How to DOMINATE as France in EU4 1.35 Guide
Hello strategy gaming enthusiasts my name is AlzaboHD and in today’s EU4 video we will explore the strongest nation of the early modern world: La France. The upcoming 1.35 update is almost upon us and overhauls almost every major power in the game and Paradox Interactive has granted me early access so that we can restore this blue baguette blob to her natural and historical borders.
This eu4 guide is sponsored by Paradox Interactive and you can secure the Domination DLC and support AlzaboHD directly by ordering EU4 and Domination through my nexus game store in the description box below. Before we start our campaign we’ll first take a look at France’s position in the 1444 starting date. With the new 1.35 update France starts with 5 apanage subject states that have redesigned
mechanics, like the ability to conscript their strongest general at the cost of liberty desire and the appoint crown prince mechanic that allows you to steal their heir for your own throne. Over 84 new missions were added to France and their revolutionary variant and during the age of absolutism they unlock a new and powerful military type called the musketeer who boast increased land fire damage and can be recruited in a quantity based on the development of your french cultured provinces. France’s starting situation is that of a decentralized feudal kingdom and you’ll need to invest in centralization and infrastructure to guide France to greatness. While we do start with the great monument of Notre Dame, Versailles doesn’t yet exist and France’s national ideas have changed to better reflect their position in the 15th century.
Notably we now start with a massive +20% manpower and +1 diplomatic reputation modifier, boosts to our military morale and discipline, a 10% core cost reduction and an ambition that affords us 10% off all province development costs. In eu4, as in real life, France and England were engaged in the hundred years war during this time period and with ironman mode enabled we’ll start our campaign. Before unpausing our game there are a variety of things I’d recommend to optimize your campaign. In the early game, admin and military points are important and you should disable the default diplomatic focus, consider disinheriting your 4/3/2 heir for a better spare and revoke the guarantee of Scotland to free up your diplomatic relations slots. The new update adds a variety of new estates and for the clergy I’d recommend “religious state” for monthly admin power, religious diplomats for diplomatic reputation and +10 relations with every catholic nation and religious delegations to automatically complete any clergy agenda.
For the Nobility estate, we will be locked into French Strong Duchies until we reform and centralize our nation later on but with our 5 apanage subject states the +3 diplomatic relations slots is crucial and useful for our early game. For the Bourgeoisie we will pick Patronage of the Arts for free yearly piety and exclusive trade rights for dev cost reductions and three free mercantilism. Next, we’ll seize crown land as we’re going to need 50% of it to diplomatically annex any of our vassals, so we’ll press this every 5 years and call and complete the clergy agenda to boost our estates’ loyalties. In terms of diplomacy, we will rival England, Burgundy and Austria but if Austria is not available Aragon makes for a suitable substitute. To the south east lies the nation of Provence and, while traditionally a target to un ally and annex, the Domination update allows us to roll the dice and attempt to diplomatically annex them via mission tree if they are allied, have high relations and at least 90 trust with us. This is inherently risky and only succeeds 10% of the time but since the subsequent mission on the tree allows you to instantly integrate all of their territory for free we’ll be pursuing it and playing high risk, high reward.
To this aim we’ll use our first diplomat to curry favors with Provence to trade for trust, increase relations with the Pope for more papal favor and move our soldiers to the border with England. Next we’ll hire 2 infantry and 1 cavalry and pass command of both armies to our starting generals, of whom one is particularly important. Whichever army you assign to Jean Bureau should be the one you use to fight battles, as winning 4 with him will complete a new mission that grants you 3 cannons for free decades earlier than your neighbors. Before we end England’s hold over our French fold you should hire a military advisor, secure an alliance with a strong state like Castile and prepare to make Rosbif your next meal. As soon as we can we’ll declare war on England to reconquer our core territories and finish the hundred years war.
In almost every campaign they’ll be allied to a combination of either Portugal, Austria or an Irish OPM and when you’re ready to begin, promise Provence territory and declare war for your continental cores. Our first goal in our first war is to rush England’s French holdings in Normandie and Gascony but be sure to keep your navy at home as England and Portugal’s naval superiority will sink your small fleet. Fortunately France has a massive advantage on the mainland since England will have to ferry troops across the channel and tends to holiday in Provence. Don’t be afraid to take loans to afford this war and while one of our army sieges, we’ll have the other hunt down enemies in our territory. Normandy, Calais and Labourd should be sieged down while we use our diplomats to improve trust and relations with Provence.
Once we take Gascony you can select the Retake Gascony mission to make the provinces cheaper in the peace treaty and with England out of France we should set our eyes on the demise of their allies. The formerly green Iberian rectangle, now blue, is no match for France but even with Lisbon in French hands we’ll need to go one step further. If we can snatch the Portuguese exclave of Ceuta in Africa we’ll be able to expand into Algeria, obtain colonial range to reach the Caribbean and become present on two continents for monthly splendor gain incredibly early into our game.
While it will cost an extra year or two of war it’s largely worth the detour, just as our choice to disinherit our heir was worth the wait. When peacing Portugal we’ll take Ceuta, war reparations and force them to break alliance with Castile. With the Gascony mission we selected earlier we’ll have enough warscore to take all of England’s French possessions but if you want to peacefully procure provence through the mission tree feel free to feed them land. Any loans we’ve levied can be paid off by English tribute and now that we’re at peace we can seize crown land and develop Paris four times to reach yet another splendor spender. Normandy’s liberation allows us to fulfill one of our first missions in France, granting us claims across Brittany and Burgundy. With 8 provinces now containing a building we can then connect our provinces for further modifiers, receive free stability from ending the hundred years war and then lose said stability if you choose not to cede cores to your subjects.
As we move forward into our campaign, always be on the lookout for disputed successions that you can exploit for your own benefit. If you royal marry any of these nations you have a chance of putting your dynasty on their throne or outright putting them under personal union, though this is RNG dependent and didn’t happen for this particular campaign. Bohemia is usually in this position early game and makes for a great ally to counter our rival Austria so try to ally them if you can. In the meantime, continue currying favors with Provence and trading for trust as we’ll need 90 trust for a chance to make them a subject state via our mission tree later in our guide. In terms of early game conquest goals our next target is Brittany to our west using the free claims we received from recovering Normandie. We’ll declare war and promise Provence land before we diplomatically annex them and our military will easily put Breizh on their last legs.
With any co belligerents occupied and out of the way, we’ll use war reparations to pay off loans, slowly build up our navy to force limit and once Nantes is occupied we’ll make Brittany French again with full annexation and partially partition it to Provence who we’ll inherit later on. If you build up your army to force limit and have won 4 battles with Jean Bureau you can then unlock the mission Refine the Bombards which grants us three free artillery decades earlier than everyone else, an advantage we will put to use against our neighbors. Speaking of neighbors, Burgundy is a special sort of neighbor as we have an RNG chance to inherit their lands during the Burgundian succession. If their king Charles the first dies without an heir before the year 1500 there’s a chance they’ll choose France to inherit the land but if you don’t want to rely on RNG you can help Charlie die quickly by declaring war for your claims in Bourgogne and promising Provence provinces that we’ll inherit later on. Burgundy is basically a budget France and doesn’t stand a chance so we’ll occupy their cities and not mess with their guilds to build up our stability. We’ll need to occupy Picardie to end the war but occasionally Burgundian allies like Aragon might join in and will have to be picked off.
The growth and recruitment of our navy will allow us to hit the naval force limit and trigger the Port of Calais mission, granting us claims on all of the Netherlands and England. We’ll swiftly secure a separate peace with any co belligerents and also humiliate our Aragonese rival to unlock our third splendor requirement along the way. With peace on the horizon, grant as many provinces as you can to Provence and it’s time to talk about probability and RNG.
By now Provence should have 80 trust and +150 relations and we can finally unlock the mission “the provencal question”, but before you seek answers you should know the risks and ask your doctor if Provence is right for you. There’s only a 10% chance that Provence’s AI chooses to give you a personal union, with a 90% chance that they declare war on you using a diplomatic insult CB. This is a spicy strategy and you could take their land in war in the event you fail but in the interest of science I’ve crunched some numbers.
It took over 14 attempts for Provence to say oui to French sovereignty but it’s absolutely worth the risk as they’ll inherit all of Lorraine, pass all of their land to you under PU and none of what they’ve received in previous wars counts against your aggressive expansion or admin power pool. If you have 3 stability you can then inherit all of their land for free without coring anything via the next mission but I’d recommend feeding them a bit more cores and claims while they’re a subject or an ally. With Burgundy broken, we can complete the Burgundian Succession mission even if the Burgundian inheritance never fired, granting us development and monthly admin power. Now that we control Picardy and Haut de France we can then take a decision that allows us to designate Calais as a staple port for a bonus 10 mercantilism and trade and tax modifiers for us to dominate channel trade.
We’ll give our new subject some land so we don’t have to core or pay for anything, boost relations with anyone about to form a coalition and develop the Loire Valley to enable a mission that grants us chateaux and province development. The only province in France we have not yet covered is Avignon, but before you declare war on the Pope you should know that you can have your subject Provence negotiate for avignon through their mission tree, something that often happens automatically If you ally with the Pope. You can still go against him later on to take Italy and you’ll additionally get the ability to retry Joan of Arc for prestige and legitimacy if you improve Papal relations. But sooner or later we’ll need to destroy Austria and neuter them as a threat and in this campaign we can use Provence’s claim to Corsica to make the island French 300 years ahead of schedule.
Since it’s HRE land Austria will be obliged to join and if Aragon follows through it’s more land for you and Provence but our focus is crushing Austria, assuming they aren’t crushing themselves. Like Monsieur Hannibal our soldiers will crawl the Austrian alps, occupy coastal capitals and separate peace everyone for money to sustain the economy. No enemy can withstand French superiority, especially the Habsburgs, and with Barcelona broken down we will transfer occupation to our Provencal subject, feed Provence Sardinia and take Roussillon to release into a Catalonian vassal we can use to feed Aragonese cores.
Next we’ll deny Austria a port by granting the Pope their coastline, feed our Bohemian ally, core Corsica and enrich ourselves with reparations from the holy Roman emperor. Coalitions are only a number and we’ll deal with them later on, for now we can take our first splendor ability which should almost always be the transfer subject ability as we can use this to steal vassals, personal unions and tributaries from other nations. For our own subject nations we need 50% of our land to belong to crownland to annex our vassals diplomatically so we’ll continue to seize estate land every 5 years. If the year is before 1500 and Milan has either a regency council or low legitimacy you can also get the Milanese succession event to gain a casus belli to make Milan a French PU.
We’ll have to act fast to enforce this CB before our new ruler takes the throne so in 1463 we’ll declare war on Milan to score them as a subject state. It’s time to send our army across the alps, siege down Milan’s forts and welcome Louis the 11th home to the sun throne. Once you’ve decided to procure Provence’s provinces personally you can boost your stability to 3 and as long as your relations with them are 190 or higher and a trust of 100 you can click a House United to instantly inherit all of their provinces as core territories for free. Transforming their territories into states will greatly enhance our economy but keep an eye on your governing capacity and expand your administration as needed. Our combined armies will make short work of Milan and their Italian pawns and once we capture their capital we’ll focus on their friends.
Unfortunately for us, inheriting Provence means our crown land has sunk well below the 50% we need to integrate our vassals but we can remedy this by developing provinces within the Ile de France and seizing estate land. Following in French tradition, each enemy nation will be milked for money and war reparations which has a positive effect of ending our coalitions. We’ll secure the PU over Milan in our peace treaty, take out enough loans to embrace the Renaissance institution and corresponding mission and finally invest our monarch power into new technologies. Admin tech 4 means our first national idea and since we’re far ahead in military technology we’ll select the military Aristocratic idea group.
The new 1.35 update has overhauled the bonuses of this set and its a solid pick on account of dev cost reduction, national manpower modifiers, an extra diplomat and historical flavor. Elsewhere in Italy, we’ll have to decide to either side with the Pope to make the Papal states into a March and get claims in the holy land or to insult him to get claims over all of Italy and a subjugation CB to make Naples into a vassal. I don’t like the pope or his holy hat so we’ll defile the Holy Sea with blasphemy, get siege ability for 15 years and claims over the peninsula.
Since we already have Milan under PU we can complete the next mission for a free diplomat, access to Leonardi da Vinci as an advisor, dev cost reductions to Paris and the ability to upgrade both Notre Dame and Versailles for 50% cheaper. Going south to Iberia, if the Iberian Wedding fires and Castile chooses to bind Aragon to their dynasty we’ll have some difficulties as we won’t be able to feed Catalonia their Aragonese cores without abandoning the alliance. Instead, we should focus on feeding Milan their Venetian cores and declare war to annex more land in Italy. Any Italian nations not already in a coalition should be sniped before they can join so we’ll slap Savoy, miss out on Montferrat and take on Naples with the mission subjugation CB to make them into our vassal. As we capture cities we’ll secure the Italian coastline to connect with Milan.
Having a two, three or even fourway foray into Italy is entirely possible with our allies and support of our subjects but be sure to improve relations abroad to avoid unnecessary coalitions. It turns out an event gives us a CB to PU naples so siding against the pope wasn’t entirely necessary but we can still snipe single province nations that aren’t in a coalition against us. As for land, we’ll take what we can with Genoa, restore our cores to Milan, conquer Montferrat and at last make Naples into a French vassal state. This in turn grants us the Throne of Naples mission and the possibility to choose the fate of our new subject but the world hates our success so it’s time to address the issues of coalitions. Conquering half of western europe in twenty years has earned us the ire of many enemies and if we don’t act fast we’ll be cut into a croissant.
To survive against a continental coalition you should seek strong allies like Denmark or go historical and form an unholy alliance with the Ottomans who are by far the strongest state in this period of time. Since we’re at peace it makes sense to annex our apanage subjects and to do this we’ll pass the nobility integration privilege to eliminate diplomatic reputation penalties and begin the process of diplomatically integrating our French fiefdoms. If your coalition ever gets as bad as mine you should speed up time and improve relations with the enemy nations but each time you annex a subject state be prepared for the nobility estate to lose loyalty. In 1474 France is the greatest power on Earth and by developing Brittany we can unlock the Catholicon and complete the crown of France mission for permanent power projection.
By drilling our armies we can then form the Gendarmerie for an extra 10% army professionalism and, while facing protests that destroy our stability, Burgundy’s king has died and we’ve inherited all of their lands as a direct PU subject state. This is formidable so we’ll celebrate by having Leonardo da Vinci build us Versailles hundreds of years early at a 50% discount, unlock our seventh admin tech and select Exploration as our second idea group in order to colonize continents outside of our coalition. If you got lucky and inherited Burgundy eventually Austria will get salty and demand the lands for themselves but you should never trust an Austrian and prepare for war. By now you know the drill, fill their land with French hands and demand a troll toll of reparations to make them pay for their mistake. It will take many years of improving relations to dismantle this coalition but in the meantime you can select the maintain balance of power reform to score a fifth diplomat.
Everyone hates us for liberating Italy yet no one cares about Ireland being eaten alive by England. At the very least we’ve annexed all apanage subjects states by 1485, unlocked the first exploration idea to recruit Jacques Cartier and after 20 years of coalition containment we are finally free to use our flagship and navy to launch an invasion of England and put the British out of their misery. In terms of priorities, our mid game will be dedicated to wiping out the rival colonizers and fortunately England often allies Portugal so we can neuter both in one go. The English are too busy drinking tea to defend London, the wretched rectangle has been wrangled and there’s nothing great about Britain. Portuguese colonies are ripe for the taking, Utrecht is thoroughly wrecked and we’ll swing into Switzerland to feed Burgundy their next meal. Once you can hire a colonial range advisor, we’ll have the range needed to take every Portuguese colony and we’ll then declare war on any alpine state that’s survived thus far.
A slice of swiss cheese will surely please our PU subject state but what’s great is that we can fully annex London and Kent to place a permanent dent on perfidious Albion. The London Calling mission further renames London to Londres, southeast England to the Domaine Francais and grants France claims across all of the French isles. Saluzzo has somehow brought in all of Italy in an attempt to defend their two provinces but they’ve only succeeded in feeding our subjects papal provinces and falling victim to French liberation. With the alps secured, we will gain a permanent claim over all of Italy and reduced aggressive expansion, with Northern italy secured we’ll gain 10% dev cost reduction across all of our provinces and we’ll need Genoa to secure the next step in our Italian invasion. We can also face the empire in our mission tree, allowing us to try to become emperor diplomatically or granting us a CB to take HRE territory at a greatly reduced coring cost.
The ring must be destroyed in Mordor, Florence’s ally Tunis shall be salted from the earth and Algeria shall be restored to her rightful ruler. At this point we’ve progressed past aggressive expansion and should take whatever we want whenever we want so we’ll stuff Milan with parmesan, culturally convert all of Liguria to French with one click and discover North America to bring tabernak back on the menu. Our future colonies will funnel trade back to Europe so it’s a good idea to set Londres as our trade city to collect trade in the richest end node in eu4. Without our 20 year peace we could have cored and conquered more but overall we’ve restored Gaul. As France enters into the 16th Century you have the strong possibility of gaining the Colonialism institution if you’ve taken Exploration or Expansion as one of your first two idea groups. Quebec and Haiti, among other historically French colonies, are represented in France’s new mission tree and if you colonize the borders of the French empire you’ll gain mercantilism, colonial modifiers and even the ability to change the English channel into La Manche, literally meaning “sleeve” in French, netting you permanent trade and naval force limit modifiers.
A new century also means access to centralization, absolutism and another hundred years before France gains access to their unique unit the musketeer. These units boast increased land fire damage and are considerably stronger than their contemporaries but are limited in number to the amount of development in French cultured provinces. Our permanent claims over England’s name will allow you to fully annex Britannia, while we also have claims over the Netherlands, all of Italy if you’ve opted to bully the pope and the possibility to either rebuild the HRE under France or to blob your blue over the German crew. By 1500 AD we’ve used France’s new missions and mechanics to restore her natural borders, Algeria included, and have begun the colonization of Africa, America and beyond. With 96 provinces we were quite close to obtaining the big blue blob achievement but we’ll have to settle for being the greatest power on earth. France possesses the largest standing army, the second largest navy and, after one more moment, boasts the most developed province on the planet.
The Ile de France region is prospering, Versailles was constructed nearly 200 years early and we own Notre Dame, The Palace of the Popes and this thing I picked up in Puerto Rico. In terms of ideas, the Domination update has made many changes and I especially enjoy the redesigned Aristocratic idea tree which now includes dev cost reductions, national manpower modifiers and an extra diplomat to handle continental coalitions. Exploration or expansion ideas are also great picks to make Canada French again and once you have the administrative power for an admin idea I’d strongly recommend the new Infrastructure idea group that allows you further dev cost reductions and the ability to expand your administration for free. If you want to spread freedom, equality and brotherhood to the world you’ll need governing capacity and the Infrastructure group is insane for painting the map sacre bleu. By this point you should have Naples as a vassal or PU, Milan in a PU and Burgundy as independently dead, a part of Austria, under your union or inherited if you’ve prayed to RNGesus. Good allies for France are Castile to bully Aragon early on, Bohemia to contain Austria and vote for you in the HRE’s elections and the Ottoman empire to keep things historically balanced.
Suffering from success of course means coalitions across the continent but there are other continents to exploit while waiting for aggressive expansion to decay. If you like numbers going up, France has quite possibly the best location for economic domination as you can easily wrest control of the French Channel, Genoa and Venice trade nodes which are the only three end nodes and thus the richest in the world. Our early game economy is largely centered around taxes and war reparations but as you colonize America, Africa and Asia you’ll boast buckets of ducats by sending trade back to Europe. Later on we can opt to stay Catholic or convert to Protestant denominations but wherever you go and whatever you do the big blue blob is coming for you in the 1.35 Domination update.
I’d like to thank you for watching this far and supporting AlzaboHD in his quest to improve French history. If you want more EU4 domination let me know by improving relations with the like button, subscribing to our trade league and commenting which nation you’re going to play first in the 1.35 update. This video was made in partnership with Paradox Interactive and you should check out the new Domination DLC in the description and pinned comment below to support AlzaboHD. Si vous parlez français, faut que tu regardes la vidéo de Ssouda et s'abonner à sa chaîne youtube, le mec est vraiment cool et il a lancé un guide sur la France aujourd'hui aussi.
Everyday there is a new EU4 video guide on Domination so be sure to check out the playlist in the description below and tune in tomorrow for Ludi’s guide on Spain and Absolutehabibi’s guide on Great Britain this Sunday. But if you’d like to boost relations even more, consider donating to our Patreon or donating Basic Attention Tokens to AlzaboHD through the brave browser. Allez les bleues et bon courage pour ton premier tour, it’s time now to roll the credits.