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Hearts of Iron (HOI)

I can't believe I'm just now getting around to writing a review on Hearts of Iron. But, last night I just finished one of my best games, and most exciting, as Germany (1.06c). In no way do I come close to "grognard" status; however, this WWII RTS game is one of the best games, IMHO, available for the Mac. It is not flashy, and the UI can be cumbersome. But, to those who are interested in WWII, or enjoy grand conflicts of any sort, this game well-deserves your effort when it comes to learning it. You will not be disappointed. Uh, that means there is a learning curve.

HOI has four scenarios, starting from 1936 (The Road to War) to 1944 (D-Day). All the scenarios end on Dec. 31, 1947. There are also several fan-made scenarios and mods. The only mod I have some experience with is the CORE (Community Open Resource Exchange) mod. It adds many more historical events as well as addressing game-balancing issues and improved graphics. It is now at v09, which is playable on the mac. You just need to be sure to grab the mac version (zipped folders). You can also utilize the Mac Mod Installer created by AlanH, of CFC fame, to install the folders quickly.

There are two difficulty areas: Difficulty and AI aggressiveness. So, you could play a game on Easy/Weakling or Very Hard/Furious. I usually play Normal/Normal. The CORE mod does make the standard game more difficult.

In-game, one must focus on tech research, the military (land, sea, and air), diplomacy (to some degree), government personnel (ministers), world market (re: resource trading), and industrial capacity (IC) sliders. The IC sliders are where you allocate your IC's between goods (meets the needs of your citizens), supplies (keeps your military organization level at maxed levels per your tech), research, and unit production (infantry, tanks, fighters, submarines, etc.)

Micomanagement (MM) is commonplace in HOI, particularly after the outbreak of war. Units can be given a number of different orders. For example, air units can go on intercept, strategic bombing, tactical bombing, partol, and paradrop missions. Also, other MM issues evolve around selecting the best commander of each division or army corps as well. The World Market (WM) is less of an issue once war begins. In fact, many players recommend cancelling all trades on the WM when war starts.

For me, a drawback in HOI is the diplomacy model. HOI is geared toward creating and fighting WWII. There are ahistorical approaches to playing the game. Sometimes, the Soviet Union might end up at war with the Allies, as well as with Germany. The game is set up between three factions: Allies, Axis, and Comintern. Historically, the nations are leaning toward one of these philosophies. You can influence nations through Diplomatic Influence (DI). You gain DI over time. Some nations gain DI faster than others, and some government ministers have DI bonuses if they're in office. But, back to my "beef." If a nation is getting stomped, it will never surrender or make a diplomatic deal with you, which isn't very realistic IMHO. Of course, many could argue that holding out for eventual victory through the help of allies is why, but... .

Well, there is much more to HOI. So much that I can't really do it justice. However, you can visit the HOI Paradox forums and VPLtd. to gain more information.

Posted on March 31, 2005 at 10:55 am
Games Playing:
Civ5: BNW
TWD: 400 Days
Crusader Kings 2
Crusader Kings 10/20/2005
Hearts of Iron (HOI) 3/31/2005
Europa Universalis II (EU2) 5/22/2004
System Details:
OS: 10.9
Processor: Intel
CPU Speed: 3.0 Ghz +
Memory: 8 GB
Video: NVIDIA GeForce7 Series
Display: Apple CRT
HD Space: 250 GB +
CD: SuperDrive
DVD: SuperDrive
IMG Participation:
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Polls Voted: 26
Blog Stats:
Entries: 24
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Comments: 309
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