settled Saxony and Lorraine and finally, Orleans. Other cities were a matter of conquest. The toughest city was probably Augsburg. I attacked the 2 Archers and 1 Spearman in it with no less than a stack of 8 Swordsmen. Would anyone really attack Archers fortified in a walled city with less than that?

    I got the 1st UHV done approximately between 810-820 AD.
     
  7. konkoka

    konkoka Chieftain

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    Yes, the missionary goes to Blois.

    I prefer to send two swordsmen available at the start (IIRC) to conquer Bordeaux and then Toulouse right away. These cities can be easily captured with your initial army due to free barb wins. If you´re lucky enough you may even conquer Barcelone and Marseille with them. And captured Bordeaux means that by the time when you´ll start having issues with happiness, the Dye in Bordeaux will have a plantation and a road for a long time.
     
  8. rfcfanatic

    rfcfanatic Mercantilist

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    Actually, free barb wins are not a feature of the mod any more, since SVN revision 1043.
     
  9. Chep

    Chep Chieftain

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    I have successfully won this UHV on Monarch but I thought that there was still some room for improvement. So this is why this is about beating the UHV 1 on Emperor.

    Thank you for your suggestions so far. I'm not sure I like your city placement, though, rfcfanatic.
    The barbs usually appear south of the cow of Dunkerque so they might get distracted and pillage the roads/cow instead of the iron but I don't think that would be much of an improvement. Also Rheims gets no ressources in its BFC...and since cottaging is pretty useless due to the frequent plagues...I'm not a big fan of the city.
    Dunkerque however seems much better than Calais, so I will found this one, probably.
    But I think the mounted sergeants are very important in winning this UHV thanks to their great speed and the retreat-ability. On my earlier success on monarch I used them almost exclusively (plus some CR2-axemen after I got the first general).
    And most of the time they did hurt the archers pretty badly, so usually I lost 1 sergeant for each 2 archers killed which is okay as Paris produces them every 5-6 turns and Milan and Firenze almost as quickly. However swordsmen might be an idea. Its just that they lack the ability to kill marauding barbs. The sergeants usually have a success chance of 60-70 plus the retreat chance against barbs allowing them to reach 5 or even 10 exp quickly. And they are immune to the firststrike of the archers.
    Plus the swordsmen-tech is more expensive meaning you get them a couple of turns later AND they're slower to reach the front.

    Still, I think I'll try them.

    edit: I just reloaded my old save, for Augsburg (2 archers, one of them CityDefender2, walls) I had
    2 axemen (1 with CR2, the other one 0 exp)
    5 mounted sergeants with improved retreat...but I only needed 4 sergeants to take the city (lost 1)
    -> after first attack: archer with city defender at 1.6 health, sergeant dead. 2nd sergeant attacks, retreats, archer at 2.2 health, the other sergeants win.
    -> conquered Augsburg in 772.

    Also, I'm not sure about the viking attack, now I'm starting to think that it might actually be a good idea to let conquer/burn down the city in the picardie and then resettling it (my orleans-city had high food-overflow but low production so, building 1 more settler wasn't much of a problem) since the vikings are incredibly tough when attacking a city but once they have to defend it might be easier (since you can use your offensive troops you had for the other conquests against them)

    edit: also very important in my opinion: plunder cottages in the city tiles of the independent cities (like the one next to firenze) - they don't spawn barbarians, but they give you a lot of gold that you can use now (since you'll probably be focussing on production anyway)
    also, about the traderoutes: if you settle Paris and a city in Orleans they are connected and if you switch to manorism...you lose maybe 5-10 commerce at the last city because of the missing traderoute or something like that.

    Hm...I just tried: 3 axemen towards milan, 1 dies, 2nd has 35% chance and wins, gets promoted to CR1, next: firenze same thing, (unpromoted) axeman suicides, promoted axeman kills the archer at 40%... either I got lucky or the game gives you lower chances than you actually have when the archer is injured...
     
  10. rfcfanatic

    rfcfanatic Mercantilist

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    @Chep

    I now tested the Paris-Dunkerque-Rheims strategy on Monarch as well and I agree with you that Rheims is a poorly chosen city in terms of food and production. Yes, it does safeguard the Iron resource near Paris (btw, barbs don't spawn between Paris and Dunkerque on Monarch, but of course, Emperor might be different). In general, this configuration is easier to defend. But there is one huge disadvantage - logistics. I tried with swords, but the distances were simply too large. So I'm now trying the Paris-Blois-Auxerre strategy:



    Paris already has culture, so I sent the missionary to Auxerre. Without Dunkerque, barbs now keep harassing Paris, wave after wave. But at least the cities are more productive now and closer to the enemy cities.

    I once more tested Mounted Sergeants, but sorry, my mind wasn't changed. Here's the odds before an attack:



    They are pretty terrible, aren't they? The odds include the bonus vs barbs, by the way. However, here's the outcome:



    Huh, that was lucky - the MS survived the battle. But so did enemy Archer. With full health :eek:

    MS is a high-risk investment. 90 :hammers: for them is more than a Musketman in vanilla BTS and it's equal to the cost of Knight of vanilla BTS. Also, you can't use the whip in this mod - which makes it even worse. The battle odds are simply not worth the invested :hammers:. But that's just my opinion based on my own experience.

    The tech for Swordsmen is more expensive than the tech for MS, but their cost is equal to the cost of Axemen (60 :hammers:) and they are MUCH better than Axemen. Actually, they do have pretty good odds against barb Axes:



    An equally promoted Mounted Sergeant vs Axeman, for comparison:



    Swords are more versatile than MS, because they don't need to be afraid of Spearmen which is another unit the barbs are coming with.
     
  11. AbsintheRed

    AbsintheRed Chieftain

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    Nice to see this thread up and running, I would love to see a couple more for another civs!
    Threads like this are great from the modders point of view too, to see the issues and strategies with the given civ :goodjob:
     
  12. Wessel V1

    Wessel V1 Chieftain

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    Would it be possible to rely on double evasive Mounted Sergeants? Once a few become almost invulnerable, you can use them like catapults to raise the chances for the next unit to actually win the battle. Barbs in open flat terrain are an easy way to raise experience.
     
  13. rfcfanatic

    rfcfanatic Mercantilist

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    Do you mean the Flanking II promotion? Yes, Flanking II gives a first strike ability if I'm right. But I guess that the retreat odds won't get much better than 50% which means that the unit is still very likely to die. After all the work that had been invested to the unit in order to give them Flanking II promotion...it hurts :sad:
     
  14. merijn_v1

    merijn_v1 Black Belt

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    I disagree. Just a barracks and stable provide enough XP for those 2 promotions. So basically every (light) cavalry you build can have them from the start.

    And light cavalry have a base withdraw chance of 40%. If you give them Flanking I & II promotions, it will be 70%. Heavy cavalry have a lower withdraw chance, but those aren't meant to do withdraw attacks.
     
  15. 2phunkey4u

    2phunkey4u West-Eastern Divan

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    That's what I like to do. Paris, Blois and Tolouse can get nice production going quickly, so I use them to churn out Flanking-MS. They are great for softening up defenders (or - in larger numbers - eliminating them) while surviving.
     
  16. AbsintheRed

    AbsintheRed Chieftain

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    Yep. This is one of the best strategies IMO
    It's possible to do the UHV entirely with axeman and spearman, but it needs much better timing that way.
    The mobility of MS is a huge advantage
     
  17. Chep

    Chep Chieftain

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    hey, sorry for not posting, I was getting frustrated over how stupid DoC is compared to RFCE and being fascinated by Enders Game :D

    Also: I think the real key here is to take Milan and Firenze with your starting army. If you can manage it with 3 out of your 4 axemen, you even have one to defend the hills of Paris.

    Both of these cities have great production and together with Paris + your 2 starting cities logistics become easier, since you have 2 production centers on different sides of your empire.
    So basically it is dependent on your luck whether or not they declare their independence from you.
    I had odds around 40-50% at each city after suiciding one of my axemen there and the 2nd always took the city (6 out of 6 tries). So either I just got really really really lucky or thats something you can expect to happen. Also since it is really completely luck-dependent if you manage to take both cities immediately I'd just reload if it didn't work out.
    I haven't yet tried the swordsman-strategy but the MS-one works out just fine due to the high move your new units reach their goal almost immediately, meaning you need less of them AND once you have almost won the UHV, you can send one towards Byzantium, Bulgaria and Arabia.

    @Absinthe: Does the early plague spread to France? In my 2 games so far I closed the borders with the pope and luckily wasn't affected, but if that as well was just luck....with a plague in your cities it can become incredibly difficult (immagine barbs + plague) but it can also become really easy (empty independent/barbarian cities after the plague).
    I'd recommend limiting it to Byzantium.
     
  18. AbsintheRed

    AbsintheRed Chieftain

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    No, the first plauge won't spread to France
    It's already limited to Byzantium, and the Italian minors (then part of Justinian's realm)
     
  19. ales_

    ales_ Heir

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    What do you find stupid in DoC?
     
  20. Chep

    Chep Chieftain

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    sorry, didn't want to derail this thread.

    So:

    I tried it on Emperor. Founded Paris, Blois (missionary) and Dunkerque.
    Moved all 4 axemen south, lost 3, took both north Italian cities. So far, so good.
    Research is a lot slower than on Monarch, so by the year 600 I had Calendar + Manorism and no more gold.
    Sergeants and Swordsmen both need a tech that will take 35+ turns to research.
    Also: By 600 my defending archer in Paris had reached city defender 3.
    Dunkerque was burned down the next turn (even though it had a city defender 2-archer).

    Huge waves of barbarians near Paris all the time. None in northern Italy (luckily) until ~630.
    But my stability was at -2 after my inital conquests and fel to -6 to -8. So of course Firenze declared its independence, taking my last axeman with it. Meanwhile lots of barbs appear around Milan and threaten to burn it down.
    Research at ~40-50%.

    biggest problems so far: money/research and stability. then the barbs. no time to worry about the time frame, so far.
    I think the worst thing atm is the instability. because it just sucks to lose cities you just conquered.
    And I even tried to build the French UB, but a) that's not enough and b) too late. So the only alternative to gain stability would be to found additional cities. But that would require building settlers (take a lot of time) and would mean additional expenses so less research so no MS/Swordsmen for even more time -.-

    @DoCvsRFCE: DoC tries to force you to play a certain (historical) way, while RFCE encourages playing it along the lines of history.
    Example: I played China and founded christianity (and buddhism) as well, so now I had to switch religion every time I wanted to build a certain wonder. And unlike in RFCE you don't get a real religious freedom-civic that opens up the other religions wonders. Compared to normal RFC you get a lot of new restrictions, while RFCE was free to build a new "world". Also: the province/stability part seems a lot more thought out here. Just...so many little things (although it felt good to have the possibility to whip again :D )
     

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