Frances way into the renaissance was mainly a struggle with England as both kingdoms were just emerging. Familiar bonds had been strong, but disputes over power, lineage and land drove them apart. If there was to be one major defining period in French history of that time it certainly was the Hundred Years’ War in which France conquered the English continental holdings, thus making England an island nation and also greatly shaping their mind-set. It is believed that being bereft of continental possessions was in a way a prerequisite for England leading role in the Age of Exploration and lead to the creation of their gigantic colonial empire.
Into the Renaissance – France Strategy (Deity)
Prologue: Frances Unique Traits & Happiness
The French have an amazing unique trait: Ancien Régime grants every city +2 culture. Which is massive!!! Over the course of the game it will grant you so fundamentally much more culture that of all my games playing the Into the Renaissance scenario France was the one civ with the highest number of Social Policies adopted.
|The French Musketeer is simply a replacement for the normal Mustketman, but is slightly stronger. A nice trait, but definitely not overpowered.||In “Into the Renaissance” the Chateau is the French’s unique building, replaces the castle, is a bit more costly but also gives +3 Culture. A nice addition to the already increased culture output per city. So you’re at +5 Culture per turn compared to other civs.|
Part 1: France to the French
Into the Renaissance France – Failed Attempt
My first shot at this game with France failed. Fortunately it failed quite early. I was focusing on Paris too much too early and for some weird reason Spain immediately wants to settle NORTH of Barcelona. This means they’ll settle in southern France and control the Pyrenees, which means you won’t have a defensive position against them.
As usually I was going for Tradition -> Legalism and Liberty in the start. This gave me Citizenship (2), Republic (9) and Collective Rule (21) for the free settler much too late. Paris was a nice productive city already, having built a watermill, and aqueduct and already finished the National College!!! But as I started to work on Heroic Epic, Spain had already settled in France big time.
Chapter 1: Settling France – Establishing your Empire
Playing Into the Renaissance France is not easy: You’ll have to claim all the good land (check out the Into the Renaissance map) but even if you do, victory doesn’t come easy: You are surrounded by powerful civilizations who are friendly as long as you’re Catholic, but if you want to score, you’ll need to make them your enemies.
Above are my initial city positions for France. As you can see from the order:
- Primary goal is to block Spain from advancing further north, founding Orleans on exactly that spot.
- Secondary goal is to prevent the Netherlands from settling too close to your capital. Lyon is the means against that. It could even be 1 tile further east.
- Back to goal one: You must fully block the Pyrenees, so the 3rd city is Troyes in a very well defensible position.
- By then England at already claimed the Brittany in the very northwest of France, so all that was left was filling the land with first Tours, so the coastline is blocked and Marseilles near Geneva for all this precious river land.
Chapter 2: Initial Build Order and Social Policies
As France you have to expand quickly. Spain must be denied foothold north of the Pyrenees. Nonetheless you must not overstretch your empires Happiness. The Social Policy order reflects this balance between expansion, happiness and growing your military might:
- Republic – +production in cities
- Collective Rule – for a free settler plus bonus on producing settlers
- Tradition – for more culture in your capital
- Legalism – (turn 3) for 4 free culture buildings in your first cities
- Citizenship – for a free worker and faster improvements
- Honor (complete the right tree first)
- Warrior Code – for an early General +production bonus on melee units
- Military Tradition – for +50% XP for all units, which you need early to grow a huge number of veterans.
- Representation – 33% less required culture for each new city + Golden Age
- Piety – build Shrines and Temples in half the time
- Organized Religion – +1 faith from each Shrine and Temple
- Meritocracy – +1 Happiness for each city connected to the Capital
- Discipline – +15% bonus for melees flanking each other
- Military Caste – Happiness and Culture from city garrisons
- Professional Army – Happiness from defense structures and decreased upgrade costs
- Reformation – +33% culture in all your cities with World Wonders (none) + Golden Age
- Mandate of Heaven – 50% of your surplus Happiness will be added to culture per turn
- Commerce – +25% GPT in the capital
- Trade Unions – 33% less maintenance costs for roads
The build order reflects the need for an army big enough to defend against England, but small enough not to drain your economy.
(founded turn 6)
(founded turn 12)
(founded turn 36)
(founded turn 45)
|1. Settler (Lyon)||1. Composite Bowman||—||—||—|
|2. Worker (3)||—||—||—||—|
|3. Worker (4)||—||1. Worker (5)||—||—|
|4. Composite Bowman||2. Spearman||—||—||—|
|5. Composite Bowman||—||2. Composite Bowman||—||—|
|6. Settler (Troyes, turn 22 to 30)||3. Worker (6)||3. Market||—||—|
|7. Watermill||4. Market||4. Worker (7)||—||—|
|8. Settler (Tours, turn 34 to 41)||—||5. Colosseum||1. Market||—|
|9. Colosseum||5. Mint||6. Circus||—||1. Market|
|10. Settler (Marseilles, turn 48 to 56)||6. Library||7. Library||2. Library||2. Amphitheater|
|11. Aqueduct||7. Barracks||8. Walls||3. Colosseum||3. Work Boat|
|12. National Epic, started turn 59, but interrupted by:||8. Walls||9. Barracks||4. Walls||4. Library|
|13. National College (turn 72 to 83)||9. Colosseum||10. Stable||5. Barracks||5. Walls|
|14. Ironworks (turn 83 to 94)||10. Temple||11. Temple||6. Temple||6. Colosseum|
|—||Units||12. Circus Maximus||Units||7. Circus|
|15. Settler||Units||—||Units||9. Barracks|
|16. National Epic||Units||—||Units||Units|
I’m well aware this list is extensive and it will be impossible to follow it in detail. But I wanted to outline the necessity to settle big as quickly as possible. Also you see the emphasis on an early army. The 2 melees (1 initial swordsman and 1 new spearman) and 4 ranged Composite Bowmen are enough to defend against Spain early on.
Use the gold to buy some tiles, ideally southwest of the Pyrenees, to get a foothold on the other side of the mountain passes.
Infrastructure and Movements
Have your workers both build road south to Orleans and Troyes as quickly as possible. You need to be able to outmaneuver your enemy there. Being able to move 3 tiles (along roads) and still fire is vital for your battles with Spain.
Civil Service (turn 35)
- Guilds (turn 54)
- Metal Casting (turn 65 for Workshops)
- Machinery (Crossbowmen only in turn 82)
One Research Agreement with the Netherlands in turn 78 helped a lot!!!
- Chivalry (for Knights, finished turn 94)
- Theology (100)
- Education (106)
- Physics (104)
- Steel (for Longswordsmen, finished turn 113)
Then I lost track on my log a bit… But my impression is that I got the other techs quite late:
- Banking (turn 151)
Gunpowder (turn 166)
- Chemistry (turn 173)
- Printing Press (turn 174)
- Exploration (turn 183)
With France being a continental power I didn’t focus much on Naval forces and Exploration. So of course Exploration Victory Points were not for me at all in this game. They entirely went to the Netherlands between turn 128 and 140.
Chapter 3: Build and Defend your Kingdom
What followed and made this game special in a way, was an incredibly long and relatively peaceful build up phase. I traded resources, focused on improving and growing my cities all the while there wasn’t much else going on. I used my first spy on the Netherlands, also did a research agreement with them and Sweden and just passed some time.
Important: Use all accumulated faith immediately to buy Cathedrals. Also I always have at least 1 Artist work in every city. They’ll grow too quickly anyways and you have to stop growth for happiness reasons, so they might just as well grow slower.
England was massing troops, both at land and sea at my border. As you could see in pictures above, they had claimed Brittany and Canterbury there was bigger than any of my cities. So I did what’s natural: I bribed the Celts against them, though not for what you see in the picture: It took 300G plus Gems to make it work. Also to keep the Spanish a bit more busy I bribed Saladin of the Ayyubids against them.
In the South at my border with Spain not much was going on. I was being purely defensive, fending off anything Spain threw at me, sometimes with more, other times with less difficulty. Building two Citadels at both mountain passes definitely helped. Unfortunately I realized around the same time how Austria had already captured (joined by marriage) Vatican City…
Meanwhile Russia was already scoring while they captured Graz (population 5) and Klagenfurt (population 5) from Austria. Also Bzyantium had lost Adrianople (population 6) to another unknown civ.
Part 2: Reformation and Armament (Until turn 140)
Chapter 4: Converting to Protestantism
The timing of the Protestant Reformation couldn’t have been better – at least while playing Into the Renaissance France. I had just researched Chivalry to build knights and built the last national wonders. Being the 4th most productive civilization in Europe I quickly built Chateaus in all my cities and then could start pumping out units.
By now I had already adopted some Piety social policies (please see the respective chapter above). This is vital because in order to quickly convert your cities, you need quite some missionaries and inquisitors. Be prepared!
Meanwhile I used the total accumulated faith to spread Protestantism to my cities, starting in Lyon as soon as it flipped. You have to be fast here – all other nations often suppress Protestantism with inquisitors and stay Catholic. Use your first city, buy Protestant inquisitors and use them on cities that already have Protestant influence.
From now on you can capture Spanish cities and get VP for that, as they are Catholic and Catholic nations are the enemy. Beware though: All your neighbors are Catholic and won’t like you much from now on…
Chapter 5: Vive la France!
With all the benefits of Protestantism your empire will grow even stronger! All Protestant cities will produce +4 culture. Say that’s 5 of your cities so +20 culture is a permanent 20% boost! The additional production is HUGE for any city, but the most beneficial is the +6 Happiness for every city. Assume 5 Protestant cities again, this gives you +30 Happiness and the potential to grow these cities again!!!
I lost count of the number of Golden Ages I’ve had in this game. There have been some early on until cities grew to the maximum. Then plenty more when Happiness increased and increased. In this scenario I rarely let cities grow past 12, so depending on social policies chosen you’ll have plenty of Happiness in the late game. I documented Golden Ages in turns 89, 155, 174, 195. By then I also had spawned a dozen Great Artists, which I in 90% of the cases use to build their unique improvement. On the picture of turn 200 on the right you can see I built 10 of those! TEN!!!
The Netherlands got a bit restless at my eastern border. It was my first and only game the AI aggressively used 4 Great Generals to build citadels in a row to approach my city. When they did it the first time, I bribed the Netherlands into war against Sweden in turn 130. Only a few turns later it was possibly again to bribe the Celts (my good friends) against England again. More costly than before, but well worth the price.
Until around turn 140 I had consolidated France as we know it (still with the unfortunate exception of Brittany). Toledo fell in turn 114 (350VP for population of 14), but got recaptured by the Spanish Mediterranean Fleet every single turn for more than 20 turns!!! So be prepared: Bring units in place to recapture it every turn again (+25VP per turn because it’s Catholic) and more units so you can advance on the Italian City states.
Most City States conveniently declared war on me, so at least this doesn’t stress your relationship with other civs too much. Nonetheless: After capturing some, you’ll get a penalty on relationships with all other CS and your former AI friends won’t like you THAT much anymore.
Part 3: Conquest of Spain and Italy
Here’s the short version and the victory points I scored. The following chapters only go a bit more into detail. Given that basic strategies don’t differ from any other game (build roads, bomb with veteran Crossbowmen and Cannons), there are little surprises here:
- 148 – Genoa, 13 population = 325 VP
- 152 – Valencia, central Spain, 9 population = 225 VP
- 163 – Asturia, NW Spain, 10 population = 250 VP
- 170 – Milan, 19 population = 475 VP
- 173 – Logrono, central Spain, 13 population = 325 VP
- 177 – Zaragoza, central Spain, 17 population = 425 VP
- That’s 2350 VP so far (incl. 350VP from Toledo before) making me Score lead for the first time with 4660 VP.
- 178 – Florence, 14 population = 350 VP
- 182 – Madrid, SE Spain, 9 population = 225 VP + 183 100 VP for population 4
- 184 – Barcelona, population 20, 500 VP
(peace with Spain)
- 186 – Feldkirch (Austrian, Italian east coast), population 14 = 350 VP
- 190 – Vatican City, population 24 = 1200 VP (double for Holy City), still +300 next turn after liberation
- 194 – Santander, Sardinia, population 5 = 125 VP
- 194 – Canterbury, Brittany, 25 population = 625 VP
- 196 – Coventry, south England, population 11 = 275 VP
- 199 – Truro, south Ireland, population 8 = 200 VP
- Another 4250 VP just by conquest. That already adds up to around 9.000 Victory Points.
Chapter 6: Spain
With all my veterans by now defeating the Spanish was not an incredibly big challenge anymore. What was plain to see though was how busy they were fighting the Almohads. Whenever they made peace, within 2-3 turns massive waves of Spanish units attacked me. Basically everything, every unit that otherwise was occupied with fighting on their southern front.
Chapter 7: Italian City States and War with Austria
In Central Europe much more was going on. After I captured Genoa, both England and Austria declared war on me. England wasn’t much of a problem as I only had one well defended coastal city and many units in northern France to defend. Austria wasn’t a problem either, because we had no mutual border.
But I had to bribe the Netherlands into war with England so they couldn’t become part of that alliance (cost me 40GPT, 1 Luxury resource and 2 Iron).
In the end the Netherlands was so aggressive, I couldn’t let them go any further. I had to declare war soon after just to use 1 Great General to get 3 of their Citadels! The Italian campaign started rolling and Milan was under fire. At this time I didn’t want war with the Dutch, but they refused to a reasonable peace.
Austria agreed to an incredible peace offer, giving me 6500 Gold. For them – nothing, as most AI civs accumulate ten thousands of Gold in this game. For me this was a huge deal. Use the gold to capture one puppet city and buy all relevant buildings. Install one or two artists then, to make up for the increased Culture requirements for Social Policies. Also this allowed me to focus on the Italian city states.
It took some turns to further advance into Italy, so only 10 turns after this peace with Austria I declared war again. Now Austrias fleet was busy capturing Santander, which I got from peace with Spain. I captured it later after having built my own fleet in Toledo and Barcelona. There’s one hill from where one can bombard both Vatican City and the other Austrian city they’re likely to found in Italy.
Without many veterans at the Netherlands front I made peace with them again. The 8000 Gold from that peace treaty really boosted my economy. Immediately after I bribed them (with 300 of their own Gold) against England and Austria. I also could “convince” the Ayyubids again to declare war on Austria (200 Gold).
Chapter 8: War with England and Winning the Game
Somewhat earlier Sweden had declared war on me. Without ever seeing one single unit they offered me a peace deal including Turku, one of their cities. I declined and went for 200 Gold per turn instead. At some point also the Almohads had declared war on me. Although they have a strong presence in continental Spain, they did not send many units. The peace treaty in the late 190s gave me another 4500 Gold and ~50 Gold per turn.
England was a different beast. Their strong navy resisted for quite some time. My Atlantic coastal city, Tours, could build 2 Privateers in 3 turns, and I also bought some with all that Gold. Only this helped overcome the English dominance. So finally Brittany joined the French Empire as did Coventry in Southwest England and Truro on Ireland. The following peace treaty granted me York.
Into the Renaissance France (Deity) – Conclusion
By now I have played the Into the Renaissance Scenario with almost all playable civs. I had already stated that in the guide for Byzantium: Unsurprisingly the civs in the center of the map are much harder, as you can be attacked from all sides.
France can actually quite easily claim it’s historical borders. With the help of the Reformation you will become powerful enough to not only deal with some of your enemies, but to deal with all of them at once.
My map unfortunately didn’t have much Iron for me in France, so I could only create a bigger fleet of Frigates and a bigger army of Musketmen and Cannons in the very late game. Nonetheless with your productive capacities, you’ll have enough cannonfodder to just overwhelm your enemies at land and sea. So again: Yet another great fun game of Into the Renaissance.