France guide?

Is there a France equivalent of the “Plop Spain Guide”?
Looking to widen my civ pool.


Shown below is a list of French builds that I have posted almost verbatim from Diarouga’s French Guide on ESOC, Lord Raphael’s Build and Haitch’s Crossbowman Semi FF. All credit goes to them. Had saved it for me many moons ago.

TP builds:

1) Standard opening:
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 the 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 the middle game and have more room to age 3.

2) TP Boom:
While aging: Same as the previous build.
Age 2: Send 700w, research steel traps. From 400w this time, build a 2nd TP and research 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 opportunity to do that without losing your trading posts, go to the third age. Else just play colonial with musk/bow/huss until you can stabilize.

3) FF:
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.

4) Crossbowmen semi ff:
Age 1:
-Swap all your CdB on wood but 2 herding, and 2 going for a foward base position
-Build a Market. Research Hunting Dogs (food) and Placer Mines (coin).
-Swap 4 CdB to coin as you start researching Placer Mines Macro towards 125 wood and 125 coin on age up, then 4 CdB on coin, the rest on food
Age 2:
-You should hit age 2 around 4:15!
-Send 4 CdB and 700 wood
-Gather the wood crates for The Governor with 2 CdB
-Research Steel Traps (food)
-Build a foward Barrack and 2 Houses. The positioning of the foward base is key : you must secure hunts and other resources with it!
-Train constant Musketeers. As the wood arrives, you should have trained 15 Musketeers.
-Train 5 Crossbowmen, build a second foward Barrack and 3 Houses. As your second Barrack goes up, train another batch of 5 Musketeers.
-Send 8 Crossbowmen.
-After completing both batches, train 10 Musketeers and push your opponent!

All of this leads to a massive 30 Musketeers and 13 Crossbowmen mass in your opponent base before 8 minutes! Look to idle your opponent, destroy his infrastructure and houses. The goal is not to finish the game, but to put your opponent far behind. If your opponent is aging, keep the aggression going by training more Musketeers and aim to finish the game! If not, keep following the build order
-Stop training military units, send 700 coin, and macro towards 1200 food and 700 coin.
-At that point, do not over commit with your army. You’ve dealt the damage, go back under your barracks Age up with The Exiled Prince, for a Fast Age Up Transition.
-Research Great Coat and Blunderbuss, while training Musketeers
-Put 7 CdB on coin, 4 on wood (aim for 200 wood and 200 coin on age up)
-Your in base hunts will expire. Start hunting near your foward base. This will have two benefits : Your army and reinforcement will be able to protect your economy and foward base at the same time. Your upgraded CdB will be able to participate in the fight to push back your opponent. Do not under estimate CdB tankyness and DPS and fight with them! That’s how you will mitigate this otherwise “weak” timing in the build order.
Age 3:
-You should age up around 9:30!
-Send 2 Falconets
-Research Musketeer Veterancy upgrade, and keep training Musketeers
-Push your opponent and send 5 Dragoons behind that

This will lead into another massive timing attack with plenty of veteran Musketeers protecting 2 Falconets, and 5 Dragoons in your base / around your CdB to push back any Cavalry raid that would otherwise distract you from the main push!
From there you should be looking to send either military shipment to support your attack, but preferably 1000 wood to transition towards your late game composition with a stable, more house, and Amalgamation (coin) in your Market.

No TP builds:

The double bow rush:

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 useful 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:

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 immediately 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 3hussars.

General tips:
-If you think your opponent will rush you, research 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 contain, 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 aggressive, 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.


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 extremely 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 hussars 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 too many buildings you should do it, and if the opponent goes to the 3rd/4th ages, you need to be very aggressive 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.

Iro: 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 stabilize. 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 fortress war, 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, even though 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 idle his vills. Don’t forget that at one point you will need to age.

Germany: Here you should go for Lord Raphael’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.

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.


Thank you! Exactly what I was looking for.


That naked FF build looks antiquated, what’s your opinion of the best way to execute naked FF? Thanks

I think France naked ff was killed off when they removed some of the food crates imo. Sadly.

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Yeah, these were back during EP times when they had non-fixed crates. I figured it’d still be the same since they now get a guaranteed tp start, and not much has changed with this civ.

However, Kaiserklein just did a sub 7min ff without sending 700c and saving that for a fortress shipment. Granted it was on Florida with the free market, but give or take a few seconds should still be good naked ff I reckon.
Here’s his build : Kaiser’s Straight FF

PS, You’re a higher ranked player than me, I’m just very passionate about this game. Sorry if I don’t have the answers. But I’m more than happy to learn. So feel free to drop in if you’ve got something to add to this. Cheers!

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You don’t actually need Florida for this. You can do it on any map spawns the 40 and 80 wood treasures. I just did this on manchuria earlier today, with a double wood treasure (40+80). The idea is to get the market.

However, this is meme build territory, I wouldn’t do it against someone who’s building for rush.
There are some other map specific strategies. A truly naked FF works on Carolina and I think Deccan (not sure after the last update though).