Making The UK Communist in Hearts of Iron IV – Part 2

This is the second and final part of Fraser’s attempts to paint the world red in Hearts of Iron IV [official site]. You can read part one here.

It’s a new dawn for Britain. As WWII gets ever closer, the glorious Union of Britain, now a communist superpower, is enjoying its liberation from the shackles of capitalism and democracy. Ignore the tears in the fabric of space time – it’s a small price to pay for setting history right.

There’s little time to settle into this new communist groove, however. The majority of the world is still crying out for a saviour, from our pals across the Irish Sea and the Atlantic, to our continental buddies. The biggest problem is picking which country to save first.

With France becoming more and more communist thanks to my helpful meddling, I decide to take a bold (if I do say so myself) risk and spend more political power encouraging the USA, Belgium and Ireland to have their own revolutions. The result is that each day I get significantly less power, but surely painting the world red is a big enough reward.

The Germans are gearing up for war, though, and they’re already posturing, threatening Czechoslovakia and integrating Austria. Eventually we’re going to need to duke it out, so it’s time to start seriously expanding my military and creating my own custom divisions.

Upon unlocking specific troop types, the game creates premade divisions that can be recruited – over time, once they’ve been trained and given the appropriate equipment – but to make larger and more specialised divisions, experience must be spent. Thankfully I’ve got a bit to spare after my civil war, so I start attaching artillery to infantry divisions and fiddling with my light tanks.

1939 passes without WWII breaking out, but Germany does make its first move, swiftly crushing Poland. Once that happens, France is almost always next in the line of fire, and Germany doesn’t disappoint – war is declared in the spring of 1940, and everyone starts picking their side.

My hope was that France would turn communist beforehand and join me in my own faction, but instead they turn just after Germany declares war and join the Comintern under the Soviets. I roll with it, joining as well. This means the Soviet Union is in charge, lamentably, but at least we’re putting up a united front.

The Allies just hang back. Canada, Australia and their buds don’t seem to have a taste for war with no UK to back them up. Europe splits into two camps: Axis and Comintern. Even the democracies end up joining the communist faction, because they know what’s good for them.

This bizarro WWII has been going extremely well. The Soviets are absolutely hammering the Reich on the Eastern Front, while France – now calling itself the French Commune – has dug in, with my help, not letting them take even one step west.

Air superiority has been key. My army is significantly weaker than Germany’s, but I’ve sent the vast majority of my air force to France and west Germany, and the fascists are barely even trying to counter it. The skies are ours, and thanks to my indomitable navy, so are the seas.

Italy is posing a problem, however. I’ve pushed the Italians back out of France, but thus far I’ve ignored Africa, leaving my colonies there open to invasion. At this point, there’s not much I can do. Germany has sent quite a few men down there as well, and I can’t really afford to take my soldiers out of Europe quite yet. At least they haven’t taken the Suez Canal.

They’ve taken the Suez Canal.

It’s okay, it’s okay. I totally let them have it. Useless, strategically important canal. It really is okay, though, because Germany is almost done for. Now the Soviets and I are racing to Berlin, trying to be the first to lay claim to the heart of the Reich. Here in the west, the Germans aren’t putting up nearly as much of a fight, so I’m pretty confident that I’ll be the victor in this friendly competition. At least if nothing forces me to divert my troops, like… Spain joining the Axis?

Spanish troops pour across the French border, in tanks, on foot, riding horses, with barely any opposition in sight. My closest force is currently embroiled in a bloody fight with the Italians, pushing them further back with every day, so they can’t help. I divert an army from Germany and watch as they slowly make their way to the new front. Conveniently, the Spanish have moved it a lot closer. Thanks, Spain!

By the time their huge push north is finally over, I’ve even managed to reclaim a little ground. I don’t have time to feel good about this, unfortunately, as my screen is now saturated in notifications. Everyone and their gran is joining the war, and the last time I counted, the conflict had been merged with five other distinct wars playing out across the world.

Here I am, enjoying this very respectable war between France and Germany, and now I have to worry about the Latverian War of Wakandan Aggression or some other nonsense. They’re not even communist! Bloody world wars.

This year I was a very good boy (no coups or anything) so, for the first time, Santa must have read my letter of demands. If he’d done this last year I’d be flitting around the battlefields of Europe on a Pegasus, but whatever. Anyway! This year I asked for the fall of Berlin, and on Christmas Day, we marched on the city to the sound of artillery pummelling buildings and the sweet music of the RAF blasting the Luftwaffe out of the sky.

It’s the bleedin’ Soviets that get the credit, of course. I’m starting to question this arrangement. You know who didn’t get me anything for Christmas? My pal, Joey Stalin. Not even a card! I knew I should have created my own communist faction. Don’t let him see you cry, Fraser.

Through tears I do notice something that cheers me up considerably: Ireland and the USA have converted to communism! Happy days. I’m more chuffed about the Ireland result, I must confess. They joined the war ages ago, even sending me expeditionary forces – Irish troops that I get direct control over – so I’ve been keen to see them become enlightened. The Yanks, on the other hand, haven’t even suggested that they might throw their lot in with us.

Finally, the day I’ve been looking forward to. A joint force of French, Soviet, Bulgarian and British troops march on the last bastion of the Reich, Yugoslavia. Italian and German forces fight with grim determination, making us pay for every inch gained, but eventually a division of tanks smashes through their line, and it all falls apart. Minutes later, Germany capitulates.

Capitulation occurs when a nation’s national unity is exceeded by the percentage of victory points – areas of strategic significance – that have been gobbled up by the enemy. Since Germany is in a faction, however, they haven’t strictly been defeated, and the war is certainly not over. The two other major powers, Italy and Japan, have to be trounced as well. And that’s why the Reich pops up again in Africa, joining Italy, even though it’s capitulated. It’s a bit deflating, really.

But onto Africa, to finally finish this war.

Yes, it’s been over two years since the fall of the Reich, technically, and the war is still going on. Europe is ours, completely, but the conquest of Africa is proving to be a challenge. See, these big wars are not sprints; they’re endurance races. All the victories and well-armed troops in the world don’t matter when you’ve got no more manpower, and the last time I checked I’d lost almost a million men.

Worse: North Africa, where most of the fighting is taking place, doesn’t have much infrastructure or supply, meaning that my dwindling forces move incredibly slowly and are suffering from attrition, stopping them from being able to fight. It’s all a giant mess. Infuriatingly, Italy has already capitulated and the Reich is completely gone, but since Japan is still in the game – and bizarrely, fighting in Africa – there’s still no end in sight.

The Communist States of America is our only hope of getting out of here, but even though they have joined the war and the Comintern, they’ve been no help whatsoever. Indeed, I think they might have gone mad. They’ve been denouncing communism and the very faction they belong to, and last month they decided to conquer… Canada.

I’m in the Pacific now, doing America’s job for it. It’s gotten to that point in the conflict – and this happens a bit too often – where the war devolves into a boring game of cleaning up. Every member of the Axis, apart from Japan, has capitulated, while the Comintern has around 20 nations still fighting. We’ve won. Unequivocally. And there’s nothing Japan can do. It’s not even trying anymore. Their navy has retreated to the coast of Japan, and it doesn’t have a single soldier outside of the archipelago.

Unfortunately, nobody else is doing anything either. The entire world has ground to a halt. My only option is to mount an invasion of Japan myself, which is no mean feat. Invasions by sea can be extremely tricky, requiring a decent grip on the intricacies of every aspect of land, sea and air warfare.

The hard part is clearing the way for the convoys that will land troops on the Japanese beaches. The soldiers won’t even consider getting in the ships until we have enough intel on the water around the country. That means dominating both the skies and the ocean with my navy and airforce. I send a huge fleet of around 100 ships, from destroyers to carriers, all the way over to Japan from the English Channel, and every available aircraft to the most easterly Russian airbase, and then I pray to Stalin’s bushy ‘tache that it’s enough. It’s got to be enough.

I can’t see Japan for all the units fighting in it. Three out of four of my own divisions make it to shore, on my second invasion attempt, capturing a beachhead that finally inspires my allies to get back into the war. Exhausted, starving men with no hope of reinforcements fight for their lives. It’s awful and desperate and God I hope it ends soon.

The conquest of Japan is the most intense battle in the entire war, perhaps even making up for the previous few years of mopping up and waiting around. I keep forgetting about my grand plan: transforming the world into a communist paradise. Now I just want to send these battered men home.

Our final goal is in sight: the last victory point. But Japan’s last defensive line simply refuses to break. Then, suddenly, a brave Belgian expeditionary force charges, breaking through, rushing straight for the target. It’s desperate, but the Japanese soldiers crumble and the Belgians get back-up from British and American troops. We take it. The war is finally over.

Here are all the countries that I converted through conquest, coups and uprisings:

UK: Union of Great Britain
France: French Commune
USA: Communist States of America
Germany: Socialist Republic of Germany
Italy: Italian Union
Ireland: Irish People’s Union
Belgium: Co-operative of Belgium
Mexico: Mexican Socialist Republic
Iraq: Iraqi People’s State
Iran: Iranian Communist Authority
Ethiopia: People’s Republic of Ethiopia

That’s just from my meddling. The Soviet Union and Communist States of America created just as many, largely converting the globe.

Communism has won. Sorry, world.

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27 Comments

  1. CarthAnne says:

    ¡Viva la Revolución! Down with the fascist and capitalist pigs!

  2. Spinkick says:

    Is this game super good? I am hesitant to sitting down and learning another complex game. Stellaris is an empty shell :(

    • CarthAnne says:

      From what I’ve heard, its significantly streamlined from Hearts Of Iron III and reception seems to be positive, but I haven’t played it myself, so hopefully someone who has can chime in.

      • LacSlyer says:

        Streamlined is the important word here. Some hardcore fans of the series will claim it’s been dumbed down, but that’s far from the truth. A lot of the problems the series had was with its daunting learning curve due to unnecessarily complex mechanics and design. They’ve significantly improved it to the point where even people inexperienced with grand strategy games can pick it up and eventually find their way.

        If you loved Stellaris but wanted a deeper game this is your game. And with Paradox you’re guaranteed they’ll continue to improve upon it for a very long time.

    • trn says:

      I’ll agree with LacSlayer – streamlined but still very content rich. The game automates a lot of micromanagement, which is great for picking up the basics and if you are willing to sit back and think strategically on a macro level (e.g. you aren’t constantly issuing commands to every single division in your army) there is an awful lot to enjoy.

      I’m having a lot of fun, but it strikes me that those who aren’t are treating the game as if it is Company of Heroes, or else have found exploits in the systems and AI, or who seem to think that a version 1.1 Paradox game ought to be entirely feature complete(!)

      A very different experience to Stellaris, for sure.

    • ItAintNecessarilySo says:

      HOI IV stands out from other Paradox games, especially when it comes to easy learning curve and shorter games. It just feels like there are fewer variables to take into account from the start.

      I would recommend it. You can actually finish a game in a few days without getting that dread feeling of having to put too much effort/spare time into it (the reason why I also let Stellaris/EU4 etc. just sitting there these days)

  3. Chris Evans says:

    Great read and makes me want to go back to the game again. I’ve survived and conquered as Democratic Italy and managed to make gains in South America with Fascist Brazil before the Yanks got involved.

    I hope Paradox look into the end game though. Those moments where you are just mopping up the last member of a Faction can be so frustrating. Nobody knows when to quit!

  4. Sin Vega says:

    All rise for the Tetris theme.

  5. Rinox says:

    Caesar already knew it: horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      In today’s modern Galaxy there is, of course, very little still held to be unspeakable. Many words and expressions which only a matter of decades ago were considered so distastefully explicit that were they merely to be breathed in public, the perpetrator would be shunned, barred from polite society, and, in extreme cases, shot through the lungs, are now thought to be very healthy and proper, and their use in everyday speech is seen as evidence of a well-adjusted, relaxed, and totally unf [bleep!] ked-up personality. So, for instance, when in a recent national speech, the financial minister of the Royal World Estate of Qualvista actually dared to say that due to one thing and another, and the fact that no one had made any food for awhile and the king seemed to have died, and that most of the population had been on holiday now for over three years, the economy had now arrived at what he called, “One whole juju-flop situation,” everyone was so pleased he felt able to come out and say it, that they quite failed to notice that their five-thousand-year-old civilisation had just collapsed overnight. But though even words like “juju-flop,” “swut,” and “turlingdrome” are now perfectly acceptable in common usage, there is one word that is still beyond the pale. The concept it embodies is so revolting that the publication or broadcast of the word is utterly forbidden in all parts of the galaxy except one – where they don’t know what it means. That word is “Belgium” and it is only ever used by loose-tongued people like Zaphod Beeblebrox in situations of dire provocation.

  6. Zenicetus says:

    I don’t know anything about this series, but it seems really weird for Japan to be fighting in Africa, or Britain to be successfully invading Japan.

    Does the game just ignore logistics support for armies and air power that far from home? Or is it assumed that allies are supplying whatever is needed, and you don’t deal with it directly?

    • LacSlyer says:

      I believe that as long as your army has support access from an ally that has support lines available to you (i.e. a naval yard or direct land access) then your supply line is completed.

      • LacSlyer says:

        Didn’t finish what I was saying before I clicked, but a good example of why this is the case is what happened to me in one game. As England I managed to get Czech to join the Allies and defend them when Germany was invading, starting WW2. I sent aircraft to Czech air fields but they were unable to do anything because they lacked supply since there was no direct access for me to supply them.

    • SaunteringLion says:

      Logistics and supply are an issue. Africa is a slog to fight in: even just 20 divisions will move ridiculously slowly because of lack of supply, have low organization, have trouble getting reinforcements, etc. Defeating South Africa often poses as much trouble as one of the major powers.

      Per Britain and Japan, in this playthrough, the United Kingdom is allied with the Soviet Union, who has direct ports and infrastructure to deal with Japan. You can see in the ’45 screenshot that the invasion is launched from Soviet controlled Manchuria/Siberia.

      In games without direct allying to the Soviets, Britain could feasibly launch from Australia for control of Oceania, or the Raj as Japan, if it’s an issue that late, will control mainland China.

  7. zal says:

    So.. London is only 1000mi further from Japan than San Francisco, while India, Australia and Hong Kong are all closer than Hawaii. And just in case you were unaware, Japan fought extensively with the British empire (and its allies) and they maintained a significant pacific presence throughout the war.

    It hardly seems far fetched to believe that in some weird alternate universe where Germany surrendered earlier and the United states never got involved, that British naval and airpower would’ve then played a greater role. They did have an empire back then, and a history of distant conflict.

    • NotGodot says:

      Ah, but the Balfour declaration rendered all states in the Empire (subsequently renamed the Commonwealth) equal and independent of the foreign and military policy of the UK. Hence Canada’s separate declaration of war.

  8. Rituro says:

    I weep for my Maple Leaf brethren. Hopefully they made the commie Yanks pay for every inch of soil.

    • SlimShanks says:

      I declare this game to be unrealistic. Canada is eternal.

  9. Anthile says:

    Not your granddaddy’s CSA.

    • Jetsetlemming says:

      lmao.

      Also bc it has an important history related to the aftermath of WW2 IRL, and controlled by Britain, what happened to Palestine in this game?

  10. Undermind_Mike says:

    “the RAF”? Comrade, if you cannot remember the name of the People’s Glorious Air Force I think you had best turn yourself in for reprogramming.

  11. leeder krenon says:

    Awesome. When Corbyn becomes PM in 2020, hopefully we will see a similar swathe of nations switch to glorious communism.

  12. SaunteringLion says:

    “It’s gotten to that point in the conflict – and this happens a bit too often – where the war devolves into a boring game of cleaning up. Every member of the Axis, apart from Japan, has capitulated, while the Comintern has around 20 nations still fighting. We’ve won. Unequivocally.”

    That unfortunately does happen too often, I’ve noticed. The early manoeuvring for power is intense and rewarding, and then the war kicks off and it’s nail-biting (if you don’t cheese and take France out in ’36, the UK out in ’37, and America out by ’39).

    Then, eventually, you and your allies knock out a major power, then another, and it snowballs pretty rapidly, until either Japan is left for the Allies/Comintern, or America is left for the Axis/Comintern.

    Why? Because naval invasions are a pain, and the A.I. often has no idea how to do them successfully and many times won’t even attempt them. So the player has to mount an invasion single-handedly against America or Japan, which requires grabbing proximal land, maintaining naval superiority, establishing a beach-head, then taking out Victory Points from two of the most dogged nations in the world.

    After about ’43, typically, the war devolves into a slow, monotonous structuring of accomplishing the above. Thankfully, once you’re successful to that point you can just build Nuclear Reactors across your now vast empire, end up with about a nuke a week, and then bomb your enemy so relentlessly that capturing two or three VP’s results in their surrender.

  13. DavishBliff says:

    This was a really fantastic series that highlights the “make your own fun” appeal of Paradox games. I’d love to see more of these for other games – CKII, EU IV, etc. Do something big and outlandish and let us know how it goes.

  14. Ronrocken says:

    So does this game end ever?
    I started with the US, made them fascist, allied with italy and germany, made epic beach landings to the UK and France, now with half of europe under my control, war with republican spain and poland continues