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Thread: Strategy for France

  1. #1

    Default Strategy for France

    Hi all, long time lurker and all that.

    I'm having some problems coming up with a decent strategy for France (playing on M/VH). I've restarted the campaign about 3 times now. Every time I end up quitting in frustration as every neighbor ends up attacking me and my income goes in the red.

    I've tried many different things including allying with everyone (pope included), keeping strong armies, never attacking anyone...nothing works. It seems that, after grabbing the 3-4 rebel provinces and ESPECIALLY Metz and Bern, the AI gets pissed off at me and eventually attacks. It has *always* been the Milanese first, followed by either the HRE or Portugal.

    In my first campaign, I ended up at war with Milan, HRE, England, Spain and Portugal. Of course I was winning all the battles (passive AI bug and all) but was not making any money, since I lost all my trade income and could not, after a point, retrain any units, much less build anything.

    Blitzing is the only thing I haven't tried yet, but, since the Pope eventually hates me *regardless* of the fact that everyone else is attacking me and I am just defending my own, I might as well blitz them...I will be excommunicated either way, but blitzing will at least result in some income, while defending seems pointless.

    Incidentally, I started a Byzantine campaign and am doing great, thanks to the vast economic advantage of byzantine initial provinces AND the fact that, at first, you only have to worry about 2-3 factions (Venice, Hungary and Turks).

    So, aside from blitzing, any other options for France? Or does the combination of a broken diplomatic AI and bordering with several factions just make France a hard faction to play (similar to HRE in MTW)?

  2. #2
    Member Member Scipio Africano's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
    Ghent, Belgium

    Default Re: Strategy for France

    I allied with Spain and Scotland made sure I had a diplomat next to their capitals to donate 500g now and then, expanded into the rebel provinces on the western coast and Zaragoza, but not Valencia, Metz I also left alone because the HRE seemed keen to get it. Bern's location was also asking for trouble so I left that alone too.

    Bit later on HRE were busy getting kicked by the Venetians to bother me in Metz.
    Antwerp and Bruges were too strong for a quick attack so I left that alone. You may want to take Antwerp and Bruges rather than Bern but expect the Danes to go for you there.
    I agreed to Assist the Spanish against the portugese for a royal wedding. Captured Pamplona. This left only the Spanish at my southern border which are far too busy doing nothing to attack me. As long as you keep Pamplona fairly strong and give them some gold now and then they stay sweet.

    The Milanese attacked me first, but they got excommed for it and their pavise crossbowmen armies were a pushover so that meant Bern, Milan and Genoa. Followed by the Danes from Flanders. These are far more troublesome but seeing as they have 0 Cavalry they are also quite manageable.

    The English got excommed for attacking the Scots, which opened the door to take Caen.
    Invaded England took Nottingham and London. Unfortunately their faction leader died in that battle meaning they were reconciled.

    Keep your borders strong, the AI likes attacking cities rather than castles.
    Because of the position you're in you have to maintain some alliances. But if you leave your cities unguarded or let relations drop to Reasonable or so-so they wont hesitate. I managed to never have more than 2 'active' fronts at any one time and after taking Genoa and Caen my money woes are over.

  3. #3
    Member Member Solo's Avatar
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    Jan 2004

    Default Re: Strategy for France

    Had exactly the same problem. At some point I had 9 nations against me without attacking anyone. I had to establish a very defensive strategy, not expanding for a long time and making some sacrifices :
    Block access to the Pyrénées for Portugal and Spain, retraining in Toulouse when necessary. Two armies and alliance with the moors (doing poorly thought).
    Giving up my crusader states to the pope : Byzantium, Egypt and the Turks all agreed to a ceasefire the next turn (I kept Cyprus and Rhodes on the other hand, they allowed me to get some trade income without bordering anyone there).
    Get Caen asap. Once taken England should also agree to a ceasefire the same turn. After that, english just sat on their island for the rest of the game. Best trade partners in the game. I even think attacking normandy asap should be the best move (well i'll try next time, they ended up betraying the alliance anyway).
    On east I just defended the cities the best I could, never breaking siege unless its absolutely necessary. This tactic made Empire, danes and Milan to get excommunicated frequently (keep good relationships with the pope, easy one if you dont initiate the fights and go crusading).
    Obviously this allows whole west part to be defended poorly and used to replenish east front. Crusading against HRE and Danes got me a few cities (Staufen and Bern) but made the war with HRE last for more than 200 turns so next time I will probably go south first and crush those cheap milanese militias.

    I really really hope this bordering-stubborn-stupidity diplomacy is at least moddable. Portugal and Milan really did make suicide on me, never being able to send sufficient forces (or the whole family when they did, bad idea if you ask me).

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  4. #4
    Member Member TheImp's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    Saint Etienne, France

    Default Re: Strategy for France

    I agree with the fact u have to get some alliances in order to survive with france. In my first campaign, after 30 turns, i was allied with HRE and Danemark against Milan, Spain and Venice. So even though i had 3 fronts in the south, after having wiped the english out, it was quiet in the north and i had plenty of time to build strong armies and settlements.

    I was even excomunicated by the pope once, but i managed to survive mainly because huge armies were marching for the crusade, leaving me in piece for a while.

    Make sure as well to build merchants and production buildings in order to get some cash when there is no settlement to sack at hand.

    Also, i suggest to make some gifts at the beginning to the factions u intend to "bribe". It is like chess, u have to define a plan of actions for a few turns ahead in order to forsee what the futur alliances will be so u don't fight against the entire world alone.
    "He could hear her still at times. Promise me, she had cried, in a room that smelled of blood and roses, Promise me, Ned. The fever had taken her strength and her voice had been faint as a whisper, but when he gave her his word, the fear had gone out of his sister's eyes."
    Eddard and Lyanna Stark about Jon Snow Targaryen.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Strategy for France

    Gifts are a must in this game if you want your alliances to last. You also can't leave border cities undermanned our even your allies will decide they are worth taking a shot at. Keep a nice garrison in all border cities, keep a smaller garrison in your castles, and keep giving gifts to those factions you want to remain friendly with.

    If found out the hard way about keeping your cities garrisoned. As Spain, I had grabbed Bordeux and made it into a city to utilize the trade and I also had grabbed the rebel city north of that. I had been allied with France since a few turns into the game and had been keeping my relations up with gifts. When Bordeux was still a castle they didn't bother with it but a few turns after I made it a city they broke the alliance and attacked. I now keep a nice garrison in all my cities and even keep a small army around in my border cities just to let the opponent know I have my eye on them even if we are allies.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Strategy for France

    being very agressive can be an effective moneymaker due to the income you get from sacking cities. the pros are particularly strong with smaller nations as life is going to be much easier for you if you just get rid of them. e.g milan/portugal/spain

  7. #7

    Default Re: Strategy for France

    I'm trialling the French now on VH/VH. Having only used the English previously, I must say that the French are a much greater challenge to play as.

    The key to surviving as France is focus. If you can get just one of Spain, Milan, or HRE as allies, and keep them allied by maintaining a decent border presence while also keeping relations above 'reasonable', then it's feasible to focus on whoever is your principal enemy. I find this is usually the HRE.

    I also keep a diplomat near rome to make sure I can bribe the papacy whenever my ongoing fight for Charlemagne's empire starts looking a bit aggressive. So far, that works quite well.
    Vignettes: England, France and the Holy Roman Empire.

    Details (mini-vignettes): Dominions 3

  8. #8

    Default Re: Strategy for France

    have no european factions been excomunicated yet? in each catholic campaign i have played i have found this a very good opportunity to take out a neighbour - i have managed to get the pope to declare a crusade on the hre twice .

  9. #9
    Just an Oldfart Member Basileus's Avatar
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    Nov 2002
    In The Kastro

    Default Re: Strategy for France

    MTW2 is no Civilization game, best way to not be overwhelmed and attacked by evryone is to kill them off your self, so best strat is to be on the offensive and take out potential threats before they occur or when they do.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Strategy for France

    Got to say that I dropped the ball a bit in this campaign. Looking back, it was a serious tactical error to take Metz at the cost of being excommunicated. His Holiness promptly called a crusade against Toulouse, and I've had about 10 exciting but stressed turns trying to keep the kingdom from disintegrating.

    The good news is that this makes for quite an interesting campaign. Everything came to a head when an HRE crusading army trespassed on French lands and the King decided to deny it passage (ie in game terms, I attacked it and won). This absolutely ruined my relationship with all the catholic powers, including of course the pope. Was fun though.

    Going on a bit of a tangent here, but I can't see that this is too ahistorical. The emergence of strong, independent nation-states (of which I think England was the first with France and Spain following shortly afterwards, and of which France was the strongest for a good century or two) was closely interrelated with the decline in secular power of the papacy. At the start of the campaign it should be tougher to take on the pope (for France and HRE anyway), and later on it should be easier. The game simulates this with the need to build up religious buildings.

    Anyway, the French are fun, if exhausting, to play as. Enjoying this campaign immensely.
    Vignettes: England, France and the Holy Roman Empire.

    Details (mini-vignettes): Dominions 3

  11. #11

    Default Re: Strategy for France

    Thank you all for the suggestions. It seems that using gifts is key. I've restarted the campaign as france and allied with spain, denmark, venice and the pope as fast as possible. I also eventually allied with scotland. Those 5 are the ones I keep giving gifts to, in order to keep relations at amiable or better.

    I took caen as fast as I could, after securing reims and then immediately accepted a ceasfire with the english. My diplomat parked next to rome sent a gift to the pope the moment the ceasfire was signed, so my relations with the pope were back to good/very good.

    Taking caen and then bruges was a significant boost to the economy. The danes took antwerp but I am allied to them so they did not continue towards my town (although they seem to be the ones requiring the most money to stay amiable). I then spent several turns in peace, building up armies and most importantly, economic buildings in all settlements.

    Interestingly enough, neither the HRE nor Milan or Portugal have attacked me, probably because of the large number of alliances I have plus the fact that I have a strong army presence (that I can finally afford). Just recently, Milan got excommunicated, so I grasped the opportunity to call a crusade towards Milan (I wanted Genoa but the pope refused that one!). Having taken Milan, I am expecting to be done with the annoying milanese in the next couple of turns.

    This has definately been a rather more entertaining campaign compared to my first 3 attempts :)


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