English strategy is unique to the English situation in the game. If the English royals are competent, they cannot lose. They have to avoid relying solely on themselves, however, despite their excellent stats. They have to lay off Paris and gut southern France. With the ancestral rebellion rules, they should try to keep de Grailly on their side, and they should exterminate southern nobles like de Foix and de Toulouse-Lautrec, meaning wipe out the families entirely, while avoiding being implicated themselves. If they are really smart, they should be killing Popes, while remaining above reproach, on a daily basis until the anti-pope comes about and stop the French from getting the Church Tax.
Keeping taxes low is a very long-term strategy and one that the English, safe behind the Channel, can pursue. If there is no pressing need for funds and expect the fief will not be attacked, go ahead. Just remember that if the fief becomes a battle ground you can lose all of your progress in one season. Your overlord will not thank you for low taxes, as his overlord tax monies bypass family expense. Overlord taxes are the single most important source of income in the game.
Communicatewith your team. The war is 9/10ths won when the King stays in constant contact with his team members. This is particularly true with the English, who can more easily form a small, tightly knit team with less than a dozen players. Put up seasonal (or even daily) progress reports to your team in game, or use EMAIL. Let the English players know what their King is doing, what he wants done, and where he wants the team to go.
Take care of things at home first - The King needs to capture the disputed and non active lord's fiefs to get his stature up. Get your plans in order concerning inactive Lords, disputed fiefs, war with England, and getting allies. You have plenty of time.
War with France- It's a good idea to first attack French lords who seem to be inactive. This way, an invasion can begin and the French will not even know about until the next day if you are lucky. Then, the next day, select and attack a few Frenchmen who do appear too active. Send them letters urging them to join the English or you will take their fiefs. When you do plan to go to France, try to stay there and take fiefs each and every day. You can take the inactive fiefs to make the French think the English have left and then hit the active lords the following day. It is more a war of nerves, and France is likely to break first if you can keep up the pressure. The idea is to isolate the French King, then take him when he has little support, financial or otherwise.
Diplomacy- Navarre has a lot of property in France. Another key is d'Anjou. He loses his Kingship of Arles to the French King if he dies without a male heir. See if that can use that to bend him to your team.
Fief Management is different for the English because they are unlikely to be ravaged by foreign armies.
Productive fiefs- Fiefs where a 20% tax will cover the expenses.
Taxes- Agricultural fiefs, those with an Industry value less than 5.55: Get your tax rate up to 20% as fast as you can to generate revenue. The last thing you want to happen is to cause a rebellion when you are increasing your taxes. Quelling is expensive and it will take many years to recover the expenses of quelling a rebellious fief. If the tax rate is below 20%, increase taxes by 25% of the current tax rate when the loyalty is above 7. Keep increasing the taxes until loyalty drops below 6. Then wait until the loyalty goes above 7 before increasing taxes again.
Industrial fiefs: If the industry value is 5.55 or greater, tax the fief at a 11.9%. This will increase the GNP growth rate greater than normal. The breaks of enhanced growth is 12% and 4%. The 11.9% tax is good compromise between generating revenue for you and your King and your need to increase the GNP to do well in the noble's game.
Officials - Always spend the maximum at 4x the population of the fief. This way, you will always get the maximum revenue from the fief. Lower expenditures means less revenue than the tax rate you set for the fief.
Garrison - If England is not being attacked, and your loyalty is below 9, set the Garrison expense until the loyalty increases at least .5 each season. When the loyalty is 9, reduce the expenses until loyalty drops, then bump it up a little to get loyalty back to 9. If England is being attacked, max out the Garrison expense at 14x the fief's population. This will make it more difficult for the enemy to take your fief. This means it will slow him down, and he will have to have a larger army to take your fief. When the enemy goes away, reduce the garrison as above.
Infrastructure- Always spend the max at 6x the fief's population. This will make your fief fields and industry grow, the key to a good GDP growth rate.
Keep - Set expenses for the Keep so that the keep value grows .19 -.21 per season. Don't be fooled into thinking that England is secure from invasion. A few English who are French loyalist can cause England great harm. In Game 1/93, the French captured the English throne with over 9/10ths of the fiefs having keeps above 45.
Don't max out the expense either, because the cost is to much to gain the 8 additional Keep points over a hundred years. I mean the difference between having the keep grow at .23 versus .21 per season can be as much as 70kds per season. Overtime, that's a lot money.
Always have a bailiff in the fief. He will increase the revenue dramatically, especially if expenses are high, and increases the fief's resistance to attack. A siege is just like a battle. The commander's attack and defense strengths are compared and the overall army strengths are adjusted accordingly. A fief without a bailiff has a defensive value of 5. If you have bailiff, the defensive value is the bailiffs siege value. With advantage of the walls (Keep value of 1 is equal to 1000 troops), and good bailiff, you cause considerable frustration.
Slum fiefs (fiefs where a 20% tax rate do not cover expenses) There is little likelihood that a fief will rebel when taxes are above 20% and the surplus is less than 10% of the revenue. For these fiefs, do not install a bailiff, and increase the tax rate enough to cover the expenses which you establish using the same suggestions given above. Then, as the fief's GDP increases, you can lower the tax rate.
A "scorched earth" policy seems to fit the current situation in France. The reasoning is thus: the purpose of a "scorched earth" policy is to deny the enemy revenues from his lands. In the extreme, you do this by setting the taxes to 1% and the expenses to 1kd. You do not quell fiefs which are in rebellion. The GDP and population will decline because the infrastructure of the fief is not being adequately supported. Eventually, the fief will rebel. The enemy, when he takes a fief which has been subjected to the scorched earth strategy, will need to dramatically increase the tax rate, which, most likely, will drive the fief to rebellion. Then he will have to use his days to quell the rebellion. Thus, the enemy has two problems which he needs to immediately contend, retaking his fiefs and quelling rebellions. It will take at least two seasons before he can benefit from a reduced revenue from the fief and many years before he will enjoy the revenue the fief once produced.
Meanwhile, English lands will continue to grow in population and revenue unhindered by the depravations of the French. Over time, the English revenues will increase, and the French revenues will decline. French fiefs become easier to take because of the reduced population and keeps while English become stronger with more population and stronger keeps. This policy lends itself well to a war of attrition. The time to use this strategy is when the French are active and are retaking the French fiefs which are captured. While they are busy retaking fiefs and quelling rebellions, the English take new, untouched fiefs and set the taxes and expenses to the settings used for a scorched earth policy. By virtue of being the aggressor, the English should always be one step ahead of the French. The amount of revenue from fief surplus, province taxes, church taxes, and BCCI loans is dependent upon stature. We reduce their stature and GDP to reduce their income. As their income declines, their ability to finance campaigns weakens.
Another French fief management policy for the English is "home rule." With the use of this policy, you set the expenses to maximum, reduce the tax rate to just cover the aggregate maximum expense, and do not install a bailiff. The fief grows stronger, becomes more difficult to take, and the Provincial overlord will not enjoy an appreciable tax revenue. The French armies are not effective as the English armies because they do not contain yeomen. Even a Frenchmen who leads an army with yeomen in it does not enjoy the advantages of the English army. The yeomen in the French led army are considered crossbowmen and are not effective as English yeomen. If a fief's keep is less than 30, then they are at parity with the English. This is because they will get the same chances of taking a fief as the English do during the initial stages of the siege. However, if the fief has a strong keep, then they will require more men to reduce the keep. Also, a garrison which well paid will defend the fief more vigorously than if poorly paid. The reduced taxes will promote higher loyalty which also makes the fief more resistant to new masters. On a more subjective note, we are telling all who pay attention to this war, that we are claiming these fiefs as part of our homes and will manage them as if they are our home lands. When we have claimed the provincial titles from the French magnates, we can increase the taxes and install bailiffs to benefit from the revenues of a well run fief. If resistance is light, it would seem that this is the best course to follow. The keeps are repaired and grow stronger, the population grows, and the loyalty of the fief increases at an accelerated rate. If and when the French finally decide to launch a counter offensive, they will find these fiefs no easy pickings. Meanwhile English armies will easily retake these fiefs, and make new incursions into French territory.