How to Play the French in Age of Empires IV

The French rely on early and powerful cavalry to push their aggressive offenses.
The French rely on early and powerful cavalry to push their aggressive offenses. / Photo courtesy of Relic Entertainment/Xbox Game Studios

Playing the French in Age of Empires IV is a test of your ability to scale quickly and push aggressive offenses. The French's ability to produce Villagers and Scouts faster than other civilizations lets them kickstart their economy and rush the Feudal Age, which is when they start to come alive.

The Feudal Age brings the Royal Knight, the cornerstone of the French offense. These powerful cavalries allow for early game offensives, and the ground taken by these attacks can be held by Keeps that, in turn, reduce the cost of units produced from Ranges and Stables within their influence.

To fund all that military might, the French can lean on their trade abilities. Trade Posts are revealed at the start of the game, and Traders can return any resource to the market, allowing for quick infusions of resources in clutch moments. Pushing these advantages and overrunning enemies is the surest way to victory for the French.

French Landmarks

  • Chamber of Commerce (Age II) – Economic Landmark. Acts as a Market. All Traders and Trade Ships return +30% more resources to any Market or Dock.
  • School of Cavalry (Age II) – Military Landmark. Acts as a Stable. All of your Stables produce units 20% faster.
  • Royal Institute (Age III) – Military Landmark. Houses all technologies unique to the French. Research is 20% cheaper here and ignores Age requirements.
  • Guild Hall (Age III) – Economic Landmark. Generates and stores resources over time, the more resources stored the faster they are generated. Select between Food, Wood, Stone or Gold.
  • Red Palace (Age IV) – Defensive Landmark. Acts as a Keep. Features high-damage arbalest emplacements. Each garrisoned unit adds an additional arbalest.
  • College of Artillery (Age IV) – Provides immediate access to produce Royal Artillery, which do 20% more damage

French Unique Units

  • Galleass: Forward mount bombard ship that can do heavy damage to any target
  • Royal Knight: Heavy melee cavalry that gains bonus damage for three seconds after charging. Effective against most units.
  • Arbalétrier: High damage ranged unit with a defensive pavise shield. Best used when supported by others. Anti-armor specialist, comes with melee armor, but has low health.
  • Cannon: Most powerful siege cannon. Excellent against buildings or any stubborn targets.

French Unique Technologies

  • Long Guns: Increase the damage of naval cannons by 10%
  • Chivalry: Royal Knights regenerate +1 health every second when out of combat
  • Canted Saddles: Increase Royal Knights' bonus damage after a charge by 10
  • Gambesons: Increase Arbalétrier melee armor by 5
  • Crossbow Stirrups: Reduce the reload time of Arbalétriers by 25%
  • Enlistment Incentives: Improves the French influence by reducing unit costs by a further 10%
  • Royal Bloodlines: Increase the health of all cavalry by 35%