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Stellaris: An Epic Space Odyssey

I love Paradox Interactive’s historical strategy games like the Hearts of Iron series, Victoria, and Crusader Kings II. Built on the same game engine, Stellaris is something different–an open-ended space exploration and empire-building strategy game. Unlike Hearts of Iron and Crusader Kings, which are confined to a familiar geographic space and time, Stellaris allows you to explore and interact with a multitude of species in a randomly-generated universe. Its randomness adds to the fun, but its open-endedness, well, gets kind of tedious after a while.

Stellaris starts out strong. The initial game play, in which you can choose one of several default alien species (including humans), or create your own, is full of promise. In fact, creating my own alien species, then plopping them in an uncharted universe, is what I enjoy most about the game. You have so many options to choose from, including Humanoids, Mammalians, Reptilians, Avians, and well, you get the idea. The problem is, other than changing the appearance of your population, ships, and cities, species type doesn’t seem to have any affect on the game.

When you start a new game, your species is confined to its home world with a small fleet, a space port, science ship, and construction ship. You begin by researching basic technologies and using your science ship to survey the solar system, hopefully discovering resources on planets and moons, or discovering and researching anomalies (which give bonuses depending on the nature of the discovery).

How you interact with other species is largely determined by your government type and ethics. If your civilization is fanatically pacifist, for example, you can only fight wars to defend yourself or your allies. You can be xenophobic or xenophile. A xenophobic civilization is allowed to purge and displace aliens from planets and enslave them. A xenophile civilization has better relations with other species and benefits from migration. You can set different rights for different species in your empire.

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Hearts of Iron IV Minor Nation Strategies: Spain

spainWelcome to the latest in a series of posts looking at minor countries in the game Hearts of Iron IV by Paradox Entertainment. Hearts of Iron IV is an epic historical simulator that allows you to experience the Second World War as any country, and perhaps, change history. These articles examine the benefits and drawbacks of playing as any of dozens of minor countries in HOI IV. This week I’ll be looking at Spain.

Spain hardly qualifies as a minor power, but because it sat on the sidelines in World War 2, it can be considered such for the purposes of this game. From July 17, 1936 to April 1, 1939, Spain was wracked by a civil war caused when nationalist forces rebelled against the Second Spanish Republic. The war was a glimpse of things to come, as fascists, communists, and democrats sent volunteers, supplies, and weapons to support opposing sides. Eventually, the nationalists triumphed and Francisco Franco became its leader. Spain remained neutral during World War 2, declining to support Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.

What if Nationalist Spain had joined the war? Or, more interestingly, what if the Republicans won and Spain aligned itself with the Allies or the Soviet Union? Either outcome could radically alter the course of the war.

Spain starts the game in 1936 as a democratic regime with 50% national unity. It has a volunteer army, export trade focus, and civilian economy. The fascist party, led by Francisco Franco, has 46% popularity, the democratic party, led by Manuel Azana, has 47%, the communist party, led by Jose Diaz, has 7% support, and the nonaligned party has zero support. The next election will be held in February 1936.

Spain is divided into 15 states, including four in Africa, with mostly hilly and mountainous terrain. The western province of Galicia is almost entirely forest. Its resources are spread out over a wide area. In terms of industry, it has 7 military and 16 civilian factories, 4 naval dockyards, plus 47 additional open slots, 68 steel, 6 tungsten, and 2 aluminum. You can appoint Francisco Largo Caballero, a captain of industry, who grants +10% construction speed to civilian factories, infrastructure, and refineries.

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Hearts of Iron IV Minor Nation Strategies: Hungary

screenshot-179Welcome to the latest in a series of posts looking at minor countries in the game Hearts of Iron IV by Paradox Entertainment. Hearts of Iron IV is an epic historical simulator that allows you to experience the Second World War as any country, and perhaps, change history. These articles examine the benefits and drawbacks of playing as any of dozens of minor countries in HOI IV. This week I’ll be looking at Hungary.

Historically, Hungary was a close ally of Nazi Germany and joined the Axis in 1940. It participated in the invasions of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, however, its army was virtually destroyed at Stalingrad and Voronezh. Miklós Horthy, acting as regent for King Charles IV (in exile), engaged in backdoor negotiations with the Allies and eventually the Soviet Union, leading to a German coup in 1944. Can you steer Hungary toward a different fate?

Hungary starts the game in 1936 as a fascist kingdom with 70% national unity. It has a volunteer army, export trade focus, and civilian economy. The fascist party, led by Miklos Horthy, has 54% popularity, the democratic party, led by Arpad Szakasits, has 43%, the communist party, led by Matyas Kakosi, has 3% support, and the nonaligned party has zero support. The next election will be held in March 1939.

Hungary is divided into three states: Transdanubia, Northern Hungary, and Alfold, with mixed clear and forest terrain. Its resources are concentrated in Northern Hungary. In terms of industry, it has 6 military and 10 civilian factories, plus 4 additional open slots, 1 oil, 4 steel, and 194 aluminum. With all industrial techs and National Focuses researched, Hungary will have a maximum of 46 unlocked building slots in its three core states, 57 if you include Southern Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia.

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Hearts of Iron IV Minor Nation Strategies: Romania

screenshot-151Welcome to the latest in a series of posts looking at minor countries in the game Hearts of Iron IV by Paradox Entertainment. Hearts of Iron IV is an epic historical simulator that allows you to experience the Second World War as any country, and perhaps, change history. These articles examine the benefits and drawbacks of playing as any of dozens of minor countries in HOI IV. This week I’ll be looking at Romania.

After WW1, Romania received the territories of Transylvania (1920), Bukovina (1919), and Bessarabia (1920), doubling its size. Transylvania in particular was a bone of contention between Hungary and Romania. Prior to joining Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union, Romania lost territory to Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union through German arbitration. Romania contributed over 1.2 million men to Operation Barbarossa, but switched sides in 1944 and joined the Allies. It became a Soviet puppet after the war. Can you steer Romania toward a different fate?

Romania begins the game in 1936 as a non-aligned democracy led by Armand Calinescu. It has the national spirit Neutral Foreign Policy, which inflicts the following penalties: Join faction tension limit: +100%, Send volunteers tension limit: +20%, Guarantee tension limit: +100%, AI Modifier: Threat receptivity: +1%, AI Modifier: Desire to be in or expand a faction: −100. It has a volunteer army, export trade focus, and civilian economy.

The next election will be held in December 1937. The fascist party, led by Ion Antonescu, has 18% popularity, the democratic party, led by Armand Calinescu, has 20%, the communist party, led by Constantin Ion Parhon, has 2% support, and the nonaligned party, led by Gheorghe Tatarescu, has 60% support.

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Hearts of Iron IV Minor Nation Strategies: Sweden

screenshot-178Welcome to the latest in a series of posts looking at minor countries in the game Hearts of Iron IV by Paradox Entertainment. Hearts of Iron IV is an epic historical simulator that allows you to experience the Second World War as any country, and perhaps, change history. These articles examine the benefits and drawbacks of playing as any of dozens of minor countries in HOI IV. This week I’ll be looking at Sweden.

Sweden starts the game in 1936 with a neutral democratic government led by Per Albin Hansson, with the national spirits of En Svensk Tiger and Neutral Foreign Policy and national unity of 90%. En Svensk Tiger grants +10% to ideology drift defense and +10% to foreign justify war goal cost. Sweden has a volunteer military, civilian economy, and an export focused trade law. Its ruling party, Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetarparti, has 75% popularity. The fascist party, led by Sven Olov Lindholm, has 3% support, the non-aligned party, led by Axel Pehrsson-Bramstorp, has 14%, and the communist party, led by Sven Linderot, has 8%.

In terms of industry, it has 3 military and 10 civilian factories, 3 naval dockyards, plus 14 additional open slots, 4 aluminum, 202 steel, 40 chromium, and 70 tungsten. Minister Ernst Wigforss, a captain of industry, grants +10% civilian factory, infrastructure, and refinery construction speeds. With all industrial techs and National Focuses researched, Sweden will have a maximum of 68 unlocked building slots.

Sweden has a well-rounded military and strong navy. It has 11 infantry and 1 cavalry divisions, 9 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, 6 destroyers and 10 submarines, and 36 close air support planes, 30 fighter planes, and 12 carrier naval bombers. It has 9,560 manpower initially available for new units, and two generals available to command your troops. General Erik af Edholm has a skill level of 4 and is a hill fighter, granting him a +5% movement, and +10% attack and defense in hills. General Folke Hogberg has a skill level of 3 and is a commando, granting him a -50% out of supply bonus. Sweden also has one admiral initially available: Claes Lindstrom, skill level 4. Admiral Lindstrom is a blockade runner, which grants a +20% to retreat decision chance and +25% to fleet speed while retreating.

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Hearts of Iron IV Minor Nation Strategies: Yugoslavia

screenshot-152Welcome to the latest in a series of posts looking at minor countries in the game Hearts of Iron IV by Paradox Entertainment. Hearts of Iron IV is an epic historical simulator that allows you to experience the Second World War as any country, and perhaps, change history. These articles examine the benefits and drawbacks of playing as any of dozens of minor countries in HOI IV. This week I’ll be looking at Yugoslavia.

Historically, Yugoslavia disappeared under the fascist boot heel in 1941. The German puppet state of Croatia, led by the ultranationalist Ustaše, helped fight partisans in the region. At the end of the war, communists under Josip Broz Tito seized power and became an independent socialist state outside the Soviet Union’s influence.

Yugoslavia starts the game in 1936 as a neutral authoritarian regime led by Prince Paul, with the national spirit Anti-German Military, which grants +5% to ideology drift defense. There is also a chance the military might stage a coup if Yugoslavia aligns itself with or gives military access to Germany. It has a volunteer military, civilian economy, and export focused trade law. It is governed by a Regency Council that holds elections every three years, with the next election in May 1938.

The fascist party, led by Milan Stojadinovic, has 10% popularity, the democratic party, led by Milan Grol, has 15%, the communist party, led by Josip Broz Tito, has 15% support, and the ruling nonaligned party, led by Prince Paul, has 60% support.

Yugoslavia starts 1936 with a fairly good economy. It has 4 steel, 154 aluminum, 152 chromium, 3 military factories, 1 naval dockyard, 14 civilian factories, and 19 free factory slots. Strong aluminum and chromium reserves allow you to trade resources for civilian factories, and a base of 14 civilian factories means you can more rapidly build industry than neighboring minor countries. Minister Ivan Ribar is an additional asset. As a captain of industry, he grants +10% civilian factory, infrastructure, and refinery construction speeds.

Yugoslavia only has 3 research slots, so you want to get the 2 bonus slots through national focuses as quickly as you can. It has researched Infantry Weapons I, Mountain Infantry I, Engineer Company I, Light Tank I, Destroyer I, Light Cruiser I, Submarine I, and Interwar Fighter. You don’t have access to artillery or motorized units in 1936.

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