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The French

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by Keirador, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    The French

    Though many associate France with ancient Gaul due to geography, the modern nation of France has its roots in the early middle ages, when the Germanic tribe called Franks moved across the Rhine. The French, as the people came to be called, settled, converted to Christianity, and eventually flowered into a nation with a decorated military tradition, a rich culture, a vibrant economy, and a profound impact on history.

    France is easily one of the most underestimated civilizations in the game. This is due partly to the abysmally poor AI handling of the nation, and partly to the strange aversion many Americans and Englishmen have toward the French. But don't shortchange France just because of this, or because its pink. With a trait combination of Industrious and Commercial, France has the potential to be the greatest productive powerhouse of the game. Rarely does one see traits so perfectly geared toward a booming economy and highly competitive industry base.

    France is one of the three civilizations that recieve no half-priced buildings whatsoever. To many players, this precludes France from being considered a strong builder; and no doubt it is a disadvantage. However, a deeper look reveals that France does not have to be a poor builder. France can often have more sheer production than any player in the game: the fast Industrious workers make terrain improvements quickly, allowing for more shields worked by citizen laborers to be added to the extra number of shields Industrious cities recieve. Combine this large number of total shields with the effect of the Commercial trait; fewer shields are stolen away by waste, resulting in a staggering number of useful shields. What improvements France cannot use its beefy production to build, it can use its formidable economy to buy. With those fast workers building trade-enhancing roads, Commercial cities generating extra gold, and the Commercial trait's effect of staving off commerce lost to corruption, France can be an economic power of the greatest order. As any veteran Civ player knows, a strong economy can usually be translated into a tech lead, either through pouring money into research or just buying tech off other Civs. When played properly, few civilizations can keep up with France in these two of the most vital aspects of Civilization - industry and economy.

    Of course, there are those who scoff at France as a warmonger, and the game does little to correct this impression. With a UU better suited to defense than attack, and no tangible military benefits, France is hindered but certainly not handicapped in its warmaking abilites. Once again, the vibrant French productivity is put to use here. If France can harness the power of its industry to mass-produce units, it can overwhelm neighbors with hordes of units, although such a strategy would detract significantly from France's infrastructure building. While France can gain a lot from wars, it typically needs longer "breaths" in between wars during which to concentrate on infrastructure. France, although no slouch in the war department, is also by no means a first choice for a bloodthirsty player.

    The French Unique Unit is the musketeer, and the usefulness of this tough little guy can vary wildly from game to game. While a phenomenal defender, by the time the musketeer is available, many players find themselves in a position where they'd rather pursue an offensive strategy. Defenders are of course needed to guard and escort an attacking army, but still the musketeer takes a secondary role. It is also a bit awkward to initiate a Golden Age with a defensive unit, but if you can pull it off its pretty nicely timed. If you find yourself hard-pressed, the musketeer is a defender second to none for its age. With a defense of 5 and defensive bombardment capability, the musketeer is only truly obsolete with the advent of tanks. For a builder, the musketeer is perfect to maintain your nation's security while concentrating on the all-important Middle Ages builds, including aqueducts, markets, libraries, cathedrals, universities, banks and those great medieval wonders.

    Summary: Productivity and economics are central themes to Civ3, and France excels at both of them. Veteran players can work absolute wonders with France, but French play is also very demanding. To make the most out of the French trait combo, a player must master early worker management and seriously micromanage citizen laborers. A lack of cheap culture buildings and a highly situational-dependant UU compound France's problems. Despite being one of my personal favorites and its incredible potential, because of its demanding play-style and mediocre UU, I have to give France 2nd tier status, albeit highly placed in that second tier.
     
  2. mintyfreshdeath

    mintyfreshdeath Chieftain

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    Oh why why WHY must they be pink? :(
    Anyway, great review!
     
  3. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    Your best review yet.
     
  4. thetrooper

    thetrooper Schweinhund

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    :goodjob: Keirador!

    Keep up the good work!
     
  5. Mr. Hyperbole

    Mr. Hyperbole understated cynic

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  6. Stuporstar

    Stuporstar Chieftain

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    Shhhh...France is my little secret. ;)

    Also, pink can be changed in the editor, though I don't mind it at all. It reminds other players that I'm a girl - and oh so innocent. :mischief: Though on the other hand, in multiplayer I found that people like to pick on France. For that reason I'm considering changing my name for multiplayer to something more disarming...like perhaps "Sarah - Supreme Wog of the Demented" :king:
     
  7. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    The more I think about it, the more I wonder if maybe France should be first-tier. . . While France may not be the best Civ, I would still rather play as Joan d'Arc than some first-tier civs like, say, the Dutch. I'd really like to hear something about the Dutch, if not a complete review, then perhaps just a summary of why it is that they are considered first tier. And better than France.
     
  8. punkbass2000

    punkbass2000 Des An artiste

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    The dutch are agr., aren't they? Are there any non-first tier Agr. civs? There probably shouldn't be anyway, IMO.
     
  9. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    Neither Sumeria nor the Aztecs are considered first tier, both are agricultural. I don't see any incredible synergy Seafaring and Agricultural would have, and the Swiss Merc is not that great a UU. I just don't get the whole Dutch thing at all. I can actually think of a few Civs I'd rather see first-tier than the Dutch.
     
  10. punkbass2000

    punkbass2000 Des An artiste

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    I consider both Sumeria and Aztecs first tier for sure. I'm surprised that they're not considered first tier. Don't know much about the Dutch, though.
     
  11. Pfeffersack

    Pfeffersack Chieftain

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    The Dutch...the value of their traits depends a bit on landform.Seafaring is clearly most useful on archipelago maps and least useful on pangea.Agricultural is generally nice(and the overall best trait IMO), but most on extreme climate settings and...especially with a lot of rivers and fresh water.This tends to be rather rare on archipelago maps, so the traits suffer slight "negative synergie".

    UU: Musketeer and Swiss Mercenary...there function is similar - beefed up defense in MA.However, I slightly prefer the Swiss Mercenary...it is a kind of Hoplite for the MA.You get essentially musketmans for the price of a pikemen, with an earlier tech and without salpeter...the Musketeer comes later (which usually lessens impact of defenders) and you need the same ressource.Nevertheless, a good and useful unit, too...for France it is easier to withstand a cavalry attack until reaching riflemen.Thinks it depends on relative difficulty and ressources situation which unit is more useful.

    Since the defense style of both UU, the missing trait synergie for the Dutch(except for the cheaper harbours...they support the higher food output of the agricultural trait a bit) and the toned down industrial trait/missing cheaper buildings for France I would rate them equally as high 2nd tier civs.

    EDIT: And I defintly agree with punkbass2000 about Sumeria...for me they are clear 1st tier...2 of the best traits and the UU...half-priced spearmen...near to overpowered I would say.You can crank out defense at an insane rate in the Ancient Age.The problem with the Enkidu is the 10 shield discount.-10 shields for a 40-shield unit is 25% and fine...-10 for 20 shields is halve price and too much.
     
  12. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    The Swiss Merc can compete as a UU with the Musketeer, sure, but I don't think the Dutch traits are as good as France's combination. The Dutch have one excellent trait, one highly map-dependant trait, and poor synergy. France has two strong, highly synergistic traits that can deliver no matter what the map or climate. What gives?
     
  13. Tomoyo

    Tomoyo Fate

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    :goodjob: Nice review.

    The French are my favourite civ because of the traits and the well-timed GA. (which you can mostly control) I don't like the pink, but for some reason I like China pink. :hmm:

    The Swiss Mercenary is a better UU than the Musketeer in and of itself, but France usually is occupied with building until the late medieval age, when I play them.
     
  14. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    I was going to review the Dutch soon. Along with the Portugese but Keirador beat me to it. I'll hopefully be starting a Zardnaars Civ review sticky and finish off Isions Series. 1st up is Spain, then Dutch and England. Looks like I get to do most of the Seafaring civs yay. The reason the Dutch are better than the french is better UU, better trait (agricultural) and on 2/3 maps seafaring is better as well. The Dutch squeak onto 1st tier IMHO.
     
  15. The Dragon

    The Dragon Chieftain

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    IMO, the Dutch are the best civ in the game on Huge Archi maps and very good on any map with lots of water.
     
  16. Aggie

    Aggie Chieftain

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    I certainly do consider the Aztecs and Sumeria to be first tier! Especially Sumeria. Sumeria is agri and scientific! To me these are the best traits. And they have a good defense unit.

    Agri is so overpowered that any civ with this trait is automatically first tier on a non-dry map.

    FWIW Obviously I consider the Dutch to be first tier as well. One of the strongest civs in the game on non-pangaea maps.

    EDIT: I really like the French a lot too. I'm undecided if they are first tier or a strong 2nd tier though. They are first tier in vanilla and ptw for me, despite the rather weak UU there. But with a stronger UU in C3C and a little weaker Industrious trait (combined with the introduction of agri) I'm doubting a 1st tier rating.
     
  17. punkbass2000

    punkbass2000 Des An artiste

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    Even on dry maps agr. is still fairly powerful. It does lose it greatest aspect of ultra-fast early growth, but is still appears once you leave despotism and you can make use of all those deserts that no one else can.
     
  18. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    The Aztecs have a average UU and the miltaristic trait doesn't cary it to 1st tier. Sumeria is interesting and IMHO is very close to 1st tier and definately 1st tier on the lower difficulty settings. However in the mid to higher difficulty setting the scientific trait loses alot of its power. Also its UU is defensive and although cheap becomes abosolete quickly and its hard to build alot of them early in the game due to unit support. However its very close between them and the Dutch. on 2/3 map types and on emperor and above the Dutch are better IMHO. Below that Sumeria would be better most of the time.
     
  19. Doc Tsiolkovski

    Doc Tsiolkovski Deity

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    One thing I see a bit under valued here is the huge advantage the c3c Musketeer gives you on any level you're behind the AI in the mid/late MA.

    This for me is the secondmost vulnerable time in the game (after the very beginning): The AI runs around with tons of Cavs and always heads for Nationalism. So, while any other Civ will suffer heavy casualties with Muskets and Cavs against Rifles and even more Cavs, France does much better here. This is especially great since you can effectively go to war without Infantry and with skipping Nationalism (everyone else better abstains during this period).
    So, any idea which Civ will do best with the 'Avoid Education and capture the Great Library with Cavs' strategy ;)? Ottomans hurt themselves with not building cheap Universities.
    Now, imagine you also own the ToA...
     
  20. Jopedamus I

    Jopedamus I Immortality is reality

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    I think that all three civs (France, Netherlands and Sumeria) belong to 1st tier. If your base is Isions list, I would say that Babylon and Arabia should be dropped to 2nd tier and France and Sumeria should replace them. Why?
    Babylon: Crappy UU, slow starter, thats why "king of culture" is just a 2nd tier civ.
    Arabia: too map-dependent, poor traits for higher difficulty levels. Magnificent UU is not enough to take them to 1st tier. Maybe, if you are chieftain to monarch-player, but when considering everything Arabia is 2nd tier civ.
    France: no real weaknesses, good traits and synergy, good UU. Good players choice and 1st tier civ for sure.
    Sumeria: Good all-rounder, also no real weaknesses. Great early expansion, UU that helps with that also and scientific trait that helps self-research in industrial and modern ages. Great for any difficulty or map type. Easily 1st tier.
    Netherlands: Belongs also in 1st tier, easily. Best trait (agriculture), great UU, and great all-rounder. Wonderful in archipelago, great in continents and good in pangaea and great in high difficulty-levels.
     

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