New openings for the Modern Variant

The French Openings

Report on France
Opening Statistics
  • Modern Games in Progress
  • Finished Games
  • Openings List
  • Camembert, Atlantic Variant
  • Guns of Navarra
  • Lyon Shuffle
  • Diplomat's Delight (by Jeff Serandos)
  • Midi Offensive
  • Olive Branch
  • Zurich Alliance
  • More Player Comments about France
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    Report on France

    Number of wins:0
    Number of 3-way draws:2
    Number of 4-way draws:0
    Number of 5-way draws:0
    Number of eliminations:20

    Most Used Opening:Helvetic Attack10 times
    Second Most Used Opening:Swiss variant4 times
    Basque variant
    Britanny variant

    I still consider France the hardest power to play in Modern - the number of eliminations speak for themselves. I managed a 3-way draw as France, in Dickens, but it was tough and I only had 5 SCs by game's end. No France has even gotten beyond 20 SCs, though I believe that if one does, they will have reached critical mass and do very well.

    It's interesting to note that France's fate seems tied to Russia's. Russia won day2day and will almost surely win aurora, and in both games, France is a strong second place. Russia also participated in France's other 3-way draw, despair, in which France had 16 SCs. Ukraine may also have the same effect - though it hasn't done as well as Russia, it is dominant in details and frontlin, in which France is also doing quite well. This could be because a large Russia or Ukraine threaten Germany, Italy and Egypt, giving France much more room to maneuver.

    French players have used an even wider variety of openings than those playing Egypt. The clear favorite has been the Helvetic Attack, which has also given France one of its two 3-way draws and its two top placings in ongoing games. Still, France has been eliminated 4 times out of 10 using the opening, so it might be that the success of the opening is simply due to the number of times it has been used.

    Opening Statistics

    Here is an updated list of games and openings used by France:

    Modern Games in Progress

    GameOpening UsedYear# SCsPlacement
    Euro96Helvetic Attack2006161st
    Euro97Helvetic Attack199781st tied
    AuroraMaginot (Monaco V)2006182nd
    DetailsSwiss (Britanny V)2014162nd
    FrontlinFrench Fashion Tour2002152nd
    PerotSpanish Attack (Swiss V)2006142nd
    SpadesHelvetic Attack2002142nd
    Asterix Le GauloisHelvetic Attack199542nd tied
    HryvnaHelvetic Attack199542nd tied
    RenardCamembert (Atlantic V)199542nd tied
    ModsquadHelvetic Attack2008103rd
    OoDiplomat's Delight199983rd
    EricCamembert (Atlantic V)199773rd tied
    Modhof96Midi Offensive1999104th
    HamburgHelvetic Attack200166th
    Izmir2Lyon Shuffle200166th tied
    ModgameSwiss (Basque V)199966th tied
    Modt97aSwiss (Britanny V)200157th tied
    Modern5Helvetic Attack199848th
    Norm7Guns of Navarra200048th
    SardFrench Fashion Tour200648th
    NorwayOlive Branch199658th tied
    Taunt3Swiss (Basque V)200158th tied
    Modt97bFrench Fashion Tour199948th tied
    Norm11Zurich Alliance199939th
    Spring96Garde-Frontiere (Atlantic V)199939th
    ModernSwiss (Britanny V)200039th tied
    MilosAlpine Fist (Southern V)1998310th
    Academy4Diplomat's Delight2009-elim.
    GdanskFrench Fashion Tour2010-elim.
    Gun1994Alpine Fist (Belgian V)2007-elim.
    MilanHelvetic Attack2013-elim.
    MinskSwiss (Basque V)2014-elim.
    NatoSpanish Attack (Monaco V)2006-elim.
    OdessaEiffel Tower2019-elim.
    ThisthatSwiss (Basque V)2004-elim.

    Finished Games

    GameOpening UsedYear# SCsPlacement
    DespairHelvetic AttackFIR 2012163rd
    DickensMaginot (Swiss V)EFG 201553rd
    Day2dayAlpine Fist (Southern V)R 2007122nd
    LiarliarGarde-Frontiere (Bordeaux V)T 200754th
    Lie2meGarde-Frontiere (Atlantic V)T 200734th
    BlitzzHelvetic AttackBEP 2017-elim.
    BuchananCharlemagne's AllianceBEPSU 2022-elim.
    CairoMaginot (Monaco V)SPIT 2010-elim.
    Euro95Helvetic AttackERT 2023-elim.
    IzmirGarde-Frontiere (Atlantic V)EIS 2005-elim.
    KatrasHelvetic AttackBIPT 2012-elim.
    LyonAlpine Fist (Parisian V)BPST 2011-elim.
    RostovSwiss (Britanny V)I 2015-elim.
    SevilleSpanish Attack (Swiss V)I 2014-elim.
    SpartikuAlpine Fist (Belgian V)P 2004-elim.

    Openings List

    You can read about French openings in my previous article on France, The Fifth Republic. Of those, the Tour de France, the Cheese and Olives, the Basque Offensive, the Lowlands, Napoleon's Revenge, the Latin Offensive, and William the Conqueror openings have never been used. Openings not mentioned in the article are given below.

    Camembert, Atlantic Variant

    France: Army Marseilles -> Monaco.
    France: Army Paris -> Picardy.
    France: Fleet Bordeaux -> Bay of Biscay.
    France: Army Lyon -> Switzerland.

    Bordeaux is moved to the Bay of Biscay instead of remaining in port. Other than that the opening is the same as the standard Camembert opening.

    Guns of Navarra

    France: Army Marseilles -> Monaco.
    France: Army Paris -> Picardy.
    France: Fleet Bordeaux -> Navarra.
    France: Army Lyon -> Auvergne.

    France foregoes Switzerland for an early attack on Spain. If cooperating with Britain, Spain will not be able to get more than one build in 1995, perhaps none at all. If cards are played right, Germany will take Switzerland and let France take Belgium instead. This could create peace on France's eastern border while giving it as many SCs as otherwise would get.

    Lyon Shuffle

    France: Army Marseilles SUPPORT Army Lyon -> Switzerland.
    France: Army Paris -> Lyon.
    France: Fleet Bordeaux -> Bay of Biscay.
    France: Army Lyon -> Switzerland.

    France opens by making sure to take Switzerland unless Italy and Germany cooperate, while being able to subsequently move to Monaco. The move of Paris to Lyon rather than Alsace allows France to support Switzerland without antagonizing Germany.

    Diplomat's Delight (by Jeff Serandos)

    France: Army Marseilles -> Monaco.
    France: Army Paris -> Alsace.
    France: Fleet Bordeaux -> Navarra.
    France: Army Lyon -> Switzerland.

    France moves to take Switzerland and Monaco, it's two natural neutrals. Paris moves to Alsace to either threaten Munich, support Switzerland or keep the German out. Unless it is pre-arranged, the move will almost certainly annoy the Germans, just as the move to Navarra will annoy the Spanish. In a game with press, this will certainly lead to a lot of negotiation and a delight for any diplomat!

    Midi Offensive

    France: Army Marseilles -> Piedmont.
    France: Army Paris -> Lyon.
    France: Fleet Bordeaux -> Navarra.
    France: Army Lyon -> Switzerland.

    France can only get Monaco by moving the army in Piedmont back, but perhaps a bounce was arranged with Italy and this is an appropriate way of ensuring an empty Piedmont in the fall, taking Switzerland and making sure to keep it. If not the move to Piedmont and Navarra is likely to annoy both Spain and Italy, making France's life quite difficult in the south, or Midi.

    Olive Branch

    France: Army Marseilles -> Monaco.
    France: Army Paris SUPPORT Fleet Bordeaux.
    France: Fleet Bordeaux HOLD.
    France: Army Lyon SUPPORT Spanish Fleet Barcelona -> Switzerland.

    A very peaceful opening - France holds out an olive Branch to all its neighbours. The only unit that moves is Marseilles towards Monaco. A special gesture is made towards Spain, which is seen by some as a natural enemy for France in Modern. With France unable to make a supported attack into Switzerland in the fall, it will most likely only gain one SC in 1995. Those olive branches better bear fruit!

    Zurich Alliance

    France: Army Marseilles -> Piedmont.
    France: Army Paris -> Picardy.
    France: Fleet Bordeaux -> Bay of Biscay.
    France: Army Lyon SUPPORT German Army Munich -> Switzerland.

    France seeks a close alliance with Germany against Italy by offering him Switzerland, likely in exchange for Belgium. Piedmont can go on towards Milan with German help, but probably better is for Germany to try taking Austria while France moves Piedmont to take Monaco and Lyon into Piedmont for a continued attack on Italy in 1996.

    More Player Comments about France:

    "I've read all three of the opening surveys for Modern. I was disappointed at the name of one French opening, the French Fashion Tour! I would have called it Diplomat's Delight (or maybe Negotiator's Nightmare) since the first turn moves to Alsace and Piedmont require lots of diplomacy! I doubt you could consider this opening in a no-press game."
    - Jeff Serandos

    If I had received the suggestion before the article, I might have used it. Diplomat's Delight is a good anem. As it is, I try using a name from everyone who contributes one. The opening was named French Fashion Tour by the player who suggested it, because the units go in many directions - into Italy, Switzerland and towards Germany, 'exporting French culture and fashion' . Myself, I thought it was quite funny! I used your suggestion for another opening above, in which France moves towards both Germany and Spain ...

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    Vincent Mous-Harboesgaard
    ([email protected])

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