How do i beat french top player with russia?

french 4 villagers card is really good (russia has no vill card), and vills are unkillable almost, husars easily kill cossacks, 12/10 streategy get 1 shipment more than me , so french always has more score than me.
How doi win?

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By playing with British instead of Russia, since Russia is a terrible civ. :grin:

In all seriousness, I honestly didn’t played the game in a while, but here my experience playing with Russia, hopefully you can get something out this ramble.

I remember that the composition that worked best against France was to go cossacks + musketeers, and put the musketeers on melee mode. (In case that you don’t know what this is, go on “option” and enable “advanced formations”. Here is a link to a old Samurairevolution guide to advance formations: Advanced Formations Tutorial AoE III - YouTube)

This is because of two factors:

1- Coureur des bois have 40% resistance against ranged attack, differently for other settlers that have 20% resistance against melee. So they are easily killed by melee attack (Cossacks and Musketeers on melee mode).

2- I remember that a lot of France players have the bad habit of going straight out for cavalry, and musketeers on melee trades exceptionally well against hussars/early gendarmes.

My old build was this:

Age 1: Start collecting all the food crates and try to produce the first batch of settlers as early as possible. As soon as the first batch is training, put everyone but a single settler on food, let the single settler to collect the remaining crates and use him to build a house, and when he is finished put him together with the rest on food. Put every new batch directly on hunts. Your should age up with 14 villagers (This means 3 new villagers batches). Up with the quartermaster (400 wood).
Still on the first age, your first card should be the distributivism. It’s a card on St. Basil Cathedral that gives a trickle of wood.
Use the explorer to scout the enemy position and find a place with resources near the enemy base to build the forward blockhouse. If you are playing on the vanilla game, you can put 300 wood instead.
Try to get food treasures to get a faster age up. Wood treasures are also good because you will be putting up some blockhouses and houses, and XP treasures are always welcome. But early age up is better since you TC will be idle for some seconds, and cutting this idle time is the ideal scenario.
As soon as you the button to age up, switch about 4/5 settlers to wood and 3 on the gold, and send 2 settlers forward to construct the forward blockhouse. Try to construct it near enemy resources, near a hunt, a gold mine or a trade post socket nearby your enemy base. As soon as will have 250 wood for the blockhouse, switch the wood settlers to food. After the 2 forward settlers build the blockhouse, put then in any resource nearby.

Age 2: As soon as you get up, immediately starts training a batch of musketeers and a batch of settlers (If you already wasn’t). Send 5 cossacks from the home city and set the shipment point to the forward blockhouse. It is important that you send the cossacks after the batches of musketeers and settlers are training, since you will be on overpopulation (28/25). Send 2 villagers to collect the 400 wood, and construct a house, a market and a trading post (On a trading line, not on a native settlement) if possible. Is better to send one settler to construct the market and other to construct the house instead of shift clicking two of then for this task. If you cannot construct a trading post, then construct a extra house.
When the market is up get hunting dogs and steel traps upgrades, as well as placer mines for coin. You will need lots of food to keep training military units and settlers.
As soon as the musketeers and the cossacks arrive on the forward blockhouse, starts poking on your opponent, try idle/kill vills. Use the musketeers on melee to take down any cavalry, and they ranged attack to attack pikemans. If your opponent produce/send crossbows, use the cossacks to kill it. Try to kill villagers or force your opponent to call minuteman or a military shipment. If you see a shipment or minuteman popping, retreat to the blockhouse. Try to be annoying and don’t lose troops.
Send 700 wood as your second shipment. Let 70% of your settlers on food, and the rest on coin. Don’t collect wood, as is the slowest resource to collect on the game, and is better to ship it, since you won’t be using much on this particular build, the trickle should be enough. Keep producing settlers and musketeers.
When the wood arrive, send two villagers on separate crates to collect it. Build a second blockhouse, a stable and some more houses. Keep constant production of musketeers and villagers.

Now the third card will vary a lot on the situation. Ideally you will send or 700 food or 600 wood, but you might have to send 4 cossacks or 13 strelets. The 700 food is good to mass out units and get the XP. Is preferable to send resources and produce units that to send units, because you receive XP when producing units and gets near the next shipment. 600 wood is good if the map have a trading post line, so you can build trade posts and the the XP, maybe even go stagecoach.
But your opponent might try to push into your 2 blockhouses. If this happens, you might have to send strelets or 4 cossacks to the forward blockhouse. The blockhouse fire are good against cavalry, use it to snipe it any potential hussar. 700 coin is also a good alternative if you need to age up.
Now, in this position keep always doing settlers and massing units, and starts pushing the enemy. The game here might branch in many ways, so I cannot be to much precise here. But here are some extra insights:

→ Russia units a cheap, but bad. Apart for the cossacks, pretty much all the other units kind sucks, so you want to get a considerable advantage on the age 2, because as long as this games goes, more you units going to become weaker compare to the enemies. So Russia late game tend to suck. So you NEED to be aggressive.

→ If your opponent is putting outposts, retreat, age up (The 700 coin will help with this) and get the 2 falconets shipment to bring down defensive buildings. Russian army suffers from a lack of siege damage, so you might have to produce considerable sizes of artillery on fortress/industrial age if you are facing a opponent that is particularly turtling up. In my opinion, the best composition in this situation is falconets with some culverin, halbardiers and cossacks. But remember that Russian units are pretty bad on the late game, so try to kill the enemy on early game, or will be increasingly hard on as the games goes on.

→ Don’t do Cav. Archers or Granadiers, they are pretty bad units. Strelets are only good on early game, on the fortress age onward they are horrible because dragons just outrages they, and your opponent can kite you all day long. They are only good against ottomans that don’t have dragoon units themselves.

→ You can use the church card to get Kalmucks if you need Dragoon type units. And maybe Bashiks Ponies if the games goes for a long time. But I don’t recommend getting Westernization (900 wood) and Petrine Reform (2500 gold). They just don’t are very cost effective. This is because you almost never will use strelets on fortress age onward, and pretty much never will use grenadiers. So is better to manually upgrade units that you will actually use. Will be cheaper.

→ Unfortunately, Russia sucks on treaty and team game, except if ina team game is allied with a pike rushers nation (Like Spain, Germany or France). On longer games the only thing you have to offer is Cossacks. Is the only Russian unit that is still good on the end game due to the fact that cos only 1 population slot (This is amazing for a cav type unit).

Anyway, this is all advice that I can think right now. I didn’t play the game in months, so I might be talking some silliness, But I hope I could be helpful to you in some way.

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Well I think russia needs villager cards or at least 1 or maybe 2 more villagers at the beginning.
I think best way is to rush the french very fast otherwise it will be difficult to win vs experienced french player.

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