Hearts of Iron 4: An AAR

Thought I’d do something a bit different. I don’t know why I got this idea yesterday, but here we go. I decided to try Hearts of Iron 4 after a year, see if things had improved any. While I am fond of grand strategy games like this, this particular game hasn’t really grabbed me in the past. There’s just too much of the modern Paradox feel to it, along with several unfun aspects. But why not give it a shot again?

I know I’m playing it “wrong,” because you’re supposed to take part in WWII. That’s the whole point. But I don’t like grand wars like that. I want to play something a bit smaller-scale. Too bad that this particular time period isn’t too convenient for that – too many big boys, and if you play Europe, you ARE going to get in the war, and probably promptly wrekt unless you’re one of the big guys. And for the rest of the world, it’s mostly just colonial powers, with one major exception: Central and South America. So that’s where we’re going this time.

Now, there is (or was) a problem with this: in my previous game, there was an event that the USA would get, that would basically put all of the Americas under its wing, and any aggressive moves against any country would put it – and all its allies – against you. This would be pretty inconvenient, if you were trying to make the biggest X you could. Many of my runs basically ended at this point. And if you happened to be at war when this happened, suddenly you’d find yourself in the Axis against America. Very annoying.

Now, I’d heard a while ago that events and focuses were changed somewhat, improved, and that this particular thing had gone away. So here I am, going to make Greater Mexico (I think most of the fun C.American empire names didn’t make it over from VickyII). And so it goes. I’m playing on EZMODO FOR FIRST GRADERS, since it’s been a while. Let’s get to it!

The trouble with playing these minor countries is that you basically start at the beginning, a global primitive. (And the focus tree is very generic). I’m going to focus on industry first, since rushing production is key to getting ahead of the neighbors. (That’s also why I started as Mexico, since they actually have a few factories and resources to actually do anything at all; Argentina or Brazil are also good starts for this reason.) After that, going down the facism tree, to improve the militarism of the populace. Don’t need to do much with navy or air, since my neighbors are overland, and just as primitive as I (with slower improvements to boot). For tech, I’m going mechanized infantry and industry focus.

The start of the game is pretty boring honestly. Being primitive keeps the options low, and you can’t even declare war until the global conflict meter gets over 50% – basically after WWII starts. Annoying in the past, when you’d have to rush until the USA stopped your “neutrality” game. And boring for the start. Until then, it’s just a waiting game, slooooowly building up the army.

There goes the neighborhood.

Naturally, as Mexico the first victim is Guatemala. They can’t even come close to withstanding my armies, and victory is quick.

Interestingly, the USA went commie. That certainly won’t affect anything at all. Also, USA is guaranteeing independence to all American countries. Very interesting, but I guess that only applies to non-American countries, because they don’t even send a strongly-worded leter.

After that, it’s just a slow march down south, hopping country to country. El Salvador managed to almost achieve parity in troop levels, which was concerning when they were together, but splitting into both their territories, it wasn’t even an issue. Soon we’re down to Panama.

Panama presents a little bit of a problem. The country is bisected by the Panama Canal, which is owned by the USA (now fascist I guess, because why not?). USA won’t let me have military access, despite 100 relations. And Panama won’t surrender, despite having no army, and me occupying the capital. So an amphibious landing it is! Only, I don’t remember how it’s supposed to work. So I sit there for weeks, months, nothing happening. I need naval supremacy, but my navy is the only one in the region? Oh, I need to have the “support landings” mission. OK, everything is fine, mission accomplished.

So now Mexico holds all of Central America, except for the Panama Canal and British Belize. I could probably take Belize – Britain is a bit busy at the moment, and USA is neutral. But I think I’ll let it go for now. Next up: Cuba. If I can ever beat it…