demonicgerbil: (Default)
Kaiserreich is a mod for Hearts of Iron 2: Doomsday: Armageddon and has in the past been partially ported to Arsenal of Democracy (it never worked for me) and also the newer HoI2-based game, Darkest Hour. The mod is predicated on the idea of "What if France collapsed during World War 1 and the conflict dragged out with Germany and Britain in a stalemate?" Other events follow, such as the German intervention helping the Whites defeat the Reds in the Russian Revolution, Syndicalist take-overs of both France and Britain, and so on. Lots of fun alternate history that's usually not too 'out there'. (Real history is already pretty out there, though...) It's lots of fun alternate history grand strategy, with many interesting events that can drive each game into wildly divergent histories: who will win the second American civil war, the second Russian revolution, which countries will collapse into Syndicalism, will Germany intervene here or there during a crisis.

I started a game up as the German Reich and decided to generally pursue a policy of keeping most of my empire together while preparing for the inevitable showdown with the Commune of France, Union of Britain, and Socialist Republic of Italy. Along the way I sold Crete to Greece, Ceylon to the Princely Federation, built some battlecruisers for the Dutch, and watched in horror as the Russian Republic became the Soviet Union, a big, nasty Syndicalist power with vast manpower reserves just on the other side of my terribly thin wall of puppet governments.

When the French demanded the return of Elsass-Lothringen (Alsace-Lorraine), I of course said no, and so in 1939 the second Weltkreig began. It didn't last too long. The French collapsed under the steady advance of the Kaiser's disciplined infantry and cavalry forces (with six entire armor divisions deployed!). While I waited for the rest of my marines to finish deploying, I invaded southern Italy and routed the Syndicalists there, ceding the territory later to the Papal-led Italian Federation. Then I rolled right over the English after landing marines in two coastal provinces to split their response. After that, I started my crusade against the other Syndicalist states (Soviet Russia /w puppets and the Transcaucasus Socialist Republic). They weren't much of a problem because the Soviets had been trying to kill Baron Ungern's Mongolia off, so about half of their army was stacked up way in the middle of nowhere, giving me an easy opportunity to eat many core provinces before any real resistance showed up. While that was going on, I allied with the Ottomans and helped them put down their little Arab revolt problem, picking up Egypt and Sudan for myself and my colony of Mittelafrika.

The only Syndicalists left were in Bolivia of all places, so I'm just going to call this one a "win". I've got puppets from Britain to the Urals, and there's no way the Entente will challenge me in a war (I even tried to prevent such a conflict by giving France back to Petain's government, but they refused the offer). The green in that map is Mittleuropan (read: German) Europe and North Afrika.

I just wish my Russia->Russian Empire game had gone this well... needless to say the Kaiser curbstomped me at the end of that.


Aug. 16th, 2010 10:41 pm
demonicgerbil: (Default)
So in my Arsenal of Democracy game, I'm playing a United States that's rampaging across the globe. The last country in South America to fall was Brazil. Amusingly, they made their last stand in Julian's home town.
demonicgerbil: (Default)
I haven't played the recent patches for HoI3 yet, but the penultimate HoI2 is kind of new to me. I never got Armageddon until Steam had its big sale. Attachments for Naval units <3

demonicgerbil: (Default)

As the thread goes on, he eventually starts to troll his own forum, for example here. What other company CEO gets to call his customers "idiots" to their faces and still have them come crawling back to him for the opportunity to pay full price in order to beta test products for the non-existent company QA department?

You can see a screenie of his comment here. I'm not saying the guy didn't deserve it, but... Uh. Bad PR. Which is why I think that post will go down the memory hole soon.

It is kind of amusing to watch which threads/comments get locked or deleted on their forum. Question the game? THREAD CLOSED. Insult with profanity the people that are going "WTF mate?" about the game? Your thread persists for all time!
demonicgerbil: (Default)
Hearts of Iron 3 is the third game in a series of World War 2 strategy games by Paradox Interactive. The game takes place primarily on a map of the world, which can be zoomed in and out from closeups of a small region of the conflict to a grand world map. It's here that you can scheme, plan, and direct your armies around the field of battle.

Other screens contain other functions: diplomacy, industrial production, research, local politics, and espionage. Each of these screens can be automated, along with your military's actions.

I should note that this review is based on an early version of the game, which if you know Paradox means that the game does not actually work as advertised, or in some cases at all.

On the diplomacy screen you can negotiate trades for crucial resources, declare war, or influence other countries. It's all pretty straightforward. Having said that, the diplomacy system is utterly and completely broken. Every country in the game, with a scant few exceptions, will join the allies very quickly after the outbreak of hostilities. This includes Finland, which was a co-belligerent on the side of Germany against Russia, and Switzerland, which hasn't fought a war in a very long time. Even active diplomacy by the Axis can't prevent Finland from running to join the Allies, or the general cascade of nations joining the Allies.

It's not even just that everyone wants to hang out with Great Britain. Much of the diplomatic system is based around 'threat' levels. The more wars you fight, the more threat you gain. Unlike in the real world, when Japan fights China, a minor Warlord state, such as the Guangxi Clique quickly generates 40-something threat and kicks off the mass exodus of independent states into the Allies in 1937. This pattern repeats almost invariably. The only solution for a second World War that makes sense is to skip the diplomatic system and start the game sometime after hostilities have started between historical enemies, and this only means that nations that were neutral will join in at some later point, instead of earlier.

The production screen has a set of sliders to allocate your industry to various tasks, such as building new units or creating supplies. Your unit production queue will produce independent brigades, whole divisions - which can be customized at production time - and new province-level buildings such as industry or anti-aircraft guns. This screen has to be micromanaged if you wish to produce the things you actually want without wasting industry because of bad slider settings. In general you need to check this once a day to micromanage your sliders. If you set the screen to be automated by the AI, you then lose control over your production queue, but it at least micromanages your sliders for you. You can, at least, turn automation on and off and add things to the queue that way, but it's an inelegant solution.

The research screen consists of a set of sliders to manage a resource called "Leadership" and a panel that contains dozens of technologies to be researched. Leadership is spent on diplomacy, research, spies, and officers for the army. Thus if you want to be active diplomatic as the Axis, as futile as that is, you'll cut into your ability to be effective on the battlefield. Research at least is simple: click on a technology, click the research button, and as long as you have enough research allocated on the leadership sliders it takes care of itself. This screen too can be automated, but the AI makes terrible choices when allocating leadership.

The politics screen shows the people in your nation's government, lets you change them, gives various pointless details such as the popularity of political parties, has a panel to change the laws which govern the state, and another panel to deal with occupied countries. There's not a whole lot to look at here, really. It doesn't need to be micromanaged at all.

And finally the spy screen lets you distribute spies created by the allocation of leadership. There's a wide variety of missions that spies can undertake, some of which can be very useful. The AI does a fair job of handling the boring details on this screen for those who don't want to babysit their spies.

And finally we come back to the map screen and the armies. It's a mess. Hearts of Iron 3 is less a game about fighting World War 2 than it is a game about micromanaging your Theatre, Army Group, Army, and Corps headquarters units. Here you have two choices, you can either let the AI fight, and it does a fair job of it, though it makes some hilariously baffling choices like randomly disbanding HQ units at the corps level and kicking divisions out of its control, or you can try to manage the chaos, in which case you'll quickly grow exasperated by moving dozens of HQ units around and fiddling with officers in charge of them. You can go down a third path and put most units under AI control, and keep some for yourself, which seems to work well.

The AI loves splitting navies and air units up into dozens and dozens of single- or two-unit forces, squandering them in ways so that the other AI can pick off stragglers. Granted the opposition does the same thing, so at least fair is fair.

There's a huge bug with managing all of these units yourself. At least some of the panels that control the army and its leaders have some bug which means that the game slows massively down when you reassign officers to various units. Do it enough times and the game turns in Snails of Iron 3 and then eventually crashes and dies.

Speed is a major issue. There are reports of people with blazing systems running several times slower than people with older single-core Pentium 4 systems. This is bad programming, bad optimization. Turning the political view of the map on, so you can see who controls what territory by the colors on the map slows the game down. Going into the production window and adding 10 things to the queue slows the game down. Everything slows the game down. In a five hour session, I made it from 1936 to 1937. The game later crashed in the middle of 1937, with a corrupted savegame so I couldn't pick it back up.

You'll notice I haven't really talked about what it's like to fight World War 2 yet, how combat works, and so on. The reason is simple, I haven't actually gotten to fight World War 2 for more than a couple of in-game weeks before the game either crashes or starts to take an unreasonable amount of time for each in-game hour to tick by.

What good is a game set in World War 2 if you can't actually fight in World War 2?

Now for a quick scoring summary for those of you keeping track of the numbers:

Gameplay: 2

I like a lot of the ideas. Being able to automate whatever is boring is great. Slowdown, really bad automation, and well, slowdown again, just kill it. This game is not actually playable by anyone who isn't a blind fanboy.

Graphics: 5

Adequate. What good is a 3D engine that renders the world in so ugly a fashion? Plus it's counter-based, it's not like counters are that good looking, though they convey lots of information in a tiny space.

Sound: 7

Solid, inoffensive, and completely non-annoying. Not a single complaint.

Replay: 7

If it works, there's lots of cool things you can do. Navigate Germany peacefully through expansion, go on a warmongering spree as England, and so on. Plenty of what ifs to try out.

Other: N/A

Do not buy this game now. Maybe in a year or two after this review, buy the game. Paradox will undoubtedly bundle crucial bug fixes into an expansion, so it will be cheaper to buy the fixed game and expansion later, than it will be to buy the broken and unplayable trainwreck that exists currently.

Overall: 2

As it stand, Hearts of Iron 3 gets a major thumbsdown. I can't recommend it in this state to anyone. Paradox is banking on their reputation as fixing their games to generate sales, and I hope they do fix it. But they should feel ashamed at releasing Hearts of Iron 3 when it so obviously was not ready even for beta testing.
demonicgerbil: (Default)
Lots of neat ideas in this game. Though it seems to be more "Micromanage your chain of command and watch hundreds of trade deals spam your screen" than "Fight World War 2." Sadly it's also slow as sin. I barely made it into 1937 (when England had co-opted 3/4ths of the world into the Allies because of the guangxi clique being at war with Japan o_O) as Germany in 5 hours of gameplay. Which consisted of me sitting there staring at the screen as the game slowly ticked through the days of waiting and more waiting and some more waiting after that.
demonicgerbil: (Default)
World War 2 began when Germany demanded that Poland cede Danzig to the 3rd Reich. Poland refused, and having observed the speed of Germany's takeover of Czechoslovakia earlier in the year, Poland instituted a plan called Case Black.

Since 1936 Poland had been preparing for an invasion from the Soviet Union to the East, and had undertaken a massive supply stockpile and fortification program around Warsaw. Utilizing every rail car in the country, every motor car, and every horse, the Polish army withdraw to its pre-planned defensive positions around Warsaw. The German Wehrmacht was stymied when they encountered no resistance, indeed the population followed the orders they were trained for and welcome the Germans as liberators.

The first Germans to run into Polish troops at Warsaw were shocked by the scope of the fortifications and the sheer number of soldiers there. The Wehrmacht laid in for a siege, not expecting that the Poles had stored enough supplies in Warsaw to feed and supply the population, army, and industry for a period of at least five years. Thus the well-provisioned defense force of one-hundred divisions, some of which were still being formed even a year after hostilities began, would make it a waiting game with the Germans.

Read more... )

The question then became, would the Poles starve before the French ended the phony war in the West and did something, anything?


Dec. 20th, 2008 05:36 am
demonicgerbil: (Default)
Tried a game as Finland (two actually) but I lost during the Winter War. I guess I'm not a 1337 enough Hearts of Iron player to do it. :(
demonicgerbil: (Default)
The Italian campaign in North Africa was full of starts and half-efforts from the entrance of Italy in the war until January of 1942 when the campaign effectively ended. The initial Italian advanced pressed up to Alexandria. Several days of intense fighting in the city ended in an Italian victory and the Allied forces withdrew east and south of the city. Italian attacks over the next several months were unable to hold any ground, but the British counter-attacks couldn't push the Italian army out of Alexandria. These early successes were due largely to the efforts of Abyssinian and Somali troops raised by the Italian protectorates in East Africa. The British expended a lot of effort and used nearly half of all Allied troops in Africa to subdue the horn.

The Italian invasion of the Suez, led by the Corpo d'Marine failed at first, but with reinforcements from the Corpo d'Alpin the canal-zone fell quickly. Italian tank and cavalry divisions moved north and east from the canal, taking the Levant and Syria from the British. Officially Italy liberated those regions, setting up independent states that were recognized by other Axis powers. In truth the governments were little more than puppets of the Italian government.

With a dozen divisions of reinforcements trickling into Alexandria over the course of the latter half of 1941, the Italians kept up their attacks under the leadership of General Graziani. Sending the Italian armor and cavalry on and encirclement, the British and Allied forces in Egypt, totaling 42 division, became pocketed against the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez canal. Desperate Allied commanders kept the flow of supplies moving through the Mediterranean sea.

By December of 1941, when Japan entered the war as a co-belligerent of the Axis, the Allied presence in Egypt was reduced to the area around Port Said. Encircled by 40 Italian divisions, the poorly supplied Allied troops held on until January when a massed Italian attack broke their spirit and they surrendered.

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The rest of Africa lay open to Italian advances, with only five motley divisions of Allied forces (South African infantry in the Kenyan hinterlands, Free French in the Congo, and Belgians in South Africa) sparsely spread across the continent.
demonicgerbil: (Default)
[23:04] < Reisma> August 26, 1941: Brazil surrenders to Argentina, becoming a member state of the new Greater South American Co-Prosperity Sphere. >.>
[23:05] < Remora> GSACPS?
[23:05] < Reisma> What else am I going to call my fascist empire, but something that's in Orwellian double-speak?
[23:06] < Reisma> I managed to spare most of Brazil's navy from the carnage (after sinking two battleships they hid in port), and a large portion of their army.
[23:06] < Reisma> So now I'll have those resources to use in my invasion of Bolivia.
[23:07] < Reisma> Also, the US just endorsed what I'm doing by gauranteeing my independence.
demonicgerbil: (Default)
The course charted by Roosevelt, and codified by John Henry Eden, led the United States under Charles Lindbergh to unite the numerous other countries in the Western Hemisphere into one combined nation. Over the course of 1942 and the first half of 1943 South America fell under the power of the United States, culminating in the August 23rd surrender of Brazil, a day which is celebrated as Unification Day. The South American territories were organized as a series of Commonwealths, responsible for maintaining their own self-defense forces as Cuba, Haiti, and Guyana had successfully done earlier.

The first invasion occured against Venezuala, and it was here that the Americans ran into the strongest resistance, with failed amphibious assaults initially before Venezuala was forced to defend its border with the Commonwealth of Guyana. This created a gap through which the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd US Cavalry Corps poured. Once the Venezualan army was trapped between two massive American army groups it was only a matter of time before they fell.

Columbia and Peru, which had been warring for several months in the aftermath of Peru's annexation of Ecuador, fell to America next. Bolivia was occupied by the US Cavalry in March of 1943, and Chile was broken by massive amphibious assaults on its long coastline. The Chilean navy, it should be noted, acquited itself well in the conflict, sinking the USS Mobile during a desperate naval clash that attempted to disrupt the landings near Santiago.

Resistance in Argentina collapsed as the Americans showed the world it was possible to mount an armored assault through mountainous territory. Uruguay's army surrendered after being crushed with overwhelming might. Brazil fought on, but landings by the US Marine Corps forced the Brazilian government to capitulate.

In the Pacific Theatre, the Americans based their large submarine fleet out of Guam, as well as massive bomber forces. The Japanese lost enough shipping and warships to the predations of the American forces in the sector (including the IJN Kaga, Soryu, and Akagi) that they attempted to seize Guam. The 23rd 'Americal' Division of the American Reserve Army, with local militia organized together into the Guam Corps, under Holcomb repulsed the Japanese landings, inflicting heavy casualties as the bombers stationed in the island state savaged the Japanese landing force.

The rest of the world was not without conflict during this time. The Japanese Empire had subjugated China; Germany had forced the USSR into surrendering everything west of the Urals. With Italy pushed out of North Africa, the hotbed of conflict between Germany and the Allies had shifted into Persia, where German forces were pouring through the formerly Soviet-held territories. Japan had also seized the moment to try and take Indo-China and the oil-rich islands of the East Indies from the unprepared British and Australian defenders.

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demonicgerbil: (Default)
World War 2 raged, and the United States, now under the leadership of (America First Party) President Lindbergh - formerly (Union Party) President John Henry Eden (1937-1941) and (Democratic Party) Franklin Roosevelt (1933-1937) - continued to build its dominion in the Western Hemisphere. After the brief war with the allies in 1940, the United States incorprated the states of Vancouver and Columbia from Canada, Antilles from Britain and France, and expanded the Latin Territory to include Belize. The Commonwealth of Cuba was expanded to include the Bahamas and the Commonwealth of Haiti has Jamaica and Curacao added to it. In South America the Commonwealth of Guyana was created from territories held by the English, French, and Dutch. In 1941 the United States occupied Greenland and Iceland, at the insistence of the now-friendly United Kingdom, adding them to the hegemony as the Atlantic Territory. Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam were granted statehood early in President Lindbergh's time in office, as a ploy to generate public support for the invasion of Mexico. By the end of 1941, Mexico had been annexed to the Union and was being carved up into states. Baja California became part of the state of California, Texas was given the northern portion of the former Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The rest of Tamaulipas and the state of Neuvo Leon were joined together to form a new state of the Union called Mexas. The rest of Mexico was added to the Latin Territory until at least 1942.


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