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Civilization V: Brave New World - title

Now that I've finished my series of strategy posts about Brave New World's new civilizations, I want to take some time to look into some of the legacy civs that have received updates since Brave New World. France received a major revision in Brave New World out of the box, having its national trait completely redesigned, and one of its unique units was replaced with a powerful new unique improvement.

Humans have been occupying the land of France for at least 1.8 million years. The caves of Lascaux are a famous paleontological / archaeological site, as its cave paintings are some of the earliest and best-preserved examples of early human art and culture. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the region was split up between numerous Germanic tribes. One Germanic group, the Franks, eventually came to control most of the region, and this is where the term "France" was eventually derived. They set up the first French Kingdoms, which gained strength during the Medieval periods despite threats from the Vikings and English. The European Enlightenment can trace many of its roots to the intellectual circles of France, which eventually culminated in the French Revolution that deposed and executed King Louis XVI and established a fledgling Republic.

Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of this young Republic in 1799, eventually declaring himself the Emperor of France. He was a military genius of the time and an expert in the use of artillery. He conquered much of Europe from Spain all the way to Russia, and even fought campaigns in Africa (although these campaigns were not successful). His conquests helped to spread French culture, ideals, and reforms around the world, including widespread adoption of the metric system, new military traditions, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. His armies eventually fell victim to the harsh Russian winters, which halted Napoleon's aggressions and forced a withdrawl. His reign eventually culminated in a devastating defeat at Waterloo (then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands). He was forced into exile on the island of Saint Helena, where he eventually died of stomach cancer in 1821.

One of Napoleon's nephews, Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon III), launched an enormous public works program in Paris in the mid 1800's in order to build hundreds of kilometers of wide boulevards and streets, replace the sewer system, construct parks, and be the first city in the world to install artificial lighting (originally oil-lit lanterns). This made Paris into the world's first "City of Light", allowing people to work and engage in recreational activities around the city during the night, eventually establishing a 24-hour culture and the urban nightlife.

Civilization V - Napoleon of France

French uniques in Civilization V: Brave New World

Civilization V: Brave New World - French flag

France is strongly geared towards culture, tourism, and luxury resources. Brave New World has replaced the old "Ancient Regime" trait with a new, tourism-focused trait, and the Foreign Legion unique unit has been replaced with a powerful new unique improvement.

City of Light

"Museum and World Wonder theming bonuses are doubled in their capital."
Civilization V: Brave New World - Napoleon

There are two significant limitations that must be emphasized about France's trait:

  1. It only applies in France's Capital (i.e. Paris).
  2. It only applies to the tourism generated by the theming bonus, and not to all sources of tourism.

France's previous "Ancient Regime" trait was heavily geared towards a culture victory back when completing policy trees was the direct path to such a victory (prior to Brave New World), but the passive culture was also useful at all stages of the game and for any victory. The new "City of Light" trait is much more focused towards the new culture victory, and it doesn't benefit wide empires the way the previous ability did.


Outside of wonders, Museums are the only source of theming bonuses in the game. This means that France needs to put top priority on wonders with theme bonuses, and all such wonders should be built in the Capital in order to maximize their benefits. Despite the ability's wording, National Wonders with theming bonuses do count (such as the Oxford University and Hermitage), so try to get these built in your Capital and fill them with themed Great Works early to start generating bonus tourism.

If Paris is ever captured by another civilization, France's City of Light trait simply transfers to the new capital. The conquering player does not gain this ability for themselves!


Civilization V: Brave New World - French Chateau

Game Info: "A chateau is a manor house or country home of gentry, usually without fortifications. In the Middle Ages, a chateau was largely self-sufficient, being supported by the lord's demesne (hereditary lands). In the 1600s, the wealthy and aristocratic French lords dotted the countryside with elegant, luxuriant, architecturally refined mansions such as the Chateau de Maisons. Today, the term chateau is loosely used; for instance, it is common for any winery or inn, no matter how humble, to prefix its name with 'Chateau.'

A Chateau must be built adjacent to a Luxury resource. It may not be adjacent to another Chateau. It provides one additional gold and 2 culture. It also provides the same +50% defense bonus as a Fort. When Flight is researched its culture yield increases by 1 and its gold output rises by 2. Must be built in French territory."

Requirements: Chivalry technology, and must be constructed in French territory, adjacent to a luxury resource and not adjacent to another Chateau.

Effects: +1 Gold, +2 Culture, and a +50% defensive bonus to units. +1 additional Culture and +2 additional Gold after researching Flight.

Civilization V - maximized Chateaux
Flight further buffs Chateaux to provide
3 gold and 3 culture.

The French Chateau could very well be the strongest unique improvement in the game; however, it does not reach its full potential until fairly late in the game (Brazil's Brazilwood camp and Dutch Polders peak much earlier). Once Flight is researched, Chateaux will generate 3 gold and 3 culture as well as provide a 50% defensive bonus (same as a fort). They require an adjacent luxury resource, and they cannot be built adjacent to other Chateaux. This means that you can't build them next to bonus resources such as Cows, Sheep, Stone, Bananas, or Wheat; nor can you build a wall of Chateaux in order to act as a defensive perimeter.

Chateaux are map-dependent, but since luxury resources are relatively evenly spread out throughout most of the map, a French player can still rely on being able to build quite a few of them. A few important points to remember about building Chateaux:

  • The Chateau must be built in French territory, but the luxury it is adjacent to does not need to be in French territory.
  • It can be built adjacent to sea luxuries such as Crab, Pearls, and Whales.
  • More than one Chateau can be built around the same luxury resource (up to 3).
  • The luxury does not need to be improved in order to build the Chateau.
  • Like all unique improvements, it can not be built on top of revealed resources (i.e. you can't place a Chateau on top of Cows or on top of Iron if Iron is revealed).
  • Even though they must be built in French territory, if the territory is captured by another civ (via city capture or Citadel), then the rival civ can use the Chateau.
  • Building a Chateau will clear the tile's Forest, Jungle, or Marsh.
Civilization V - Chateau next to sea resource Civilization V - Chateau next to luxury owned by another civ
Examples of Chateau being built adjacent to a sea luxury resource [LEFT],
and adjacent to a resource owned by another civ [RIGHT].


Civilization V - French Musketeer
Game Info: "One of the first gunpowder units of the game. Only the French may build it. This Unit has a higher Combat Strength than the Musketman, which it replaces."
Civilopedia Strategy: "The Musketeer is the French unique unit, replacing the Musketman. The Musketeer is significantly more powerful than the Musketman, making it the most powerful foot soldier unit in the game (until the introduction of Industrial Era Infantry units)."

Replaces: Musketman.

Requirements: Gunpowder technology and 1 gold per turn maintenance (same as Musketman).

Obsoleted: Rifling technology (same as Musketman)

Cost: 150 Production / 300 Faith / 540 Gold [Standard speed] (same as Musketman).

Attack Type: Melee, Combat Class: Gunpowder, Combat Strength: 28 (+4 from Musketman),

Movement Speed: 2 (same as Musketman).

The Musketeer is the strongest Renaissance infantry unit in the game (in terms of raw strength) with a 16.7% increase in combat strength over the generic Musketman. This makes them a dominant unit in the Renaissance. The downside is that the buff in combat strength does not carry over when upgraded, and the unit lacks any special permanent promotions. This means that it is very similar to the Roman Legion, in that it must be used prior to becoming obsolete. On higher difficulties, the advantage of the Musketeer can be completely neutralized by the fact that A.I.s will likely be ahead of you in technology, and will start fielding Riflemen earlier.

Three Musketeers Steam Achievement

Fortunately, the Musketeer has no resource prerequisite. Once Gunpowder is researched, France can train Musketeers to its heart's content. Don't neglect ranged units such as Crossbows / Gatling Guns and Trebuchets / Cannons, since you'll need some bombardment support in order to capture cities.

Civilization V - Musketeer warfare
The Musketeer's raw strength is enough to overcome enemy bonuses such as nearby generals or the Discipline policy from the Honor tree, but it is a small and short-lived advantage.

If you are invaded by a technologically-superior foe, then the combat boost to Musketeers will help them to survive longer against the superior rifles, especially if they are fortified in Chateaux.

Illuminating the world with the glow of French culture

France remains a very culture-oriented civilization in Brave New World. It's City of Light trait sort of railroads France towards a tourism victory, but the Chateau and Musketeer can make France into an economic, cultural, and military powerhouse in the Renaissance. The Chateau is somewhat map-dependent, and France can suffer on maps that have sparse or unbalanced luxury resource placement. If you spawn with more bonus and strategic resources, and fewer luxuries, then you won't be able to build as many Chateaux. France can also benefit somewhat from larger maps with more players, since it gives France more opportunities to trade Great Works to attain theme bonuses.

France's uniques don't come into play until the mid-game (end of Medieval or start of Renaissance). This could lead to a French player turtling through the first third of the game. But even early, it is important to position yourself so that you can effectively utilize your uniques once they come into play.

Claiming luxury resources should be an early priority for France. These luxuries don't even need to be distinct! Make sure you have enough distinct luxuries to give yourself enough happiness to support your expansion, but claiming duplicate luxuries is also beneficial in the long-term. Settling near clusters of luxuries will provide plenty of opportunities to build Chateaux later. If you're able to get a practical monopoly on a particular luxury, then you can trade away your excess for other civs' luxuries in order to keep your happiness high early in the game.

Think twice about settling cities adjacent to luxury resources, as this is one less space on which you can potentially build a Chateau. This shouldn't matter in open areas of the map, but if the terrain is blocked by mountains, coastlines, natural wonders, or other resources (on which Chateaux cannot be built), then you might end up hurting yourself by reducing how many Chateaux you will be able to build. Once you hit the Fertilizer tech, you can start replacing river-side farms with Chateaux if applicable, since you'll be able to build 4-food farms anywhere now.

Civilization V - Chateau placement
Clustered luxuries will give plenty of opportunities to build Chateaux.
If I had built Lyon on top of the cow, I would have had room for one more Chateau. Is that necessarily better?
Maybe not. Depends on what your needs are.

Having a strong Capital is important with France, particularly for Cultural Victory attempts. You'll want high population to support lots of specialists (such as Writers, Artists, and Musicians) and to work productive tiles so that you can successfully complete wonders in the City of Light. You should probably dedicate a trade route or two to sending food and/or production into Paris for most of the game.

The Tradition policy tree should likely be your first choice, as it significantly buffs the capital's growth. The Aristocracy policy will give you a boost to wonders, including national wonders like the National and Heroic Epics and the Writer, Artist, and Musician Guilds. The growth, happiness and gold benefits of Landed Elite and Monarchy are also very helpful at growing Paris into a wealthy metropolis.

Alternatively, France's Chateaux can also make France a viable civ for expansive play. In that case, Liberty may be a good starter policy. Use the free settler to settle near a large cluster of luxuries, and use the free worker to start improving nearby terrain, claiming luxuries, and connecting your cities via roads. Spend some time early to build a couple more settlers and workers so that you can claim as much luxury-rich territory as possible. Alternatively, you can also go for the Pyramids in order to get two free workers and a boost to improvement build rates. This will help speed up the construction of Chateaux later!

Regardless of whether you go down Tradition or Liberty first, you should consider opening Aesthetics as your second policy tree. You can wait on this until you have your first guild constructed and enough population to work it, otherwise, you won't receive any benefits.

Civilization V: Great Library world wonder

Lighting up Paris with wondrous themes!

France should put emphasis on wonders with tourism theme bonuses. The only such wonder in the Ancient / Classical era is the Great Library. The Great Library has 2 slots for literature, both of which must come from different civs and different eras. A.I.s are very competitive for this wonder at higher difficulties, so it may not be worth pursuing unless you get Pottery and/or Writing from an early ruin and have a productive capital.

Civilization V - immortal Great Library
Building the Great Library is very rare in immortal and diety levels, but I did it here!
That's +4 tourism as early as the Medieval era!

You should immediately research Drama and Poetry, so that by the time the Great Library is done, you can start on your Writer's Guild. You can then use the free tech from the Great Library to get Philosophy (for the National College) or to go for Iron Working or Mathematics. Either way, work the Writer's Guild immediately so you can hopefully generate a Classical Writer. Then trade your first Medieval Great Work with the first civ to offer a Medieval Great Work in order to meet the Great Library's theme requirement (different eras and civs). Fulfilling this theme will generate +4 tourism with every civ that you've met long before most civs will be generating large amounts of tourism or culture. This will give you a tremendous head start!

The Great Library is a very powerful wonder for France, but it can be almost impossible to obtain on the highest few difficulties due to the handicap bonuses that the A.I. receives. If you receive Pottery and/or Writing technologies from your first few ancient ruins, then you can maybe go for the Great Library if you have good production and access to marble in your capital. Even then, it isn't necessarily worth it, since every turn spent building the Great Library is one less turn spent training workers, units, or building core buildings to get your city up and running to get yourself competitive with the A.I.s.

Civilization V: Sistine Chapel world wonder

On higher difficulties, you should probably skip the Great Library and instead focus on the Sistine Chapel as your first high-priority world wonder (it can generate +4 theme bonus in Paris). Try to avoid advancing to the Industrial era until you have been able to spawn two Great Artists to generate two works of art to fill the Sistine Chapel's theme bonus (2 works of art from same civ and same era). The Artistic Genius social policy should help with this (it grants a free Great Artist). If you adopted Artistic Genius prior to the Renaissance, then consider waiting until the start of the Renaissance before creating his Great Work.

Other themed wonders are great to build in France's Capital. Be sure to check the theme bonus for each of these wonders so you can focus on the ones that are along the most convenient tech paths or which will be easiest to meet the theme requirements. Unfortunately, the Civilopedia doesn't list these requirements, so I'll list them here:

  • Civilization V: Louvre world wonder

    Louvre: +8 theme bonus in Paris (+16 with Aesthetics finisher)

    (requires Archaeology technology and Exploration social policy tree) 4 Great Work slots, must have 2 artifacts and 2 works of art, all from different eras and civilizations. Comes with a free Great Artist to get you started! The Louvre's theme bonus can be brought to +16 with City of Light and by completing the Aesthetics social policy tree (doing so will also net you a Steam achievement).

  • Civilization V: Uffizi world wonder

    Uffizi: +6 theme bonus in Paris (+12 with Aesthetics finisher)

    (requires Architecture technology and Aesthetics social policy tree) 3 Great Art slots, must all be from the same era and same civilization. This theme bonus can be very tough due to Uffizi's location in the tech tree (2nd tier of the Renaissance). You'll get a free Great Artist from building the wonder, but will need to spawn two more before advancing to the Industrial era. The Artisitc Genius social policy can help, unless you already used it for the Sistine Chapel. You might be better off delaying artists until you have advanced to the Industrial era, that way you can try to get all 3 Industrial artworks without having to conflict with the Renaissance artworks needed for Sistine Chapel.
  • Civilization V: Globe Theater world wonder

    Globe Theater: +4 theme bonus in Paris (+8 with Aesthetics finisher)

    (requires Printing Press technology) 2 Great Writing slots, must be from same era and same civilization. This one's theme bonus is pretty easy to meet, since it comes with a free Great Writer, so half the work is done for you! If you went for Gunpowder early to unlock France's Musketeer, then this wonder should be a quick detour.
  • Civilization V: Broadway world wonder

    Broadway: +6 theme bonus in Paris (+12 with Aesthetics finisher)

    (requires Radio technology) 3 Great Music slots, must be from same era and same civilization. This one is challenging due to how quickly technology progresses late in the game and how slow it can be to Generate Musicians. You'll get one free Great Musician with the wonder, but you'll need to generate two more before advancing to the Atomic era.
  • Civilization V: Sydney Opera House world wonder

    Sydney Opera House: +4 theme bonus in Paris (+8 with Aesthetics finisher)

    (requires Ecology technology and the city must be coastal) 2 Great Music slots, must be from same civilization but different eras. It doesn't give you a free Great Musician, but since the music can come from different eras, this one isn't too hard to fulfill. This wonder also grants a free social policy and boosts culture output in the city by 50%.

Other tourism wonders are good for the culture victory, but don't benefit from City of Light. Unaffected wonders include: Parthenon, National and Heroic epics, and [ironically] Eiffel Tower.

It is also worth noting that the Leaning Tower of Pisa can help speed up the generation of Writers, Artists, and Musicians (along with other great people, +25% generation) to help you fill your theme bonuses, so it might be worth pursuing if you teched to Printing Press early or if you have a spare engineer sitting around. You can also speed up Writer, Artist, and Musician generation by proposing and passing the Arts Funding resolution in the World Congress (+33% generation). Avoid passing the Sciences Funding resolution, as it will slow your creation of Writers, Artists, and Musicians.

Civilization V - guaranteed theme bonuses
Oxford and Hermitage national wonders and Museums provide guaranteed theme bonus of +14.

The Education technology is on the way to Acoustics (and the Sistine Chapel), so you should also try to get the Oxford University built while researching Acoustics. Use internal trade routes to build Universities in your cities quickly, and begin looking at opportunities to trade your Great Writings with other civs in order to obtain Oxford's theme bonus (2 Great Works of Writing, different eras, foreign civs). Fulfilling the theming requirements gives Oxford University +4 Tourism if in Paris and +8 Tourism with the Aesthetics finisher.

Hermitage is also high priority. Most civs don't generate art as early, quickly, or often as writings, so meeting the requirements for the theme bonuses of the Hermitage can be more challenging than with Oxford (2 Great Works of Art, foreign civs, different eras). Even if you build it early, you might have to wait a while until you can get the necessary art from different civs and eras (remember, artifacts don't count towards Hermitage's theme bonus). In the meantime, however, the +50% culture in Paris will help you speed through the remaining Aesthetics and/or Rationalism social policies, since Paris will likely be loaded with great works. Once you have met the theme requirements, Hermitage will net +6 Tourism if in Paris and +12 Tourism with the Aesthetics finisher.

Finally, a regular Museum will allow for a theming bonus boost from City of Light. A Museum has two slots for Great Works of Art or Artifacts and three requirements for theming bonuses:

  1. Both items must be of the same type (both Art or both Artifact).
  2. Both items must be of the same era.
  3. Both items must be either domestic (French) OR both foreign (from civs other than city owner, the items don't have to be from the SAME civ)
If you can fulfill 2 out of the 3 requirements, a Museum will give +1 theming bonus (+2 if in Paris, +4 in Paris w/Aesthetics Finisher). If you fulfill all 3 requirements, a Museum will give +2 theming bonus (+4 if in Paris, +8 in Paris w/Aesthetics Finisher).

Finishing the Aesthetics social policy tree will double all theming bonuses (stacks with City of Light).

With Oxford, Hermitage, a Museum, and a few themed world wonders in Paris, France should become a tourism powerhouse throughout the rest of the game. Be sure to further buff this bonus with Hotels and Airports and tech to Telecommunications in order to build the National Visitor Center. In addition to the huge amounts of tourism that France will be generating, the extra culture from Chateaux will provide cultural defense against rival tourism. This will reduce the unhappiness caused by ideological pressure in the late game.

Illuminating the world with French religion

Another powerful strategy for France is to focus on religion. Your early pantheon beliefs are up to player discretion, but a good first follower belief is Cathedrals. You'll have to race to found a religion early in order to get Cathedrals. The Cathedrals aren't really useful for the +2 tourism you get from the great work. You're really just using them as temporary storage for the Sistine Chapel, Uffizi, and / or Louvre. Storing 2 or 3 medieval or renaissance arts in your Cathedrals means that you can immediately move them into Sistine Chapel or Uffizi in order to immediately take advantage of the double theme bonus on those wonders. This spares you from having to manipulate your tech progress to ensure that you spawn the extra artists in the appropriate era(s) to achieve the theme bonus. These works can also be later placed in museums in order to get the theme bonus there if you failed to construct the wonders.

France benefits from some less popular enhancer beliefs and doesn't need to rush to enhance their religion. After founding the religion, go for a missionary in order to spread the religion to all your cities, then focus on generating Cathedrals in all your cities. Research Guilds early so that you can build and work your Artist's Guild in order to fill your Cathedrals with art.

You don't need to be in any hurry to enhance your religion, since a good second follower belief is Religious Art, which will add a tourism boost to your Hermitage (+5 Tourism and +5 Culture; not available till more than midway through the game anyway). If you do get a second Great Prophet early, then you can try adopting one of the other religious building beliefs. Making your way through the Piety policy tree is then a little more important, since the Sacred Sites reformation belief is a good target if you have more than one faith building. You may have to rush through Piety for this one, since there will usually be tough competition for this belief among any other culture-oriented civs!

Civilization V - French Cathedrals
Cathedrals, Religious Art, and Sacred Sites aren't modified by City of Light, but dramatically boost tourism output.
Use the Cathedrals to store medieval and/or renaissance art, which you can later use to achieve theme bonuses in Sistine Chapel, Uffizi, or museums.

None of these beliefs will be affected by City of Light, but they will help to augment the ability and secure your position as a dominant force for tourism.

Start spreading your religion to other civs if possible, and use the bonus gold from your Chateaux to bribe other civs to vote for your religion as the World Religion in the World Congress. Doing so will grant a 50% tourism bonus in your Holy City (which will almost certainly be Paris)!

Later in the game, try passing and winning the International Games resolution, as the top contributor will receive double tourism for a duration of 20 turns. This is a late-game resolution, so it may be possible to delay it until after you've built Hotels and the National Visitor Center (if you think you need the extra boost). Researching the Internet will also double your Tourism to help reach Influential status with remaining civs. If needed, use stored Faith to buy Great Musicians and perform concert tours in hold outs. Great Musicians are best bought during the International Games (+100% Tourism for 20 turns) and/or after researching the Internet.

These methods can contribute greatly to a Cultural Victory, but they can also put you in a good position to win a Diplomatic Victory, unless your manipulations of the World Congress create too many enemies.

If you want to try for a Scientific Victory, then you can accelerate your religious plans in order to acquire the Jesuit Education reformation belief instead of Sacred Sites. This will allow you to buy late-game science buildings with faith, freeing up your cities to build other buildings, units, or raw research.

Enlightening the world by force - Napoleon would be proud!

The start of the Renaissance also brings forth France's unique unit: the Musketeer. This is a very strong Gunpowder unit that can dominate the Renaissance battlefields with its sheer strength. However, this unit does not receive any permanent special promotions, so once you upgrade to rifles, its bonus strength is lost.

If you are planning a Domination Victory with France, then consider beelining to Gunpowder so that you can unlock the Musketeer early and extend the window of opportunity to use them. If you planned on domination from the start of the game, then try to have the Honor policy tree adopted and finished before the Renaissance so that you can earn lots of bonus experience and gold with your Musketeers, which will provide you with a well-promoted, veteran army in the late-game.

Even if you aren't planning on a full Domination Victory, the Renaissance is still a great time to exercise your military might to expand your empire. This is especially true if your neighbors are resistant to trading their Great Works to you, which can potentially neutralize City of Light. Regardless, more land means more space for Chateaux!

Civilization V - capturing great works
Use Musketeers to capture great works and complete your theme bonuses!

When you get to Gunpowder and have a large army of Musketeers, then it is time to go on the offensive! Use your Musketeers and Trebuchets to finish off any civs that remain on your continent. If possible, try to do this before researching Astronomy and meeting civs on other continents in order to avoid warmonger penalties. Quickly move your workers into conquered territory to start building Chateaux.

If you capture any cities with Great Works, be sure to check if any of them can be used to obtain theme bonuses in your Capital. If so, move them to your Capital immediately.

If you were planning a culture victory, but then the world congress manages to enact Science Funding, and you aren't able to repeal it, then you might consider switching to a more aggressive playstyle. When ideologies roll around, you can adopt Autocracy and use your musketeers-turned-riflemen to punish those who opposed you in the world congress. Start filling all your available merchant, scientist, and engineer slots and use the Futurism tenet to gain large chunks of tourism with any civs that you can't defeat through force. This may allow you to rescue your culture victory attempt from the clutches of certain defeat!

Even if arts funding is enacted, Autocracy's Futurism policy can still be helpful if you want to plan on a culture win but still play aggressively in the late game.

Dimming the lights of Paris: Countering Napoleon's France

France is a prime candidate for a Culture Victory, so if you plan on achieving this victory, you will need to take steps to minimize France's City of Light trait. This is especially true for the early game and mid game. Don't let France acquire the Great Library, Sistine Chapel, Louvre, or Uffizi, as these wonders' theme bonuses will snowball if France can satisfy their theme requirements early. It is also a good idea to avoid trading Great Works to France, since doing so can allow the French to satisfy theme bonuses in its Capital.

France can get very militaristic during the Renaissance and later due to its strong Musketeer unique unit, and may be able to capture enemy cities that contain Great Works (which France can then move to its own capital to satisfy theme bonuses). Watch out for this, as it could allow France to sneak in a tourism head start that could become insurmountable later in the game.

If you plan on conquering French territory, it may be a good idea to wait until later in the game. If you give them a chance to build their Chateau across their territory, then their lands will be very coveted indeed! Your best bet is to attack them immediately upon unlocking Riflemen. This way, you'll have passed up the Musketeer's window of usefulness and will likely have plenty of Chateau ripe for capture. Just don't wait too long. If they overwhelm you with their tourism, then you could see considerable unhappiness if you adopted a competing ideology.

Civilization V - Stealing Chateaux with Citadels
A strong defensive civ can use Citadels to steal France's valuable Chateaux and provoke France into attacking.

If you want to play a little more defensively (like if you have a defensive bonus like the Shoshone's Great Expanse or Japan's Bushido), you can use citadels to steal Chateaux from France and provoke them into engaging you within your own territory. Just be careful about engaging Musketeers!

Be careful about allowing France to spread its religion into your cities. Later in the game, they may try to pass a World Religion, which will significantly buff their tourism output in Paris (assuming it is their Holy City).

An A.I. of action not words: don't get steamrolled by Napoleon!

Civilization V - Napoleon is often very pointy
Napoleon tends to wield a great deal of "Pointy Sticks".

As an A.I., Napoleon likes to attempt Culture or Domination victories. He is quick to draw the sword if he sees a vulnerability in an enemy, and his offensive army is usually quite formidable. He can easily runaway with the game. He isn't particularly good at defense though, so if his offensives are beaten back, he is very vulnerable to counter-attack. It is not uncommon to see another A.I. steamroll over Napoleon early in the game, especially if Napoleon hasn't unlocked his Musketeers yet. The bonuses of the Musketeer also don't carry over when upgraded to rifles, so if he misses the window of opportunity to use them, he'll be much easier to deal with later.

From my experience, Napoleon is pretty loyal assuming that you maintain a decent army. If you can make friends with him early, and don't neglect your military, he can be a valuable ally and trade partner throughout the game. Just don't rely on him to defend your empire; he'll backstab you if you leave yourself weak and open to attack. Napoleon is also surprisingly forgiving and I rarely see him denounce other players for anything short of bullying a city state that he has pledged to protect. If you make him mad, he'll just declare war. Napoleon is an A.I. of action, not words. He is also tolerant of warmongering, and can make an ideal ally for other warmongering civs like Assyria, Huns, Japan, Mongolia, Rome, Zulu, and so on.

Civilization V - Napoleon's introduction
Napoleon can be a loyal friend, as long as you don't show weakness.


Discuss this strategy on Civfanatics:

or on the official 2K Civilization V forums:

Listen to the discussion on PolyCast, Episode 208, 26m52s (August 23, 2014):

Other Civilization V Strategies

America (BNW)America (BNW)
Arabia (BNW)Arabia (BNW)
Carthage (BNW)Carthage (BNW)
France (BNW)France (BNW)
Germany (BNW)Germany (BNW)
India (BNW)India (BNW)
Iroquois (BNW)Iroquois (BNW)
Japan (BNW)Japan (BNW)
Ottomans (BNW)Ottomans (BNW)
Rome (BNW)Rome (BNW)

Comments (3) -

02/02/2015 16:02:12 #

thank you so much for these write ups.
I sat down last week and played as France and i'd read your bit about playing that civ on my tablet, which would inspire me to play some more.

I really think you have the best write ups on the different civs, the historical lead in really adds to it.

Dennis D
Dennis D
02/05/2015 16:37:03 #

Thanks for another great guide!

What about artifacts, should they be pursued with France?

02/06/2015 01:23:21 #

@Burt Carl:

Thanks! I'm very happy that these strategies have been well-received. The historical contexts of Civ is one of my favorite features of the game (and really helps differentiate it from, say, Beyond Earth), so I always feel that historical context is important whenever talking about the mechanics or features of the game or individual civilizations, units, etc.

@Dennis D:

Artifacts keep slipping my mind when I write these guides and I forget to specifically mention them. Yes, artifacts are great for France. Since you'll likely beeline towards Archaeology in order to get the Louvre, you're likely to have early access to Archaeologists, which gives you priority access to antiquity sites. Artifacts can be combined for theme bonuses, and those theme bonuses are doubled by City of Lights!

If you see multiple antiquity sites in neutral territory within close proximity of the same civ or city state, then try to send multiple Archaeologists there ASAP! Getting artifacts from the same civ and era will give you the best multipliers. Just beware of digging in other civs' territory, since it will upset them.

Also, try to remember where significant battles and barbarians were located near your own territory, as this can give you an idea of what era or civ a nearby antiquity site might provide an artifact of. Digging in your own territory is a good way to get at least a few easy themed artifacts. If an antiquity site is within the workable range of one of your cities, you might want to turn it into a Landmark though, in order to further enhance your own culture generation - especially if its an older antiquity site, which offers more culture. But if an antiquity site is more than 3 tiles away from any city, then taking the artifact is a no-brainer.

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