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Civ-Specific Strategy: French

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  • vmxa1
    replied
    Any evaluation that is not based on PTW or C3C is not going to be all that useful now. You must consider all the new units, such as MedInf. You may reach the same conclusions, but you got to use all units.

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  • infoscott
    replied
    An apology for the much maligned Musketeer

    Originally posted by zorbop
    I find musketeers exactly the same as musketmen. Even with the french UU, you should never attack with it! In a stack of midi inf. and muskets, you only need a few muskets. It is futile to attacke with them under almost any circumstances, as they cost more but have less attack than midievil infantry. They are ONLY good as defensive units. In virtually any style of play, they are not different from musket men in any way.... exept the GA, that is....

    now, i dont like carthages UU much either. The problem is that i would rather have spearmen. especially when the barbarian settings are high. if you fortify each city with 1 unit, that means i have to spend 30 shields instead of 20. In the ancient age i have better things to do with my shields that. This greatly slows the REXing process. Besides, if i want to attack in the ancient age, i use Horsemen, not some slow unit when i do not even have my road system completed yet. Then there is that early GA, yet another bad point.

    In the end i like the french better, as i find there UU entirely useless, unlike carthages UU, which i find a dissadvantage.
    It seems your strategy is based on PTW, whereas I play original CivIII. Please let me review why I think Musketeers should be used as offensive units.

    Apart from other medieval UUs, the highest attack values of available units before Cavalry/Riflemen are Knights (4), Longbowmen (4), and Swordsmen (3). Defensive units are (1): Spearmen/Pikemen until Musketment and they are only (2). The only unit with a defensive value BETTER than 3 is the Musketmen (4). So most of your battles in a protracted war are going to be attack (4) versus defense (3) or (4), with defensive bonuses giving the decided advantage to the defender and warefare costing a lot of units to crack strongpoints.

    Since I play the AI and not other players, the battle usually comes to me, not me to it. So that means half or more of the targets are in open ground, and I see defensive values all over the place; from Longbowmen through Knights. The AI rarely or never sends Musketmen on offense. So my _experience_ has been that my Musketeers are facing defensive values that are equal or better than their offensive values. And since I rarely attack undamaged units, my Musketmen are generally attacking from tactical superiority and generally win their fight. I would lose probaby twice as many battles with an attack (2) unit, i.e., the Musketman.

    To fight damaged units means I'm using my defensive strongpoints to blunt the assault, and I use Catapults to injure undamaged units. A veteran Musketeer attacking a hit point 3 or worse, defense 3 or worse unit will usually win the battle. Longbowmen and regular horse can be killed by Musketeers on any terrain, swords and spears on rough, and knights I only attack on open ground.

    Most of my Musketeers come from promoted spears, a few I build in my size 2 recruiting towns (barracks only, working only forests or hills for 4-7 shield production per turn).

    When going on the offense, I use Knights to clear open ground and park them on rough with Musketeer sentries. It's slow moving, but with the French I'm not going to take a lot of ground from my neighbors, because if I've done the job right I REXed a lot of open ground in the Ancient Age.

    By the way, a lot of my strategy works because the AI is clueless to using land bombards offensively and using or avoiding forts (ironically in CivII the AI built forts all over the place). I do space and stock forts between my border cities, so I usually get a number of Zone of Control hits on attacking AI units. I also have my Musketeers pre-positioned in forts so it is easy for them to counterattack.

    In summary, it's all well and good to theorize the utility and cost of a unit based on comparable statistics, but the stats argument is misleading without battle tested experience to back it up. Most importantly it's impracticle to evaluate a unit without considering its operating environment. On this measure alone the following units can be considered (and often are treated) as cost non-effective units: Marines, Paratroopers, and Musketeers, but in the proper operating environments these units are cheap for the tactical value they provide.

    Scott

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  • zorbop
    replied
    I find musketeers exactly the same as musketmen. Even with the french UU, you should never attack with it! In a stack of midi inf. and muskets, you only need a few muskets. It is futile to attacke with them under almost any circumstances, as they cost more but have less attack than midievil infantry. They are ONLY good as defensive units. In virtually any style of play, they are not different from musket men in any way.... exept the GA, that is....

    now, i dont like carthages UU much either. The problem is that i would rather have spearmen. especially when the barbarian settings are high. if you fortify each city with 1 unit, that means i have to spend 30 shields instead of 20. In the ancient age i have better things to do with my shields that. This greatly slows the REXing process. Besides, if i want to attack in the ancient age, i use Horsemen, not some slow unit when i do not even have my road system completed yet. Then there is that early GA, yet another bad point.

    In the end i like the french better, as i find there UU entirely useless, unlike carthages UU, which i find a dissadvantage.

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  • sabrewolf
    replied
    infoscott,

    i never really found muskereers that game-breaking! with a defence of 4 they aren't (one should say weren't) stronger than regular musketmen and their attack of 3 is less than the attack of all other attack units of that time (knights, longbowmen, medieval infantries).

    i'm surprised to see you think this UU is so extremely powerful.

    however - now in C3C, the musketeers gets ADM 5,2,1 which gives the french the best defence unit until riflemen and makes them quite effective against cavalry and berserks.

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  • infoscott
    replied
    Re: Size of maps (for the French)

    Since I just graduated myself to Emporer level, I took the opportunity to dip my toe in the water with Joan, and shrink down to a smaller map.

    First game was on Small. Ouch! That's awefully small after playing large/huge for months. I did pull out a respectable game, given the my national shape, a T-bone, was impossible to defend. Some quite couragous Swordsmen fortified in mountain forts held off a few injured one-strength Panzers, but in totality the game was lost long before the Modern Age.

    However, the real question was the performance of the Musketeers. In a word, "Awesome!" Given such a small map puts everyone in close quarters, I was using Musketeers from fortified positions in the same way most players use Riflemen.

    After that I stuck with Medium sized maps which I am still playing now. The first few games at Medium were with Joan, and later I played Lincoln, Bismark, and now Tokugawa. I cried while playing a losing game with Bismark watching the AI Joan march across the southern part of the land mass and push Lizzie into the ocean! With, what else, but Musketeers supplemented by Knights. In that same game I noticed Joan had slightly more lebensraum which she put to good advantage. With no serious conflicts she easily rose to the top of of the power charts. Hate it when the AI outplays your own strategy!

    In review, I would say that the smaller the map, the more valuable the Musketeer become as a UU. On large maps the bias is for 2+ movement UUs, namely Panzers, Mounted Warriors, etc. And experience with smaller maps confirms the need for players with balanced UUs to have experience with combined arms style warfare and versatile play style.

    Scott

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  • infoscott
    replied
    Size of maps (for the French)

    Actually, I flip-flop on map size depending on what I am trying to learn or what I am tired of. The last several months I've been playing on Large and just switched to Huge in the last game. I leave the number of AI civs at the default. It's my belief that Musketeers actually work better on smaller maps where the larger ones favor fast movers and open terrain. The Machiavelli game cited above was played on Large, not Huge.

    I'll give Joan a try on a much smaller map and report back if the Musketeer effectiveness improves.

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  • infoscott
    replied
    Machiavelling with the French

    Here are a couple of tips I found worked REALLY well while playing Joan in the Machiavelli style. The game ended in a Space Race when after watching the Chinese and Germans engage in non-stop war after discovering Tanks.

    -- Right of Passage --

    This is your most powerful diplomatical weapon, so use it wisely. Joan will be set up near Russians, Germans, and probably the Chinese. All three are aggressive and/or treacherous and will just as likely harass each other if given the right opportunity. The trick is to play off their bad reputations that will develop over time as they sneak attack their neighbors.

    If non-aggressive civs want to take on one of these three Baddies, then grant them a ROP to that civ to allow speedy passage of their troops to the front lines. If the troops can make it to enemy turf, better, as that will allow terrain improvements to be pillaged and cities mauled. If the battle lands in your own turf, well, it saves you on admission to watching the show. The war probably won't hurt a Baddie badly, but it will slow down their economy and bleed off some of their built up troops.

    If one of the three Baddies wants to beat on the other, grant a ROP to whichever civ is STRONGER!!! This seems counterintuitive, as it seems to give the disadvantage to the underdog. But in truth what will kill the stronger civ is their overextending themselves on the supply lines to keep the war going. Plus if the battle is fought on the ememy's turf, there is a good chance the defender will have enough fortifications and local production advantage to keep on with the onslaught.

    If you want the war to drag on and on, then grant neither a ROP. Then they'll be forced over bad terrain an no roads, and the longer the war drags on, the less culture they will accumulate. If you stay out of war, then all things being equal, you'll accumulate culture twice as fast as they will. This will become important later when you try to culture flip captured cities.

    -- Stockpile a couple of Settlers --

    When your neighbors beat on each other and lose cities to the other, the national boundaries start collapsing. You have a great opportunity to jump in with a Settler and establish a city in the cracks of their borders. You may not want to keep the city, and later trade it for some concession. Or you may want to take advantage of a cultural advantage to rush build culture structures in these cities to culture bomb the surviving cities. Once flipped or invaded later, you can strip them peacefully for slave workers. It's important NOT to raze, as that will cause a black mark on your reputation and totally ruin the Machiavellian strategy.

    -- If you have to fight, stick with Republic or Democracy --

    If you force yourself to stick with this strategy, then you will be obliged NOT to enter military alliances or mutual protection pacts. You can't afford them, because to keep your reputation you'll be obliged to play out the war at least 20 turns. If you want an 'ally', prosecute the war vigorously by yourself. If you can get enough edge on your enemy, and the other civs smell weakness, they will jump in on their own and you will then exit gracefully with a peace treaty without harming your reputation, and let the jackels finish him off. Plus by delaying other entrants of the war, you stand a good chance of extending the time your enemy is stuck in war and sink his economy in the swamps. Besides, Joan is not Religious (how did that happen?!) so it takes too long for her to switch governments. Keep upping the luxury rate and downing the science rate until you can exit gracefully, and then within a turn you can be back to a happy, croissant eating nation!

    - Scott

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  • Yahweh Sabaoth
    replied
    A very thoughtful post. Just FMI (For my Information), as I notice you play huge maps - I do too, pretty much exclusively - how many opponents do you select, for that strat?

    It's too late for me now to really use musketeers in this effective way... but I'm curious to know for future reference.

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  • infoscott
    replied
    The French rock!!!

    To understand the much maligned Musketeer is to understand the power of the French civ.

    -- The secret is in Gunpowder --

    How many of you who play the Romans make that plucky UU, the Legionaire, prove its worth well through the Middle Ages? The unit works because of its versatility, it has a moderate to very strong attack (depending on the Age) and an excellent defense. Toward the beginning of the Industrial Age it can be used to quell resisters in conquered cities and stuck in forts to make attacks while exercising Zone of Control (and act as fort backup if your Rifleman take massive hits). With a little terrain bonus they can stand up to all but Cavalry. With a little advantage their attack 3 can still take out Hoplites, Pikemen, Knights, and Cavalry, but are stopped dead by Riflemen. They are cheap to make either via Warrior upgrades or straight out building.

    Yes, Musketeers are much more expensive to build than Legionaires, and you only get one more point defense over them. But Musketeers upgrade from Spearmen/Pikemen and upgrade through Riflemen to Mech Infantry, whereas Legionaires are the end of the road for that path.

    The trick in effectively using Musketeers is to think of them as "flip-flopped knights". They defend better than attack, but under the right advantageous conditions they attack very well (as do Impi warriors), and with the French Comm/Ind economy you can afford to put a _lot_ of them out in the field. And Musketeers need be used in a combined arms strategy, they won't work in a rushing strategy, which seems to be the favorite among warmongers.

    So Musketeers absolutely should be used in the field with Catapults and Knights. Co-locating musketeers and catapults will blunt or stop most rush attacks, and fortified Musketeers can be used to channel attackers along likely avenues of approach. Knights that retreat can easily be mopped up on the next turn by surviving Musketeers, where the outcome is not so certain with Musketmens' attack two. Mopping up is even easier when defending the home turf along that road network the Industrious workers built on French soil (hint!). Roads and shifting Musketeers can grind an attacking enemy down if you have judiciously built your cities a few tiles away from your shared borders. A knight contingent is kept for softening/retreat and then protected by Musketeers used to screen the injured horsies. And when the heavy forces are decimated, you'll here "Haw haw haw" a lot as you drill the remaining longbowmen and swordsmen followup troops.

    Since the well constructed combined arms French army works better on defense than offense, it makes the French civ an ideal builder civ. Use more Spearmen early in the game for fortifications in cities, hilltops, and forts. The industrious workers will be kept busy using attack/defend road networks, roads through rough defensible terrain, and forts. When engineering is discovered create forest tiles with forts for strategically placed defense points and picket lines. Those well developed tiles will not only bolster defense, but give the French economy a huge boost without as much need for an early ancient era GA or Relgious/Scientific building discount. Early mined terrain can also be used to build forts, harbors, marketplaces, etc,, at an effective 'discount'.

    If going on the offense, use hordes of Musketeers like marching army ants to pillage the countryside and starve enemy cities into submission.

    -- Ralphing with Commercial --

    Avoiding corruption in the early Ancient period is one of the more underappreciated advantages of the Commercial trait. It doesn't take too many steps away from the capital until a newly formed city produces one shield instead of two. But that initial radius is extended with Commercial, making many early Ancient cities twice as productive as other civs. The trick is NOT to rex (rapidly expand) at the very beginning, but to make a tighter cluster of highly productive cities and then rapidly expand from there.

    My first clump is about five to six cities spaced two to three tiles apart. Two cities are production camps and the others will be made permanent with buildings. The cities share bonus and mined tiles depending on which city needs the productivity the most at th moment. You should have enough shield productivity to avoid building granaries for your settler generators and your density will avoid the initial need for temples to shore up national boundaries. Get by with regular troops and only build one barracks to turn out veteran Spearmen. Those first cities should outproduce most other civs in coin and units.

    If your borders do get stretched out and other civs sneak through, don't worry too much. When you catch up on building culture structures and keep a decent sized standing army, those vagabonds can either be flipped or invaded when the French economy picks up steam. They should be dealt with by the time Musketeers are available.

    -- Great Library, the Cash Generator --

    Great Library is an absolute must for a French builder civ. Not only do you set your research to 0-10%, but also you sell some of the choice techs to civs that haven't traded them yet. You stockpile the treasury to the brim while building a horde of spearmen and horsemen. Upgrade the initial warriors to swordsmen at the first opportunity, even the regular units. Only make enough swordsmen for counterpunching an attack and to make your army appear strong to other civs for diplomatic purposes. The real punch will come later when the spearmen are upgraded.

    Also bleed off the excess cash as quickly as possible in upgrades, embassies, rush building in Monarchy/Republic, and political favors. Too much cash will tempt an aggressive civ, and you want to have a roaring economy by the time the GL expires. Of course you'll be researching Invention/Gunpowder heavily while the other civs are racing towards education to expire your GL. By the time it does expire, you'll have one or two extra techs to pimp and maintain your tech lead. The Babs and Greeks will be your two biggest challengers in the tech race through the Middle Ages.

    -- Other Great Wonders --

    Avoid them in the ancient age, but seek them aggressively in the Middle Ages. It probably won't matter if a Great Wonder or a UU conflict triggers a Golden Age; either will kick in at a time when permanent cities are established and most building structures will become available. (Cities that can no longer produce buildings should round out the remaining need for horsies and then stockpile Pikemen/Musketeers.)

    -- Cultural Champions, Not Just the Babs --

    I'm in the middle of a near-win culturally, partly by setting up Paris as a "Culture City" similar to a Science City or a Production city. Monarch game; Ancient Age scored Great Library and Hanging Gardens, and Medieval scored JSBach's, Copernicus, Newtons, and most importantly, Shakespeare's Theater. Shakespeare's wasn't scored early enough to make it venerable in the 1900s, but I have scored that in other games. The net result is this city is sitting at over 13,000 culture points in the later 1700s, generating 89 points per turn, and could garner a cultural win by the one city alone (barring future wars) by the late 1800s. All of this was without GL rushes, in fact my first GL was during the modern age and the first Wonder built with a GL was the Apollo Program. The game is on a huge map, and at 86,000 culture points I'll probably win in about 35 turns. Because all my tiles are improved and I have enough cash to rush build, all cities are generating culture at the max rate for the building availability. I can't stress it enough that early improved tiles + cash generation + income from tech sales = an ability to accomplish most game goals through being rich in resources.

    - Scott

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  • Yahweh Sabaoth
    replied
    Originally posted by Arrian
    Well, you will trigger their GA, so they will build a Wonder or two for you That's the upside.
    I know. Isn't that sick? Oh well. I can probably do it... it's just going to take a long time with many potential reverses.

    Still, I did get to move my capital down to Memphis, so now I have two productive cores. Maybe I'll bring the Celts on board and get their GA over with.

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  • Arrian
    replied
    Well, you will trigger their GA, so they will build a Wonder or two for you That's the upside.

    -Arrian

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  • Yahweh Sabaoth
    replied
    Eh... I switched to Monarchy... I'm going to have to take on Carthage, which has about 20 cities, real soon. They have NO IRON, but they do have one source of Saltpeter... they're only a few turns from Gunpowder... I have about 30 knights on the border, ready to seize Nora (which is the city with saltpeter), but after that, crapola... it's going be a long and very bloody war. But between a. Wanting to put down my fellow Industrious-Commercialists, b. Wanting to keep them from upgrading their armed forces, and c. The fact that they're almost guaranteed to build either Sistine's, Leo's, or BOTH... I pretty much have to take them on.

    But I certainly regret not building my acquducts, libraries and marketplaces much earlier.

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  • Nor Me
    replied
    Stick with Republic. Just make peace when entertainment at 50% won't keep your core cities happy. That wastes less production less than more anarchy.

    The AIs you'd want to drag down are off the continent so you don't need to worry about that now.

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  • Yahweh Sabaoth
    replied
    Any last minute thoughts before I go off to fight those Osiris-worshipping bastards re: getting THEM to declare war on ME?

    I might just have to go with good ole' Monarchy... tried, tested and true...

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  • Arrian
    replied
    One thing about being a Machiavellian Bastard - it's best to be a Monarchy. That way you can just up and declare war on people at will, and organize alliances and whatnot. You can stay in a perpetual war (much of which, if you choose, can be phoney war) and drag the AIs down into Monarchy (and later, Communism, for them anyway) with you.

    I've never really done that, even when I could have. Hmm.

    -Arrian

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