Liberté, égalité, fraternité : A HoI4 Counterfactual History.

20170111220558_1The Hearts of Iron series might be the most ambitious series of videogames ever produced for a general audience. What they attempt to do is compress the largest and most complicated war in human history into something which can be controlled and directed by a single person.

All aspects of the war effort are at the player’s disposal, from the direction of production and research to the disposition and command of troops. The level of simulation is impressively deep, although understandably occasionally somewhat skewed. HoI is the closest that videogames come to being a doctoral thesis on the reasons that world war two was won and lost.

From my armchair I have directed campaigns all over the world. From the Sahara desert to the jungles of Borneo I have shepherded troops into battle, carefully laying plans for their supply and upkeep, assessing the enemy’s strength and pressing their weak points. Map of the world is remade into a canvas for imperial conquest, heroism and the struggle for democracy. I have never played a game of Hearts of Iron that did not leave me with a story to tell, a strange new history to examine.

Today I would like to present you one of these strange histories. A history of WW2 that diverges from our own, starting with a what-if that I played out in a game of Hearts of Iron four; what if France had stood up to Germany in 1936? This is part one of my (somewhat embellished account) of what occurred.

Continue reading “Liberté, égalité, fraternité : A HoI4 Counterfactual History.”

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Liberté, égalité, fraternité : A HoI4 Counterfactual History.

War Stories : Plan West

 

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Hearts of Iron 3
WW2 Grand Strategy, Developed by Paradox Interactive

 

Story time. Many years ago now, me and two friends (whom I shall call here, Sovereign and Steelzenith, as those are their online handles) had been playing Hearts of Iron three for hours.

 

The year was 1940. I was playing the distant and watchful America, Steelzenith was playing the French and Sovereign was playing the Brits. Things were going well so far, Steelzenith was holding the Blitzkreig in central France, while pushing the Italians back over the Alps. Sovereign had a small expeditionary force holding south of the (horribly crushed and defeated) Belgium. I was, as yet, unable to intervene. I therefore spent my time organising troops, naming new divisions and slotting them into some semblance of order. I made sure sure that my fleets were well prepared and ready to shepard the doughboy tide across the Atlantic, when the time came.

Continue reading “War Stories : Plan West”

War Stories : Plan West