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The Franks are an offensive civilization that rely primarily on their heavy cavalry for combat. The Franks' straightforward civilization bonuses with their cavalry make them an ideal civilization to utilize the "Knight rush" strategy for newer players and veterans alike.


Their Knights and related units receive a bonus 20% hitpoints, making them even tougher than they already are. While 32 extra HP might not seem like a big difference on a unit who already has 160, it allows them to survive five hits from a Halberdier instead of four. Farms are also much cheaper to start up, as the upgrades are free. Another major opportunity would be their exceptionally cheap castles, which cost 25% less than regular castles. This allows them to build a powerful defense earlier than other civilizations. While the Franks may have an easy time building castles, their unique unit, the Throwing Axeman is not the best choice of units in head to head battles, as they are somewhat fragile and their attack is nothing special. However, they do have some advantages. They, along with the Mameluke, the Gbeto, the Kamayuk and the Steppe Lancer possess the ability to deal melee damage at range. This allows them to easily destroy Battering Rams from behind a wall, removing the need to send out forces.


In contrast with their cavalry, their archers are fairly weak, missing most upgrades and technologies. Also, despite their powerful heavy cavalry, the rest of their mounted units are average. They lack the Hussar upgrade and cannot build Camel Riders. Their defense is somewhat weak, missing most tower upgrades. Also, the Frankish economy is fairly lacking in a broad and overall technological sense, aside from the notable inherent Frankish food-related bonuses.


The Franks are fairly average until the Castle Age. They get their Farm upgrades for free, which gives them a small boost in the early ages. Typically Frank players should go for a Fast Castle, followed by a Knight Rush.

Their Knight line is one of the best in the game, only worse than Teuton Knights (not to be confused with Teutonic Knights) and Lithuanian ones with a full Relic bonus. Their Knight Rush is highly effective. Due to cheaper Castles (488 stone instead of 650) they can easily make a forward Castle to limit the opponent and give the Knights a fall-back option. Throwing Axemen are good for taking out Rams from behind Walls or attacking through a logjam of enemy troops protecting the ram, but they're not useful for much else. Franks are extremely predictable and any competent foe will keep Spears and such on-hand, so a Frank player must try to micromanage the Knights well. Bombard Cannons are also useful for opening up cramped bases so that Paladins can maneuver more easily.

On water maps, Franks have an average navy, and should use their cheaper Castles to gain an edge.

Strategy changes in The Forgotten[]

Throwing Axemen are a little bit more useful in The Forgotten expansion; the upgrade to Elite Throwing Axeman cost 100 gold less than in previous versions of the game. Their Axeman are faster because they get Squires. Their economy get an early game improvement with their new civilization bonus that makes foragers collect food more quickly from bushes. Maybe the most important improvement for the Franks in this expansion is their Castle Age unique technology Chivalry, which improves the Stable work rate by 40%. Franks are already good with heavy cavalry, so with these new tech they can spawn Paladins at a greater rate; this technology plus Conscription enables the Franks to produce cavalry at a +86% speed rate, and it also works with the Huns team bonus (in a team battle) furthering this rate to a total of +123% creation speed for cavalry units.

Strategy changes in The African Kingdoms[]

Throwing Axemen are slightly faster. Also, the Knight HP bonus now applies to all their cavalry, including Cavalry Archers, making a Scout rush a more viable tactic during Feudal Age and the Cavalry Archers more useful. It should be noted that building Cavalry Archers and Scouts is very suboptimal, as the HP is still pretty low in comparison to their respective cavalry units with Bloodlines (72 HP as opposed to 80 HP) and the fact that the Franks lack the important technologies for Cavalry Archer rushes (Parthian Tactics, Bracer, and Thumb Ring).

Strategy changes in Lords of the West[]

The unique technology Chivalry got moved to the Imperial Age, so they are slightly weaker during the Castle Age.

Their economy is also slightly toned down, as foragers only work 15% faster. Meanwhile, they lose access to Treadmill Crane.


As a Cavalry oriented civilization, Franks benefit greatly from team bonuses that boost cavalry, and particularly the Knight line units. As previously mentioned, the Hun team bonus will add creation speed to the stable, enabling to the Franks to spawn their formidable Paladins even faster. The Persian Team bonus is also helpful, as this furthers the capabilities of the Paladin when facing archers.

The paladin is a common target for monks, since it lacks the conversion resistance that other cavalry units feature, while also being a powerful unit by itself, so having a Teuton as an ally is good, since paladins are the backbone of any Frankish army.

Franks also benefits from economic team bonuses in regards to the farm production as they already have farms that upgrade automatically.The Chinese team bonus adds more food for each farm.

Mayans also make great teammates for the Franks, as they can play as a board for the franks in springboard tactics. Also, Mayans have an economic bonus of generating more resources from nature. This applies to stone mines, so this bonus, combined with the Franks' cheaper castles, means that the Frank player will almost always have a castle to defend a location. Also, Franks can cover the natural lack of cavalry of the Mayans.

Berbers may not be an obvious option but since the latest patches as now the Frank Knight HP bonus applies also to all their cavalry that means this bonus also benefit Genitours if they are allied with Berbers (still Frankish Genitours will be suboptimal if compared against civilizations with access to Bloodlines), as well the Berbers can grant the Franks faster working pace for their castles thanks to the Kasbah technology considering also that Franks have the cheapest castles of all, in return Berbers benefit from the long sighted Knight bonus as also the Berbers have Cheaper cavalry. Since Dynasties of India, the reworked Cuman Mercenaries technology of the Cumans means each Castle can create 5 free Elite Kipchaks, and as Franks have the cheapest Castles, they can create more of them. Another not-so-ovbious choice for an ally are the Hindustanis, because their team bonus gives Light Cavalry +2 bonus attack against buildings. Also, they can create Caravanserais along the trade route, boosting the trade of both players. Franks can perform a scout rush in the Feudal Age, while in the Imperial Age, they will need gold for the Paladin and Throwing Axeman.

The Burmese, Spanish, Aztec, Burgundian and Bengali team bonuses also aid the Franks, since the mainstays of any Frankish army are Paladins, which cost gold. With the Burmese team bonus, they can snatch Relics rapidly; with the Aztec team bonus, those Relics will also generate more gold; and the Spanish team bonus improves the rate of gold trade units can generate. Not only more gold trickle, the Burgundian and Bengali team bonus also provides food trickle from Relics and trade units respectively, allowing the Franks to amass larger groups of Knight-line units.

The Vietnamese have several bonuses that Franks may use in different stages of the game as they offer Imperial Skirmishers as anti-Halberdier and anti-archer measures, or a key component of late-Imperial domination (considering Franks have mediocre archers the Imperial Skirmisher make up for this weakness), with a handsome bankroll via Paper Money at Imperial Age for making several more Paladins and Gunpowder and revelation of the initial settlements, which Franks may use that intel to perform early raids.

The Franks' team bonus may sound useless on paper, but many cavalry civilizations (especially those that favor the use of Cavaliers and Paladins, like Persians, Malians, Burgundians, Sicilians, Huns, Cumans, Lithuanians, Poles and Burmese) may use this bonus for great results as their knight contingents will need less sight support from Hussars.

Compared advantages and disadvantages[]

Advantages vs other civilizations[]

  • The Throwing Axeman, being a ranged melee unit, can counter the most traditional counters to archery (skirmishers, Goth Huskarls, Rattan Archers, Korean War Wagons, etc.) while at the same time filling to some extent the place of archers. Having bonus against buildings, it can give a hard time to civilizations with mediocre defenses (such as Goths, Huns, and Magyars). They can destroy siege weapons at a distance if micromanaged; even against civilizations with good siege weapons (like the Mongols, Celts and Slavs). Since Frankish Castles are much cheaper, Throwing Axemen can be spawned more readily than other unique units, making them a serviceable replacement to the Champion against trash units, as they can counter with ease Halberdiers, Hussars and Skirmishers, giving the Franks a huge edge against civilizations with bad Trash units, such as Turks.
  • As their cavalry receive more hit points by default, and Franks also have a good early economy through their farm and forage bonuses, they are able to perform raids early on, so civilizations with bad early game such as Portuguese, Turks and Spanish will have trouble against Franks. Their bulkier Knights, boosted with Chivalry, also gives them an edge in the mid game against civilizations reliant on archers such as Britons, Vietnamese, or Mayans. Heresy is a nice technology for the Franks to have access to, as it counteracts the Knights' vulnerability to conversion; once researched, enemy monks will merely kill Frankish knights instead of converting them. This tactic also works against the Saracens: even though they have strong camel units, they don't have early game bonuses, so the player should keep the pressure on the Saracens before they can come out in the late game.
  • Defensively speaking, their cheaper Castles gives them an edge, especially against civilizations with poor siege units or without a proper anti-building unit, such as Japanese, Britons and Magyars, even civilizations with good siege weapons (like Celts, Ethiopians, Huns, Turks, and Mongols) may have trouble against groups of cheap Frankish castles (as they can also spawn Trebuchets in the Imperial Age). This advantage if used offensively for a castle drop with petards may also be problematic for civilizations with mediocre defenses.
  • As they have almost all gunpowder upgrades (only lacking Elite Cannon Galleon and Bombard Towers) they fare well against infantry-based civilizations such as Goths, Burmese, Aztecs, and Incas, especially in closed maps like Black Forest.

Disadvantages vs other civilizations[]

  • Despite the fact the Throwing Axemen can fill somewhat the place of archers, they can be overcome by Hand Cannoneers and the usual infantry counters (like Jaguar Warriors, Cataphracts, and Plumed Archers), so civilizations like Turks, Spanish, Portuguese, Incas, Aztecs, Mayans, and Byzantines can give the Franks trouble. Japanese Samurai are also a threat to them. If the player forgets to micromanage their Throwing Axemen, Onagers can be a threat, so civilizations like Celts, Ethiopians, Mongols, and Koreans should have this in mind. Also, they have low movement speed, so Cavalry archers and the Malian Gbeto may hit-and-run them.
  • Despite the fact that Throwing Axemen can be employed to get an edge late-game (as Trash busters), Franks lacks Hussars and the final armor and attack Blacksmith upgrades for their archery, limiting the effectiveness of the Elite Skirmishers.
  • Despite the fact they have bulkier paladins with more LOS and better spamming rate, their other cavalry units have less hit points if compared with civilizations with access to Bloodlines, thus limiting the Frank responses against other cavalry civilizations in cavalry vs cavalry clashes. Also, as Franks are heavily reliant on Paladins, civilizations with good anti-cavalry units such as Camel Riders, Kamayuks, Eagle Warriors, Genoese Crossbowmen, and Halberdiers can overcome Franks (like Berbers, Saracens, Italians, Hindustanis, Gurjaras, Malians, Incas, Celts, Aztecs, and Byzantines). As Paladins are often the target of Monks, civilizations with good monks (such as Spanish, Saracens, Aztecs and Burmese) may overcome a Frankish paladin army. Lithuanian cavalry can surpass the Frankish cavalry if they get four Relics, making them very devastating (especially their Paladins and the Leitis). Frankish Paladins also struggle against beefier Persian War Elephants and Southeast Asian Battle Elephants.
  • Despite their Castles giving them a defensive edge (as well an offensive one if performing Castle Drops), they still lack several defensive upgrades such as Keeps, Bombard Towers, and Bracer, so that can be an exploitable disadvantage that good siege civilizations, such as Turks, Celts, and Ethiopians, may use.
  • The Burmese might be the most nasty buster to Franks, as their unique unit can deal great damage to their both Knights and Throwing Axemen, and they can hit-and-run them. Their Monks can also counter their Paladins, as well as their Halberdiers and Battle Elephants. The Franks lack good archery units to counter Burmese common units.
  • Regarding naval warfare, the Frankish navy doesn't have any naval bonus, as well as lacking Shipwright, Heated Shot, and Elite Cannon Galleons, so good Naval civilizations (such as Vikings, Portuguese and Berbers) can easily defeat them in Water maps.

Situational advantages[]

  • As their villagers collect faster from forage bushes, they may get an advantage in maps where they can find more bushes than usual, such as Arena, Black Forest, and Yucatan.
  • Considering their light cavalry have by default more hp, the Franks may have an advantage at Budapest, as all players have double startup, which means they have 2 scouts in that map.
  • If playing Death Match, Franks may get an advantage, as gold scarcity is not an issue, so they can spam their knights more freely.
  • In closed maps like Black Forest, Franks may get an advantage, as they can quickly make their way to Imperial Age if they manage to wall early and improve all the technologies related with cavalry and gunpowder.
  • Their cheaper Castles may give them an edge in game modes like "Defend the Wonder" and "King of the Hill".
  • As their light Cavalry have more HP by default, while also training faster after Chivalry is researched, they may get an edge in the "capture the Relic" game mode, as light cavalry is the usual counter to monks.