I’ve been playing Hearts of Iron 2 on and off for the last few months, and Hearts of Iron 3 is supposed to be coming out in early August (looks amazing so far, although I hear Paradox’s games tend to be rather buggy at release). I’m taking a break from what is probably my last game of Hearts of Iron 2. I’m placing France, which is actually surprisingly baller, on Normal/Coward (oops on the latter) with full IC and tech team takeover. Here’s roughly how it’s gone down so far:
1936 - Game start. After trading out a few ministers and moving toward Hawk Lobby, I start extending the Maginot Line northwards toward Dunkerque (fuck the low countries). Meanwhile I start building mountaineers with my remaining IC. Midyear, the Spanish civil war begins. Sending volunteers decreases my Isolationism to less than 5. This means… WAR! After I have a few mountaineer divisions, I guarantee the independence of Republican Spain, which allows me to declare war on Nationalist Spain. No more peacetime IC penalty for me!
Also for some reason USA decides to elect Al Landon (fucking useless).
1937 - With the French mountaineers against them, as well as a healthy helping of British bombers, Nationalist Spain is handily defeated. Republican Spain gets all the territory, but France makes off with the tech teams. Yay! Unfortunately this also means the return of the peacetime IC penalty. Boo! So, I guarantee the independence of Nationalist China and declare war on Japan. Yeah, I have no hope of defending Indochina, but Japan was probably going to run over it anyway, and this way I get out of the peacetime IC penalty earlier.
1938 - A relatively quiet year, as I build up a force of infantry and mountaineers. Every province with a beach gets two infantry divisions, and my extended Maginot Line gets twelve divisions a province. I stuff the border with Italy with mountaineers with artillery brigades. I also build up a sizable force of CAS aircraft.
1939 - In the spring, Italy declares war on Albania. You know what this means–I guarantee the indepence of Albania and declare war on Italy. This brings Germany into the war as well, but they can’t touch my Maginot Line. Hell, they haven’t even declared war on Belgium or Luxemburg yet. My mountaineers, supported by CAS aircraft, quickly roll through the Italian mainland. North Africa takes a little longer, but supported by expeditionary forces from Nepal and Bhutan (WTF), I eventually annex Italy. At this point I have piles of IC but little manpower; I stop building as many infantry and start producing interceptors and tactical bombers. Germany annexes Poland, while Britain invades northern China, currently held by Japan. Japan declares war on the USA, which joins the Allies.
1940 - Germany finally declares war on the low countries. The Netherlands (at least the mainland) and Luxemburg get overrun, but my CAS take a heavy toll on the German forces. Belgium manages to survive. Eventually the Germans are whittled down enough that I poke a hole in their front lines and send one armored and two cavalry divisions into their lightly defended interior. Chaos ensues as random German forces intercept my cavalry divisions only to be gunned down by my CAS flocks. Soon my incursions turn into a general advance, and the French flag flies over the Reichstag. Germany moves their capital to Munich. For some reason Bulgaria and Romania decide to join Germany, as well as Japan. The US reelects Al Landon, which means that they’ll pretty much continue to be useless for the next four years.
1941 - I continue on to Poland, then hang a right into Slovakia. Czechoslovakia becomes the first French puppet state, followed shortly by Hungary; Munich and the surrounding areas are completely cut off from the rest of the Axis. When I finally get my troops moved up, I quickly crush all remaining German forces and annex them. Bulgaria and Romania are quickly defeated. The war in Europe ends in September 1941. I puppet all the European countries I can, except maybe Germany (<3 their tech teams… although I might still be able to keep them with puppeting since they don’t form the original Germany when I do so?) Unfortunately, the rest of the world isn’t going so well for the Allies; the British have been pushed out of northern China and most of India and I finally lost Indochina after two years of it being undefended.
The new world order has four superpowers:
USA - Most IC of any nation in the world, however they are hindered by the fact that a) they are an ocean away from any interesting conflict, and b) their president is fucking fail. At least they give me free resources.
USSR - Potentially the most dangerous; Germany hasn’t invaded them so they have hella divisions. Hopefully they’ll declare war on Japan but I’m not going to wait for them.
Japan - Now the leader of the Axis, which consists of it and Siam. Controls all of south and east Asia. Probably my next target, after I figure out what I want to do about the USSR. Invade the USSR? Invade Persia and possibly Turkey for a land connection for an India invasion? Maginot Line II the Sequel in east Europe so I can send more troops to India? Build a navy and blockade Japan’s home islands? An outright invasion of the home islands? Mail-order divisions from the USA? The possibilities are endless.
France (me) - I have the most powerful land and air forces of the Allies, and I own or puppet most of Europe and Africa. I’ve not built any warships but with my low manpower I might look into that. Theoretically I have the other Allies behind me but they’re fucking fail. Especially the USA, who have not made any landings anywhere; at least Britain tried.