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    FAQ/Strategy Guide by schaapken

    Version: 1.0 | Updated: 01/28/07 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Hearts of Iron II
    Table of Contents
    I.   Introduction
    II.  Nations
         a) Superpowers
         b) Big Nations
         c) Small Nations
         d) Problem Childs
         e) Which to take	
    III. Economy
         a) Importance
         b) Resources
         c) IC
         d) Pimping your economy
    IV.  Technology
         a) Priorities
         b) Depth - Width
         c) Further information
    V.   Government
         a) Ideology - Government Type
         b) Ministers
    VI.  Slider
         a) The Production Slider
    VII. Trade
         a) Trade Partners
         b) Value of Resources
         c) More on Trade
    VIII.Building an Army
         a) Missions, Core and Task Forces
         c) Support
    IX.  Alliances
         a) Advantages
         b) Disadvantages
         c) Whom to choose
    X.   War
         a) Introduction
    XI.  Further Snippets of information
         a) Events
         b) This FAQ in 5 lines
         c) Key Concepts
    XII. Feedback
    XIII.Credits etc
    I. Introduction
    Welcome in this faq.
    Hearts of Iron 2 (HoI2) is a VERY complex game, and writing a decent faq
    for it is therefore, by no means an easy task.
    There's such a LOT of information to give, that this faq will doubtlessly
    become something quite big.
    And then there's a big risk of people wanting to look something up,
    and not finding it.
    To make sure this doesn't happen, I want to tell you a few things that
    I want to do, in order to achieve within.
    First, you'll notice that all stuff about copyrights, update versions etc,
    has been moved to the complete bottom of this faq.
    No one really has an eye for that, and by putting it all on top, it makes
    people lose sight of something FAR more essential.
    Namely, a table of contents.
    I omitted an ASCII-art title, I left out all the clutter that starts off
    so many other faqs, for the single reason of making the table of contents
    stand out.
    So please people, use it !
    I'll stray from using the roman numeral symbols used as chapter titles in
    the table of contents (except for the "I" one but ah well, you probably
    won't want to read the introduction again anyways ... and if you do,
    it's not that hard to find =p) in the rest of the text,
    so that you can always easily and quickly find a chapter again by pressing
    CTR and F at the same time, and then searching for the applicable Roman
    number. Even sub chapters will be easy to find, since they'll be called
    IV.a) or something.
    I'd also like to make it a point, to tell you that the chapters in this
    faq are more or less in logical order.
    You can open it and quickly look up something practical, like what all the
    leadership traits are and what they do,
    but it's not really "meant" that way.
    This faq is primarily meant to be read through.
    It has the naive ideal that after you've read it, you'll be a better
    HoI2 player (or that at least, it'll have given you some nice ideas)
    It's, obviously then, more about which strategies work better in this
    game, and which don't, than it is about the game mechanics.
    The game comes with a gigantic manual, so read that one for more detailed
    game knowledge !
    Lastly, I'd like you to have fun, with both faq and game !
    II. Nations
    One of the things that sets HoI2 aside from other strategy games, is the
    SHEER gigantic number of nations you can play as.
    It's not just the superpowers, it's not just those and their smaller allies,
    it's even tiny little countries such as the United States of America, and
    Belgium. Or Honduras. Or pretty much any country existing at that time.
    (Shame for you Slovenians ... better luck next war !)
    Every nation is different, obviously, but one could globally say that there
    are about 4 styles of nation:
    Superpowers, big nations, small nations, problem childs
    This is a division method based primarily upon size of the nation.
    One could also use other criteria, such as government or alliance allocation,
    but in my opinion, the division I use is the one that is the single most
    defining factor of how your game will develop.
    II.a) Superpowers
    Playing these nations can give you quite a thrill, since they're a LOT more
    powerful than anything else on the map.
    You can diplomatically force your smaller neighbours to become your slaves,
    or squash them if they annoy you.
    Or you can play the protecting paladin who saves their sorry behinds.
    Whatever suits your fancy.
    Of course, doing so will have repercussions as well, and this might be a 
    perfect occasion to say something hugely important already.
    No matter which nation you play as, you're a LONG way off from being stronger
    than all the rest put together.
    So be aware that letting your ego rule you toooo much, will only result in
    a longer term catastrophe.
    The superpowers are Germany, the Soviet Union, Japan and the United Kingom.
    .... oh all right ... AND the United States as well =p
    Anyways, as much fun as they're to play with, they can be quite intimidating
    for new players, as they require a lot of managing right from the start.
    Experienced players, though, who know where everything is happening and
    what they have to do, won't think of it like this anymore.
    So I'd be all for it, to have newer players start with a smaller nation at
    first, but I'd also like to ask them to consider playing one of the big
    ones too, after a few times. It's a lot less intimidating than one might
    fear !
    II.b) Big Nations
    For me, these countries are the most fun to play with.
    They're small enough to make them difficult, but big enough to
    give them potential.
    You have to think about objectives, about what you want to achieve with them
    (since global domination is usually too high fetched)
    Furthermore, you have to consider whom to go to war against, and whom to go
    to war WITH.
    There'll be smaller countries that grant opportunity, yet bigger countries
    that warrant problems, if not sucked up to sufficiently enough.
    Depending on the situation, you could say that any nation starting the game
    with more than 20 IC in 1936 (I always start playing in 1936) falls in this
    category. Unless there are other factors that play their part, which I'll
    mention in the last group of nations.
    II.c) Small Nations
    These are a lot similar to their bigger brothers, in that you have to think
    of objectives, and work specifically towards that.
    Only difference is that you'll spend a lot more time waiting, which is
    exactly why these nations usually aren't that much fun.
    If you take a country like Haiti, with 5 starting IC, it'll mean that you
    will have about 3 IC to put into production, meaning that if you begin
    developing your industry, you'll need about a year and a half in which you
    can do nothing except up your IC from 5 to 6, and maybe develop 2 (at most)
    new technologies.
    This could still relatively be a lot.
    If your neighbouring smaller countries work at a slightly slower pace, you
    can still in time overclass them and take them out, but you'll never be
    able to compete with the Bigger Nations, let alone the Superpowers.
    On a final note, Small countries are easy to manage and so are all right
    to play as a very first time. Just don't stick to them.
    II.d) Problem Childs
    Now these nations, can be smaller or bigger, but are (usually for specific
    historical reasons) in danger even when you start.
    Poland is quite a strong nation (about the 10th strongest on the map),
    but when you know that Germany is 'pretty likely' going to invade you,
    it makes the situation a bit different.
    Same goes for France, Nationalist China, Albania, Ethiopia, ...
    Furthermore, some nations won't get invaded/annexed right away, but WILL
    have diplomatic problems. Czechoslovakia, Austria, or even Siam -which
    tends to end up as a puppet state of Japan.
    Finally, it's debatable but valid to put nations such as Hungary here as
    well. They'll pretty quickly see themselves surrounded by Nazi Germany,
    which means that first of all, they'll probably have to ally themselves
    with Germany in order to avoid being trampled on too. And second, they will
    find it hard to actually conquer anything, because of this very reason.
    Problem Childs can be fun to play, if only to see whether you can turn
    their fate. Just don't get angry if you can't ^^
    II.e) Which to take
    Where I talked about relative strength earlier, now is the time to talk
    about Fun.
    Ultimately, your main goal in this game should be to have fun.
    Conquering the world is all nice and satisfying and such (admit it,
    we've all had those megalomaniac dreams from time to time) but in the
    end, what you should aim for is to have fun.
    In this way, it can also help you to make your own game-scenarios, or to
    implement your own choice of handicap.
    Why not try playing Germany but as the pacifist reformer who managed to
    pull Hitler of his throne just in time ? Maybe you can even ally yourself
    to the United Kingdom and France, and become the newest hot player in the
    soon to appear cold war ?
    (This scenario, by the way, almost took place historically. For more info
    on the actual way World War 2 happened, try wikipedia, it has tons of for
    the larger part correct information)
    Anyways, when choosing a nation to play, keep a few things in mind:
    1) What's the size of the nation you're considering ?
    By far most nations will start with 5 or 6 IC and that means that you'll
    spend most of your time just sitting doing nothing while you wait until
    your production queue groins into another -finally arriving- thing !
    (Which can be fun too, it just plays completely different than a giant
    production mastodont).
    Beyond this, small nations also tend to require more micromanagment, which
    may annoy some people, and give a feeling of neatness to others.
    2) Is your intended nation a seafaring one ?
    Oft overlooked, but nations like Japan, the UK, or even Spain and Portugal
    have an other dimension of difficulty in that they require a lot of
    convoys to get their resources and supplies hither and tither.
    This can make it (especially for unexperienced players) a little hard to
    manage them, or at least a lil troublesome.
    3) What's your nation's geographical region ?
    You can basically imagine that throughout the game, Europe will be the
    prime scene of action (with the far east asian continent being number two)
    This means that if you choose a nation in South America, you could spend
    the entire game without getting involved in a single conflict.
    Or obviously, only in those you start yourself.
    Playing a central European nation though, means you'll more than likely
    get dragged into the big war willy nilly. In this case you will at the 
    very least have a more hectic game, and your diplomacy skills will take
    more too.
    4) What's your nation's ideology ?
    Some nations can seem to be a lot of fun to play, but have governments
    that will absolutely not fit with what you might be intending.
    Mexico for instance, could be fun to turn into the central american
    superpower, but starts out as a democracy which means you'll need years
    to tune your government before you can start putting your plan in motion.
    5) How about Resource abundancy ?
    IC is only useful insofar as you have the resources to match it.
    There's quite a few countries that start with a shortage of these said
    resources, meaning that they will have to rely heavily upon a well-
    considered trade policy.
    These are just a few things to consider, penultimately, it's each to his
    own when choosing a nation. But maybe they're things that you might
    overlook, and then I'm proud of myself for having mentioned them !
    III. Economy
    III.a) Importance
    HoI is, let's never forget it, a wargame.
    This means that no matter which country you start with, in the end you'll
    be wanting to increase your territory, and acquire more victory points.
    This has to be done, in 90% of all cases, through war.
    A lot of your time playing this game will obviously thus, be spent
    managing your army. Directing it to battles, promoting its leaders,
    fitting it to your needs.
    Even so, this won't take 40% of your time. Depending on your country and
    situation, it could taken even far less.
    The rest of your time, you'll be spending tweaking your economy.
    Encouraging your factories to grow, to thrive, trying to make sure that
    the money (and the metals, and the energy, and the supplies, and all)
    keeps on coming in instead of going out.
    Appointing research teams (and looking for the money to sponsor them),
    setting up trade deals with other nations and fabricating a bulwark of
    diplomatic arrangements.
    And then the worst of all, spending an eternity readjusting those 
    infernal sliders.
    What I mean to say is, that no matter how much you will want to play
    army commander, without spending the due time to your economy, your
    armies will be completely inefficient.
    The most important thing for any nation is not to win a lot of battles
    nor to get a lot of terrain or something. The single-most important
    matter you will have to take care of, is to make sure that your army
    stays intact. (It's not me who thought of this, these are the words of
    the greatest strategist ever, Sun Tzu).
    You will NOT win this game by winning a billion battles. Not if after
    them, your army is completely wasted. Because then you will just lose
    everything you conquered again.
    Keeping your army alive, this is always your first objective.
    And to be able to achieve this, you will need a strong economy.
    III.b) Resources
    Economy means, more or less, to have as much as you can of "steady IC"
    Steady IC is IC that you can guarantee, or better yet, the amount of
    IC you can utilize while still having a positive netflow of resources.
    So let's take a look first, at the IC specific resources.
    Energy, Metal and Rare Materials.
    1 Point of IC takes 2 points of energy, 1 point of metal and half a
    point of rare materials.
    Furthermore, on the map, speaking globally, energy is indeed the most
    common resource, followed by metal and finished up by rare materials.
    This is most of all region specific though; and the fact that some
    regions have much higher concentrations of certain resources make
    them prime targets for nations who are short of this material.
    The specific region diversity is more or less like this:
    ENERGY : Smaller nations tend to have just about enough energy to get
    their starting IC going. Bigger 'European' nations often have quite
    surmounting reserves, that are usually concentrated in a few 
    provinces. Do I hear anyone say 'interesting strategical objective ?'
    Bigger nations that are less developed (Brazil, Australia, ...) tend
    to have shortages on energy easily.
    METALS : As an estimation, I think metals are the relative most
    abundant resource on the map. (you only need 1 metal per IC whereas
    you need 2 energy) Most countries start with ample supplies of it,
    and if not it shouldn't be too hard to replenish.
    Even so, it might be worthy to note that you can find bigger
    quantities of metals in South America and central Africa (darn those
    R. MATERIALS : Especially for 'European' nations, this will often
    be the hardest to come by. These resources are found predominantly
    in the Orient, Indochina, Siam, the Philippines, ...
    Luckily, you don't need as many of them though.
    At one point or another in the game you will be short of at least
    one material. At this point, trade barges in.
    And while there's an entire specific chapter about trade, I'll
    quickly tell you that it can help you a lot to calculate your
    trade deal's proficy by using the 2 - 1 - 1/2 rule.
    Trading 2 rare materials away for 6 energy is thus, a negative
    deal (as through this rule, 2 rare materials are worth 8 points
    of energy).
    It can still sometimes be a good option, if you're really in need
    of the material, or if you're looking to improve relationships with
    the concerning country, but from an optimalized economy's point of
    view, it's not.
    Anyways, more about that later, as it can get quite more complex.
    Apart from these IC resources, there's 3 more "army resources"
    These being supplies, oil and manpower.
    Supplies and Oil work, more or less, in a same way;
    you need a quantity of them for 'feeding' your army. If you are
    short, your forces will move slowly, operate crappily in
    combat and your home population will commence angering.
    Obviously, infantry forces predominantly (or even solely)
    require supplies, whereas ships tend to need more oil (there's
    only so much a boat can do with all those cans of corned beef)
    The biggest difference is that you need to put IC into the
    production of supplies -which is actually a good thing since
    it means you can make unlimited amounts- whereas oil has to be
    found in provinces. It's quite rare, making the balance of oil
    quite precarious. Venezuela probably has the biggest oil stock
    in the entire game. Trade partner suckup possibility.
    *conspirational tap on the nose*
    I will talk more about supplies in the trade chapter as well,
    but it really bears thinking about that supplies are just
    about the ONLY inexhaustible resource.
    This makes, in a lot of cases, that supplies are your no. 1
    choice article of trading away. More so because the game
    'considers' them of higher value than they really are.
    Lastly, there's the manpower resource.
    I always get strange and horrid fantasies about the so-called 
    manpower pool, but this aside, let's dig in more deeply !
    It's deceptive, this last resource. In peacetime, you typically
    have more than enough, not in the least case because you won't
    actually USE any.
    Manpower only gets used for training new units, or for making
    damaged divisions whole again.
    As you should never go to war (this is important !) counting
    on the divisions you're still making, or even worse, you're
    still planning to make, you should imagine to never have any
    unforseen displeasantries here.
    Pay attention though, because especially with larger armies
    (grand scale operations and such), keeping your units at
    maximum strength will start being a HUGE drain on your
    manpower pool.
    Especially when playing smaller nations, try to optimalize
    this resource, and never go to war unless all the divisions
    you'll need have been finished already. Even then, make sure
    you go to war having a safe reserve.
    If you're planning to become majorly evolved in the main WWII
    theatre, make absolutely sure you have at least 80 manpower
    put aside just for reinforcing.
    III.c) IC
    As you keep on increasing your steady IC, you will be depleting
    your home (or abroad, huhuhu) income of resources.
    Even trading your surpluses, even after focusing on trading away
    supplies for the surpluses of other nations, you'll find that
    you WILL reach a point where you can't increase your steady IC
    anymore. One way to solve this is by conquest ... !
    Since you get about 1/5th of the IC usage of conquered provinces
    yet about half of the resources, it means that conquering far
    more increases your resource income rather than your IC, thus
    allowing you to keep on expanding a little more.
    Beyond this, there's really not a lot to do, to gain even more
    IC. Other nations also have their resources limited, and won't
    even be willing to trade away too much.
    One thing you can always keep in mind though, is that you can
    still 'optimalize' your IC.
    This is the second part of having a good economy.
    Optimalizing your IC means getting as much of your IC as possible
    in your 3 functional sliders (Production, Reinforcements and
    Upgrades) without losing anything elseplace.
    A minister who gives you +10% IC is giving you a nice bonus, but
    only for as long as you haven't reached the maximum of your
    steady IC. After this, it becomes a LOT better (and heck, even
    quite a bit before), to have a minister who gives you (by act of
    example) +20% supplies. Thus allowing you to create a few more
    factories, in the end reaching even the same amount of steady
    IC as with the previous minister, BUT, with less IC lost to your
    supplies slider (while still getting the same amount of supplies
    every day). Thus in the end, the latter minister gives you more
    IC available in your production slider, meaning you can produce
    more units at a time, etc.
    III.d) Pimping your Economy
    All players should make their second objective to have an
    efficient economy. Net gains on all resources, a high amount of
    steady optimalized IC, basically said have a lot of reserve
    slider space. (So you can meet unexpected costs head on).
    To optimalize your economy ('pimp' it) we've already seen that
    certain ministers give better bonuses than others.
    (You should near always choose for the minister that optimalizes
    what you already have, rather than one who gives you more)
    Further ways to achieve this are:
    1) Research. Industrial research can play a moderate to
    considerable part in your optimalization process.
    There's projects that give you +5% IC, or that give you +5%
    supply efficiency (assembly lines even gives +15%).
    For manpower there's the agricultural projects and you can
    get a lot out of your oil conversion projects as well.
    2) Ideology. As I'll explain later, your governmental annual
    changes can help a lot in optimalizing your economy.
    Certain directions require increasingly less IC to be put in
    the fabrication of production goods, or will allow you
    manpower growth bonuses. Or more money to be had from
    production goods (though that's usually not the choice to go
    for anyhow).
    3) Trade. The game considers some resources more valuable
    than they 'really' are. And keeps on considering this when
    the availability of these resources becomes even higher.
    After a while you can get an oil conversion rate of 1 energy
    into 1.1 oil. This 'should' then mean that energy becomes a
    less common material. Still, on the trade market, you will
    easily manage to trade away your 1.1 oil for like 3.5 energy.
    Supplies are also a very good trade choice, in the beginning
    in the progressive direction (trading away your resource
    extras for GETTING supplies, thus allowing you to free up
    more IC to put into production) and later in the degressive
    one (trading away the infinite reserves of supplies for
    getting more resources so that you'll be able to get more
    steady IC)
    IV. Technologies
    IV.a) Priorities
    Research is amongst a lot of other adjectives, FUN.
    It gives a nice feeling of accomplishment every time you
    see your country doing better, emerging from its hibernating
    state and gearing up into a modern efficient well run
    feared-by-all, see your armies get stronger, and so on.
    I always have the research window open when I'm having
    nothing specific to do and when there's no action going on
    elseplace, just to see the progress bar going ever up !
    I'm sad that way, ok ?
    One other adjective we could and probably should focus on
    more is 'important'
    I suppose that by now you're getting the idea that I'm using
    an unfair quotation system since I'm calling every lil thing
    in this game important, but I assure yo that this is only
    because it IS.
    Is research the most important thing ? Probably not ... that
    should be keeping your army intact.
    Is it the second ? Don't think so, that should be having a
    steady and optimalized economy.
    But then, since research can already play a part in both
    these objectives, well as all the other ones you'd care to
    name ...
    Suffice it to say that indeed, in this game, the hierarchy
    of important things to focus on is never an extremity.
    This is an EPIC game and you'll really have to take every
    part of it into consideration (except for the intelligence
    window, this is an optional matter) to achieve any success.
    Anyways, that being said.
    Within your technology projects, there's a lot of fields
    and directions, and since not all of these are as, yes,
    'important' as others, it's good to take a look at them.
    For me, the most priorital technology field is the industrial
    projects one. I'll tell you why.
    Whether you upgraded your armies yesterday, or the day before
    that, doesn't matter anymore today. They're both 'upgraded',
    they're both fine.
    But if you got a +5% IC bonus today or tomorrow, you will
    always have had one more day of increased IC.
    Apply this idea to a period of one, two years and it can
    make quite a difference.
    Of course, if you know you're going to go to war soon, and
    you should ALWAYS know beforehand when you'll go to war,
    then your priorities become somewhat different, as you'll
    aim for getting a few last minute advantages.
    But in general, the daily advantage of the industrial
    technologies outweigh the static one-time ones that are
    all others.
    Within these industrial fields, there's still differences.
    The IC bonuses one are your first priority, especially
    because they open up the supply efficiency ones.
    Depending on your situation, the oil conversion and
    agricultural ones are also options.
    The research bonus projects are less interesting I always
    thought since these bonuses are scarcely noticed.
    I generally stay well clear from nuclear projects, just
    as I shun the rocket ones. Not out of principle, I'm
    clearly too much of a heartless person in this game for
    that. It's just that there's a LOT to research that gives 
    more imagineable, immediate effects.
    After the industrial research, it's time to go improving
    your army. Obviously, you should focus on developing
    better units of the predominant type you have.
    Having the best tanks in the game on paper, isn't worth
    a lot if your armies consist of infantry units.
    Even before this though, I should make it a point to inform
    you about the benevolences of units versus doctrines.
    For land units;
    Apart from the very early upgrades, every new unit upgrade
    you invent is actually only a small improvement on the
    old unit. A '41 infantry unit with 16 Soft Attack (I'm just
    making these numbers up, ok ?) isn't THAT much worse than
    a '43 unit that has 18.
    Land Doctrines however, can give you better morale, better
    organisation, better headquarter units and better chances
    for favourable combat events to happen.
    This generally makes a land doctrine project a better
    choice when compared to a unit upgrade.
    As for which land doctrines to follow, here you should
    take a look at your tech teams. Almost every nation has
    a tech team that focuses on doctrine expertises. And almost
    every team like this has one certain doctrine 'road' that
    it is more suited to. Even if your nation started in
    another direction, it could be well to consider abandoning
    what you had so far, in order to go for the more suited
    direction. In the end you will surely arrive at the finish
    IV.b) Depth - Width
    In a lot of fields, you are probably going to be able to
    refrain from making any upgrades.
    Think for instance of your armies, where you can probably
    avoid upgrades for cavalry units if you don't field any
    in your armies anyways !
    Even so, there's still a lot left, and it's dubious whether
    your research teams will manage to keep up, let alone
    create an advantage.
    At this point, you will have to decide a bit between going
    for width - discovering as many upgrades as possible in
    as many possible fields - or for depth, focusing on but
    a few fields but getting as far in them as quickly as
    So which is best ?
    Hard to say, as there's problems and merits to both sides.
    The biggest problem with in depth researching is that
    the game checks every new project for its historical date
    and compares this to the date of the game.
    If you're trying to research projects years before they
    got researched historically, progress will go much slower.
    As such, in-depth researching after a while slows down,
    This becomes even more of a disadvantage since projects
    that you start researching some years AFTER they got
    historically researched, are finished much faster.
    This gives a possible case wherein you start a new
    project, and by choosing for an in-depth policy, your
    new project finished by the time you could have finished
    three or four projects in other fields.
    As such it is quite likely that your in-depth choice
    allowed other countries to catch up and become relatively
    more developed than yourself.
    On the other hand, going only for width might progress
    more steadily (note though that in the end you'll arrive
    at the bottom just as quickly) and as such might sometimes
    give you more total number of advances researched, but this
    is always a temporary bonus, as when in-depth policy
    countries start working away their skimping on other fields,
    they tend to catch up quickly.
    Width-progressing also means that you'll probably cease
    becoming a world leader in every field.
    And a good opponent will try to milk out as much as possible
    any advantage he has, including the technological one.
    In the end, you should be dynamic.
    Go for in-depth in the beginning, and focus on what you really
    need, trying to gain the biggest advantages there.
    Then slowly switch to a more general width-policy,
    as as your nation grows, you will start utilizing every
    aspect of it more and more.
    IV.c) Further Information
    Let's talk a little bit about blueprints.
    Unlike in other games, you can't trade away technologies
    directly. You can only trade away blueprints which
    make it easier to actually discover a certain
    Noteworthy to mention is that these blueprints DO speed
    up this progress amazingly, so even if not the
    technology itself, they're the next best thing.
    And as such, it's a good matter to try and get as many
    of them as you can.
    The easiest way to do this is by trading.
    Especially since you can trade your supplies of those
    resources that you have INXS for them.
    And believe me, 5000 units of metal that you won't miss
    are MORE than worth giving away for a couple of
    In this way you can go a long way as a smaller country
    in keeping up with the big boys.
    and it especially helps to increase your advantage over
    your peers.
    This only is an option though for allies, and while there's
    a chapter especially reserved for alliances, it's good to
    take note of it here already.
    You can only trade for blueprints with allies !
    (More even, there's always the -not THAT low- chance that 
    your big allies will give you blueprints for technologies as
    a gift)
    Another things worth mentioning is that certain technologies
    are useless on their own.
    Having improved oil converting technologies doesn't really
    help you if you're in much need of energy.
    And even the best paratroopers are a little bit futile
    if you haven't even invented transport planes yet.
    Giant momma battleships being screened by destroyers that
    were obsolete in World War 1 already probably isn't
    a good idea either. And so on.
    V. Governments
    Governments are quite important in HOI2, which can be a rather 
    annoying thing, seeing as you do not have a lot of power to
    change them.
    Therefore, when choosing a nation, one should take a look at
    your potential country's starting government, and preferably
    choose something that resembles your style of play.
    With this, I mean to say that certain governmental choices
    aren't necessarily better or worse than others.
    However, that itself is yet not to say that 'all' choices
    are as good as any. Certain governmental directions are for
    sure better than others, loose of any style of play.
    Which obviously makes it sufficiently interesting to look into
    it for a bit:
    V.a) Ideology
    a) Democratic - Authoritarian
    First slider might already be the single most important one !
    The way this little bar is put has a direct effect on The
    amount of consumer goods your population needs, partisan
    activity and Declaration of War penalty.
    (The percentage of dissidence you create each time you declare
    It has a less immediate effect on the ministers you can choose
    in your cabinet and lastly, most importantly, the way this slider
    is set determines whether you're even ALLOWED to declare war.
    To put it quite bluntly, dictatorships are a lot better.
    Your people will ask for less consumer goods (allowing you to put
    more IC into production), you'll get less dissidence from
    declaring war, and the more dictatorial you are, the more free
    you are to do as you please. (Democracies can only go to war
    after first playing a diplomatical game of taunt and retaunt,
    dictators just go to war as they see fancy)
    The only advantage a democracy has, is that partisan activity
    will be less. Big joy.
    Still, there is one thing that, if not counting in favour of
    democracy, at least counts in favour of not going nuts.
    Most other nations have a democracy, and those who haven't
    are usually the ones you can trust the least and get into war
    the most (and so become less interesting for trading with)
    Depending on how far your slider is on the dictatorial side,
    you could have a paternal autocracy, or a nazist government.
    Both are dictatorships (and so can go to war whenever they want)
    but democracies will be far more inclined to trade with the
    So to conclude, if you're at least somewhat planning to start
    a few wars throughout the game (other than defensive ones),
    you should make it a priority to get this slider sufficiently
    to the right so that you become a dictatorship, and after that,
    if you are a weaker country heavily dependent on trade, leave it
    at that. If you're self-providing or if you're a stronger nation,
    you can permit yourself to go to an extreme dictatorship.
    And should.
    b) Political Left - Right
    This slider is probably the least important, as it doesn't have
    any effect apart from the ministers you can choose from.
    Which can still be important, but you only get 1 tiny little
    change you can make every year, and there's likely better things
    to focus on.
    Nevertheless, if you have a bunch of really moronic ministers
    (especially head of state and head of government since you
    can't change those), it can turn out worthwhile to change this
    setting in the course of an event (described later), 'Election
    Times' being the most common one.
    More subtly and finally, other nations tend to favour alike
    governments. A right wing ideology will serve you better if
    you're aiming for allying yourself with the Axis, as a left
    wing fits more with the comintern.
    c) Open Society - Closed Society
    Typically, this slider is either on Open society for nations that
    are on the democratic end of the spectrum, and should be left at
    that (since partisan activity is a LOT higher in occupied
    provinces, which gets countered by an open society), even when the
    governmental focus itself goes towards dictatorship.
    Dictatorships on the other hand, tend to be more closed, which can
    make this slider a candidate for changing, though generally not
    a prioritized one.
    d) Free Market - Central Planning
    This slider is a little bit of an oddball, in that it has its
    advantages on both sides, but only in its extremities.
    A very central market minded economy decreases production time of
    all things, which is invaluable. A very centrally planned economy
    on the other hand can give you a massive IC bonus (25%) ...
    which is gigantic.
    Based on this judgment, central planning should be the prime
    choice, but remember, always remember, that it is better to
    optimalize the IC you have, rather than to make new ones.
    The IC you would get from having a central planning needs its
    share of resources as much as any other. The production bonuses on
    the other hand are completely without upkeep, making them in my
    opinion the better choice, though both options are worthy.
    e) Standing Army - Draft army
    A somewhat important slider, especially in the beginning of
    the game. And another easy one, since one side is ostentatiously
    better than the other.
    To put it quite mildly, gearing bonuses aren't worth your salt.
    You need to have a serial run of at least 3-4 before the "gearing"
    actually starts giving real fruit to labour, and that's something
    that a true ruler shouldn't permit himself to, ever, do.
    Events occur and the needs of the nation change, making the
    freedom you get from planning your construction queue one project
    at a time, far more important than the bonus you'd get from
    mass producing the same thing over and over.
    So if a gearing bonus isn't that worthwhile, then how about the
    advantages on the other side ?
    Standing armies get more organisation and more experience, both of
    which are nice extras.
    At least, in the beginning of the game, where the difference between
    an army with units of 50 organisation and one with 35 organisation
    can be quite decisive.
    After inventing a few land doctrines, the relative gain you get
    from this slider setting becomes quite less tangible.
    And sadly of course, it takes years of governmental planning to
    actually GET this slider to where it gives the nice bonuses !
    So if your government starts with a standing army, or if you get
    events that allow you to change towards it, by all means, be happy !
    But unless you have already achieved a good mix in your other sliders,
    you should probably not spend your time here.
    Though you'll never do WRONG by going more and more towards
    standing army either.
    At the least, having experienced troops is not to be overlooked !
    f) Hawk Lobby - Dove Lobby
    Maybe the most unfairly balanced slider of the whole lot,
    every nation should always aim for a hawk lobby policy.
    You get less gold from consumer goods ... that's like 'oh no now,
    whatever will I do ?' not so bad.
    On the other hand you get manpower bonuses and a wonderful production
    time reduction bonus. And you'll need less consumer goods.
    All these advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, but despite
    this, the slider may not necessarily be your first choice.
    Your production time bonus only appears near the very end of the
    slider, meaning that if you start with a high dove lobby policy,
    it probably won't be worth it (and would take too long) to focus on
    this one.
    g) Interventionism - Isolationism
    In many ways similar to the democratic - dictatorship slider,
    putting this more towards interventionism means your people
    will demand less consumer goods (good !), declaring war will
    create less dissidence (very good!) and gives you more
    diplomatic options - if you're a democracy. It finally also
    gives you a nice reduction on the cost of diplomatic actions.
    There's a few downsides too, mostly the "bad relations
    normalisation bonus".
    This means that the more interventionistic you are, the harder
    other nations will find it to forgive your past (unworthy)
    deeds. Still, with the reduction on diplomatic actions, you can
    always start a charm offensive more easily !
    More importantly even, this slider does not change your
    government type, meaning that you can put it as high as you want
    without being frowned upon.
    Which in the end signifies that you should change your policy
    first towards a (mild) dictatorship (unless of course you
    really want to play as a democracy, but I repeat that there's
    absolutely no immediate advantage to it), and then go all nuts
    and make your country the most interventionistic place that
    has ever been !
    After having finished this, you can then either keep getting
    more dictatorial (especially if you're not dependent on other
    countries too much), or you can start putting an eye on the
    other sliders.
    V.b) Ministers
    Many new players might overlook this, but the people who form
    your government can have quite a significant impact on your
    economy, and as such, on your strength of arms.
    Some bonuses that are offered by ministers are better than
    others (again, as with the sliders, the game doesn't really
    follow the idea of 'everything is just as well, you just
    choose which option suits you most'), which already makes it
    worthwhile to tune your government.
    But even more impacting, certain ministers will give you
    DISADVANTAGES (a word I really dislike ^^) whereupon an
    easily taken replacement could give you quite a handy plus !
    For instance, a certain minister could give you -10% IC
    (ouch ouch) whereupon a readily available replacement could
    increase your supply production by 20% !!!
    Or a minister you have might give you the bonus of needing
    5% fewer consumption goods, but his readily available
    colleague might give the same bonus but for 10%.
    These bonuses won't individually make the difference, but
    even so can amount to quite a bit.
    Personally, the bonuses for the non-army ministers I like 
    the most are:
    1) Supply Bonus (since supplies are the single most effective
    trading resource)
    2) Research Bonus (since even though typically small,
    research is immeasurably important)
    3) Consumption cuts (since they free up IC)
    After this, there are the IC bonuses.
    These are on their own immensely nice (IC = Power) but the
    problem with them is that every point of IC you gain here
    has to be paid for (1IC = 2 energy, 1 metal, 1/2 rare
    In general it's always best to optimalize your IC, rather
    than increase the raw quantity.
    For your army ministers, you can't do better than to aim
    for ministers who favour the unit type you're using the
    most (in my case, every single time, infantry and tactical
    The same goes for your foreign minister, if you tend
    to use a certain diplomatic action more than others
    (Influence Nation, anyone ?) then try to find a guy
    that can give you a bonus in this regard !
    The Chief of Staff lastly, can give you quite interesting
    advantages, and I usually take either +25% manpower growth
    for smaller nations (easily the best option available),
    +20% organisation regain (a safe and always good option)
    or possibly, +10% land units speed (though I have yet to
    see if it really gets applied, but let's assume so).
    VI. Sliders
    VI.a) the Production Sliders
    You've got five of the little babies, and Bigods, they'll
    give you worries.
    Consumption Goods, Production, Supplies, Reinforcements
    and Upgrades.
    Let's discuss how to best tweak them around.
    Well, when I say discuss I obviously mean 'tell you what
    is best'. Hmpf.
    Anyways, the number of points you get to divide (in any
    way you want), on your production sliders, equals the
    final amount of IC.
    As you know (particularly if you read the economy chapter)
    this needs not be your amount of factories. For glad the
    merrier, it ought to be more.
    Moreover, still considering you dilligently read the
    economy chapter, you should know that optimalizing your
    IC means you can put as many of these points as possible
    into your three 'resultgiving' sliders.
    Reinforcements, Upgrades and most of all, production.
    Let's go to a more profound explication;
    Consumption Goods is more or less what you could consider
    your IC waste. It's part of your economy that you utilize
    simply for keeping your population happy.
    The only 'positive' effect you get from it is an amount of
    money, but this is generally too low to be worth your
    effort. (Trade is a much more efficient way to acquire cash)
    Therefore, your consumption goods slider should always
    be exactly the amount you need, not a drop more.
    (Unless you suffer IC loss from dissidence, in which case
    you should put it as high as you can without suffering in
    other places tooooo much, for getting the dissidence down)
    Finally remember that being at war makes your population
    desire less consumption goods, thereby freeing up IC.
    Sometimes, it is hence better to delay peace negotiations
    even if the 'actual' war finished already.
    and so to stay at war with a country 'in name only'.
    Supplies is also a waste, in that up until the necessary
    amount you don't get anything, but rather are protected
    from receiving something bad.
    Your armies need supplies and the amount indicated as
    required is the amount of IC needed to produce just
    the amount of supplies your entire army will need.
    There's a few catches here though.
    First off, as said before, supplies are an unlimited
    resource and as such make good trading material.
    (Especially since they seem to be valued quite highly)
    Therefore, it's often a good idea to produce a bit of
    a surplus of supplies.
    These you can use for later trading away.
    And more, corned beef seems to be quite a versatile
    product, as it seemingly never goes stale !
    Meaning that you can create a reserve stock of supplies,
    which will both make it easier to upkeep your armies
    as well as to liberate IC during wartime.
    Because you don't get any negative effects from putting
    an IC shortage on your supply production.
    You only get in troubles in case of supply shortage.
    So having a reserve of supplies enables you, for
    instance, to abandon this slider during wartime in
    favour of reinforcements or upgrades.
    The reinforcements slider and the upgrades slider are
    pretty much equal in value and priority.
    Slight emphasis on the reinforcements one if you have
    ample men in your manpower pool. Else it's better
    to focus on upgrades.
    Basically said, during wartime these boys can be said
    to be your two primary sliders.
    Every other one becomes a servant of these two.
    As I will explain better later, during wartime you're
    primarily focused on keeping the armies you have
    at 100% rather than on making new things, or creating
    a reserve of supplies or such.
    If you don't want to go to your sliders every day,
    then you could put your reinforcement slider say at
    1 or 2 during the entire war.
    This might result in a slight shortage some days, and
    a slight overproduced waste on others, but should
    in general keep your forces at strength.
    During periods of fierce fighting though, it might
    still be wise to see if you shouldn't temporarily
    majorly boost your reinforcements.
    Upgrades should be checked after every new division/
    brigade has been upgraded.
    Finally, during peacetime, if you are pretty sure 
    you won't need to start a war right away, it might
    be better to refrain from reinforcing or upgrading,
    until you do again imagine a war coming up.
    This because while your armies are half depleted,
    they will only need half the amount of supplies too !
    And reinforcing / upgrading when done on maximum
    speed does not take all that long.
    Finally, the production slider, is the most decisive
    one. It's also the one that's easiest to manage,
    as we've already talked about all the other ones.
    Just put whatever's left on it. ^^
    This should mean that in peacetime, this is everything
    except for the minimum required consumption goods and
    the minimum required supply production with a little
    And in wartime everything you still have left after
    having maximalized reinforcements and upgrades.
    VII. Trade
    VII.a) 'Creating' Trade Partners
    As mentioned in the economy chapter, you'll eventually
    need to start trading with other nations, if you want
    to keep on expanding your steady IC.
    With a little bit of ambition too, you should not aim
    to simply work away your surpluses by trading them for
    the things you lack.
    Nono, talking about trade, you should want to make a
    It's (as a sleight of mind) NOT the most important
    thing in the game, yet being a hefty entrepreneur will
    nevertheless allow you to make things quite easier.
    If you want to make good trade deals, you need three
    things. First, you will need to have a good trading
    partner. Second, the knowledge of which deal to consider
    as good and not. Third, something to start trading with.
    As for trading partners, the deals you will manage to
    get accepted are impressively influenced by the
    relationship your country has with the trade partner.
    The higher the relationship number, the more favourable
    deals you will manage to get away with.
    Starting from about 100, trade deals will become 'in
    general' break even to profitable.
    In the beginning of the game, you probably have few
    countries that already have this status.
    No sweat, you 'll have to make a few !
    Here's where your natural charm, read money, comes in.
    The 'influence nation' diplomatic action makes a
    country like you more. Think of it as the high school
    equivalent of paying your bullies for not getting
    trounced around. Or compare it to the colour green,
    whatever. It's not like I have any business what you
    choose to imagine as example or such. No offence
    meant, none taken.
    Anyways, to make a country become your really big
    best friend, will cost you a lot of money.
    That means that you will have to choose at most
    two or three to focus on, and charm these ones.
    So which to choose.
    Take a few things into consideration here.
    First, look at the diplomacy window, and notice
    how after every country it's indicated which
    resources they have in surplus.
    More so, it could even be worth it to actually
    go on their map and check their provinces to get
    a better idea of the quantity they'll have in
    Obviously, you'll want to look for countries
    that typically have those things to offer that
    you need.
    Remember where most natural resources are in
    abundancy, and try finding possible trade
    partners in this vicinity.
    Next up it's good to know that making a super-
    power nation your friend will cost you just as
    much as making a one-province nation one.
    But the big nation will have much more resources
    to offer you than the small one.
    This becomes even more of a point because it's
    the bigger nations that will be the most asking
    party for supplies.
    Think also of the possible trading partner's
    location and war policy.
    A nation that goes to war a lot, will probably
    get a lot of its trade convoys targeted.
    If the nation you're trading with is at war
    with a nation that is positioned somewhat
    between yourself and that nation, then it
    completely destroys the effectiveness of the
    trade route. To put it simple, don't take
    Germany as a trading partner if you're playing
    as Mexico. And don't take the United Kingdom
    as your trading partner if you're playing Hungary.
    Lastly, take into consideration your alliance
    If you're an ally of the Soviet Union, or planning
    to be one soon, know that you will likely go to
    war with Germany somewhere in the game.
    Obviously, as such you probably won't choose for
    Germany as a potential trading partner.
    Brazil on the other hand, as an example, is quite
    a big nation that has the potential for having
    quite some things in reserve. And most of all,
    it's quite likely that their isolationistic policy
    will benefit their trading partner imago.
    Now to be able to start your charm offensive,
    it's good to know first off that every nation
    that you have trade deals with will start liking
    you more automatically over time, up to a maximum
    limit of 50. After that, it's the money that
    starts playing, but by knowing this at least,
    you can set up a few small trade deals with
    smaller countries and as such at least get them
    to an acceptable +50 relationship with yourself.
    The speed with which this natural growth occurs
    seems to vary, probably based upon the nations'
    interventionism slider.
    A complete charm offensive will quickly cost
    you about 1500 gold units, and if you want to
    create say three good trading partners then
    it's quite possible that you're looking at a,
    say, 4000 gold pieces investment.
    That's a lotta money ...
    Therefore, it's best to look for the nations
    that like you best in the beginning (even if
    they're nations you're planning to go to war
    with later on) and use those for creating a
    few preliminary trade agreements mostly focused
    on getting you some money.
    Getting money through trade might seem hard,
    as gold is considered the most valuable resource,
    but it's usually a lot easier still to get
    it through trading than through your production.
    This makes sense too :
    As mentioned in the govenrment chapter, you should
    be trying throughout the game to increase your
    authoritarian and your interventionistic policies.
    This will every time give you a reduction to the
    amount of consumption goods you need.
    This frees up IC for putting in production and
    upgrades and such, but it makes you get less gold.
    On the other hand, most nations actually are
    democratic with quite the dove lobby policy, and
    even with isolationism.
    Thus they need to put a lot of IC in consumption
    goods production and hence they have a lot of
    gold to spare. Especially since their consumption
    goods slider RETURNS more money too.
    So to make a summary:
    - Start by creating a few gold acquiring trade
    deals with the nations that like you the best in
    the beginning.
    - Choose two or three possible trading partners.
    These should meet these objectives:
     1. They have to have reserves of what you need
     2. The bigger they are, the better.
     3. They have to be located on the map in such a
        way that the wars they'll get into won't
        affect your trading with them.
        (The closer they are, the better)
     4. They have to be compatible with your (planned)
        choice of allies.
    - Create a few basic trade agreements with them, to
    get their relationship status up to +50.
    Do this with some other nations as well
    - Put money in them with the influence nation to
    get their opinion of you higher and higher.
    - Update your trade routes as you reach better
    relations with them.
    - From time to time, check if your actions on the
    board aren't deteriorating their opinion of you.
    VII.b) Value of Resources
    The second thing you need to have before going to
    trade, is an idea of the value of resources.
    We should make a distinction here between actual
    value (which is further divided in real value and
    theoretical value) and game value.
    The game namely, doesn't really give the correct
    value to every resource. Which you can use to your
    worth of course !
    The tradable resources are Oil, Energy, Metal,
    Rare Materials, Supplies and Gold.
    The game values are that Gold is the most
    valuable, at about 1 gold giving you 2 supplies
    (in a completely neutral trade).
    Supplies are second most important, with a slight
    advantage over rare materials. About 1 to 1.2.
    After rare materials there's oil, then there's
    metal and then there's energy.
    The theoretical actual values of every resource
    are as follows:
    Gold is still the highest, and is still worth
    about 1 gold to 2.4 rare materials.
    Rare materials are second highest though, taking
    the place of supplies, which should be gotten
    at 1.5 per rare material (but won't, as I explained,
    since the game doesn't consider this so).
    The biggest reason for this is:
    1) Supplies are infinite. And it's the only
    inexhaustible resource.
    2) Through technology you can optimalize your
    supply production.
    After this there's oil, metal and energy, and it's
    pointless to talk about their theoretical value,
    as these have real values that change all the time.
    Real values are the value a current resource will
    have for YOU in the current game.
    There's two things to remember here.
    First, through technologies and such, a certain
    resource might become more or less valuable for
    everyone. That's part of real value, and it's a part
    the game tries to consider. Indeed, it will slightly
    adapt its game values to better reflect the real
    values, but never as much as it should.
    (Not even half as much). Thus you can still do
    your profit with this.
    More important even, real values are specific for
    your nation, and there's a high likeliness that
    there is a nation that has exactly what you need,
    and needs exactly what you have.
    This is something the game takes heed of quite well,
    and it will thus reward you with favourable trade
    deals !
    As for specific resource needs, since this depends
    on your nation and game, I can't talk about them
    here. As for natural tendencies, know that most of
    all supplies and oil will lose value throughout the
    game, whereas the IC resources (energy metal and r.
    materials) will increase in value. As more factories
    will be built throughout the world, more of these
    will be required, so the world's reserves will be
    more and more enlisted.
    Gold will somewhat decrease in value, as you
    will need it less and less as the game advances.
    And as you'll create more and more as you get more 
    Take this example.
    At the beginning of the game, you might have to
    give about 3 units of energy for getting 1 unit of
    oil. As you increase your oil converting technology,
    you will reach a point somewhere where you can
    convert one energy into 1.1 oil.
    As such, your 3 energy would give you 3.3 oil.
    Furthermore, you could use 1 of those 3.3 oil units
    to trade away for getting say 2.5 MORE energy.
    (Which in turn could give you even more oil, etc).
    Sadly, you can't keep this exercise up ad infinitum,
    but it goes a long way.
    The IC resources always and only ARE used for IC,
    and as such, it's good to remember the rule of
    As you need 2 energy, 1 metal and 0.5 rare materials
    for 1 point of IC, this gives you a permanent
    usable value convertion tool for these resources.
    VII.c) More on Trade
    When you are part of an alliance, you can also open
    a one-time special trade offer called a negotiation.
    Actually, you can do this with anyone that you're not
    at war with, but with neutral countries you'll only
    be able to negotiate a deal over resources.
    (In which case one-time deals are not really that
    With allies though, you have the opportunity to trade
    away other things, such as divisions, technology
    blueprints and even regions.
    This last one seems a bit of a hoax though, as I've
    never managed to make it work.
    But the best part about this is that you are not
    restricted to trading within a same family.
    so you can trade away blueprints for getting
    more divisions. Or trade off resource extras for
    blueprints. Etc.
    This is typically a means to help not only yourself,
    but also your allies, which is a double gain.
    (Though prudent and wise rulers should strive for
    aiding yourself far more than aiding your allies).
    Let me explain this:
    A resource versus resource deal is always a matter
    of true trade. You give something, you get something.
    Obviously, you want to give something you don't need
    and get something you DO need (typically with someone
    who is just in your reversed situation), but even if
    you gain from it, you have to pay.
    A technology blueprint though, is something you have
    'indefinitely'. You lose NOTHING at all from trading
    it away. The only thing that it does is that it helps
    the nation you're giving it to. Which since it's an
    ally anyways, isn't that bad a thing.
    As such, trading away blueprints, well as trading
    for blueprints, always helps both parties involved.
    Now let's assume you're part of an alliance.
    How could you use this alliance, and trade, in such
    a way that it gives you the best technological
    advantage, i.e., the most blueprints.
    If you're a big nation, like the biggest in the
    alliance, then you will probably already be the
    leading technology researcher.
    In - width researching will therefore mean that you
    will always run just ahead of your combined allies.
    And will give you no blueprints to trade for.
    As such in-depth researching would be better, as
    your allies will doubtlessly have a more
    generalized approach (this goes especially if it's
    a big alliance). This way, you can trade your
    in-depth results away with your allies, and get
    their general blueprints in the fields you've
    been neglecting.
    If you're a small nation though, then in-width
    researching will always leave you behind your
    generally likewise in-width researching bigger
    brothers. As such, even for those it is better
    to go in-depth.
    This changes a little bit the previously said rule
    of altering between in-depth and in-width, as when
    having allies, an in-depth policy will get you more
    The best thing of course, is that one advanced
    blueprint that you have can give you a ton of other
    Let's say you're part of the Allies, and you have one
    very high advanced technology no one else has.
    You can deal the blueprint for this tech respectively
    with the UK, France, Australia, South Africa, .....
    Getting something from all of these countries.
    In this way, negotiations help you significantly on
    the road to technological advantage.
    VIII. Building an Army
    This info will be added in a later version of the FAQ
    IX. Alliances
    IX.a) Advantages of having an Alliance
    There are three advantages of being part of an
    alliance. Two of them are moderately small yet
    without catch, the last one is a big boost but has
    a downside too.
    First, with allies you can trade, and one step further
    than your regular trade agreements or resource
    negotiations, you can also trade wonderful things such
    as blueprints, divisions and even regions.
    Though, admittedly, only blueprints seem to carry a
    reasonable chance of success.
    Second, allied territory becomes open territory.
    You can automatically move freely through allied
    provinces, and you can consider all your borders that
    are hemmed in by allied territory to be safe places.
    (unless you already know your ally will be likely to
    be overrun).
    Especially on the offensive, this gives you often a
    splendid opportunity to make encircling manoeuvres,
    and to bypass otherwise easily defendable terrain.
    But now to talk about the biggest cheat in the game.
    Well, not really a cheat but it's such an unrealistic
    thing that I call it a cheat, since knowing how it
    works can give you advantages you'll never see
    happening in the real world !
    Alliances always go completely at war with each other.
    If one country of an alliance goes to war with another
    country of another alliance, both alliances will now
    be in a complete war with each other.
    No matter if the two original troublemakers were the
    smallest countries in their respective alliances,
    no matter if they're even going to be actually
    fighting !
    Imagine this. New Zealand, a honestly not that major
    country in the Allies Alliance, declares war on
    Manchuria (or however the place's called), honestly
    not the biggest country in the japanese alliance.
    whoopie, both alliances are now in full war against
    each other.
    Obviously, a sneaky player will try putting this
    to good use !
    So I'll give you a few ideas of how the alliance rule
    can serve you well in your plans of conquest and world
    domination !
    Suppose you're playing a small country, and you're
    wanting to fight and beat a bigger neighbouring nation.
    If you first manage to get yourself part of a big
    alliance, you can use your allies to help you fight
    this war for you !
    Especially if your allies do not have borders with
    this country themselves, as then all their efforts
    will serve for increasing your lands.
    If you play as Yugoslavia and you declare war on 
    Greece, while part of the Axis alliance, 
    the Germans will be all hurrying to aid you, and
    everything they conquer will be added to your lands.
    Similarly, if you're a central american nation
    (Honduras or such), and you manage to get yourself
    allied with the Americans, you will doubtlessly
    end up being the predominant power in the region,
    without actually having to do anything on your
    At the worst, if your allies can't actually come
    over with troops (this if they don't even borrow
    you their armies already), they will still fly
    by with bombers and bombers and more bombers,
    softening any army you'd have to beat up beyond
    The smallest countries in the world can, through
    skillful use of the alliance rule, force bigger
    nations to do their bidding.
    You'll need it !
    IX.b) Disadvantages of having an Alliance
    While there is only one real disadvantage of having
    an alliance, it's nevertheless one to take into
    Any nation you declare war to will cause your
    allies to declare war against that very same nation,
    which is good. But which as such, automatically
    means that any other nation of your alliance has
    the same possibilities.
    Joining an alliance and then having an ally declare
    war on just the one country you don't want to be
    at war with, can be a disastrous thing.
    Furthermore, the rule goes even further as it works
    for the other side as well !
    Any country that declares war on one of your allies
    effectively declares war on yourself as well.
    Especially for smaller countries, who do not carry
    a lot of 'weight' in the alliance, this is something
    to deal with.
    IX.c) Whom to choose as your ally
    Choosing whom to choose as your ally is very much alike to
    choosing your trade partners.
    You'll want the biggest possible alliance that you CAN enter
    to be yours (as these will likely turn out to be the winners).
    Aside from that, having the main players of the alliance in
    your vicinity won't be a bad thing (as this increases the
    efforts they will be able to assist you with).
    You'll definitely not want your allies on the other side of
    the nations you'll want to be at war with, as then it's
    likely that you'll only be helping your allies gain.
    Lastly, remember the historical likeliness of wars to break
    out. Joining the allies alliance when playing Hungary is
    more than likely going to get you in deep it.
    X. WAR
    X.a) Introduction
    In a faq about a wargame, you probably thought I'd have started
    talking about war earlier, right ?
    Guess not !
    Oh well, I hope that in this way you understood at least that
    war, while indeed being the most important factor in HoI2, is
    HEAVILY dependent on your economy.
    I love going to war in this game, simply because I never cease
    to be amazed by the realism the game offers in this regard.
    If you ever read Sun Tzu's "Art of War" (which you should),
    you'll have a huge advantage.
    Unlike other games, RTS games most importantly, where you just
    have to discover the 'trick' of the game, and then win every
    time by exploiting this trick, HoI offers a real life simulation
    where you'll need to think, and prove your worth on a much
    higher level.
    This gets much increased by the fact that you can't fight your
    individual battles.
    You as leader of your nation, are only in charge of the strategic
    aspect of your wars. In other games (the Total War series for
    example) win or loss will most often be decided through the way
    you play the tactical battles.
    Put two armies of equal strength against each other, and the
    player who manages the most to get the advantage on a tactical
    level will win.
    In HoI you can do nothing about the battles themselves, except
    read the results.
    you CAN of course prepare your armies, and GET them in the
    battle with the biggest advantage possible, thus allowing your
    generals to do the rest.
    A little bit of luck will still play a part, but you should
    nevertheless be able to predict the outcome of a battle 99% of
    the time even if, or maybe even especially because, you can't
    interfere on this level yourself.
    To start off, you should forget such games you may have played
    before, such as Risk, Axis & Allies, Warcraft, Total War,
    or any other, no matter which platform.
    HoI functions quite differently, and most notably, you could
    compare it to a game of ... Checkers (or Draughts in the much
    more nicer British variant of the English language), Stratego
    or maybe even ropepulling.
    Checkers because in many ways you can try to predict your
    opponent, but if you want to be a good player, then you'll try
    to FORCE your opponent.
    and you CAN.
    Knowledge and Information equal power, and so if you can FORCE
    your opponent in making certain moves on the strategic level,
    then you gain a sizeable advantage, since you can prepare
    yourself for a specific event, rather than for a myriad of
    Stratego because the outcome of battles won't be decided by
    dice and luck (or at least hardly).
    Better armies will defeat worse armies, and while there's quite
    a number of roleplaying factors to consider, nevertheless it's
    usually perfectly doable to predict the outcome of battles.
    And finally ropepulling, because you don't and won't defeat
    other armies through casualties.
    You can make an effort and your armies will pull harder at the
    rope than your opponent's, and then you gain an advantage,
    but your opponent will still have an entire team of pullers.
    After a battle in HoI, your opponent's army (normally) won't be
    at all defeated. contrariwise, it will probably be, apart from
    disorganized, just as strong after the battle as it was before.
    So trying to take down an opponent's armies is usually not the
    way in which you can win a war.
    As with ropepulling, the goal is to gain more territory and
    advantages, so that suddenly your entire opponent's team will
    fall down. You do not win ropepulling by trying to make one
    individual player fall.
    X.b) The Rules of War
    I'll give you a few really simple basic ideas,
    that are really more about general life strategy than about
    HoI specifically (which as I just said, is the grand beauty
    of this here game), and if you just remember these ideas,
    you'll probably already your efficiency in this game with
    like 300%
    So here goes :
    1) There are only THREE ways to win a war, and they're ALL
    the possibilities you have;
       - When your armies are more than thrice as strong as your
         opponent's, you can defeat him
       - When your armies are more than twice as fast as your
         opponent's, you can encircle him
       - When your economy is stronger than your opponent's,
         you can wear him out. 
    Note that most of all, winning a war based entirely on military
    strength is NOT an easy task, and should really only be an
    option against lesser opponents.
    2) The heart of your armies lies not in strength, but in
    3) A bulwark of alliances is of immeasurably importance
    4) Battles are won by predicting your opponent, and predicting
    your opponent becomes a science when you know how to force his
    5) Terrain itself is meaningless. About 60% of all the provinces
    in HoI are completely worthless for having under your control
    (worse, they'll only take up efforts for garrissoning) and serve
    only for filling up the map.
    worthy terrain can be divided into :
       - Strategical Terrain
       - Resourceful Terrain
       - Important Terrain
    6) A War is won by either defeating an opponent's army or by
    conquering his key provinces.
    7) Armies move only as fast as their slowest divisions, and
    only function as well as the skill of their commanders.
    8) Armies on land do the work of conquering provinces.
    But the war will more often be decided in the skies.
    and maybe the most important ones.
    9) The goal of every action should not be to defeat others,
    but to guarantee the continued existance of your army.
    10) Never start a war without a complete strategic plan,
    and never be too stubborn to stick with it
    11) Never count on units that still have to be made, technology
    that still has to be researched, ... when starting a war.
    Let's look into these rules more specifically now, and only
    afer this, we can take a more specific look into HoI and the
    way these rules apply to this game.
    1) Three Ways to Win a War
    In most games, there's two strategies that get used 'till
    saddened end'.
    either you have a stronger army and annihilate the other's
    army (maybe losing half your own army in the process), or
    you have an army that's compatible to the other's, and defeat it
    through superior tactics on the field of battle.
    This does not work in HoI though.
    First, as already indicated, you're not commander in field.
    So you CAN'T count on your own skills of fighting battles.
    But there's even more.
    Battles in HoI are fought with organisation.
    Two armies that are fighting will seldom cause a significant
    amount of casualties on each other. After a battle you'll find
    that most oftenly, your units (whether you won or lost) are
    still at 90-95% of their original strength.
    Worse, with every nation having a "reinforcement" slider, this
    also means that after every battle, an army (whether yours or
    your opponent's) will only need like 2 or 3 days before being
    at full strength again.
    So forget about causing casualties, and annihilating an entire
    division (let alone an army) soldier by soldier.
    Organisation however, is something else.
    Battles will almost always be over when one army has lost all
    or most of its organisation. NOT when it has lost divisions,
    or manpower, or strength. (Because this won't happen)
    Furthermore, organisation can only be regained over time,
    naturally, and depending on circumstances this can take a
    sufficient amount indeed.
    I should add that while it's organisation that decides battles,
    this doesn't mean that strength isn't important.
    An army of 1 infantry division with an organisation of 100 will
    still hugely lose a battle against an army of 3 infantry divisions
    that only have 25 organisation.
    The 3 divisions will much more easily be able to DAMAGE the
    other army's organisation, while also being much more in a better
    position to defend their own organisation.
    In the end, you'll need strong armies, with strong divisions at
    maximum strength. But much more than this, you'll need these armies
    to PERFORM well. which they only do if they have a high 
    organisation level.
    Now let's see what would happen if you would fight a battle against
    an army of equal or slightly inferior strength.
    You could, if you prepared your battle well, win the battle.
    But it would serve you nothing because :
    1) your own army will have lost a significant amount of organisation
    2) Both armies will still be at their original strength
    3) Your army will begin moving into the territory of the other
    army's province. This operation will cause your army to CONTINUE
    losing organisation every day. Until it reaches the newly occupied
    4) contrariwise, your opponent's army is retreating and is REGAINING
    organisation while doing so
    5) When you arrive in the new province, it will get a (temporary)
    blow to its infrastructure. This will impressively make your
    organisation regain in this new province worse.
    All this means that even if you win a battle, you'll only be force-
    marching your army to a new province, in which it will arrive with
    even less organisation, whereupon in the same time, your opponent's
    army regained THEIR organisation. Furthermore, in your new province
    you'll only regain organisation slowly, whereas your opponent's
    army will typically be in unscathed home territory reorganizing MUCH
    more efficiently.
    Resulting in your army getting soundly defeated before they even
    arrive in the new province, or shortly after.
    This will be such a painful defeat that you might even be followed
    up by your opponent, and end up losing more than you gained.
    Now let's assume your army is twice as strong as your opponent's;
    You will manage to win your battle with less loss suffered, but
    you'll still suffer organisation loss while moving into the new
    territory - at the same time your opponent's defeated army will
    recover organisation.
    Furthermore, the new province will suffer the same amount of
    infrastructural loss, adding harm to .. harm for your army's
    Generally speaking, you'll find that with an army that's twice as
    strong, you'll manage to arrive and capture the new province,
    but this will leave you sufficiently weakened for the defeated
    (yet recovered) army to initiate a new battle and push you right
    out again. This army will then arrive disorganized, while your
    army will now be partially recovered, allowing you to play a
    hilarious, if somewhat expensive and inefficient game of tag.
    This is why, in war, if you want to defeat an enemy army heads on,
    your own army will have to be at least three times as strong and
    well prepared in order to be efficient.
    And even at thrice the strength, you'll have to install a period
    of recovery for your army after every captured province, making
    your advance slow slow slow.
    Let's face it, this is not a good way to win a war.
    The second way is through the mobility doctrine.
    (This doesn't mean you have to research this doctrine, it's just
    the way you'll have to move your armies on the checkerboard).
    Now that we know that battles are won or lost through organisation
    - just as we know that on their own won or lost battles are
    pointless unless they result in advantage-
    it's time to consider this rule in more detail.
    Sometimes, a gigantic trouncing of your opponent's army is really
    only a phyrrean victory. These are the battles you should avoid.
    the ones to look for though, are the marginal victories which
    end in gigantic gains on a strategic level.
    Encirclement means, more than anything else, to cut your
    opponent's army off of his supplies.
    If you can break the territorial connection between an army and
    it's home capital, then the army will fall out of supply.
    This will result in morale loss, in a high level of efficiency
    loss if the army is for a part depending on fuel (armour units
    will just become so much pile of steel without a steady fuel
    supply) and most of all, in organisation loss.
    A cut-off army will suffer loss of organisation on a daily basis,
    while your own armies will regenerate THEIR organisation.
    As you know now, this makes winning battles easier by an
    exponentional factor !
    But it gets even better !
    When initiating a battle, the more provinces you can start it
    from at the same time, the bigger a bonus you will get for that
    particular battle.
    And finally, the best thing:
    An army that is completely encircled, and that loses a battle,
    IMMEDIATELY capitulates.
    This is more or less the ONLY realistic (and common) way in which
    you can annihilate an army.
    Imagine, you are having an 8 division strong army blocking your
    glorious advance in enemy territory.
    You have 9 divisions yourself, but as we saw earlier, this is
    BY FAR not sufficient for a head-on approach.
    Now if you can take 3 divisions out of this army (leaving you at
    6 which means your opponent still won't manage to make a valid
    attack against you. Sure, he might attack and even defeat your
    6 division army, but it will only be in your favour, as he's
    getting into an organisation draining operation which will leave
    you much victorious. AND it will leave him more isolated from
    his homeland.), split these 3 divisions up in 3 separate 1
    division armies and use them to encircle your opponent.
    Sure, he might defeat one or two of those.
    But as you know by now, a won or lost battle in itself is without
    meaning, and so the defeated armies will only be forced to
    retreat for a while, but after a few attempts, you should be
    able to encircle your opponent and cut off his main army from
    supply. This will either force him to break through defensively,
    thus ceding you the territory, or to stick it out and be
    obliterated when his army's organisation losses become too high.
    Encirclement  isn't an easy matter, and it should furthermore be
    noted that it's more or less an impossible task against an
    opponent that has 3 times as many armies as you do.
    I mean to say, it's a great strategy, but it won't make you
    You can greatly increase your chances of encirclement by fitting
    your armies accordingly:
    An encircling army does not have to be strong, it has to be
    fast ! Single division armies are perfect because you don't lose
    too much if they get double-encircled (which will happen a lot
    especially if you're not used to encircling operations) and
    because you can create a lot of them (thus greatly increasing
    your encircling chances.
    Furthermore, cavalry units, mechanized infantry or depending on
    the terrain armour units (Blitzkrieg Bop !) will be twice as
    fast as infantry units, making them twice more suited for the
    role. Especially cavalry units, as they don't require fuel,
    and so can survive more easily in enemy territory.
    Lastly, the ultimate encircling unit, without a doubt, is the
    paratrooper. These guys can, if used in sufficient numbers,
    wreak magnificent havoc on your opponent's logistics.
    Despite being weak and requiring a lot of attention on the field
    of research (remember you'll need transport planes as well),
    they're still more than worth it.
    Finally, on a same level, though less easily used, you shouldn't
    forget the usefulness of naval invasions either.
    Encircling takes a LOT of practice, and it's quite likely that
    the first time you try it, you'll find your armies getting
    encircled themselves, and being nulled out.
    Don't despair though. As you start getting a better idea of
    when an army will arrive in another province, which areas are
    worth taking and which aren't, how your opponent will react
    and all in all, as you gain experience, you'll become better at
    it. and eventually, you'll realize that encircling is a MUCH
    more cost efficient way of winning wars !
    The third possibility at your disposal, is the prolonged
    combat. You should know by now that economy is the heart of
    your army (and so the heart of your nation, this game in fact
    would have been much better called Hearts of Economy).
    This means that if your economy is bigger, more optimalized
    and more efficient, you can win a war simply by wearing the
    opponent down.
    This is the easiest way to win a war, but the most time-
    consuming as well.
    Strategic bombers can help achieving this goal by bombing
    your opponent's IC, but on the whole I find the results of
    this operation often too limited to put effort into.
    (Or differently said, there's much more fun things to do
    with your airplanes).
    So on what way can you try to beat your opponent's economy ?
    There's 2 ways, namely:
    IC, manpower.
    IC means that if you have more IC (whether naturally or
    because of your war efforts), you are able to reinforce
    your armies quicker, upgrade your divisions faster,
    and research new technologies speedier. Furthermore and more
    important even, it allows you to increase your army size
    at a dash, compared to your opponent's crawl.
    You could bomb provinces that have a lot of IC, but as I said
    it's fairly ineffective. A province needs to have about 5
    points of IC before it becomes a valid target, and even then
    it shouldn't include a lot of AA.
    Usually it's easier to block the trade convoys of your
    opponent by installing naval interdictionaring, supply raiding
    fleets, or by persuading neutral territory to join the war
    on your side (or even sleazier, make neutral territory just
    join a war wherever, even if this war has nothing to do with
    your opponent, it'll greatly decrease his trade capacity).
    Even more, you can target specific provinces that are of
    primordial importance for your opponent.
    I once started a war with Brazil against Venezuele, since
    it has the biggest amount of oil in a single province.
    Still, I didn't target this province, I targeted the
    province that had 90% of all IC of Venezuela.
    Especially little nations often have all their IC focused in
    one place, and this should be an excellent target for your
    But even bigger countries often have a hugely disproportional
    part of their resources (energy seems to be common - which is
    excellent as your opponent needs this the most for his IC)
    situated in a single province.
    Opportunities ? I think so !
    Manpower is even more interesting, especially for little
    countries. Without a steady supply of manpower they won't be
    able to create new divisions, but to add joy to pleasance,
    eventually they'll also be unable to reinforce the division
    they already had.
    when the manpower pool is depleted, your opponent has sadly
    (for him) become a sitting duck !
    These, my friends, are the three ways in which to win a war.
    2) Logistics form the Hearts of War
    After having gotten so excited in the previous chapter, I
    think I should admit that the entire point to this one,
    has already been proven valid.
    So let me just repeat that logistics are more important
    to your armies than a superiority of forces, than better
    leaders, than strategic advances, etc etc.
    I talked in the previous chapter about how to exploit
    logistical weak points of your opponent. Do not forget that
    the inverse of this rule goes for you as well.
    (This is true about every rule in war).
    So be wary of invading too deep in enemy territory, lest
    your troops be cut off from their logistical supply.
    Protect your supply provinces, and build your armies in
    such a way that they are not all dependent on oil.
    Do not start a war when one type (or more O_o) of IC
    resource is low on reserves.
    And do not skimp on building convoys and IC (for
    Transport Capacity, TC).
    A 30 division strong nation's army will quite likely beat
    a 40 or even 50 strong division nation if the former is
    well supplied and the latter skimped on his logistics.
    3) A bulwark of Alliances
    There's not a single game that I know of in which the
    diplomatic depth is as deep as HoI.
    Which is a good point - even one of the best ones !
    Sadly, I also think that this is one of the few points
    in which the game tends to become a little unrealistic.
    Which means that everything said in this faq about allies
    should be taken with a pinch of salt, vis a vis real
    life !
    Anyways, there's a more detailed chapter about alliances
    themselves, but let's at least take a look at how they
    can gravely influence your wars, here;
    when you declare war upon an enemy, all of your allies
    will immediately be at war with this nation as well.
    Depending on their position on the map, this can be a
    good or hilariously wonderful thing.
    There's the 3-4 big alliances, and generally speaking
    you'll always either refrain from joining any,
    or you'll join one of these.
    Forming your own alliance is a costly, and usually
    pointless exercise.
    The further advantage with the big alliances is that
    with hindsight, you know with whom they'll go to
    war, and when.
    Using this knowledge to your gain, you can choose the
    ally that will get you in the least trouble, and then
    milk the alliance for all it's worth !
    As a little brother of the alliance (another reason to
    go for the big ones, and to stray from making your own)
    you can expect to get expeditionary forces (woohoo),
    you can use the alliance to get blueprints for new
    technologies, they'll often help you with any shortages
    you may have on the resources stockpile and finally,
    best part of all, you can expect your allies to make a
    considerable difference in the way of bombers and ships.
    More often than not, your allies will start bombing
    the armies of your opponent, his IC, their ships will
    commence patrolling the area (effectively also blocking
    his trade) and will play their part more than even YOU
    will !
    But remember that on the other hand, you also get
    dragged into any wars that other members of your alliance
    get involved in.
    In the beginning of the game (1936-1939) it's most easy
    to join the Axis alliance, as they are preparing for
    war and are looking for aides.
    After this time, the Allies alliance becomes (more)
    available, though so stay the Axis.
    Japan seems to be available throughout the entire game,
    as does the comintern (though I find that the latter are
    more restrictive).
    The ideologies/governments of your nation and the general
    alliance consensus plays a part in whether or not you'll
    get excepted, but it seems to be less than unbreakable:
    When an alliance is at war, it seems to get quite willing
    to accept new members.
    4) Checkers of Draughts, know the next move
    In the game of draughts/checkers, you are forced to
    capture a piece if you're able to.
    This means that the most often used attack in this game
    is to sacrifice one piece,in order to force the opponent
    into capturing, thus making a forced, hence predictable
    move, allowing you to counter.
    In HoI, there's also a rule that allows you to predict
    the moves of your opponent.
    Furthermore, there's quite a lot of suggesting moves, I
    deliberately evade the word suggestive, that don't
    force your opponent but nevertheless put him in a position
    where a certain move will be much more likely to occur
    than another.
    But let's first take a look at the big rule.
    It's the one that I call the Alliance Warcheating rule.
    ANY nation that is part of an alliance can force the 
    ENTIRE alliance to declare war on a certain country, just
    by declaring war on it itself.
    Moreover, you can also indirectly declare war on another
    country by declaring war on one of its allies.
    This can be interesting for (especially) democratic nations
    who can only declare war through historic events or when
    they're interventionistic, and then even only on belligerent
    #This Chapter will be completed in a later time#
    5) About Terrain
    Admittedly, it looks pretty fashionable to have a big country.
    Especially when you start out with just a tiny lil nation,
    it can give a nice feeling of achievement to watch those
    borders expand.
    But it's worthy to ask yourself what you actually GET from
    expanding those borders.
    ANY province you conquer, requires an upkeep.
    With this upkeep, I mean three things. First of all, all non
    nationalistic provinces will have a degree of partisanship.
    This amount depends partly on your government (open society
    = good stuff), partly on the time you've had the province,
    and partly on the suppression of the rebels.
    Meaning how well the province is garissoned.
    Now partisans reduce the return from the province (you get
    less materials, IC, etc) and, even worse, if left unchecked
    for too long a period of time, it can cause rebellions,
    making you lose control over the province.
    Since your government and the amount of time you have had a
    province will only reduce partisanry this much, you will
    HAVE to suppress the partisans with garissons.
    This costs manpower, IC and time to make them, and a steady
    amount of supplies once they're ready.
    As such, needing garissons for provinces that do not give
    you anything (or at least not a lot) is only going to lower
    the efficiency of your economy, thus having an adverse effect
    from the one desired.
    A good thing to mention is that you won't need garissons in
    every conquered province. Everey garisson greatly reduces
    the level of partisanry in the province it's situated, but
    also slightly reduces it in adjacent ones.
    This means that by putting garissons in the provinces that
    have high resources, you usually get at least a modest
    reduction in the other provinces as well.
    (Hopefully enough to make sure at least that they won't
    rebel without a cause)
    All this though, is only the first upkeep of a conquered
    province. Sure, you've made sure the rebels won't dare
    speak out, you've assured yourself of an income from your
    new provinces, but you still need to defend them.
    Especially in wartime, or near-wartime, a province that is
    undefended is a province you can assume lost already.
    Garissons are fine for quelling opposition from within,
    but won't help you one bit when there's a malevolent invading
    army on its way.
    This doesn't mean that every single province you have needs
    to have a 30 division strong army inside of it, far from it.
    But the principle stands.
    A conquered province needs to be defended, and this will usually
    cost you in the manner of resources, supplies etc.
    When talking about strategic terrain, I will expand more upon
    this, but for now let's leave it at this.
    The third and last kind of upkeep a province might require
    comes in the form of repairments.
    Again, the idea of defense makes worthy applies;
    Having a conquered province with 8 factories, yet without
    anti-aircraft guns is a risky thing, especially when within
    reach of hostile bombers. Chances are you'll spend a LOT of IC
    trying to repair bombing damages, without ever seeing any
    results from it.
    This of course is an extreme example, but it could serve as
    an indicator.
    As such, I hope I managed to make it clear that expanding
    your nation is not always a good thing.
    You should always be on the lookout for expansion, yet never
    more than you can defend.
    Or, only expand if after taking all forms of upkeep into
    consideration, your total economy will benefit from it.
    Anyways, you could say that there's 3 kinds of good terrain.
    Or also, that there's 4 kinds of terrain, one of them being
    worthless :-D
    First there's the resourceful terrain.
    These are the provinces that by conquering them (after possibly
    a short period of instability) will improve your economy.
    Most commonly this will be because they have a certain
    resource (oil, energy, metal, rares), as you will get about
    half of the province's maximum output for your own economy.
    Especially when looking out for those provinces that have
    sizeable amounts of a single particular resource (and there's
    quite a lot of those; provinces that have like 80 energy,
    or 50 metal or such).
    Sometimes, most commonly in 'capital' provinces (Paris, Moscow,
    Brussels, Sao Paulo, Sofia, ...) you will get a moderate boost 
    in nigh every resource too.
    Anyways, these are the provinces you should most especially
    strife for, as they will give you the biggest return.
    Provinces that have a lot of factories are to a lesser
    extent also interesting, though you only get to use about
    20% of the amount of non-native factories you have, so it's
    always more interesting to build factories of your own.
    The resource provinces are the provinces for which you should
    GO to war, but that does not entail that you should focus
    on capturing them during the war. Your objective is to WIN
    the war, and then through rigorous peace treating get hold of
    everything you want. And winning the war is always best achieved
    by at least focusing more on the following kinds of terrain ;
    So second there's the strategic terrain.
    Strategic terrain is terrain that doesn't (necessarily) help
    you develop your economy, but that will make winning a
    war easier.
    As such there's a distinction between war-specific strategic
    terrain and general strategic terrain.
    Let's now further divide so that we have border
    narrowing terrain, easily defended terrain, and easy
    attack launched terrain.
    Border narrowing terrain is one of the KEY concepts of all
    kinds of strategic warfare. The broader the fronts on which
    you have to fight, the more thinly spread your forces will
    have to be. As a good general, you should always strive for
    fighting your war on as little fronts as possible.
    Remember how the real world war 2 ended; The Germans (with
    their allies) were doing quite well, but completely became
    chanceless when they became dragged on a two war front
    (When they broke the non-aggression pact they had with the
    Russians, they became forced to focus on both eastern and
    western front. Not that they had a lot of choice in this
    regard since this infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was
    seen by both sides as a temporary relief only, a 'who will
    mobilize the most and the best-first' wager if you would)
    Anyways, back to the game.
    From time to time, it's a good idea to count the number
    of 'active border provinces' you have.
    An active border province is any province that is not
    COMPLETELY surrounded by friendly provinces. Friendly
    meaning either your, an ally's or up to a point one of
    another nation with which you have a non aggression pact.
    EVERY active border province has to be defended.
    Defended meaning having an army in it that should be able
    to defend it. (Depending on the estimated amount of armies
    your opponent has in the bordering provinces)
    This is somewhat of an idealized situation, which you
    will only rarely be able to achieve, simply because of the
    enormous amounts of troops (and hence, supplies) this
    would take.
    Even so, you could try to come as near to achieving this
    as possible.
    And to achieve this, it's usually more interesting to
    than to keep on training (and upkeeping) new armies.
    Imagine this situation.
    You're playing Czechoslovakia. There's Germany to the
    west, Poland to the North, Hungary to the South, Austria
    to the South-west and Romania to the South-East.
    I forgot how many provinces czechoslovakia naturally has,
    but to use an indicative number, let's say it has 20.
    You're looking at say 17 active border provinces here.
    That's completely undefendable.
    But except for Poland, all of the other bordering 
    countries, are part of the Axis alliance (or at least
    friendly towards it). So if you join the Axis, you only
    retain about 3 active border provinces, where you can then
    focus your armies.
    Poland, your active border adversary on the other hand,
    will still have about 20 active border provinces.
    Which means that in any war you would fight with Poland,
    you're quite bluntly bound to end up with territorial
    In general you could say that this is the order of
    priority in which you need to defend your provinces:
    - Least of all are the provinces that have only borders
    with other owned provinces.
    - Then it's the ones bordering provinces of allies
    - Then it's the ones bordering weaker or of equal strength
    nations with whom you have non aggression pacts
    - Then it's the ones bordering weaker or of equal strength
    nations with whom you do NOT have non aggression pacts
    - Then the ones of stronger nations with whom you have
    non aggression pacts (notice that this is worth less than
    a neutral but weaker country's border)
    - Then the ones of stronger nations that are neutral
    - Then the ones of nations with whom you're at war with,
    or expecting to be at war with soon.
    As such, alliances (or non aggression pacts) are the
    cheapest and most effective way to reduce your number
    of active border provinces.
    Yet it's an expendable way.
    And so, the other way to do is to achieve strategic
    In any war you're fighting, any province you can
    conquer where you will reduce the number of active
    border provinces, will be a step towards winning the
    If you have 2 provinces that border a single enemy
    province, without bordering any other ones, taking
    this province means you'll reduce the number of ABP
    by one, thus enabling your armies to be more
    concentrated, hence, stronger.
    The irregular shape of provinces in the game makes
    for ample opportunities for you to reduce the number
    of ABP, and it's always a good idea to make use of this.
    (Not only in HoI by the way, this goes for any strategy
    Remember also when counting your ABP to include
    beachheads (they're EASY to defend, but you do need a
    little bit of manpower for it) and always have a little
    bit of reserve troops in the hinterland, to counter
    unexpected problems (such as a concentrated attack on
    one location, or despicable paratroopers dropping
    behind your lines)
    This for border narrowing terrain.
    Next up is easily defended terrain. This is terrain
    that meets up to two requirements:
    1) The opponent will have to take it
    2) It's favourable terrain for defenders (hills,
    mountains, urban, ...)
    History teaches us again (in this case, the Winter War
    in which the Soviet Union tried to invade Finland)
    that indeed, mountains and winter make for terrain
    that's easy to defend.
    Yet don't ever forget to make sure your opponent can't
    cut off your defense location.
    This is what happened to the french;
    they had their 'Maginot Line', a network of fortresses
    bunkers and in general just so tuned terrain bordering
    Germany that even with vastly inferior army power,
    they were supposed to be able to keep the hound at bay.
    But quite unsportingly the Germans invaded Belgium and
    attacked France from behind the maginot line, through
    scantily defended provinces.
    Not only did they so force the french to abandon their
    fortress network, they also cut their main defense force
    off of the supplies coming from Paris, forcing them to
    capitulate unexpectedly early.
    Anyways, as for the game, always be on the lookout for
    terrain that favours the defender, and see if there's
    a way in which it either becomes a 'can't go round
    have to go over' place, or stays one.
    Beachheads, narrow peninsulas or narrow borders hemmed
    in by countries likely to stay neutral are good
    locations. Fortresses, anti-aircraft and dug-in armies
    are manual ways to improve the defense factors of
    these places, mountain, hills, urban area, rivers
    (ESPECIALLY rivers) are natural ways to improve the
    defendability of provinces.
    Of course, as always the same strategy can be used
    against you and as such it's often good to plan your
    wars thinking of the provinces your opponent will be
    able to make INTO easily defendable ones.
    And take these as priorities.
    Lastly there's the easily attack launched provinces.
    As mentioned just above, one part of this is to
    disable the opponent's easily defendable provinces.
    But it goes beyond;
    Most of all provinces that have a higher level
    of infrastructure make for better provinces to attack
    from. This is because if you happen to lose your
    offense, your troops will still regain their organisation
    much faster than your opponent, thus making it
    possible to still be victorious on your second or third
    A second attribute to hold into consideration is the
    amount of distance your troops will have to travel before
    arriving in the new province.
    Unlike some games, HoI calculates actual distances between
    provinces. (As a rule of thumb, draw an imaginary line
    between the center of the first province to the center of
    the second one. The longer the line the longer it will
    take your troops to arrive in the new province)
    Not only is it risky to attack from a province which will
    make you travel a long distance before arriving
     - a third nation might arrive earlier and steal the
    province from you -
    it's also detrimental to your armies.
    Every day they're traveling, they lose a bit of
    organisation (while retreating armies actually regain a
    bit) and so logically, the longer they have to travel,
    the more they'll lose.
    Leaving the strategic terrain behind, there's finally
    also Important Terrain.
    This is terrain that has received a number of victory
    It's important terrain because if you occupy ALL
    of your opponent's provinces that have victory points
    (doesn't matter how much), then you can annex the nation.
    Even if its entire army is still intact, even if YOU'RE
    actually losing the war and for sure not going to be
    able to hold onto your gains, even then.
    Sometimes when fighting smaller countries, knowing this
    can make the wars go quite easier.
    (Just take the province that has a victory point
    allocation and you can start talking about a highly
    favorable peace treaty, if not outright annexation).
    Even if not taking it to this extreme, it's good to know
    that it's the amount of victory points provinces you
    took that 'mostly' determine the warscore.
    To end this chapter, let's put it in a priorities list
    once more;
    The priority with which you should try to conquer
    new terrain, starting from the top :
    1) Border Narrowing Strategic Terrain
    2) Easily Defendable Strategic Terrain
    3) Easily Attack Launchable Strategic Terrain
    4) Important Terrain*
    5) Resourceful Terrain
    6) Worthless Terrain
    * Important terrain can become a first priority depending
    on the amount of it your opponent has.
    6) A war is won by defeating the army or conquering
    the important provinces----------------------------
    I talked at length about terrain and so, important
    (victory points) provinces in the previous chapter.
    The other way in which to win a war,
    meaning here not the general strategy of winning step by
    step, but the sort of single blow that can cripple an
    opponent - kind of thing,
    is to destroy his army.
    As oft said before, winning a battle usually only has
    consequences on the political view of the map:
    Your troops move a little in this direction, his troops
    move a little backwards in another direction, a certain
    province on the map changes colour. And that's it.
    These can be within their right important turning points
    in the war against your opponent (if for instance you
    finally managed to cross that river, to defeat that
    long dug-in army, ...) but even then, they don't have an
    immediate victory effect.
    Defeating an army while taking a few divisions down to
    0 strength, however, has a far bigger effect, as it
    actually decreases the army potential and not only the
    short-time lived ability.
    It's rare though.
    And especially in pure land battles, I think I've hardly
    ever seen it happen.
    Tireless bombing seems to be more effective, and I've
    seen quite a few divisions getting completely annihilated
    by strength bombing. This is a very costly procedure,
    but it can be worth it.
    The most effective way of actually destroying divisions
    is by trapping them. Defeat them in battle when they have
    no way of escape and they will be forced into capitulation.
    You should CONTINUOUSLY be on the lookout for opportunities
    for cutting off an opponent's army (and be wary of it
    happening to you).
    Worthless and undefended terrain can become a primordial
    target if it enables you to trap an enemy's army.
    7) Armies and the weakest link
    The game manual suggests you to try and form your armies
    containing a mix of different troops.
    I should say that I tend to disagree with this.
    While a mix of troops makes your armies less vulnerable,
    admitted, it first of all makes your armies less potent
    too. If you are fighting in mountains, then an army of
    5 mountaineer divisions will perform better than a mix of
    2 mountaineers, 1 regular infantry, a cavalry unit and a
    heavy tank. If you're fighting on plains, then tanks
    overpower everything. Etc.
    But there's another thing to take into consideration.
    And it's that armies will only move as slow as the SLOWEST
    division in it.
    7 Tanks with speed 10 will only move at speed 4 if they're
    accompanied by an early infantry division.
    As such, you take away one of their best attributes.
    A much better way then to go about things, is to separate
    your big army into smaller armies, all 'task force' like
    made of one type of unit (or at least some similar ones).
    This allows you to appoint generals to these task forces
    that best suit the army (a defense doctrine general for
    your artillery brigaded infantry, a panzer leader for your
    tank task forces). You can after all, still make all of
    these ATTACK at the same time, thus achieving the same
    benefit of having a mixed bunch, but not having the
    disadvantage of letting them drag you down.
    Suppose you have 10 divisions, 5 infantry ones (slow) and
    5 cavalry ones (fast). By separating them into two task
    forces you have the advantage that if you win the battle,
    your cavalry force can move a lot quicker and so capture
    the province earlier. Furthermore, you'll have more
    generals that will gain experience, and you can even
    give each task force separate traits (such as an
    offensive doctrine general for the infantry for the added
    punch and a defense doctrine one for the cavalry for
    making it easier for them to defend the new province even
    while waiting for the other task force to arrive).
    While you'll still need one field marshal in the separated
    task forces example (the total number of divisions is
    10) in order to give all divisions the general bonuses,
    on the other hand, if you only have two generals (the
    rank, not the basic function) you will still give every
    individual unit the individual commander bonus, and only
    one division will lose the overal commander bonus.
    Let me better explain this :
    1) One big army of 10 divisions - 5 Cav and 5 Inf
    - Led by a field marshal
    Every division gets the entire bonus from the commander.
    2) Two task forces of 5 divisions each, one of Cav and one
    of Inf divisions.
    - One force led by a field marshal
    - One led by a general
    Every division gets its individual commander bonus and
    every division gets its overall commander bonus.
    (The divisions from the General led task force will get
    the individual bonus from the general, and the overall
    bonus from the field marshal)
    this is a first advantage as you can choose your traits
    better. The second and more important advantage is that
    your cavalry task force can move without being hindered
    by the slower infantry.
    1) One big army of 10 divisions - 5 Cav and 5 Inf
    - Led by a general
    90% of your divisions will get the overall commander
    bonus and 90% will get the individual commander bonus
    2) Two task forces (as above)
    - Each led by a general
    90% of your divisions will get the overall commander bonus
    and 100% of your divisions will get the individual
    commander bonus. AND the same advantages as above apply.
    While you probably should hence always choose for two
    separate task forces (in the given example), this doesn't mean
    you should always utilize the mobility advantage;
    You should try to predict how strong a force you'll need to
    defend a new province. Often, when your opponent is on the
    run, you can safely assume you won't have to defend your new
    province immediately. In this case, it's to your gain to 
    have a faster task force (the Cav divisions in the example)
    to occupy the province sooner.
    This also goes for when your opponent's retreating army is
    retreating into a province in which it will take him a long
    time to arrive. And well, think ahead of the situation in
    every opportunity and always decide individually.
    Because on the other hand, if you know your opponent still
    has large concentrations of troops in adjacent provinces,
    it might be better to synchronize the arrival of your two
    task forces, lest they won't be attacked separately upon
    arrival in the new province.
    8) The importance of Skies
    In this faq I will probably not talk at length about naval
    battles. Not that these are completely irrelevant, but they're
    for certain the least of your concerns when compared to your
    land army and air force.
    If you remember the rule of needing thrice the force of your
    opponent for defeating his army heads on, you know that this
    is a nigh impossible task.
    Especially when both sides of the war get bigger and bigger
    armies, it becomes even harder to get this amount of superiority.
    (if your opponent has 3 divisions you only need to have 6 more
    than he has. But if he has 20 you need to have 40 more ...)
    Simply put, you could say that as conflicts grow bigger,
    land armies become less ... able to make the difference.
    Aircrafts can serve you well into turning the tables, and
    therefore it's a good idea to take a look at them.
    There's dozens of different aircraft, and while every type
    has its uses, we could make a distinction though.
    Fighters for instance have tons of possible choices
    (ordinary fighters, escort fighters, interceptors, ...) and
    while it would be wonderful to have all of those, it's probably
    more realistic (see also the chapter about technology) to
    focus on one type.
    Even more so to consider is the fact that fighter units don't
    always perform so well as you would like them to and so I
    personally tend to bygo them completely anyhow.
    As I already mentioned, naval warfare is usually not that
    important nor decisive, so I also tend to let naval bombers
    Transport planes is something I quite like, paratroopers being
    one of my favourite kinds of troops, but they're usually not
    NEEDED for winning a war (and thus can be ignored for quite a
    while) so even these, I usually let be.
    But oh the bombers !
    Tactical and Strategic bombers can have effects so impressive,
    that you'll get goosebumbs from it !
    This is why I like to focus all my airforce technology on them,
    making sure they're always at least of a competitive level with
    the competition.
    While you can use both for the same missions, they nevertheless
    perform much better when accomplishing their type specific ones,
    so bear that in mind when assigning them;
    giving tactical missions to strategic bombers will have little
    effect (and might be dangerous if the opponent has fighters or
    anti-aircraft) and vice versa.
    Tactical missions are missions that target an opponent's armies.
    You can choose to go for undermining the logistical efficiency
    of your targeted army (reducing its organisation) or you can
    aim for doing real manpower casualties (reducing its strength).
    Of these two, targeting organisation gives the best and most
    immediate result. If your and your opponent's armies both have
    total average organisations of 50 and you can take 5-10 out of
    that through a round of tactical bombing, it gives you a MUCH
    needed advantage in battle.
    On the other hand, targeting strength gives you a much longer
    lasting advantage, and while it's slight at first, if you
    manage to pile it up, you could even completely destroy enemy
    divisions through it.
    This means that in general, when you are planning to fight a
    battle, and you are expecting your opponent to put up a big
    fight, and it's a battle that can give you a big strategic
    advantage (such as allowing you to cross a river) then you
    should go for organisation damage, as it greatly increases
    your chances of winning the battle.
    But if you're planning to fight a battle that will only at
    best move the front of the war or if you're not planning to
    fight a battle anytime soon, or basically in every situation
    where a short gained bonus is less interesting, then strenght
    bombing should be your prime choice.
    Strategic missions then, are when you target the enemy's
    province's infrastructure. This can be the factories, the
    fortresses, naval bases or airports, basically anything that
    makes up the infrastructure of the province.
    The most commonly used of these, both historically as in the
    game (by the AI) is to target IC.
    I emphatically disagree with this plan in this game though.
    Factories tend to get rebuild quite quickly (especially in
    the provinces you'll tend to target, i.e. the ones that have
    a LOT of them, as the more factories a province has, the
    quicker they get rebuild). Furthermore, at best you're only
    going to be able to put a slight dint in your opponent's
    economy. And worse, even if it WAS a big difference, taking
    down your opponent's economy will only have results on long
    So my point of advise is to stay well clear from bombing
    factories !
    Doesn't make your strategic bombers useless though.
    You'll NEED them if you're forced to take provinces that
    have armies dug-in in fortresses. (This is the alternate
    method of taking the french maginot line, just bomb the
    fortresses and then push back the armies).
    There's dozens of places on the map where an opponent
    can heavily rely on fortresses (Saloniki also comes to
    mind) and with a few good runs from strategic bombers,
    you can temporarily shatter these fortresses.
    Unlike with the factories though, you only NEED to
    disable fortresses for a short while, namely just the time
    you need to defeat the army in the province.
    But the best I've saved for last.
    I got completely enamoured with strategic bombers when using
    them against Portugal (playing with Spain).
    Portugal had a nasty air force, and they were giving me
    quite a worry, but then I noticed they only had one airport.
    And then some airport bombing did miracles ...
    In this way, you can use your strategic bombers as MUCH more
    efficient anti-aircrafts than fighters, interceptors or
    Anti-Aircraft guns.
    All these are repressive measures, meaning they try to reduce
    the problem of hostile bombers curatively. but runway catering
    missions eliminate the problem at its base.
    Before even your opponent can get his airplanes in the air,
    you can disable his airports, thereby making it impossible
    for him to launch them, thereby effectively completely
    taking out his air force.
    This is also a lot more cost efficient, as you'll need say
    two bomber divisions per airport, whereas you need two fighter
    divisions per enemy bomber. Just count it out.
    To conclude, by using your strategic bombers to paralyze
    your opponent's air force and your tactical bombers to
    greatly support your land armies, you can increase your power
    easily by 50-100%
    9) First Rule : continued Existance
    I can't ever stress this sufficiently, but your very first
    objective is to have a strong army. And to KEEP it strong.
    This is WHY you need a good economy, this is WHY you need
    to know beforehand whether or not you'll win or lose a battle,
    this is WHY you do everything else.
    Let's say armies can be described as having a strength
    expressed as a number between 0 and 10, the latter being the
    Suppose you have an army with a strength of 7, and your
    opponent has an army with a strength of 5.
    This means that if you play strategically well, you can win
    a war against this opponent.
    But doing so might cost you ... it might drain your forces,
    manpower pool, it can cause strains on your resource reserves
    (with trade dropping and such), you may ose some divisions,
    etc etc.
    Lett's say you won the war and annexed the nation, but your
    own army is now left at strength 4.
    A third country that started out as weaker than you, strength
    6 could now take YOU down in a war .....
    This is why your prime objective has to always be to keep
    your army alive.
    Suicide runs where your opponent loses "even" more than you
    do are NEVER a good idea.
    Careful stabs where your opponent loses a single division, but
    you lose nothing at all on the other hand, are to be applauded.
    Luckily, armies can fight without suffering any tangible
    damage, since divisions only need a bit of time and manpower
    to be brought to maximum strength again.
    But even then, keep an eye on your manpower pool, as for all
    but the biggest nations (and even then) a war that goes on
    too long, can end with you having no recruits left to fill
    out the holes made in your divisions through battling.
    This is what happened to Germany at the end of WWII, where
    in the end they conscripted people who were little more
    than kids, something the game luckily doesn't allow you to do.
    I once had it happen when playing Belgium and being forced
    into a war with France (yes, it turned out a little bit
    unhistorical). My army was optimalized and strategically
    well situated but despite this, I lost the war in the end
    because I had ran out of manpower. Nevertheless, even for
    France it was a disaster as they had also ran their reserve
    through the mills and so were easy prey for whomever wanted.
    One thing you must always remember (this is Sun Tzu again) is
    that an army doesn't have to DO anything.
    It's a power just by existing.
    A good and strong army, well positioned etc. is a threat.
    (This goes twenty times more against human players than it
    even does against the AI, though the AI also looks at army
    strengths when deciding its actions).
    This is how you should always be visible with all your
    strength if you indeed have a lot of strength to show.
    (And it's why you should create illusions of strength if
    you don't).
    The army threat, the potential of an army, is often of more
    meaning than the actual results of using it.
    This is why it is always your very first objective to
    guarantee the survival of your army.
    10) A complete Strategic Plan
    A lot of players tend to start war based on global impressions.
    (Don't worry, I used to as well =p)
    Meaning, they estimate and compare the strengths of both
    nations' armies, effectiveness of economy (if they're already
    decent players) and alliance network.
    Maybe even regional belligerence.
    These are indeed all good things, and they are indeed the
    things that should make you decide whether a war with a certain
    country is wise or not, but it's only the beginning.
    So what if you decided you indeed want to go to war with a
    country. you will just declare war and then start moving your
    armies willy-nilly into whichever province you can occupy ?
    I should hope not !
    Between the moment you decided you will declare war, and the
    moment you actually do, you should pause the game, and study
    the map and most specifically the territory of yourself and
    your opponent.
    Note down the following things :
    1) Which and how many provinces of Important Terrain are there ?
    2) Which are the Border narrowing terrains ?
    3) which are the Easily Defendable terrains ?
    4) which are the Easily Attack Launchable terrains ?
    5) Where and how are the opponent's armies concentrated ?
    6) What are the opportunities for encirclement ?
    7) What is your objective ?
    These questions are not examplatory.
    They're obliged, and fixed.
    Based upon these 7 questions, you can make a battle plan, which
    is a prewritten scenario for the war you're going to wage.
    Let me convince you of the usefulness of such a battle plan.
    The seventh question, "What are your Objectives" allows you to
    take a selection out of the hundreds of options you have. It's
    completely unrealistic to prepare yourself for every kind of
    possible situation, and so, retaining only a selection of your
    options allows you to much better focus on the ones you do
    still have, thus enabling you to prepare them much better.
    For instance, I once played Czechoslovakia and one of the Polish
    provinces right next to my border (Cracow) is a natural cache
    of energy (89 or so energy in a single province).
    I wasn't all too interested in fighting a war against Poland, as
    it was a stronger, more advanced, and less isolated nation than
    myself. But by choosing the objective of conquering only this
    province, I could work out a battle plan that allowed me to
    nevertheless achieve my objective even against this bigger
    adversary. Here's what I did.
    I joined the Axis alliance, to escape getting myself invaded by
    Germany. In June 1939 I left the alliance, and waited two more
    months. I concentrated all my forces in the border provinces
    with Poland, ready to invade their single energy cache province.
    I didn't mind if they'd be able to invade all my other
    provinces, I knew they'd be defeated by bigger nations anyways.
    So when Germany (and later the Soviet Union) invaded Poland,
    I immediately declared war upon them as well.
    I quickly took the one province I needed (using the principle
    of quick task forces as explained before to evade having a
    third country take it from me.) and while I would never have
    managed to hold onto it, in other circumstances,
    (Worse, if it was just a war between me and them, they'd have
    taken it back and conquered a few of my own provinces) they
    now got overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union.
    End of the war, I had achieved my objective, and the one
    province I had was worth possibly as much as all of the
    gains from the two other contestants separately !
    Another example, if you're going for annexation, you KNOW you
    will have to conquer all important terrain provinces.
    You can do this the regular way, by basically conquering
    everything, going for a total crushing victory, or you can
    'steal' an annexation by only going for the important
    terrain. Even if you could hold onto it for only 1 day, it's
    enough for annexing your opponent.
    As such, choosing your objective and keeping it in mind,
    can make your war-efforts a lot more affordable, executable
    and retainable.
    The need for the first question "Which are the important
    terrain provinces" has already been breached;
    since these provinces are the most important ones during
    peace treaty negotiating (and are the only factor when
    considering annexation), knowing where they are, how hard
    it will be to conquer them etc, can be a beautiful advantage.
    Of course, this isn't always applicable;
    in the example I gave above, I started a war with the
    objective of taking one resourceful terrain province. I also
    knew that the country I was taking it from was soon to start 
    a losing war against much bigger enemies, so I knew that I
    just had to hold out. Here it mattered zippity doodles which
    were the key provinces.
    On the other hand, if you ever want to take such a resource
    terrain province, and only this one, from an enemy you know
    you probably won't be able to defeat completely,
    you'll probably need at least one or two important provinces
    to give you the warscore to allow you to negotiate peace
    in such a way that you get legal ownership of the desired
    province. Here again, you could just keep the province while
    remaining at war, but this makes it give you a significant
    lower portion of its national resources.
    On a last note, the "original" capital of a nation is also
    of considerable importance, regardless of the amount of
    victory points it has. (Though obviously it tends to be the
    province with the most points, but this needs not be so).
    Every nation sees its capital as a symbol of independence,
    and it will often be willing to trade just about every other
    province with you if they can just get their capital back.
    Suits me fine, I can just restart the war, (though usually
    I'll wait until at least the peace treaty expired) take
    the capital and bob's your uncle.
    After having taken into consideration the important terrain
    provinces, and having made the decision whether you'll
    focus on them or not, you should look at border narrowing
    Every such place there is in a possible theatre of war has
    to be remembered, and can be seen as a second degree
    objective, regardless of any other considerations.
    (Second degree means that you should aim for this whenever
    it either won't cost you to much to achieve it, or whenever
    there's no first degree objective immediately available).
    I discussed border narrowing terrain at length before, along
    with its advantages, so I'll only briefly remind you that
    narrowing your borders allows you to concentrate your armies
    more, thereby making them stronger.
    Next you have to look at easily defendable terrain.
    More specifically, take note of which easily defendable
    terrains are indeed defended, and which aren't.
    The ones that aren't, you have to see as first to second
    degree objectives, meaning that unless there's something
    really urgent, you should conquer them, thus disabling
    your opponent from getting into a disastrous (for yourself)
    defensive position, and often even allowing yourself to
    claim this stance.
    The EDP that are already defended, you have to consider
    calmly. First you should see whether or not they're
    bypassable. If they are, then it should indeed become
    your objective to bypass them, especially if you can cut
    them off of supplies (think the Maginot Line);
    if they're not bypassable, meaning that you HAVE to
    capture them in order to win the war, you should find
    ways to do so. Strategic bombers can take out fortresses,
    and if you're forced to invade mountainous area, it could
    well be worthy to train mountaineer divisions.
    Crossing a defended river can be made a lot easier by
    building some not all that hard engineering brigades.
    The point is that if you know these things (by making a
    battle plan before you declare war), you can prepare
    yourself accordingly before you actually start the war.
    Too often I see players start a war, then notice they're
    not managing to break through a well defended province
    behind a river, and then go and produce engineering
    brigades. Wrong ! While you're preparing engineers,
    your opponent might well be looking for allies, developing
    his armies, refocusing his technology from industry to
    military and so on.
    Produce your engineering brigades BEFORE you declare war,
    and laugh when your opponent's smuck up overconfident face
    starts wavering when he sees how easily your troops defeat
    his river protected homeboys.
    If you're going to war with a country that is only half as
    strong as you are, has an army that's only 1/3rd as strong
    (and advanced) as yours, and is completely isolated,
    but that has an unbypassable EDP then DON'T go to war.
    It's simple as that.
    Find other ways to make the EDP either bypassable, or to
    make it demote to normal terrain, whatever.
    But don't decide just like that that you 'should' be
    able to defeat this opponent. One EDP can be all that's
    needed to make your offense worthless.
    Next you should take a look at easily attack launchable
    More specifically, see whether there's any EALT next to
    either the important provinces or your objective provinces.
    If there are, then these become second degree objectives.
    Finally, take a look at where and how the enemy's troops
    are located, and whether or not there's encirclement
    Basically said, you could call this "opportunity scanning"
    For instance, if your opponent has two routes leading to
    its capital, and one is heavily defended but the other is
    a near clear run, then it could be a cheap way to win the
    war by making a stab to the heart.
    Even without having fought a single battle, even with only
    a single cavalry division, you may be able to win a war.
    If your unit is fast enough to run havoc in your opponent's
    territory, reaching the capital while the other's armies are
    trying to catch up, you basically won the war.
    Even if your lone ranger doesn't succeed, if it can disarray
    the opponent, force him to abandon positions, it can be
    worth it nearly as much.
    Finally, remember that encirclement is the most effective
    way to actually annihilate units.
    Scratch that, and make it 'the ONLY effective way'.
    If there's narrow strips of provinces in which the
    opponent concentrated troops, try to turn them into
    enclaves. An encircled army is forced to capitulate if it
    loses a battle (doesn't even matter if it's a marginal
    defeat or a major one), thereby destroying all the
    divisions in it. But even if you don't manage to take
    the other army in battle yet, it will start losing
    organisation on a daily basis for as long as it stays
    cut off. Making it basically only a matter of time (and
    a bird for the cat) before the encircled army is perished.
    If there are such opportunities, you can often consider
    them first category objectives.
    Thus are you able to compose a plan of Battle.
    Here's another example, of when I was playing Belgium.
    I was planning a war against the Netherlands.
    Their mainland was, in a way, not that extremely
    interesting, being basic western european industrial
    terrain (remember that you only get about 1/5th of the
    IC of conquered terrain). Furthermore, there were two
    rivers flowing through their territory, giving them an
    unpleasant amount of Easily Defendable Terrain.
    As such you could imagine that there was not a lot to 
    be gained from going to war with them.
    But I made a battle plan ...
    First I saw that they did have a lot of colonial
    provinces, with high supplies of metal (paramaribo) or
    rare materials (indonesia). So I made it my objective
    to get a few (or all ^^) of these provinces.
    To achieve this, I took a look at the important provinces.
    Here I noticed that Amsterdam, the capital, was only
    two provinces away from my border. Apart from being
    the capital, it also represented 5 victory points, quite
    a bit more than any other province they had.
    So I planned on striking to Amsterdam, and using this
    province as my main argument in the following peace
    treaty negotiations.
    Next I looked at the easily defendable provinces.
    Whether I attacked from Antwerp or Ghent, and whether
    I attacked Eindhoven or Rotterdam, there were no
    EDP yet. There were quite a few troops defending
    Eindhoven, though not as many as to pose a real problem
    for my army.
    I didn't WANT to push these back though, since doing so 
    would push them over the river, in a better defensive
    position AND with more possibilities to retreat.
    So I moved my troops in undefended Rotterdam, leaving
    a part in Antwerpen to prevent the Eindhoven corpse to
    go on the counteroffensive.
    From Rotterdam then, I did something which 'could have
    been' seen as risky, namely I pushed through to
    Amsterdam, the capital.
    This meant that it gave the Eindhoven army the 
    opportunity to encircle my troops in amsterdam, but if
    they did, they would have to abandon their defensive
    position, and march a few days (losing organisation)
    to arrive, upon which my combined armies in antwerpen
    and amsterdam could easily push them out again, before
    the encirclement became a problem.
    Even more, I knew that holding amsterdam, possibly for
    only a short time, would give me all the necessary
    power for arranging a favourable peace treaty.
    And indeed.
    I declared war, quickly invaded Rotterdam and then
    pushed through into Amsterdam.
    And while he had now two armies that were both
    stronger than mine adjacent to my own (the one
    in Eindhoven and his main forces in Groningen), I
    even so opened peace treaties and offered to return
    to the status quo, with the exception of me getting
    Paramaribo and a few Indonesian provinces.
    I probably could have asked for more, too !
    HOWEVER, never stick to a battle plan beyond the point
    of reason.
    Despite your best efforts, something unpredictable
    might come up, forcing you to review your objectives.
    An unexpected ally, or you getting dragged into another
    war because of an ally of your own. A certain province
    suddenly turning into an easily defendable one, a
    historical event. Especially in bigger wars, you'll
    probably won't be able to think too far ahead (the
    farther ahead you think, the less certain your predictions
    will be), forcing you to from time to time adapt the
    Battle Plan.
    11) Don't count on what you don't yet have
    I do not mean to say that you shouldn't continue
    producing units throughout the war, quite the contrary.
    But you should realize that during the war itself,
    you will likely have bigger priorities.
    There's dissidence to quell (especially as it greatly
    affects the level of partisanry in new provinces);
    reinforcements and upgrades to make, and even worse,
    it's quite likely that through enemy bombing, possible
    loss of provinces and dissidence, you will lose a 
    substantial amount of IC for the duration of the war.
    Which means that it is not a certainty that the
    troops you're currently producing will actually
    ever see the light of day.
    Moreover, most troops take a long time to be ready,
    and then start at zero experience and zero organisation.
    And even more, you can only deploy troops in areas
    that are legally yours, i.e. yours before the war broke
    Lastly, remember that an opponent that is at war with
    no one will have to prepare himself against a number
    of "possible" aggressors.
    A country that is at war will focus on the aggressor
    with whom it actually IS at war.
    Therefore, you should only consider the units you have
    before the war starts as usable.
    Anything you DO get after that becomes a bonus,
    but shouldn't be counted on.
    Division overview
    Now that we have talked about strategy and how to go
    to war, let's take a look at the separate divisions,
    and see which ones are better in which circumstances.
    I'll discuss each unit type separately, but before
    starting, I think I should already mention the key
    thing to remember.
    Infantry units are best.
    There you have it.
    I'll explain this later in more depth, let's first
    review every unit separately.
    Slow moving at first (more advanced types promote
    to average speed), with a good amount of soft attack
    and a bad amount of hard attack, a softness of 100%,
    decent suppression skills and a dozen of brigade
    possibilities, these guys are the basic unit.
    They take a lot of manpower to train and reinforce,
    but on the other hand take only a limited amount of
    IC, and time, before ready.
    Their worst attribute might be their softness value.
    Let me explain this.
    Every unit has a 'soft' and a 'hard' component.
    (basically soft means humans and hard means steel
    or iron).
    Every unit has a soft attack and a hard attack.
    When attacking a unit of 100% softness, your soft
    attack is taken as the ruling attribute, and
    seen against the opponent's defensive value.
    When attacking a unit that has 50% softness and
    50% hardness, you could say that the game takes
    the average of your soft and hard attack.
    When fighting a unit of 30% softness it takes
    30% of your soft attack and 70% of your hard
    attack to calculate your final attacking value.
    Point is that for nearly every unit, soft attack
    is a lot higher than hard attack.
    This means that you could see 'hardness' as a
    sort of 'kinda' defense value.
    The less 'soft' a unit is, the more the attacker
    will be forced to use his (almost always lower)
    hard attack value.
    This means that a unit such as infantry, with
    100% softness, is quite vulnerable, as it will
    always be attacked by the opponent's higher
    soft attack value.
    this is somewhat of a deceptive thing though.
    Because if you look at the more 'hard' units,
    you'll see that they tend to have less overal
    attack values, and even then, that they tend
    to focus slightly more (and more) on hard attack.
    Tanks have only 30% softness, which should make
    them a very good unit to use against infantry
    (since infantry has only low hard attack, they
    won't be able to damage tanks a lot).
    However, tanks have a relatively low amount of
    soft attack ! So they also will be pretty
    inefficient against infantry.
    They'll still win, and they are indeed still the
    best counter to infantry, but not by as wide a
    margin as you might imagine.
    If you would just add soft and hard attack together,
    then infantry units have the highest values.
    This makes them the best 'all purpose' troops
    available on this front already.
    But there's something else to consider.
    Something much more important.
    Infantry units suffer the LEAST (by far) from
    terrain and/or weather effects.
    This is abundantly so ...
    Tank units suffer penalties (typically between
    25 and 50% of their efficiency) in ALMOST every
    kind of terrain, whereas infantry units only
    suffer these penalties in the worst of
    Moreover, there's not a SINGLE possible situation
    in which an infantry unit suffers more penalties
    than a tank unit.
    And only on plains (not at all common too) do
    tanks perform on par with their infantry counterparts.
    THIS more than anything makes infantry units your
    ever first choice of division. They have their
    weaknesses, sure, but they can always be relied upon
    to live up to their value.
    And they are the only (land) unit in the game for
    whom this goes
    A specialized infantry unit.
    As the other specialized infantry units, this means
    they're a little weaker, perform a little worse in
    all situations ... bar one.
    As the name implies, these boys perform better than
    anything in hills and mountains (which can be seen
    as a double advantage because the other units perform
    worse here than anywhere else).
    These guys hence, as every kind of specialist infantry,
    should be completely ignored UNLESS you are sure
    you'll need them.
    If you only plan to use them to facilitate matters,
    then don't. Keeping them on par with the technology
    tree will be a costly matter, and will only be worth
    it if you really need them.
    If you do though, then don't hesitate and go for them,
    as they really do perform exceptionally well in their
    chosen terrain.
    Another specialized infantry unit.
    Everything that has been said for the mountaineer
    goes for the marine as well, though they'll probably
    be even less of a choice as they can only be used
    offensively. (Mountaineers get defensive bonuses
    in their chosen terrain as well).
    One final note about specialized troops, is that
    if you have a "Commando" general, they can get a
    bonus in all their attributes from him. With such
    a general, they often perform better than their
    basic infantry counterparts no matter what situation.
    The best unit for encircling enemies.
    They're hard to use and require a lot of practice,
    but if you know how to work with them, they
    can wreak havoc !
    The best part is that they don't need to be strong,
    their goal is not to win battles, it's to drop behind
    lines. As such you can often get away with skimping
    on their technological upgrades.
    However, for beginning players I suggest leaving
    them alone, until you've mastered the basics.
    Weak, not as fast as tanks, with quite a lot of
    terrain penalties, and nothing to make them stand
    out, these lads won't do you no good ...
    You need to focus on them if you want to go for
    motorized and mechanized infantry, but you should
    likely never want to build any.
    Unless you really dislike tanks.
    Despite what some players might say about them
    having their uses, they're a complete waste
    of time, manpower, command and effort.
    You shouldn't "train them when needed in a pinch"
    as the game suggests. First because you shouldn't
    start a war counting on units you don't yet have.
    Second because two thousand divisions of militiamen
    won't even defeat a fluffy duck, let alone an
    army. OK, I exaggerate, but only slightly.
    Really, trust me, they won't make a difference in
    your army, and yet they WILL count towards the
    maximum numbers of divisions your general can
    command. Furthermore, they'll get a lot of a beating,
    and as such cost you greatly in reinforcements
    efforts (both in IC and in the manpower pool).
    There's one thing for which you might want to use
    them, and it's to steal provinces.
    (An army of one division of militia can occupy
    a province as easily as a 12 division tank army).
    But for this, they're too slow ...
    Motorized infantry)
    They're slightly weaker than normal infantry,
    but only slightly. They have a lower softness value
    though, which could make them quite good.
    they also move faster.
    Still, this faster movement only applies in regular
    terrain, and they also get a lot more penalties than
    normal infantry in all but basic terrain.
    Lastly, you have to branch off into quite a useless
    direction of technology (seeing as you first need to
    complete the cavalry technologies) before you can
    "unlock" them.
    Lastly, seein as they occupy a place between infantry
    and tanks (on the inf side), I prefer having both
    extremes, and so going for normal infantry and tanks.
    Mechanized infantry)
    Also a niche occupier between infantry and tanks, but
    more on the tank side of the spectrum.
    The same comments apply, I prefer to focus on both
    extremes (so develop infantry and tanks).
    You need to develop cavalry technology, and then a
    few levels of motorized infantry before you can even
    'unlock' this unit type.
    If there was a way to upgrade your cavalry units into
    motorized infantry, and after that into mechanized
    infantry, then I'd have gone for it.
    But in the end, their poor performance in most kinds
    of terrain make me prefer either infantry or tanks.
    Armour units)
    Both light and medium tanks have the same basic way
    of functioning, the biggest difference is that the
    medium ones are slightly better, but require more
    fuel. In any case, the development of both medium
    and light tank go together, so choose whichever you
    favour (I tend to go for oil refining technologies
    and then for medium tanks).
    While tanks perform worse than any other units in
    about 80% of all terrain, they do perform better
    than anything else on plains.
    Depending on the nation you play, then, you could
    go for them or not.
    Next to the land divisions themselves, let's look
    at the brigade possibilities.
    I should mention already that I love brigades.
    The game manual says you can't attach brigades to
    every division, but I don't really see why not.
    Your general has a maximum amount of divisions he
    can command, and while you can do some things to
    upgrade this number (Headquarters, Promotions),
    you're nevertheless going to have a point where
    he can't command anything more.
    At this point, it becomes clear that, much like
    with your economy, it's always better to optimalize
    what you have, rather than to have as much as
    So consider brigades for all your units, unless
    you don't have the manpower to produce them safely.
    Anyways, as for specific brigades :
    Good stuff. At least, for defensive armies, as
    they will reduce speed. But the added attack points
    can make quite a difference.
    Not my favourite. As I explained before, the way
    to deal with enemy aircraft is to take out his
    airports. Even with anti-aircraft guns, anti-air
    brigades, fighters in the vicinity and a good-
    luck rabbit's paw, your troops will still suffer
    heavily from bombers. So don't buy yourself a
    cardboard shield, please.
    A possible option, though I prefer basic artillery,
    as those work against everything
    (tanks still have a soft portion, but infantry
    does not have a hard portion)
    Mobile artillery)
    A substitute for artillery for offensive armies.
    But then, there might be better options.
    Armoured Car)
    I LIKE these guys.
    The advanced model gives you a 10% organisation
    bonus. this alone makes it a magnificent brigade
    option. It also reduces the softness component
    by 10% which is a great way to make your division
    a bit tougher. It also gives you a nice bonus
    on the division's statistics.
    These boys give a tiny bonus to the performance
    of your division. More importantly, they
    cancel out the penalty of crossing a river,
    which makes them essential if you need to defeat
    an army that dug itself in in such a place.
    But the reason why I like these guys the most,
    is probably the fact that they give a speed
    bonus. This makes them exceptionally important
    for speed task forces, to prevent other players
    to 'steal' your provinces.
    Light Tank)
    Heavy Tank)
    Drop these. Their only 'reason for being' is their
    increased suppression, but no garisson needs that
    anyways. If they'd help suppress the adjacent
    provinces, I'd consider them, but not so.
    On airplanes and ships I will be brief, as they
    both only have a single unit that just keeps on
    upgrading, for every type of mission there is.
    Just remember that fleetwise, you need at least
    1 smaller "screening" flotilla for every major
    ship you have. (2 ?)
    Lastly, a look at the specific generals.
    The difference between the different grades of
    generalship should be clear to anyone who read the
    manual (or is playing the game, even).
    But the different 'character traits' that generals
    possess are a little unbalanced and as such worthy
    of mention.
    Character Traits for a general can be just the punch
    you need to make the difference between losing or
    winning a battle, as such it's usually good to
    distinguish between bad generals and good generals,
    without looking too much at their rank.
    For instance, a level 3 field marshal is more or less
    the ultimate grade of command, but if you have
    someone like that with the "Old Guard" trait, then
    it could be more interesting to 'train' a less senior
    general up to this rank.
    Rank can be achieved by everyone.
    Character Traits can't, and worse even, bad ones can't
    be lost.
    Speaking about bad ones, there's luckily only one,
    namely the "Old Guard" one.
    Unless you have no replacements for an "Old Guard",
    in which case you should at least try to achieve training
    one ASAP, you shouldn't even consider them fit for
    commanding an army.
    No matter how much you train them, they will ALWAYS have
    the Old Guard disadvantage, causing their troops to
    fight below par.
    Anyways, for the Good traits then, here's what's the
    good and what's the better :
    One of the best traits, as it acts like giving a kind
    of 'light' engineering brigade to your troops.
    You can hence use the army to cross rivers and such,
    and you can give your divisions other brigades to
    supply them with a punch.
    A commando general gives a huge bonus to the fighting
    prowess of your 'special infantry' troops, such as
    marines and mountaineers.
    If you have a lot of units like this, group them
    together under the command of a Commando general, and
    see how they move faster, fight better and prod a lot
    of whooping buttock.
    This of course starts working even better if you let
    your mountaineers fight in mountains, especially as
    you have a considerable chance your general will
    Furthermore acquire the mountain fighting trait ...
    Tricking generals evade being seen on the map, which
    is an advantage mostly in multiplayer or for your
    AI opponent's generals to have.
    It also however, gives your army the element of
    surprise in every battle. This is VERY good !
    Logistics Wizard)
    A logistical genius makes your troops consume less
    supplies, and decreases the attrition you suffer
    when in poorly supplied territory.
    As such, having logistical wizards does not help
    you in battle, but it does help you in war, since
    you'll be able to support more troops for the same
    amount of invested IC (or the same amount of troops
    with less IC needed).
    And especially when leading your armies through
    jungles and other kinds of inhospitable territory,
    their keen grasp of supply preservation makes them
    subtle, but worthy additions.
    Offensive / Defensive Doctrine)
    I consider these to be the basic traits.
    There's better ones, but generals that have either
    of these still make valid candidates for leading
    armies, and for being trained into rank promotions.
    Obviously, you want to give the right doctrine to
    the right army, meaning that armies with slow
    divisions (artillery brigades attached and all)
    will tend to be better served with defensive
    doctrine generals, whereas fast striking forces
    with plans of conquest will make better use of
    offensive doctrine leaders.
    Panzer Leader)
    If you happen to have armies made up mostly of
    armour divisions, then these are without a
    question in mind the generals to lead them.
    For armies as this, the Panzer Leaders much act
    comparatively to the Commando generals do for
    armies of say, mountaineers
    Winter Specialist)
    Still a positive trait, but hardly worth it.
    Winter seems to be quite unpredictable
    (and an unpredictable bonus is one you can't
    play as a trump card, and as such shouldn't
    be relied upon) and even in the months of
    winter, there's not a lot of territory actually
    snowed in. Of course if you do happen to fight
    a battle in snowy lands, you'll be glad to have
    a winter specialist, but even then the actual
    difference won't be "that" big.
    Terrain Specialists)
    While these traits can give you quite big
    advantages, I still rank them lowest of all
    positive traits.
    Simply because they're the easiest ones to
    get. (In my experience they're more or less
    the ONLY ones to get, in fact.)
    Fighting for about 50 hours in a certain
    terrain (depending on the size of the battles
    this can be within your first battle even)
    tends to give your general the specialization
    of this specific terrain.
    As such you don't really need to select your
    generals based upon this, you can safely
    assume they will become terrain masters anyhow.
    Obviously the type of terrain you'll need
    depends on your position in the map, and so
    the place where you expect to do battle.
    If you play as Ethiopia (and manage to survive
    the Italians), then a desert specialist will
    do you more good than when playing Sweden.
    There, that's about it for units and types.
    Let's now talk a little bit about how battles
    are fought and (hopefully) won.
    In a 'clear' battle, meaning a battle between
    two exact equal armies (same amounts of same
    type divisions of same technological advancement
    with same brigades and same strength and
    organisation and exact copied generals), fought
    on plains and in eternal daylight, without any
    combat event happening and in mild and sunny
    weather and so on,
    the defender will win in about 80% of the time.
    But it gets worse;
    Almost every factor that will influence the
    cause of battle, will do so in favour of the
    defender. Night, bad weather, terrain, ...
    It's all in favour of the defender.
    Of course, the attacker is the one who actually
    chooses when (and up to a point, where) the
    battle will take place, and should do well to
    focus on this.
    Despite, the best way to turn the tables is
    either to have more troops, which is hard,
    or to have better troops, which is usually
    If you suited your government in such way that
    you became a hawk lobby, your troops will start
    out with an experience bonus. This bonus means
    they get harder to kill, which indirectly means
    that they'll get MORE experience easily as well.
    As night favours the defender, it should make
    sense that you would want to start your battle
    at daybreak.
    (If there's supporting attackers even one hour
    before as the supporting troops generally take
    another hour to arrive).
    But more than this, while winter isn't as bad
    as you might fear, snow being quite a rare
    thing (global warming and all that), the game
    DOES however take into consideration daylight
    So fighting in winter means fighting when
    there's up to 4 hours less daylight, which IS
    a big advantage to the defenders.
    Now it should make sense too, that having
    trained a lowly major general, with a good
    trait, up to the rank of field marshal, can
    do a lot for you compared to the field marshal
    you had in the beginning, who had no such
    good trait (or even has a bad trait).
    Airplane support, unit advantage, brigades,
    better organisation, ...
    And more than anything else, superior numbers.
    When fighting battles, use everything you have
    and everything you can, and preferably a little
    XI. Further snippets of Information
    XI.a) Events
    I've had to reset my game many many times because
    of historical events.
    you know, those kind of orangy yellowish message
    boxes that won't let you continue the game unless
    you acknowledge them. By either making a choice
    or by just accepting the facts.
    Not that I'm the kind of cheater who resets if
    there's an unfavourable random event, but rather
    because it took me a long time to figure out
    how the game informs you of the effects of your
    event (and choice).
    Nowadays I consider myself quite foolish not to have
    understood it earlier, since the game actually
    does exactly what it says, but no worries,
    I still assume there might be other players who
    still are in my situation, and for those it might
    be good explaining !
    So, first off, let's mention that there's two kinds
    of events, and then there's two kinds of events.
    So four possibilities in total.
    1) Historical events are events that are programmed
    to happen for your nation. There's sometimes a little
    bit of randomness still worked into them, such as
    a bit of leeway on the actual date they happen, and
    sometimes there's a set of conditions that needs to
    be fulfilled lest the event happens at all.
    But basically, these events are meant to happen.
    2) Random events are events that can happen from
    time to time, and that can happen to all (or most)
    nations. Election times, national war demonstrations,
    and so on are examples. They typically mostly
    change your national dissidence and manpower pool,
    for the better or the worse.
    Note also that for some nations, some of these
    events might happen both randomly as well as pre-
    The next way to separate the events is as mentioned,
    through whether or not they allow you to choose
    between results or not.
    The latter are (often luckily) usually with smaller
    And for the one in which you have to choose, it is
    VERY important to know what your choice will do.
    Changes in dissidence and manpower and relationships
    and territory and such, are quite self-explaining.
    The confusing ones are the governmental slider changes.
    Here the game will tell you two things;
    First, the amount and direction a certain slider will
    move into and second, the current setting it has.
    The sleazy thing is that for the movement it uses a
    relative place indicator, but for the current setting
    it uses an absolute one.
    So if your game says a certain choice will move the
    slider 2 towards authoritarian, it means your
    government/ideology will indeed become more authoritarian.
    If you are already at maximum level, it will stay so.
    But the "current value" the game gives is what deceives.
    The value it gives is not the value of the attribute
    they gave (authoritarian here), but the value of the
    slider. And to make matters even easier, they start
    counting from the right.
    So in our example, the game says your choice will move
    your slider 2 towards authoritarian, and let's say it
    says that the current value is 10.
    10 means that the "democracy-authoritarian slider" is
    completely to the left, which means that your current
    setting is DEMOCRATIC. And that by taking this choice
    your new value will be 8, which is still very much to
    the democratic side of the spectrum.
    If it would have said "move 2 towards democratic",
    with current value 10, then your choice would basically
    have changed nothing at all, as your slider already
    is at the far left (in this slider, the democratic)
    side of the spectrum.
    Since you can't switch to your diplomacy window when 
    the event window pops up (a grave programming mistake,
    I think) you can't CHECK your current ideology,
    your current settings of your governmental sliders.
    Therefore, it might be a good idea to take note of
    your approximate settings (to verify that the changes
    your choices made indeed had the desired result),
    until you get the hang of it.
    XI.b) This FAQ summed up in 5 lines
    After all this is said, I would like to resume the
    very most important rules of this game.
    Basically, you could say that just learning these
    rules should already allow you to become a much
    better player, and not only in this game !
    They're in order of hierarchy, so the first one is
    most important.
    1) Army Strength.  Focus on making your army stronger
    or keeping it at its strength rather than on achieving
    2) Economy. Expand your economy as much as possible to
    support rule number 1.
    3) Alliances. Be diplomatically active. Don't let yourself
    fall into a situation where you're unprotected by buddies.
    4) Technology. Use whatever means you have to ensure a
    lead in technology.
    5) Always remember that it is better to optimalize what you
    have, rather than to get more. This goes for economy,
    army, provinces, and basically everything else too.
    XI.c) Key Concepts
    Throughout the FAQ, I used a series of concepts, 
    expressions I use to describe often used ideas
    and such.
    Here I would like to give a short definition of
    all of those.
    Superpower: Any of the following nations; Germany,
    USA, United Kingdom, Japan, Soviet Union
    Big Nations: Any nation that starts the game in
    1936 with more than 20 IC
    Small Nations: Any nation that starts the game in
    1936 with less than 20 IC
    Problem Childs: Any nation that starts the game
    with imminent problems. Such as another nation
    historically invading it
    Economy: The science of getting as much as possible
    Steady IC
    Steady IC: The amount of IC you can use and support
    while retaining a positive netflow of resources
    Optimalized IC: putting as much as possible of your
    IC into the production, reinforcements and upgrades
    sliders, without losing anything elseplace.
    Depth Researching: Choosing consecutive research
    projects of a single technology branch consistently.
    Width Researching: Choosing consecutive research 
    projects from different branches one after the other.
    Ideology: The setting of all of the governmental
    Government: The setting of the first two governmental
    sliders. (Democracy-Authoritarian and Left-Right)
    Game Resource Value: The values that the game gives
    to the resources. These are programmed and predetermined.
    Theoretic Actual Resource Values: The values that
    experienced players would give to the resources, as
    unadapted in the specific time and date.
    Real Actual Resource Values: The values that experienced
    players would give to the resources, adapted to the
    specific time and date.
    Resourceful Terrain: Provinces that by conquering will
    improve your economy.
    Important Terrain: Provinces that have victory point
    Strategic Terrain: Either one of the following provinces;
    Border narrowing terrain, Easily defendable terrain,
    Easily attack launchable terrain
    Border Narrowing Terrain: Any province that decreases the
    number of ABP (Active Border Provinces) you have.
    ABP (Active Border Provinces): Any province that borders
    to an enemy, or potential enemy's province(s)
    EDT (Easily defendable Terrain): Provinces that in a war
    have to be crossed and that have defensive bonuses, either
    natural or humanmade.
    EALT (Easily attack launchable Terrain): Provinces that
    Are good for launching an attack from, either because
    of the proximity to the other province, or because of the
    terrain and situation attributes.
    XII. Feedback
    Nothing yet for now =p
    XIII. Credits etc.
    XIII.a) Version History
    V 0.1 / August - Septempber 2006
    Started writing a lot of loose texts about the game.
    Posted a few questions on the forums, made a list of
    all unit statistics (only to discover later there's an
    editor which makes it quite easier to find them)
    V 1.0 / October 2006 - January 2007
    Created a general structure and put the separate texts I
    had written before in their fitting locations.
    Filled in the chapters I hadn't talked about yet.
    V 1.1 / PLANNED
    Will fill out the remaining chapters, notably the missing
    brigade descriptions and the How to Build and Army chapter.
    Hopefully I'll also be able to put a lot of reader
    suggestions in.
    XIII.b) Legal Stuff
    I always found it funny to read those faqs and to see how
    everyone starts them off writing how they "will sue whomever
    steals content from their faq" and so on.
    It creates a nice atmosphere of "seriousness".
    But let's face it, except for some of the most brilliant
    FAQS out there, no one would actually go through any trouble
    (nor would know how to do so) in case of content theft.
    Furthermore, if you consider the average level of a faq online;
    no one SHOULD, except again for these same few brilliant ones.
    As for mine, I consider my faq to be good, but not in that
    level that I'll go and publish it in bookform or anything !
    I don't write bad, but I lack the seriousness to go over it
    time and time again.
    With which I basically mean to say, that I consider this faq
    Free For All.
    Got a website you want to put it on ? Feel free.
    Got an English homework to do and you're without inspiration ?
    Be my guest !!
    Feel like claiming YOU actually wrote this faq ?
    I'd find it a little bit unsporting, but hey, at least it means
    you consider it a valuable piece of work, right ?!
    This on the other hand does not mean that I didn't put a lot 
    of work in it. And that the actual thoughts on the game were 
    my own. I didn't partake in lengthy forum discussions and 
    noted down all strategical conclusions that were made, 
    and made my faq based on that.
    (Not that I'm AGAINST that, I hope that for the updates of this
    faq, even, I shall do something likewise).
    But I based my thoughts, strategies and set of rules solely
    on my own observations, and experiences.
    I'd like to ask for whomever reads it, to respect that.
    Sure, I won't send lawyers on you if you put this faq on your
    site without asking.
    But if you do send me a little mail mentioning the fact to me,
    it would make me happy and a little bit proud, too !
    Copyright 2007 Jef Bussens
    XIII.a) And lastly
    Finally, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank whomever
    might send me emails concerning this faq.
    Whether mails of appreciation, hate-mails or mails with
    suggestions (that might get added in the faq later on), I
    thoroughly appreciate them all !
    Even - in moderation - mails of people with questions about
    the game.
    If I can help, I'll do so gladly, but don't think of me as
    a game manual.
    And furthermore, a thank you to the people from gamefaqs.com
    who uphold a truly splendid website; and the people of the
    Hearts of Iron forums, whom I haven't met yet, but who seem
    to keep up the pace and as such, keep the game alive.
    I hope you learned some things reading this, or if not, at
    least enjoyed my shameless cheap jokes.
    If you want more of the same, I also made a FAQ for
    Medieval:Total War (the first one) for the Polish faction.
    Beware though, that one is even more silly !
    A greeting,

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