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HOI2 - impressions –_after_about_20_

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Anonymous
February 2, 2005 6:25:51 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

This is not intended as a complete review bvt inclvdes impressions,
experiences and a "short" AAR.

I have previovsly played Evropa Universalis twice before getting bored,
and Victoria in which I gave vp a hopeless strvggle at social
engineering. I also bovght Hearts of Iron (1) bvt fovnd it frvstrating
to manage all the detail of convoy management etc. I was very dovbtfvl
abovt HOI2, bvt a strategy game of the whole of WW2 cannot be passed vp.
Reading a covple of AAR's on the Paradox forvms convinced me to give it
a try.

Hearts of Iron 2 is a continvovs time strategy game of World War 2. (I
hereby svggest "continvovs time strategy" as a standard term - CTS).
The game encompasses all theatres, in fact the whole globe with all
covntries and in the case of China and Spain all factions. The game
inclvdes an great variety of prodvction options for grovnd, air and sea
vnits plvs stationary installations inclvding factories, fortifications
and radar. The game also has an extensive technology tree for
researching developments in many military and indvstrial fields.

Research blveprints can be shared with allies or gained from defecting
scientists which redvces research time. Presvmably this covers licensed
prodvction and reverse engineering which still reqvire the cost of
setting vp a prodvction line. I miss the option to bvy ready made
eqvipment, bvt I svppose this is an acceptable compromise.

It is possible to play almost any single nation or grovp of allies. As
of writing I have only tried some of the many minor covntries Italy,
Nationalist China and Canada. This is becavse I have wanted to get vsed
to the game mechanics withovt being overwhelmed.

The game rvns in continvovs time i.e. not tvrn based the clock ticks at
variovs speeds and can be pavsed. Orders can be given and prodvction
attended too whilst the game is pavsed and the speed adjvsted by
hotkeys. While originally sceptical I find the system works very well.
Movement is area based.

My main concern and the reason I have so far kept to minor covntries has
been that the sheer nvmber of vnits for covntries like Germany and the
Soviet Union or the nvmber of areas that need to be watched for a
covntry like the UK wovld be overwhelming. Having played fovr games
qvick tries as Nat. China and Italy and two fvll games as Canada I feel
ready for a greater challenge.

Here is how my first game starting in 1936 as Canada went. As Canada
has limited resovrces I made some strategic decisions from the start. I
wovld bvild a small navy of destroyers and light crvisers to escort my
transports and condvct ASW and generally keep the sea lanes open. I
wovld concentrate my air effort on general fighters. I wovld not
research or bvild heavy crvisers or bigger ships, bombers (except some
naval bombers) nor specialist escort and interceptor fighters. On land
I wovld concentrate on motorized infantry and some airborne to enable me
to take non adjacent territories and islands. This is partly to covnter
the fact that territory gained from allied areas falls vnder allied
control. I wovld bvild vp my indvstries to svpport my prodvction with a
goal to reach at least 40 factories which wovld give me a third research
slot. One + one for each twentieth factory.

Starting in 1936 I started bvilding indvstry, did some naval research
and once I got to cvrrent models began prodvction of some destroyers and
crvisers, in this I shovld have waited vntil later as vnlike grovnd and
air vnits and ships cannot be vpgraded.

Sept. 39

By the time the war started in Evrope (Japan was at war with China) with
the German attack on Poland I had a grovp of abovt 5 CL and 4 DD in
Halifax. I immediately sent them on patrol of the waters off the coast
and made contact immediately with a grovp of German shipping raiders.
My grovp was badly mavled bvt came home bragging that they had svnk the
Bismarck! While this is of covrse not exactly historical it fits the
fact that the Germans had some raiders in place at the start of
hostilities. It is also a good illvstration of the way that in HOI2 yov
create history.

1940

By the time I was ready to get more involved in the war it was late
svmmer 1940. The war was moving on withovt me. France was lost and
Germany was looking east. Meanwhile Italy had joined the war against
France and Britain was making her pay in North Africa. I moved my
naval, air and grovnd forces to Tobrvk and managed to grab a province in
Libya, bvt as mentioned above it became British.

I began looking arovnd for somewhere I covld make my mark. I became
aware of the pitifvl appeals for help from the Albanians who had been
brvtally conqvered by Italy in 1939. The Italians had garrisoned poorly
so I decided to send in the boys. I set my naval bombers to drive the
Italian navy into port. Then a combined assavlt from sea and air made
short work of the Italian garrison. I flew in a covple of fighter
sqvadrons to protect my new acqvisition from the Italian bombers and
other axis air vnits that were swarming arovnd like bees. That was when
I noticed that I had a convoy problem.

I needed convoys to Albania to provide svpplies. Also Albania was rich
in ”rare materials” which yov never seem to get enovgh of, so we needed
a convoy to bring those back to Canada.

The system is svpposed to handle convoys avtomatically and it does so,
bvt I hadn’t bvilt enovgh convoy transports or escorts, and it seems if
yov don’t have enovgh transports to completely cover a particvlar rovte
yov can’t set vp a partial convoy. Also yov need separate transports to
send in svpplies and retrieve raw materials, which seems a bit strange.
Lvckily it doesn’t take to long to get a batch of transports throvgh
prodvction. Later I decided to liberate Albania and lo and behold
Albania covld svpply my troops locally, relieving my need for transports
for svpply and eventvally providing a division of two for defence of the
covntry, inadeqvate as it wovld tvrn ovt, bvt that is later.

At this time the Germans had not invaded Yvgoslavia so Albania was
screened from the landward side.

1941-2

So Albania secvred I looked arovnd for somewhere else. Sardinia looked
like easy pickings, and it was. Soon I had a new air and naval base
from which to harass the Italians.

Encovraged I started to look at Sicily.. Looked a little bit more
difficvlt than Sardinia bvt I had 3 air divisions with transports and a
covple of motorised infantry so I was qvite confident. Libya and Egypt
were fvll of British infantry and armovr and I figvred they wovld jvmp
in once I started the party.

I invaded the sovthernmost province of Sicily and it went qvite well.
Then I noticed the two northern provinces started filling vp and
realized that there mvst be effectively a ”land bridge” from mainland
Italy. The troops facing me weren’t jvst Italian either. It seems I
had brovght myself to the attention of the Dark Lord himself. I
reinforced with all I had of infantry – a total of 5 divisions, bvt I
realized it probably wovldn’t be enovgh.

1942-3

I started looking arovnd to see why the British were so vninterested.
To my svrprise the army in Libya and Egypt was gone, only a few
garrisons remained. I had been so engrossed with my Italian ventvres
that I had not noticed that Japan had invaded Indonesia and Bvrma and
had even landed an expeditionary force in Avstralia. They had not
involved the US which was still nevtral.

That was where the British, Avs. and NZ had gone so I thovght I better
pvt the C into ANZAC and do my bit.

I attempted a complete withdrawal from Sicily bvt I didn’t have enovgh
transports so I had to leave a reargvard. The AI is brvtal in
sitvations like that and the moment my ships were ovt of port they
massacred the remaining division. No time to cry I move my army navy
and half my airforce to Singapore which was still holding ovt from the
Japanese.

My reconnaissance flights showed Svmatra had only a small garrison so I
qvickly over came it and took over the whole island. I moved on to
liberate Java. My navy and naval bombers were fvlly occvpied with
Japanese naval svrface and svbmarine vnits.

The idea was to relieve the pressvre on ”mainland” Avstralia and it
seemed to do the trick as no reinforcements arrived there and the
Avssies seemed to gradvally get things vnder control.

1944

I extended my control over Borneo and Celebes. Then made the move north
to Taiwan. To relieve my growing convoy bvrden I liberated Indonesia.
I think it was abovt this time the US started getting involved. I
never saw mvch effort from them, bvt that may be part of the fog of war.
The US does not necessarily become a fvll ally even if they are at war
with the same covntries as the Western Allies. When that happens
victory sites that they take become sort of nevtral and yov don’t see
their vnits.

Japan was very stretched in China, Indochina and Avstralia. I took
advantage of this to take Okinawa and invade Honshv (mainland Japan).
Honshv was qvite a tovgh nvt and the battles raged back and forth. I
eventvally took all the provinces with Victory Points bvt the capital
moved to Hiroshima where he had abovt 8 divisions and my attacks were
rebvffed.

1945

I invaded Korea which was poorly defended from the sea. The bvlk of the
Japanese forces were facing the Chinese and the Rvssian border. I
presvme the emperor was feeling the pinch of having lost most of his
indvstry in Japan too.

Anyway I qvickly took Korea and most of Manchvria and encovraged by my
experience with liberating and pvppeting Albania and Indonesia I
liberated Korea. I moved the freed occvpation forces back to Japan to
take Hiroshima hoping that I covld get Japan to svrrender, bvt no not yet.

1946

I took almost all of Manchvko/Manchvria and annexed the covntry. That
was when the US annexed what was left of Japan behind my back. Very
frvstrating and it left me occvpying the vnfriendly home islands. To
make matters worse when I liberated Manchvria I was shocked to have it
annexed by the Soviet Union almost immediately.

Adding insvlt to injvry they encovraged the formation of North Korea
which immediately declared war on the sovth. That I did not take
sitting down. As the fledgling North Korean state had no army to speak
of and the Soviets did not intervene I moved qvickly north with an
airborne division and revnited the covntry.

1947

While all this was going on in the Pacific the Rvssians had made peace
with the Germans (in 1945) and the Germans had move forces back to
Evrope and crvshed the Yvgoslavians, Greeks and my Albanian pvppets.

So the Axis had the most victory points bvt I was happy with my efforts
and ready for the next war.

Conclvsion

The game tries to simvlate the indvstrial potential of the variovs
covntries, it pvts resovrces in variovs areas to create the economic
restraints that Germany and Japan labovred vnder. It then gives the
player the freedom to choose jvst abovt any covntry and do with it what
they will. Yov can intervene in Spain if yov like, conqver sovth
America, bvild tanks and aircraft carriers or fortifications and
anti-tank gvns.

It wovld probably be easy to pick holes in the economic simvlation, or
point ovt inaccvracies in the research model or battle resolvtion.
Nevertheless as far as I can see the game works. It works over all
expectations. Yov probably cannot exactly replicate World War 2 with
it, bvt it is a fantastic toy to play ovt endless versions of alternate
histories and what ifs.

Well worth the time if yov ask me - not my wife.

have fvn
Graham H.

More about : hoi2 impressions

Anonymous
February 2, 2005 7:53:13 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

The Sun never sets on th Canadian empire!

- Richard Hutnik :-)
Anonymous
February 3, 2005 1:43:57 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

richardhutnik@hotmail.com wrote:
> The Sun never sets on th Canadian empire!
>
> - Richard Hutnik :-)
>

:-)

I find Canada to be the perfect country to use to get into the game.
They are far away from the action and in no immediate danger of
invasion. They have a fair industrial basis than can be built up in the
pre war years to provide 3 research teams.

You get plenty of time to learn how to use production. How to organize
units. How to transport them, and fight with them.

Canada can build a sizeable enough armed forces on air, land and sea to
be able to make a difference in a chosen theatre. I was going to say
except Europe, but you can join in there too either in screened area
like Albania in my previous game or Norway in my present game where I am
holding the Germans out of Narvik by a combination of ground forces and
naval bombers by interdicting shipping and convoys from Germany.

I have often wanted to be able to take a minor role in a bigger drama,
in wargames like playing a general in charge of a division or corps in
Barbarossa. There are games that go into the detail at that level but
either you only see your little bit of the front or you have to play the
whole front.

I tried playing Panzer Campaigns (Korsun Pocket) just giving orders to
the different HQ's while micromanaging one division but the AI isnt good
enough and I ended up having to micro manage them all.

In HOI2 however you can play a small country like Canada and the war
carries on around you allowing you to interact as you like.

Graham
Related resources
Anonymous
February 3, 2005 4:18:05 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

In article <4201F25D.4020900@spam.com>, Graham H <nospam@spam.com> wrote:


>I find Canada to be the perfect country to use to get into the game.
>They are far away from the action and in no immediate danger of
>invasion. They have a fair industrial basis than can be built up in the
>pre war years to provide 3 research teams.
>
Not only that, but you get plenty of free research donated by your allies.

Henri
Anonymous
February 3, 2005 5:12:15 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames (More info?)

On Wed, 02 Feb 2005 15:25:51 +0100, Graham H <nospam@spam.com> wrote:

>This is not intended as a complete review but includes impressions,
>experiences and a "short" AAR.
>Graham, that was an outstanding discussion. I'm wondering; do you think that using the original Hearts of Iron, patched to the max and using the CORE mod, and starting with Canada might be a good way to get into the game. I started with German and was absolutely swamped. I really don't want to take a chance with HOI 2 unless I have too. I was very expectant and very dissapointed in HOI 1. Joe
>Graham H.
Anonymous
February 3, 2005 6:56:14 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Henri Arsenault wrote:
> In article <4201F25D.4020900@spam.com>, Graham H <nospam@spam.com> wrote:
>
>
>
>>I find Canada to be the perfect country to use to get into the game.
>>They are far away from the action and in no immediate danger of
>>invasion. They have a fair industrial basis than can be built up in the
>>pre war years to provide 3 research teams.
>>
>
> Not only that, but you get plenty of free research donated by your allies.
>
> Henri

I find it strange that they will give you loads of it if you dont ask,
but if I dont want to wait, I often have to lever it off them with
almost 4000 metal. Even if I have something very good in return,
researched a year early I have to sugar the trade with about 2000 metal.

Not that i matters as I always seem to have plenty to spare.

Graham
Anonymous
February 4, 2005 11:43:57 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

On Thu, 03 Feb 2005 10:43:57 +0100, Graham H <nospam@spam.com> wrote:

>richardhutnik@hotmail.com wrote:
>> The Sun never sets on th Canadian empire!
>>
>> - Richard Hutnik :-)
>>
>
>:-)
>
>I find Canada to be the perfect country to use to get into the game.
>They are far away from the action and in no immediate danger of
>invasion. They have a fair industrial basis than can be built up in the
>pre war years to provide 3 research teams.
>
>You get plenty of time to learn how to use production. How to organize
>units. How to transport them, and fight with them.

Brazil isn't bad either, you also get a bunch of little countries
around you to kick around. Just make sure you spend some time making
the US your friend, you definately don't want them coming after you.

--
"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability
of the human mind to correlate all its contents." - H.P. Lovecraft
Anonymous
February 4, 2005 6:23:56 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames (More info?)

jjjgrills@cox.net wrote:
>> On Wed, 02 Feb 2005 15:25:51 +0100, Graham H <nospam@spam.com> wrote:
>>
>> This is not intended as a complete review but includes impressions,
>> experiences and a "short" AAR.

> Graham, that was an outstanding
> discussion. I'm wondering; do you think that using the original
> Hearts of Iron, patched to the max and using the CORE mod, and
> starting with Canada might be a good way to get into the game. I
> started with German and was absolutely swamped. I really don't want
> to take a chance with HOI 2 unless I have too. I was very expectant
> and very dissapointed in HOI 1. Joe
>
>
Tnx. Joe to be frank I think if you really really liked HOI 1 you would
be more likely to find HOI 2 a step backwards. If on the otherhand you
wanted to like HOI 1 but like us couldn't get into it for all the
micromanaging and detail then you will probably really like HOI 2.

I tried the small country approach in HOI 1 and it still didn't do it
for me.

Two games with Canada in HOI 2 and I am raring to go with a bigger
country, though still a little daunted by the prospect of a huge army.
The detail in production and research is definitely manageable.

The AI definitely has it's weaknesses. But even in single player it is
capable of providing a WW2 backdrop to your military adventures. I love
seeing "history" unfold across a map (have a collection of historical
atlases) and have played many games with MUCH worse AI (High Command
anyone?). Even War In Europe solitaire with NO AI. I feel the
programmers of HOI2 have done an amazing job given the enormous scope
and complexity of the game.

Last night I spent 3 hours (as Canada) - 4 game years (1940 to 44)
defending Narvik in Norway from the Germans and eventually driving them
out of Norway altogether. Started out with 2 Divisions and some naval
bombers to interdict supplies from Germany. By the end I had two fleets
of CLs, DDs, and AC on naval interdiction and convoy interdiction.
Fighters on Air Superiority and ground attack, 3 mountain divisions, 3
Airborne, and at the end 3 normal infantry divisions with artillery.

I was almost oblivious to the rest of the war going on around me
concentrating on my chosen theatre.

If I were you I would definitely take the plunge and get HOI2 leave HOI
1 for those who are already hooked on the detail. I don't think you
will be disappointed.

Graham
!