- +20% National manpower modifier
- +1 Diplomatic reputation
- +1 Diplomatic relation
- +20% Morale of armies
- +10% National tax modifier
- −50% Native uprising chance
- +50% Native assimilation
- −20% Fort maintenance
- −10% Technology cost
- +2 Tolerance of heretics
- +2 Tolerance of heathens
- +5% Discipline
However, the truce with England is tenuous. The English have still not relinquished their claims to the French throne, and one of the main demands of the new treaty, the surrender of Maine to France, has yet to materialize months later.
While the Burgundians now passively support the French cause in the conflict with England, they are still a matter of concern for the French Crown. They have grown their domains far beyond the borders of France, into the Lowlands and the Holy Roman Empire. It is said that the Duke, who is also one of the richest men in Europe, harbors dreams of a future kingdom based around his collective domains.
In 1444, the Kingdom of France is in a state of instability and flux, and French sovereignty is subject to the changing whims of their disloyal subjects. To our North are the English who wish to add the French Crown to their collection, and to our East is the rebellious House de Bourgogne who would dare to claim the throne for themselves. Before the French can even begin thinking about expanding their Empire, they must first ensure the loyalty of their subjects and integrate them into a centralized state, and remove the cursed English and Burgundian pretender Kingdoms from their border. France is free to pursue voyages of exploration, an active foreign policy in Germany and the Low Countries or even an attack on the rich cities of Northern Italy, where the imperial influence has been waning for centuries.
France is a kingdom located in Western Europe, in the French Region, and could be one of the most (if not the most) interesting and entertaining nations to play in EUIV due to its powerful military and amount of flavor events. France allows for the player to make mistakes with usually limited consequences. Due to its military and sheer size, taking down France as an outside nation can be difficult, but not impossible. In 1444, it borders Burgundy to the north and east, England to the north and west, Aragon to the south, Savoy to the east and a large number of minor nations all around. Notable are Brittany, Provence, the Papal States, and Navarra.
France starts out guaranteeing independence to Scotland, in an alliance (as well as sharing dynasty) with Provence, and with cores on all the English land in France. Calais is not in the France region and is therefore not a core of France.
France begins with the unique “French Strong Duchies” nobility estate privilege, giving +3 diplomatic relations instead of the usual +2 – and needs it, as it begins with five vassals: Armagnac, Auvergne, Bourbonnais, Foix, and Orleans.
- 1 Missions
- 2 Events
- 3 Formation
- 4 Decisions
- 5 Strategy
- 6 Achievements
- Main article: French missions
French missions are focused around uniting the myriad states in France itself, the conquest of part of northern Italy, messing around in the Holy Roman Empire, fighting the English and kicking them out of the mainland, and colonizing North America.
- Main article: French events
Wars of Religion
The rise of Protestantism in Europe led to three decades of civil war within France known as French Wars of Religion. This event can occur in the ‘Age of Reformation’ if religious unity is less than 75% and has Catholic, Protestant or Reformed provinces that aren't the state religion. Rival Catholic nations can form La Ligue Catholique, a major player in the French Wars of Religion, directed at the eradication of the Protestants in France. The League was used not only to defend the Catholic cause but also as a political tool in an attempt to usurp the French throne.
The formation of La Ligue Catholique will decrease relations with Catholic nations and give qualifying neighboring powers a casus belli to restore the one true faith!
Palace of Versailles
Around 1650, the player will be presented with the choice, through an event, to begin construction of the Palace of Versailles. A high initial cost to set the construction in motion, as well as a temporary but lengthy tax cut, can be a very costly procedure, where several loans might be required. However, finishing the Palace of Versailles will give France the desired model of kingly ruling, and as long as the Palace remains, France will benefit from yearly prestige and legitimacy.
The French Revolution & Napoleon
This disaster can occur after 1710 if the French economy is on its knees, is suffering from high war exhaustion (especially if it has taken a lot of loans), or simply has had revolutionary ideas spread widely or is the most powerful nation in Europe. This disaster can create revolts, uprisings and even the overthrow of the monarchy! Sometime along this disaster, the player may get a general named Napoleon who has high stats.
France can be formed by a French, Basque, or Breton country should it cease to exist.
Form French Nation
This year will mark the beginning of an evolutionary period for our nation. The old feudal ways will begin to make way for a more modern centralized nation. Although struggling financially due to miscalculated projects and military campaigns, we have managed to transform ourselves into one of the most dominant powers of Europe.
If the country is AI-controlled then it:
France does not exist.
If Paris (183) is part of the HRE, but its owner is not a member then:
Move Court to Versailles
The land around the small village of Versailles has long been excellent hunting land, the small hunting lodge has steadily been augmented into a grand looking chateau. Is it not now fitting to make this the seat of the French government?
If the country is AI-controlled then it:
'L'État c'est moi'
Granted the right to rule by the grace of God and God alone we should not allow our God given rights to limited by other, lesser, men.
If the country is AI-controlled then it:
Enact Edict de Nantes
The realm was so torn by innumerable factions and sects that the most legitimate of all the parties was fewest in numbers. God has given us strength to stand out against this storm, we have finally surmounted the waves and made our port of safety, -- peace for our state.
If the country is AI-controlled then it:
Revoke Edict de Nantes
We have determined that we can do nothing better than entirely revoke the said Edict of Nantes, with the special articles granted as a sequel to it, as well as all that has since been done in favor of the said religion
If the country is AI-controlled then it:
At least one of the following;
The first concern will be how to deal with England. They have fewer troops than France and are forced to navally invade, so defeating them in war and regaining the cores in Normandy and Aquitaine is not very difficult, though it may require several more wars. (Without much of a coastline to provide naval force limit, France will be unable to match England's navy to make a naval invasion.)
From there, France has four common ways to expand. First, into Italy. The French mission tree provides permanent claims in Italy, starting with Provence and moving on to Savoy, Milan and Genoa. This is a rich region and probably has the highest development in the game. However, it is a tightly contested region, and moving into it can make powerful enemies very quickly, especially the Holy Roman Emperor if the player expands there before 1490, or some of the targets remain in the Empire. If you want to move into Italy, a good way to do so early is by getting the "transfer subject" bonus in the age of discovery. It can be used to have other countries make their subjects the player's subjects pretty quickly. It can be used to gain Naples from Aragon, which is probably most important since it is bigger than any other subjects on the Italian peninsula. Combined with some early conquests in Savoy, France can position itself to dominate Italy early.
Secondly, you can expand into the low countries. It is easier to expand into than Italy. Enemies in the region are usually very weak early (with the exception of Burgundy who shouldn't be taken on alone early), and there are usually few other great powers looking to expand into it that early. Like Italy, its provinces are rich and will help you control the trade node shared with the English. However, it is much more difficult to retain. Later in the game, Dutch rebellions are some of the worst in the game as rivals will have the option to defend them.
Thirdly, one can expand into Africa. Historically France invaded Algeria, and it is an easy area to move into if you take the Baleares or Sardinia, or Ceuta from Portugal during a war with England. There is usually very little competition for the area with other great powers (except Castile/Spain), and the countries in the area are usually very weak, especially Tlemcen. However, the area is Muslim, making it harder to convert and worsening rebellions. The region also has weak development, meaning that the gains made from it are smaller than in Italy or the Low Countries, but it is easier to take and maintain. However, it also opens up more opportunities for easy expansion. If you're doing this, religious or humanist ideas are a must early on (though religious is recommended for long-term benefits of actually converting provinces).
Fourth is colonialism. England, Spain, and Portugal will have better colonial expansion benefits through better settler increase, more colonists through national ideas, better control over the relevant trade nodes, and different colonial events. However, France's national idea offers it a chance to go the middle way in colonialism without the penalties. It will get no native attacks and have a very good assimilation rate, giving a bonus to goods produced. This makes France among the best colonial nations if they don't move troops into the new world. France also has some unique historical colonial events and missions. Be aware, however, that in multiplayer France will often have strong enemies in the mainland, and oftentimes expansion might not be a good choice for the French player. However, if other usual colonial competitors are not expanding fast, or if you have few enemies in mainland Europe, colonial expansion may be a good choice.
Taking French culture territory
France can increase its power by taking territories within the French culture group. Neighboring countries in other culture groups will gain 50% less aggressive expansion impact.
Besides France's starting vassals, initial countries with French culture territory are:
Initial war with England
This war can be started at the beginning of the game. England and Portugal start with an alliance, so both countries may join the war. Portugal can be managed by allying Castile, Genoa or Scotland. Defeating Portugal with a high score may give access to North Africa with Ceuta. If an Irish country joins the war, then taking cores can be used to claim more Irish provinces in future wars. Nonetheless, it is recommended to ask for The Pale in the resulting peace deal with England, allowing the release of Meath, opening a path for vassal feeding in the Irish area followed by the conquest of Scotland and, ultimately, an invasion of England from the North, a much more secure path compared to the hazardous naval invasion.
The war takes place in both Britain and France. The whole army of England starts in Britain, usually in two regiments. Allies can be left to fight together while a small French army occupies provinces on the continent and a large army fights in Britain using Scotland as a start point. If the major regiment encounters the English regiments in London before it merges they can be wiped giving a strong advantage to France.
After taking all the French culture provinces, with either Influence or diplomatic Ideas, may try to become the Holy Roman Emperor ( Brandenburg and Bohemia, if not rivals, are easy to ally) and to inherit all the Burgundian lands in France and the Low Countries. If the player does so, it is strongly recommended to set the national focus on diplomatic power to change the culture of the Low Countries to Francien to avoid the large Dutch revolts that will happen between 1550 and 1650. (Note this can also be avoided by moving your capital into any Dutch cultured province in the low countries. This also moves your trading port to the usually richer English Channel node.)
After the war with England and the French minors, the player may attack Aragon if the Iberian Wedding hasn't fired (yet) with the help of Castile to take the Pyrenees, the Balearics or Palermo to gain an access to North Africa, as it is an important and easy land to conquer. During the peace deal, forcing Aragon to release Naples as a sovereign state or even transfer it to France if possible will weaken Aragon, and Spain in future if it forms, and make conquest in the region easier in the future. It is equally possible to use the Balearics to release Catalonia and use its cores on the Spanish mediterranean coast to help mitigate aggressive expansion in the area.
After waging all the above wars, the year should be around 1490 or 1500. It is a perfect timing, because in 1490 the shadow kingdom event happens, removing all the Italian minors from the Holy Roman Empire, and making their conquest really easy if you didn't manage to become emperor. By 1490 you could have also already allied the powerful Ottomans. The Ottoman Army will be helpful to deal with Austria (or other powerful Holy Roman Emperor), Hungary, or any big nation allied to an Italian minor. The conquest should be easy then, and you will soon enjoy all the Italian wealth and the highly developed provinces of North Italy. You should be careful though with aggressive expansion, overextension, and the high coring cost of these provinces.
After this, the game is completely open to you. If you are doing an active colonial game, France's mighty military will allow you to obtain some achievements that another colonial power would get with difficulty, like Master of India, Trade Hegemon, or The Rising Sun. If you stay in Europe you will likely concentrate on the Holy Roman Empire and Austria. You can expand everywhere, the possibilities are limitless.
Religion and religious wars
During the Reformation, France gets a special disaster, the French Wars of Religion. This disaster is similar to the Religious Turmoil disaster, but with different events and trigger conditions (see its article for details). Because this disaster has very high chances of happening, you may choose to stay Catholic or go Protestant (or Reformed) and both options will have the same consequences. The choice is up to you. Keep in mind though that going Protestant will remove the Treaty of Tordesillas from your colonies, but will give better bonuses than the papacy bonuses like colonial growth, morale or discipline advantage or a reduced development cost. If you join the Protestant League you can try to dismantle the Holy Roman Empire during the league war if the Emperor and all the Electors are involved. This will reduce aggressive expansion in all of Germany by 50% and you will be able to easily conquer the German minors now that no Emperor will defend them.
Recommended idea groups
- Either Influence or Diplomatic: This choice will allow better relations with neighbors and will avoid coalitions. The reduced aggressive expansion via having extra diplomats improving relations and the improve relations modifier, the province warscore cost and less stab loss from truce breaking or similar diplomatic actions are very valuable and the diplomatic reputation helps with an HRE game if you choose to go that route.
- Exploration: You will certainly need to colonize a little bit, since building the French army up to the maximum force limit and fully maintaining it provokes a mid-sized deficit without seeking additional sources of income. Colonizing the Caribbean and Gulf of Saint Laurence trade nodes will fix the economic problem (because these trade nodes are directly connected to the Bordeaux trade node). If you managed to conquer the British Islands following the strategy above and inherited or conquered the Dutch lands belonging to Burgundy, you may colonize the Chesapeake trade node, connected to the English Channel trade node, and collect the trade there. Also, the fourth French national idea provides faster colonization and less "native rise" risk. Colonizing Africa for later access to Indian trade can also be lucrative.
- Either Quality or Defensive: Quality will provide better combat ability in all three units and better generals. This useful to strengthen the French military to fight enemies like Austria or maybe Prussia. The naval bonuses will help to fight off the British navy. Defensive, on the other side, provides cheaper armies and defensive, combined with the second national idea, will provide a huge bonus of +35% morale of armies. Combined with the Élan! national idea, France is perhaps the easiest nation to get the "My armies are invincible!" achievement.
- Quantity: More troops are always useful. This combined with quality or defensive will make the French army almost unstoppable. This can also be very helpful if you are facing a coalition war and have to send troops to all fronts, and of course, more troops mean more units to garrison the New World and Asian colonies.
- Expansion: This allows faster colonization if you're playing an active colonial game, and can thus help to make more money from tariffs or trade companies if the Wealth of Nations DLC is enabled.
Keep in mind that this is completely optional, and this can change depending on your game. Example: If you're working on conquering Muslims in North Africa, it might be more useful to take religious or humanist ideas instead of exploration or quantity.
Optional early moves
- You can try to vassalize Navarra early on. A diplomatic reputation advisor and diplomatic interactions may help here. Avoid allying before vassalizing them because you can be involved in war if Aragon attacks Navarra.
- Focus on your mission targets. Permanent claims reduce a lot of aggressive expansion which is a crucial problem in your early expansion.
- Going into Iberia generates less aggressive expansion. You can rush into the Berbers which generate almost no AE for Catholics. You can also get Catalonia as a vassal from one province and then return its cores which generate no AE, gaining La Mancha gold mine and increasing its diplomatic development to about 9-11 which is also useful to get some early income.
- The best way to get into Britain is to take one province in Ireland from the peace deal and attack from there with almost all your armies in the next war. Alternatively, you can attempt to vassalize an Irish minor, such as Desmond, for easy access.
- Italy is abnormally rich. Taking the entire Genoa trade node and making it your centre of trade is the most important target if you care about money. Take care about aggressive expansion though, it's even more abnormal. After 1490 it should gets lower because Italy usually leaves the HRE.
Get all the French Cores as France.
As France, own Vienna, Berlin and Moscow as core provinces.
As France, hold 100 European core provinces before 1500.
As Revolutionary France, spread the Revolution to 10 countries.