- +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 (excluding Calais).
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
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. France's thin coast means they start with a small navy and naval forcelimit, making naval invasion impossible. (This can be counteracted by getting military access through Scotland before the war starts and invading England from the north.)
The easiest option is to wait for the Maine event to fire. The two options for the English AI are to hand Maine back, triggering a short truce. More likely it will refuse to do so, instead launching a offensive war against you. This will mean it likely will not be able to call in any allies, while you can. This will make for a easy war. But without a reconquest CB, taking back all your cores will be much more expensive and if Scotland is called in, England will likely siege them down and ruin your war score.
The better option is to declare an offensive war before the Maine event fires. This will prevent you from calling in your allies unless promised land. The main option for this is Burgundy if they don't rival you. However, the war is winnable with your armies and vassal swarm by itself against England and its usual allies of Portugal and Irish minor(s). Additionally, it will take much longer to get enough warscore to give Burgundy Calais, and if they have more participant score than that, they will lose trust. Often they will declare a separate war, which works out better.
Preparatory moves before this are to move your navy to your Atlantic ports. This allows you to blockade the fort when the English navy is not nearby and attack unescorted transports, hindering naval invasions. However your navy can not win a straight battle against the British and Portuguese navy, so avoid open battle, and take opportunities as they arise. To aid this, use your higher siege pip General on the lower fort, and using the other general on the Normandy fort. Portugal will get access through Castile, so send more troops to guard against their attack on the fort, and get your vassals to attach to a stack nearby to reinforce, not the Normandy stack.
Once the French forts are seiged down, head to Portugal. They after being seiged down can be separate peace for gold, or if you are willing to commit to a long siege, their African fort, to fulfil the age Objective, Present on Two Continents. Eventually as ticking warscore raises, and England will likely be hit with rebellions via the Lollard Rebellion and War of the Roses, as well as possible separate wars with Burgundy, you will have enough warscore to take back all your cores. Additional objectives such as England's Irish province, or Calais may also be taken, but they take longer. Taking only your cores back fulfils initial missions to further claims and won't generate a coalition.
While the war with England is ongoing, use one of your diplomats to fabricate claims on Brittany for your next round of expansion. Your mission tree does not give claims on them, so manual fabrication is required. They will get one or two allies, ranging in effectiveness, from a powerful foe like Castile to nearby OPMs. Given their position away from other nations, they can be fully annexed without triggering a coalition.
Around this time period, is when the truce with Provence will end, if you break it at the start of the game. Your mission tree grants permanent claims on Anjou, and their provinces in the state of Provence. They also often get excommunicated by the Papacy, allowing for the use of the ex-communication CB, which greatly reduces AE. Additionally, they will very often be attacked by Burgundy, now that they lack your protection. Annex the provinces you get claims on. Taking more than that will likely generate a lot of AE with your neighbours, and you get claims on those provinces later in your mission tree. You can follow this up by taking Avignon from the Papal States, but it isn't needed to fulfil your mission, which only requires 3 of the 4 provinces in the state.
From there, France has five 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 the shadow Empire, 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, you can expand into England. Though unorthodox, taking English forts instead of your cores in the Maine war is a viable strategy. Expanding this way lends you relatively good provinces with the benefit that these provinces will never be touched by devastation once the conquest is complete. Should you go this way, it's advised to take the forts of London, Northumbria, and Calais in the Maine war (take as many of your cores as you can of course, focusing on forts and provinces needed for missions). With this move, you have shortened all future wars with England by stripping them of their fortifications, as well as making the English navy completely useless. From here, England can be mopped up fairly quickly (assuming they don't get powerful allies, which they almost always never do). When taking provinces focus on taking the forts in Glamorgan and Norfolk as well as the trade centers of Gloucester and York. Releasing 20px Northumbria Northumbria from Northumbria isn't a bad idea, as they have many cores that can be reconquered.
Fourth, 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).
The last path 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.
You can also ally with Scotland, Burgundy, Castille and Britany and break all relations with provence. This way with the event of the war for the Maine all your allys will go with you and you will have the naval superiority. This will not happen every time due to the rivality between france and Burgundy.
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.
However, given the new French mission tree reward you with a Castile or Spanish PU CB, attacking Aragon and Spain is not needed, as all these lands can end up under your crown eventually anyway.
The new Shadow Empire now fires much earlier, in the 1460s. Italian nations will leave unless reined in (150 opinions, allied to the Emperor, or beaten in a war). Depending on RNG, some or all of Italy may have left the HRE. By the time it fires, you should have annexed some of your French vassals, freeing diplo slots for Diplo vassalising Italian minors now that it is possible to do so. This will make conquest of the rest easier.
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 is 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.
- Administrative: This is an essential idea group for a world conquest because of the extra governing capacity and reduced core creation cost. However, this group should postponed to the fourth or fifth slot to stack with the bonuses from absolutism. In the meantime, there are far better admin groups to take such as Innovative for the massively reduced tech, advisor and monarch point costs and Humanist for the lowered unrest from separatism and intolerance as well as the reduced idea cost.
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. An improve relations advisor and diplomatic interactions may help here. Great power influence, guarantees, allowing mil access, and gifts can all make sure you get the vassalization before they fall into the Aragon PU by event.
- Focus on your mission targets. Permanent claims reduce a lot of admin for coring and diplo (since you avoid unjustified demands), meaning you have more to stay on time in tech or expand further.
- Going into Iberia generates less aggressive expansion. You can rush into the Berbers which generate almost no AE for Catholics. Make sure to try to get the Tafilalt gold mine in Morocco and state it for maximum income. Devving gold mines to about 8 or so can really help with supplementing the already large French income. You can also get Catalonia as a vassal from one province and then return its cores which generate almost no AE. This can allow a path to the La Mancha gold mine.
- 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. Lastly, as long as you call Scotland (which you can ally day 1) into war with England, none of your troops in their land will exile, letting you keep the majority of your army in Britain for a conquest/hundred years war.
- Italy is abnormally rich. Taking the entire Genoa trade node and making it your centre of trade can generate a lot of income. Take care about aggressive expansion though. Postponing until the Shadow Kingdom imperial incident fires is advised.
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.