We're still waiting, @Mitoe In the meantime, familiarise yourself with GoodSpeed's guide for Germany
Germans have a lot in common with France when it comes to their early game economy (they almost match it), their playstyle, their versatility and even their balance. Still, Germans are a completely different civ. They lack musks and add dopps, giving them worse but not that much worse colonial scaling. They have trouble against heavy musk compositions but dopps do quite alright against non-musk civs. And their fortress builds, primarily the semi-FF, are actually stronger than France’s due to their better shipments. Uhlans are not to be underestimated, their low health makes overkill an issue against them and they deal a lot of damage very quickly. Also there are so many of them, making anticav extremely important against Germans which means Germans’ skirm shipments are extra strong. War wagons are considered to be worse than goons and they generally are, but they do have their own strengths. For example they can single handedly shut down musk huss compositions by kiting endlessly and are hard to focus down because they can kill cav from far away. This is something that may seem somewhat irrelevant, but considering how much Germans like to semi-FF they will be up against colonial compositions more often than other civs, and WW help a lot there.
Germans are a civ that evolved greatly over the past 5 years. When I started playing them, starting 1 rax and sending 9 xbow (later nerfed to 8) was still the most common way to play them, second being the 500f 3 SW FF.
As I started semi-FFing with Germans, it quickly became obvious that the 700g is awkwardly timed. Forced to make 10+ uhlans simply because of the long wait for the 700g and ageing up at 9+ minutes didn’t feel like the kind of semi-FF that would do very well in a metagame where aggressive builds were common. And yet, this is the only semi-FF that top German players ever did. Needless to say, semi-FFing with Germans wasn’t very popular. The next question was how to improve it? How to speed it up?
The (then costing 250w) TP during age up changed everything. A simple, elegant change in the build sped up that 700g shipment and made it possible to age before 8 minutes with a shipment ready and 9 uhlans in colonial. This turned the way people played Germans up on its head. Now their semi-FF is probably their most popular build, and for good reason. And this, I believe, was the change that finally made the competitive community realise how strong TPs are. It’s the change in the meta that made everyone experiment with TPs not just with Germans but with every other civ too. While for some civs it was already common to build them, most civs weren’t building them at all. Thinking back, this is quite simply suboptimal. France for example can afford that TP, and they should go for it every single game. The same goes for Germans. These kind of revolutionary changes in the metagame are also a reason why old pros coming back to this game may seem like bad players. That’s not the case, they are simply dealing with a meta that is ahead of them.
But I digress.
Germans are one of those civs that would rather play the game out in fortress age. They’re decent in early colonial, sure, but they don’t scale very well due to their lack of musks. Their shipments also improve more as they age up, after all they get 3 instead of 2 uhlans with every shipment after ageing to fortress.
This makes them a civ that likes FF builds. They can FF in a number of different ways, similar to France, and they can semi-FF in a number of ways as well. Although I should mention here that their best semi-FFs are cav based. They don’t have musks after all, and a dopp semi-FF is awkward because you don’t really want to be upgrading them to veteran, and you want that stable in fortress to upgrade your uhlans. A bow/pike semi-FF is awkward for the same reasons, plus you don’t really want these units in fortress.
But, the fact that Germans like their cav semi-FFs is abusable. Some civs will pike or musk rush them and force them to send 8 bows to hold on, but even against that Germans are relatively fine with mm, raids and the bow shipment. They do have a TP, so 8 bow + 700w into a colonial build isn’t a very hard transition for them and a colonial pure infantry composition is going to be a sad panda against uhlan+bow.
However, the 7-8 min timings can hurt Germans. The German semi-FF is tight, it can’t afford to get distracted and it doesn’t have a shipment to spare. Generally they will only have a stable up, and the first ranged inf they’ll have is the 8 skirm shipment. Simply mix in some cav to deal with those skirms and suddenly you have yourself a composition that Germans can’t really deal with. After all, meanwhile you’re wrecking their base with heavy infantry.
Of course it would have to be a strong timing, because Germans will have 9 uhlans and minutemen as well as that first fortress shipment on the way. A bunch of civs can pull this timing off though, and it’s against those civs that Germans tend to struggle. This is where a German xbow semi-FF or even a dopp semi-FF becomes decent. Good walling and solid execution will still land you in fortress relatively safely against most timings (notice a similarity with Dutch here), and Germans in fortress are (unlike Dutch) truly tough to deal with.
The German build
Check starting crates:
—With an extra wood crate (200w start), build a TP and chop 100w for a house.
—With an extra coin crate, mine 75g and chop 50w, trade gold for wood in market and then get hunting dogs + a house.
—With an extra food crate, chop 150w and mine 50g and still go early market.
(1) 2 SW
During transition, chop for a(nother) TP (exception: no eco FF).
If you don’t have a market yet (that should mean you have 2 TPs), whether you should chop for it or not depends on the match up. If you expect to get pushed early or if you’re planning to be aggressive in early colonial, skip it for now. If neither of these things are the case chop another 225 wood and get hunting dogs + placer mines. If you want to boom even more, chop for steel traps too. Note that this will slow you down.
If you’re doing a 3 SW 700g semi-FF, you’ll need to chop 100 extra wood for a house.
The FF 20%
As with France, there are 2 versions of this build. The no eco version and the eco version. Both can be used in a variety of situations. The no eco version is viable in 2 situations: Against a civ that you’re not comfortable against in colonial and whose 8 minute timing you cannot hold if you semi-FF, and against civs who like to boom hard in early colonial and then age up after you. This FF may have a game-winning timing against them. Do not do this against civs that are likely to semi-FF unless they’re slow at it and can’t really punish your lack of units in colonial.
The eco version is viable in situations where you are definitely not getting pushed in the first 8 minutes and have all the time in the world to be greedy. This is, without a doubt, the most greedy German build you can do. But be aware of the fact that this would only be better than the semi-FF if your extra 5 uhlans would be useless against them (think Japan for example). Note that, same as France, chopping for the early TP if you started with 100w is viable with the FF. You don't mind the later age up because it's not important for your colonial shipment to arrive fast. Don't build another TP during transition with this build unless you can afford to delay your fortress time a bit.
The no eco version is as follows:
Age up with 500f and mine gold with enough (about 10) vills so that you will have 1200-1000 around the same time.
(2) 700w Use that for a stable and houses, optional: market.
Age up with the fast politician, you will be in fortress around 6.40 with a shipment ready and a military building up, with enough houses to support a decent uhlan or WW batch. What to send is up to you, usually a unit shipment to push fast but 1000w is also viable if you want to go for a later timing.
And the eco variation: Everything is the same except chop for the first market upgrades during transition and:
(2) 3 SW instead of 700w
Chop just enough for 2 houses and a rax.
For a stable, uhlan upgrade, potentially second market upgrades and more houses. Again, only do this if you have the time to neglect military production for a while.
The rush/timing 10%
Despite Germans generally favouring FF builds, they have some strong colonial options as well. A forward barracks with 8 xbows first does get a quick 3 unit combo, and this can be a pain to deal with. Meanwhile, much like France, Germans have a decent eco at home and can transition into long term colonial with 3 SW at any point. Don’t hesitate to do this if you don’t see your timing working. Even so, the German early game economy does allow for a strong mass at 7-8 minutes, and the German colonial timing can therefore still hit pretty hard.
From the 400w that you aged up with you can build either a rax or a stable. Your start doesn’t matter much for the timing, it only changes your early colonial pressure. In the end it simply depends on what your opponent is most likely to come up with in early colonial, army wise. I would advise to always start stable if you’re going for the timing alone, because in that case you’ll at least have the opportunity to raid in early colonial.
(2) 8 xbow
(3) 700w (build second military building)
For early colonial pressure as well as the (slightly slower) timing.
(2) 700w (build second military building)
(4) 8 xbow
For only the timing.
This can be a dopp+uhlan+xbow, an xbow+pike+uhlan, or even a pure pike+uhlan or xbow+uhlan timing. Note that it is slower than the French one due to your shipments arriving less quickly. It speeds up if you had the discovery age TP. It simply depends what you do with the resources, but the shipment order should be the same every game. It is viable to go 2 rax but only if you were going for a full infantry timing, and no early rush. In that case if you’re going xbow+pike and not xbow+dopp, send 600w instead of 700g. This is practically the same build as the French 2 rax bow+pike, be it slightly weaker because your shipments arrive slower.
The long term plan 70%
As with France (again), this is the same build as the rush/timing except it squeezes the 3 SW in as soon as possible in order to set you up for a long term game. Where Germans are different from France is their goal: their goal is to reach fortress. Their goal isn’t, like it can be with France, to take map control early and not let go. Why not? Because their late colonial composition is simply weaker than France’s. Most civs will be able to mass up a decent counter to the German army and push out in time to secure more resources, so what Germans are more likely to do is take map control and put on some pressure while sending 3 SW and ageing up. This is the build that will generally turn into a semi-FF. There are multiple possibilities that all end up in that situation:
(2) 3 SW
(3) 700g (age up)
(4) Fortress age shipment
(The common semi-FF)
(2) 3 SW
(3) 700w (build second military building)
(4) 700g (age up or make units from this)
(5) 600g (age up) or (5) Fortress age shipment.
(2) 700w (build second military building)
(3) 3 SW
(4) 700g (age up or make units from this) or (4) 600w
(5) 600g or (5) 700g (age up in either case).
Memento: quanto crassior deliciarum causā factus eris, tanto difficilior impressione fugies — 徳川 家康