January 23, 2019
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The Dancing Grappler

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
Update and such

It's been a while since I've blogged, so here is a rambling of words with no direction.

Family: The wife and kids are well, for now. A couple weeks ago, my youngest son (3) spent the night in the children's hospital with a bout of asthma and bronchitis = very scary. He's well now and spending the day with me at work. My oldest son (6)is hammering away at the AoM campaign. I believe he is now on #22 (easy level). Santa is bringing him a children's book on Greek mythology. My wife is dancing with a local modern dance troupe, rehearsing for now. I'm in the midst of wrestling season and trying to motivate students who are already, mentally, on holiday break.

Gaming: I've been playing AoM with my son almost daily, for about 30 minutes. I recently completed a HOI game as the Soviet Union which cured my fix for a while. I've not played EU2 or VIC in a couple weeks. I do have a game of VIC going as Prussia, need to get back to it. Mostly, I've been playing Spartan, trying to get a handle on the harder levels. Spartan is a nice game, similar to Legion but with a few improvements. Now, you can give three orders (charge, rally, and retreat) in battle. There are 8-9 resources that can be traded for among the nationalities (ethnic groups). I'm looking forward to the soon released RoN Gold Edition. Outside of RoN, there aren't any other games out there in my area of interest for now. Hopefully, we'll see some good TBS games soon.

Posted on December 1, 2004 at 7:18 am
Hey, watch it buddy!

I didn't exactly say that, but its what I was thinking as I laid on the doctor's table being prepped for a vasectomy yesterday. :cringe: It was a decision three years in the making, not an easy one for me. Not because of the area involved so much as the consequences - sterilization.

Nearing 40 and happily married with two beautiful sons, I've no intention of having another baby. But, there is still something "eerie" about losing the ability to procreate. The plus side: not worrying about birth control (saving some bucks), having my 6 y/o say, "Dad, let me know what I can do to help you feel better." and laying on my back popping a hydrocodone now and then while gaming and watching the history channel.

If anyone out there is considering a vasectomy, the procedure went very well. Took about an hour, and the doctor and I carried on a conversation the entire time. Only once did I break out in a sweat and feel a little queasy, which was when he slipped the first vas out. Even though you get a local, you can still feel tugs. My advice, take the valium offered at the start.

Posted on September 25, 2004 at 4:26 am
Back to School!

The day has arrived.

Tomorrow, I'm to officially report for faculty meetings, planning, etc. But, today, I'm going to go on in and get some planning done and arrange the room a bit. I'm always looking forward to the start of another school year, but anxious just the same. From working with students, and their parents, to coaching three sports throughout the year, a lot of energy is needed. Its one of those things where once it gets going, all is well. I did have the last three weeks to be w/ my wife and sons, do home repairs (not many), and gaming (quite a bit). :-)

One of my most rewarding experiences this summer was using my camp money to pay a credit card balance down from $6K to $2.5K. Once the remainder is gone, it'll be time for a home equity loan for an addition to the house (back patio expansion and enclosure w/ ceiling fans). Uh, my wife is behind this one. But, I'm hiring it out. I'll be observing w/ a gin and tonic in hand.

Well, its time to get up and go to school,...almost.

Posted on August 17, 2004 at 7:57 am
Cold Mountain

My wife and I rented "Cold Mountain" last night. It is a wonderful movie, garaunteed to break your heart. This is one of those movies I'll never be able to watch again, just like "A River Runs Through It." Can't do it, can't knowingly put myself through such emotions.

"Cold Mountain" does a great job in protraying the sorrow and devastation inflicted on people during war. Sitting there watching it, I became struck w/ great sadness for those suffering in Iraq and America, for those whose lives have been forever altered by the death of a loved one.

Posted on July 10, 2004 at 12:51 pm
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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
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