A guide for France

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A guide for France

Unread post by diarouga » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:19 pm

Hey guys! I think that the AOE III part of this forum is a bit dead, and that's quite sad...
Anyway, here is a guide for France I've written, it's only my opinion, but I hope it will help ;)

France is one of the best civ of the game, on any patch, and that's for good reasons!
Well played, they can win pretty much any match-up in the game, eventhough they might not be favoured in some situations.
With this civ, you have a lot of choices, and what makes the difference between two french players is often the choices they make: What unit composition? Should I send a military shipment or crates? Should I age? Should I take the TP line?

Why is France so good?

-They have one of the best late game in the game, great economy, skirmishers, gendarmes, so against turtle play, unless it's a water boom or it's japan, you can simply boom and you'll win in the long run.
-A very fast civ, they have the best early musk/huss timing in the game, and probably the fastest semi ff as well.
-Unkillable vills.

So here are the advantages of this civ, strong in late game, with a strong economy, and easily able to hold rushes.
The only weaknesses of this civ is that they're bad in water wars, but it doesn't really matter.

To use the civ potential at his max, you have two options in the current meta.
You can either play agressive in colonial, and outmass early. That's what a lot of people do in quick search or on no TP maps, and I'll explain how to do that in a first part, or play more defensively, and go the third age, where you want to use the strong French composition: skirmisher/goon/cuirassiers, with the great 2 falc shipment. That's what people tend to do nowadays.


Crate starts:
With a food start, you want to put every vills on food, build a house and age with 13vills.
With a gold start, you should gather 75c and 50w, build the market and buy 100w there to build a house and get hunting dog.
With a wood start, you will always take an early TP on TP maps, and gather 100w for the house, or just build a market on no TP maps.
As France, you always age with the 400w politician.

I/ Colonial builds

No TP builds

These builds have been used since 2006 but are unfortunalety outdated today, and not really viable on TP maps. Nevertheless, it's useful to know what to do on no TP maps, where they're still the best builds!

The double bow rush:

A very agressive strategy, definitely the best French rush, which allows you to train bows and pikes 10 by 10 with iddle time.
On balanced maps any civ can hold it if they play well, which is why it's almost not used anymore. You still need to know that strat to know how to hold it with other civs, or to punish a greedy opponent.

While aging: build the market and get hunting dog if you haven't done it yet, and get the wood upgrade. Put 2 vills on gold, you want 125g for the 2nd food upgrades. The others coureurs des bois will either herd or gather wood. You need to have 400w when you age up in order to build two raxes.

Age 2: Build two raxes, get the second food upgrades, send 700w. From now, put 10-12 vills on food, build enough houses and you will be able to spam bow/pikes ten by ten. After 700w, send 600w to train more units. Your third and fourth age 2 shipments will either be 8bows/3huss if you think it will kill him, or 700g/3huss which allows you to get 8huss and trap your opponent's heavy infantry.
It's very usefull against Japanese players for example, because they tend to have a lot of yumis and no anti-cavalry.
You can also send 4vills after the 600w, research the gold upgrade, and add a stable to switch to musk/huss, or even age. Don't forget that as France you can always adapt your strategy.

The Samwise12 build:

One of the most famous French build, which allows you to train units from a rax and a stable at a same time while having the market and researching steel traps!
It was used almost every games in the past, but now with the TP meta, it is almost not used at all. On no TP maps it is still one of the strongest build though.

Age 1: Age with 14 vills and the market with hunting dogs, even when you have wood or food starts.

While aging: Put 7 villagers on wood, others on food. You want to gather 75w for the gold upgrade, and keep 125w for the second food upgrade, then put these 7vills on gold.

Age 2: Research immediatly steel traps and send 700w. From the 400w, build a rax and a stable, queue one musk and one huss.
From the 700w, build a second barrack, and 5 houses, finish your batches, you should get at least 5musketeers and 4hussards at 6min if you macro properly.
The second age 2 shipment is 4 coureurs, keep training musketeers and hussards.
Most of the time you will send 700 coin after that, because it allows you to train more units, but also to age if that's what you want. But you can also send 8bows if you want to hold a push.
The shipments you want to send after this are 600w, 700f and 3hussards.

TP builds:

As I said before, it makes absolutely no sense nowadays to play a game without taking at least one TP.
Keep in mind that when you do a TP build, you want to go to the fortress age at one point.

The "standard opening"

Easy to do and works in every MU, you need to know this build order when you play France. The goal is to make some units in colonial with a good eco behind it, and either turn it to a semi ff, or to a scary colonial timing.

While aging: You want to have a TP and a market with the food and the gold upgrade when you age up, and of course 125w in bank for the 2nd food upgrade when you reach the second age.
Usually I put about 10 vills on wood and then make sure I have 7 coureurs on food and 7 on gold.

Age 2: Send the 4 villager shipment, research steel traps. From the 400w, build a military build (the standard used to be a stable to train cav, but more and more players go muskets to hold rushes or fight for the TP line), and two houses. Train either 5 huss or 10 musks and send 700w if you want to stay age 2 a bit, from that build houses and a second military building. If you want to age early send 700g and age, but this build is getting less and less popular because the lack of infrastructure with this variation is real.
After the 700w, it's very common to send 700g to age to fortress or even follow in colonial. The following is the same as in Samwise's build except you will have more units in middle game, and have more room to age 3.

The TP boom

That's the build you'd want to do every game, unfortunately your opponent will try to take the TP line too, and it's viable only in a few MU.

While aging: Same as previous build.

Age 2: Send 700w, research steel traps. From 400w this time, build a 2nd TP and reasearch stagecoach. With the 700w shipment, add more TPs, a rax and a stable, and houses.
After that send 4vills and 700g. If you have the oppurtunity to do that without losing your trading posts, go to the third age. Else just play colonial with musk/bow/huss until you can stabilise.

The ff

A very strong strat, fast and precise, if you know you won't be able to take the TP line but won't be killed by a colonial timing, this strategy is fit for the situation.

Age 1: Get a TP and a market, no matter what the crate start is. You will age with 15 coureurs (it's not an issue at all when you do that strategy), pick the 400w politician.

While aging: Get the gold upgrade, and keep 25w. Split your vills between food and gold.
From the 400w, build a TP and a house, and get steel traps. Send 4 vills, followed by 700w. When you have enough resources, go to the 3rd age with the exiled prince, and then just go for the standard skirm/goon composition.

General tips:
- If you think your opponent will rush you, reasearch the HP and attack upgrade for your vills, and don't be afraid to use them to fight! Make sure that you don't overfight with them though, 7 cdb while the others gather is enough.

-In the fortress age, you can either countain, in which case you want to send 1000w to take the TP line and even build a 2nd TC to control the map.
If you want to be agressive, the good shipments are 2 falcs, 1000g, 8skirms, 5goons, 3cuirs and 7 skirms after what you'll want to send upgrades.

-The best composition in most match-ups is skirmisher/dragoon, but add cuirassiers if your opponent doesn't have enough anti cav.

Now, let's talk about the Match-ups. Here I'll give my opinion about how to play against every civ, but it's also shared by many other top players.

The match-ups

Japan: If you don't play correctly, this one can be very tough. The best option is probably a TP boom, followed by a skirm/cuir/falc timing. A prolonged colonial play combined with a TP boom is only viable but very risky. Try to kill as many shrines as you can

India: A rather easy match-up for France. The safest option is a 10 musk semi (if you get rushed you need to adapt and send the 8 bows shipment), but a 5 cav semi or even a ff can be viable. In the fortress age, make sure you have more skirms than the Indian guy.

China: This match-up is very controversial. I personally like a lot to ff while taking the TP line, and then mass cuirassiers with some skirms and the 2 falcs shipment. Some prefer to mass dragoons in age 3, I don't understand why though.
Another option is to play it in colonial but you will need to be extremly careful: do not overcommit, be very precise when it comes to timings, your musk/huss balance needs to be perfect.

Aztecs: It's another controversial match-up, some like to play it in colonial, with a lot of hussards and some bows (because the only anti-cav unit Aztecs have is the pike who die very fast to mm, bows and coureurs), and some prefer to semi ff.
I don't really have an opinion. I would say that if you can age without losing to many buildings you should do it, and if the opponent goes to the 3rd/4th ages, you need to be very agressive in early fortress.

Sioux: Very easy to win, simply go for a musketeer semi ff and don't lose vills, then a skirm/musk/goon composition will simply win.

In this match-up, you'll need to use your coureurs a lot to defend. That's why I would go for the "standard opening", because 700w won't be useful in that situation while 4vills would. Open with a stable knowing that Iro's anti cav isn't the best, and try to age when you stabilise. The only way you beat his army is by massing cuirassiers with the 2 falcs shipment.
If he goes for a fortress build, follow him and go skirm/goon this time, make sure you have more skirms than him ;)

Dutch: Dutch players don't take TPs, the TP boom is very effective as a result. You want to go to the third age but train some units in colonial, a lot of Dutch players will send the 8pike shipments to contest the TP line, and you want to keep it.
In age 3, you should easily break him with the 2 falc shipment protected by a big skirm mass and some goons. After losing your falcs (if you ever do), add cuirassiers. It's the same in every colonial wars, the one who has more skirm wins, and cuirs can be traded with skirms to give you that lead.

Spain: Against Spain, many French players do a 10 musk semi ff and wait in base with there musks, I disagree with that. To me opting for the ff makes a lot more sense.
About the composition, you can either train musks/cuirs (yes, it's not too good to train musketeers in age 3 but spain will send cav and pike shipments, so why not?), or goons from double stables (very risky though).
Your two falc shipment is key here, if you lose it for free you'll have a very hard time, but if you kill his then you've won.

Otto: Against Ottomans players you need to scout what they do. Against a jan rush, simply go for a musk semi with the 8 bows shipment, that's an easy win. Against the jan/abus or the ff, I would go for the ff. Don't forget you can always adapt, if you pick the "standard opening", you can also send 4vills/700w and age, eventhough you build a barrack and 2 houses from the 400w instead of a TP.
You also want a skirm/goon composition in this match-up.

Mirror: In the mirror, you have to scout and adapt constantly. Do the standard opening and balance your musk/huss composition. Musk will kill your opponent's TPs while huss can iddle his vills. Don't forget that at one point you will need to age.

Germany: Here you should go for LordRaphael's build: classic opening with a musk start to kill their TP, and adapt from there: if they make bows, train some huss, if they make more uhlans, make more huss. At the end you'll want to follow them in fortress and try to survive there with a goon/cuir composition.

Brit: Since they don't take TPs, do the TP boom build, and add some musks to protect them. Age to fortress as soon as possible.

Port: If there is one MU where you need to go for the TP build, it's this one!
With the TP line, you'll match their eco until 10-11min, and by that time you will have outmassed them with better units. They have no counter to the 2 falc shipment, they can't keep the skirm count, and your cuirassiers will demolish his caçadors,they have less HP than normal skirms, but a very good range resistance to compensate that, but well, cuirassiers aren't affected by that :P

Russia: Here you really want to reach the 3rd age to unlock the cuirassiers, they molest every Russian unit. You'll need the 2 falcs to break their bh, so don't send them too late.
There are many ways to reach the 3rd age, my favourite is a musk semi (nobody makes strels against France, and if they ever do, kill them with your vills), but you can also cav semi or ff.

The recs:

And here are some french recs!
(2.69 MiB) Downloaded 21 times
diarouga vs Mitoe game 1.age3Yrec
(887.93 KiB) Downloaded 22 times
diarouga vs PrinceofKabul game 1.age3Yrec
(865.31 KiB) Downloaded 23 times

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Re: A guide for France

Unread post by Chicks » Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:11 pm

Cheers for the guide, any insight on French in the Vanilla? Perhaps I could make a video on it.

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Re: A guide for France

Unread post by diarouga » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:15 pm

Probably the same on vanilla, the main differences are that the TP boom is less viable, and you should train more skirms/bows and less goons/musks.

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Re: A guide for France

Unread post by Mimsy for President » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:59 am

As diarouga said, skirmishers and crossbowmen are particularly effective on vanilla. Therefore, I personally think that the good old "double barracks crossbowmen/pikemen" is all the more viable vs. British and Dutch.

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