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Monday, August 08, 2016

HOI4 Byzatnium AAR

Post 1 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-02 19:16:28 UTC

The inevitable Roman Empire game:
• 1.1 patch
• Byzantine focus tree mod
• Strategic View mod (which unfortunately conflicts with anime interface mods)
• German flag mod
• Donald Trump mod
• a few personal tweaks (division designer free, no resistance, major power threshold increase)

The goal is obviously outdoing Justinian the Great.

Target division template is 7mnt2art+supports as it's mountains everywhere, superior firepower, the usual stuff.

The first hard choice is to go to war or rush extra research slots. I really wanted to rush Bulgaria, but it turns out my army starts with half the people having guns, the other presumably still hoplites.

To be fair, the same is probably true for Bulgarian army, but there's no real reason to rush - best case Italy or France start their own factions, making my task just so much easier.

Bulgaria was quick - my mobile force (1 light tank, 1 cav) broke them in half, destroyed the eastern army, then my tanks rolled into Sofia unopposed while the other half was just standing on the borders confused.

Then it was a choice of Yugoslavia or Turkey. I got Yugoslavia as they were in higher risk of getting annexed by someone else. Yugoslavian army somehow didn't get the memo that borders are to be defended and only showed up three provinces in. It was still fairly clear who's going to win.

Now there's really no other choice, but to remove kebab. There was a minor difficulty that kebab armies were bigger and they had more planes. For some reason kebab did not think about putting any troops on the border either, even through only one hill separated their capital from all my armies.

Next step is to fabricate on Iraq and Iran to get decent amount of oil. No idea which ideology / faction to go for. Probably not Democratic as they suck. If Italy gets their own faction, I'll join anyone who'd want to wreck them. If they join the Axis I should probably go red and counterjoin Comintern. Or I could do a silly thing and join Polish faction.


We start with capital in the right place and fancy plan for Bulgaria (hold West, breakthrough East)

Time to remove some kebab

This starts to look like a real Roman Empire

Post 2 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-02 21:14:31 UTC

That escalated quickly.

UK and France decided to guarantee independence of Iraq and Iran. I decided to cancel those fabrications instead of getting into a pointless war, then I fabricated-then-cancelled on Czechoslovakia to get UK to guarantee it just to increase chance of early Allies-Axis war.

I thought I might do the focus to issue ultimatum for small border state to Romania (it's really tiny, so I hoped they'd just give it up) while waiting for things to develop. The war took 8 days, but Romania managed to join the Allies in that time. Well...

And then Italy (with Albania) joined Germany (with Austria) and got focus to get CB on me. That could go poorly.

The only faction willing to take me was Polish Miedzymorze (which later got Lithuania). I did not expect things to go this way.

At least my fake fabrication on Czechoslovakia worked, so Czechoslovakia, with UK guarantees, refused German request for Sudetenland, and now Allies are at war with both Axis and Miedzymorze.

Both UK and France naval invaded Asia minor, and in any case they're pushing from Syria.

If things go well, then Italy won't declare war on me, and Germany won't declare war on Poland. If things go poorly, one of these will happen - then Soviets will attack Poland, and Netherlands (my only rubber supplier) will join the Allies, then USA will join the Allies just to rub it in.


Britons and Gauls are invading Roman Anatolia!

The clusterfuck is just beginning

Post 3 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-03 02:31:26 UTC

I'm at war with the Allies, and Italy has CB on me, so I wanted to check the rules. Their CB is valid for 2 years, so any hope of waiting it out is not realistic.

Fortunately I had volunteers from Germany, Italy, Nationalist Spain, Hungary, and Soviet Union - and any country with troops in my territory can't declare war on me. So let's just hope they don't die and AI doesn't recall them. Unfortunately volunteers are recalled automatically when sender joins any war, so it was only a matter of time before Italy joined German war and recalled them, but it was a bit of peace.

I had a second idea - guarantee Netherlands and Belgium, so when Axis inevitably attacks me they'll hopefully join my faction instead, but apparently as non-aligned I can only guarantee other non-aligned countries, so that's out as well.

Good guy Hitler who never did anything wrong asked me for non-aggression pact, but I'm not sure if it would still apply if Italy attacked me. Weirdly after Italy joined German war, they actually agreed to a non-aggression pact as well. Wow, I just got out of a potential massive clusterfuck.

Allies dropped 47 divisions on that tiny province in Aegaean Islands connected with mainland by two straits. That was fun, and I decided to actually storm them against strait penalties - unfortunately Soviet volunteers decided to hog the battle with shittiest possible division, delaying the victory. I somehow managed to win, but to be honest without battle summaries I'm not even sure if I massacred everyone or if they managed to withdraw by sea somehow.

With non-aggression pact with both Axis members, I moved in to restore Roman provinces of Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. Some of my troops are now in deep Africa. The rest are waiting on borders of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, where I fabricated to clean up the borders a bit.

But I'm not planning to let Axis win - they'll inevitably attack Poland sooner or later, regardless of any non-aggression pacts. Instead I'm supplying weapons and mana to Democratic opposition in both Italy and Germany. It requires 30k infantry weapons to stage both coups, and I barely produce 150/day. Well, let's hope the civil war wrecks both of them.

Weirdly enough, Italy is wrecking France, but Germany is stuck on Maginot Line, even though they are not involved in any other war.

I expect I'll have to fight absolutely every faction sooner or later, so if I could clean up Middle East and Africa relatively quickly, that would be nice.

Oh and since my focus tree is totally overpowered I went for total mobilization instead of the usual war economy. That's a good idea as Japan as well; or Poland; or any minor who goes fascist focus. Basically anybody who has recruitable population bonus can trade it for boost to industrial production, and I think that's a good deal.


Silly naval invasion

Eastern Roman Empire

Post 4 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-03 12:41:52 UTC

Germany started Reasserting Eastern Claims, so they could have gone to war with Lithuania over Memel in 70 days. If not, they could go to war with Poland over Danzig in 140. Either way would mean war with me - and with so many troops Italy and Germany had in Africa it meant two-front war with me.

I considered withdrawing my Africa forces to hold Egypt against everyone, but then again, I think I can time it just right. Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and UK's Arabian holdings all fell, so I got enough of my divisions into Europe to hold the line against Axis and maybe get Albania, Venice, and Vienna even.

In South Africa I pressed hard until I got to the point where I held gap between Portuguese East Africa and Belgian Congo with 6 divisions. In West Africa there was no significant resistance, but I setup fallback line in Nigeria with 6 divisions (leaving briefly occupied Lagos on their side), and put everything else I got to rush Italian Ethiopia and Libya as soon as possible.

However, it turned out that Lithuania folded, and amazingly so did Poland, even though it leads a fairly sizable 5-country faction now. So there won't be a war against the Axis anytime soon - on the other hand there will be a war against Belgium and Netherlands, as Germany is focus buttoning "Around Maginot", even though Italy already went around Maginot from the other side.

I finally got to top factory number ahead of Germany and the USA by a few. I have no idea how big the coups I'm supporting will be, hopefully they'll completely wreck the Axis.

So far my fix for excessive "major powers" seems to be working, and majors are the usual seven, Poland, China, and me.


Around Maginot

I was planning to strike Italian Africa, but war got cancelled

Western and Eastern Roman Empire. Karlings stronk.

Post 5 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-03 16:03:47 UTC

The closest you can get to ledger score is selecting "Quit to Menu" option - there you get basic summary like number of factories etc. It counts land power by divisions, which is silly enough, as AI tends to spam tiny ones. What's way sillier is that it counts naval power, by number of fleets, not ships, so if you want easy top score just make a lot of 1-ship fleets. Not like any of that matters.

As war with Axis seemed to be averted for the third or fourth time, I decided to push in Africa a bit more (especially against Belgium, which was about to join the allies), and move against Iran, Afghanistan, and Raj. Even if Raj doesn't become a major, it's still a lot of factories and resources that way.

And so I achieved complete victory in West Africa (with Italy getting some land), I'm almost done with South Africa, Raj defenses completely collapsed, and on January 5 coups I'm sponsoring in Germany and Italy are going to trigger.

On the downside, I have absolutely nobody to buy any rubber from (I got tiny bit from Uganda and Liberia, and there's tiny bit in South Raj, but it's not enough), and the only sellers of steel are majors - generally it's a poor idea to buy from majors, as you're helping your future enemy.

The Axis has been trying to take Belgium and Netherlands for quite a while now, so far they're holding, but not by much.

The most interesting question is how big the civil wars in Italy and Germany are going to be. I hope they're huge, as I plan to backstab the bastards.

Japan won its war against China. Unfortunately sooner or later they'll probably join the Axis, and then my idea of fast Axis backstab is not going to work.

Post 6 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-03 19:21:08 UTC

Unfortunately democratic Italy is Sicily and democratic Germany in Vienna were both pretty much worthless. With both lauching January 5 in one state each, by February 8 German Republic capitulated. Rebels in Sicily survived on their island, but nothing was really happening, with straits blocking attacks both ways.

Oh and both rebellions joined the Allies, Japan joined the Axis and declared war on Netherlands, and somehow Hungary joined our faction. Later, in some completely amazing way, Germany pressed its "Alliance with Spain" button, and as a result Spain joined Polish alliance. Like, what?

Well, time to stop the silliness and go for Rome! Unfortunately my hope that non-aggression pacts I had with Germany and Japan would do anything got destroyed day one. I was sort of prepared for war with Germany, but my only army in Asia was standing on Siam's border - and what I had to do was fighting withdrawal all the way to Raj, abandoning Vietnam and Burma on the way and somehow microing well enough to not get encircled.

I used half of my army in Europe to press towards Danube. I got Vienna and Salzburg, failed to get to Venice. I lost a lot of planes, and I had to allow them full air superiority. At least I cleaned up Albania fast and I was pushing in Africa rather well.

Painfully France and UK decided to land in Beirut, so I was forced to deploy green troops - at least they'll be able to reinforce the Raj and hopefully push back until I have a stable front I'm happy with.

In any case, it was "micro five fronts at once" kind of war.
• Europe is stalled
• Polish and Hungarian forces are stalled
• Spanish forces are pushing a bit, but it's probably more surprise factor than anything else
• Belgium and Netherlands are holding, so Allies must be really happy by what's going it
• I'm crushing Italian forces in Africa

I think I'll try to send my armies to try cutting Germans in East Prussia or Slovakia. My part of the frontline is basically stalled.


A few good places to cut, but my allies are useless

Font would be bigger if it said "Rome"

I got almost wrecked many times

Italian North Africa is collapsing, and East Africa looks even worse. I can finish off the French while I'm here

Post 7 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-03 23:52:18 UTC

I assumed Danube frontline would hold, so I started building fortifications there - they're up to level 3-4 each by now. I had ambitious plans of bleeding the Axis on them, and cutting them in Slovakia or East Prussia. And I even managed to win war in Africa, and stabilize the line in Raj - even if the line is very far from where I'd like it to be.

And I even finally got some paratroopers, so I could capture Cyprus, Malta, and Ceylon (with its rubber) - just about time, as Siam became puppet of Japan and joined the Axis, leaving just Brazil and Philippines as possible neutral rubber sources - both with very tiny amounts.

Unfortunately Hungary and Poland didn't seem able to hold the line, so instead I had to desperately transfer my troops from Africa there - and thankfully they send me their troops as expeditionary forces, so I could tell them to hold the damn line and don't try any stupid charges on German tanks.

I think I can hold the line in Europe, but unfortunately I don't have anything to launch any offensive with.

The good news is that Soviet Union is doing "War with Japan" focus. If it was kind enough to bleed each other with Japan just enough so Japan withdraws its troops from Raj border, maybe I'll be able to move that border where it belongs. Of course it's also quite likely they'll just have a phoney war.

The somewhat ambiguous good news is that USA is doing "Destroyers for Bases", which is on way towards joining the Allies.

So far I'd saying things are going poorly:
• I might have more factories than any other major, but not even close to all of them together - and my core population is much lower (even with focus making a lot of states my cores)
• I'm at war with Germany, Italy, and Japan - all 90% focused on me
• UK and Allies are all asleep - they don't even strategic bomb the Axis, just keep English Channel covered
• USA will inevitably join war against me sooner or later
• Soviet Union seems like it will probably attack Axis first (and might even attack Allies as UK guaranteed Finland due to my shenanigans), but might also attack Poland and so I'll be at war with all 7 original majors simultaneously.
• If USA attacks me now, it will be a bit annoying but I'll have time. If Soviets attack me, I'm instantly screwed as I have no troops to spare - even in best case I'd probably need to abandon Poland.
• The "total score" is so silly that France is still ahead of me. Can you even find France on the map?

I'm not really sure what to do next:

• paradrop on Silicy, Sardinia, Corsica etc. to annoy Italy
• try maneuvering my light panzers in Poland, as German troops and planes seem to be less dense there - possibly even drop some paratroopers behind the lines
• get however much I can and take over South-East Asia (that was my original plan, but then Poland and Hungary were both on verge of falling)
• go defensive and wait Axis out? they're losing manpower fast
• somehow sneak troops into Spain and help that front? it's at least moving - and in worst case if Italy reinforces it, that will relieve pressure on my other fronts
• if I expect the war to go forever, maybe I should change ideology, then I can screw with everybody else. That's probably what I should have done day one, but I wanted to try going Non-Aligned (LifeProTip: always go red or brown)


Miedzymorze strong, but Axis stronger

Holding the line very far from where I'd like to

Poland and Hungary were both on verge of collapse before I rushed all my troops there

Post 8 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-04 15:44:27 UTC

Soviet Union pressed the button to get CB against Japan, but it had non-aggression pacts with Germany and Japan, so nothing came out of it - instead it attacked Finland. And here my fake fabrication on Finland much earlier on succeeded really well, as that resulted in Soviet-Allies war. So current wars are:

• Allies vs Axis
• Allies vs Miedzymorze
• Allies vs Soviets
• Miedzymorze vs Axis

Of course sooner or later:
• Soviets will inevitably press the button to attack Poland
• USA will inevitably join the Allies
• Hitler will probably press the button to attack the Soviets (or Japan-Soviet non-aggression pact runs out somehow)

Resulting in 4-way everyone vs everyone clusterfuck.

The Axis didn't bother putting any planes up North, so I did two paratroopers and panzers pushes - first in Pomerania, second in Slovakia. In this alternative history version, about 20 divisions of German defending Westerplatte managed to survive about two months (mostly because they didn't have low supplies penalty even encircled). Those encircled in Slovakia went down much faster.

During my first push I seriously hoped I could reach Berlin, but they managed to come up with second line of defenders somehow.

I doubled armies in the East to 35 real and 5 Polish divisions, and established real border frontline now.

So far losses in 4 wars are (not counting minor and eliminated powers):
• Germany - 3440k
• Italy - 1521k
• Japan - 335k (plus presumably way more in wars against China)
• Byzantium - 348k
• Poland - 369k
• UK - 810k (total allies deaths are like ~3200k)

And yet, none of the bastards are anywhere close to running out of manpower, and they're on service by requirement, not even close to scrapping the barrel.

If that was my only war, I could try to wait Germans and Italians out, as they're very happy to throw huge number of bodies at heavily fortified positions, but long term Soviets and USA will declare war on me, so I can't really afford to wait the Axis out.

If I can get Germany to surrender, I could spare some troops on Soviet border at least.


After Slovakia offensive. Spain is doing better than expected, and Benelux started pushing thanks to all the Germans who had to rush to defend Berlin.

First breakthrough

Reverse Westerplatte - unfortunately I couldn't even push it up to next major river, so followup push will be hard; that's why I went for Slovakia instead

Finally we have a proper border. Japan seems to be very happy about it, so it's not even suiciding troops on me like Germans do. It would be very difficult to push it, I just try to move on one province at a time, but this will end up in very long border stopping any advance

Post 9 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-04 21:53:18 UTC

In theory there are 4 big wars, but in practice Allies-Axis war is phoney (except for some minor fighting in Benelux), Allies-Soviet war will be phoney as soon as Finland falls, and Allies-Miedzymorze war ran out of border. Miedzymorze-Axis is the only war where real action happens.

Munich offensive was reasonably successful, so I hoped I'd be able to wreck the Axis with this kind of series of panzer+paratroper pushes, but instead Soviets declared war on Poland. Seriously, never join Miedzymorze, it's a CB magnet, you're way better off with your own faction.

I thought it would be a total disaster, but actually it was OK. Soviets left my border completely unmanned. I waited full month to accept call to arms, as I needed to transfer my troops:
• All Polish and Hungarian expeditionary force holding the Eastern Front
• My army holding Western Front - I even pushed a bit to the Swiss border to split Italy from Germany, but took a long paused afterwards
• Japan-facing army got reduced to 24, the rest going to Central Asia. I tried to build fort line there, but I didn't micro enough, and they pressed really hard so I had to withdraw further a few times, leaving forts on their side of the border. Fortunately Dacca line of 5 provinces is holding, and I'm building it up to Maginot line level if it needs to be (it's levels 2-4 for now, construction unfortunately pauses during battle in particular province, but doesn't reset or anything).
• Some paratroopers on Caucasus border - they managed to get the Baku oil fields before real opposition showed up
• All Panzers and some paratroopers took most of Ukraine, passed Crimea into Caucasus, and encircled a lot of Soviet divisions - unfortunately Soviets later got air superiority everywhere from Ukraine northwards, and that mysteriously slows down all tanks, so I moved them to go to Stalingrad
• Finland took advantage of sudden Soviet panic and took Leningrad - which changed hands a few times

In previous patch AI tended to split forces between fronts, now it concentrates them too hard. Both approaches have downsides, I think it's on net an improvement, but Soviets wouldn't get wrecked so much if they were more balanced.

Spain was wrecking Italy and took over pretty much all France, so I decided to actually push on the Western Front, even though it was seriously undermanned. Well, I guess Axis ran out of men and equipment after all. The collapse was so quick it was a race which will fall faster - Rome or Berlin. Rome got taken August 18th, Berlin August 19th (I attacked it from Polish cores, so Poland got it - it was nice enough to give me control over some provinces, but I can't ask for Berlin).

And soon Italy surrendered. Germany has overly high national unity, but no hope of actually surviving long. Afterwards we'll probably clean up Belgium and Netherlands. There's like 2500 planes in the English Channel, so I don't think we can realistically paradrop anyone - I guess I should have left them Malta, Cyprus etc., then they'd split their air forces. I really need to rush UK before USA joins the Allies, but I'm a bit busy on all fronts.

Soviet Union is losing ground, but it's nothing like blitzkrieg of first months. Japan I don't even know how to push back, let alone win that war.

Italy capitulated, Rome for the Romans!

Axis frontline collapsed

Dacca Line, the new Maginot Line

Post 10 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-05 01:29:39 UTC

I'm going to admit I thought I lost this campaign and I might have to restart when my forces proved to be completely unable to advance against Italy and Germany, while my allies kept losing land to German offensive.

Well, Italy capitulated, Germany fought until I got Kiel, but capitulated as well. Then I spent some time cleaning up Allies in Europe - Belgium, Netherlands, Republican Italy, bits held by resurrenced France (including Maginot Line), naval invasions by Australia and UK etc.

In Soviet Union I just barely had enough troops to hold the whole border, so any panzer rush on Moscow would just mean massively overextended border and risking getting cut under enemy air superiority. The obvious way out was a series of panzer pushes to encircle some Russians and shorten the lines. Finland took Leningrad for like 3rd or 4th time, so I took it from them for more warscore - I disabled my warscore mod, as supposedly patch 1.1 fixes that, but we'll see.

I got Moscow, but that was still not quite enough. The game should at least have decency of having some kind of victory points map mode. A lot of time later (and that's 70% national unity, just imagine how painful 90% would be) we finally defeated the Soviets, and I took almost everything for myself. Soviet-Finland war did not end, as Mongolia keeps fighting the good fight there, no idea why, peace conferences are broken I guess.

I was spending so much mana on harshest possible occupations I stopped taking focuses - not like the remaining ones were all that great anyway. And I was still bleeding mana, so I ended up lowering it by a level, losing about 100 factories. Ouch. I'll probably need to do that again.

Poland went fascist, not terribly surprising from storytelling point of view as Hungary and Spain in our faction already are. In peace conference they decided to setup one-state puppet Soviet Union. As non-aligned I can't make puppets.

I sent some troops to Raj already, but that border is painful for everyone, and I can't even put my troops I want there, infrastructure is crap. At least that's real Maginot line over there, level 10 fort every province, Japan no longer even bothers trying.

I hoped to capture some fighters from Soviet Union, that didn't work - instead Spain's one state puppet got all 5800 of them. I have 3000 fighters vs 3800 holding English channel, but presubly my should be a bit better as they're all heavy fighters and most are 1940 model, while UK will have a mix of probably mostly older models?

There's no way in hell I can finish Japan in reasonable time frame, but I might be able to take over UK. On the other hand USA is 40 days away from getting CB on Germany, and that would probably make it join the Allies.

It's probably still worth it. It will take my troops months to get to Axis frontlines, and if I eliminate UK and Finland it will at least make it really hard for US to transport its troops to Europe.


This is still not enough for Soviets to capitulate. NU really needs to go down with casualties or something.

Post 11 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-05 21:25:51 UTC

It was Japan or UK decision. Reasons I went for Japan:
• in previous patch, AI would split its air force, now they tend to concentrate it very hard - so English channel has 4k planes vs my 3k total
• I don't understand air battles well enough to know if I can win, or if I'd just be throwing air force I have (very useful in war against Japan) for no value
• USA was already in process of pressing its war against Germany button (seriously, nobody should be able to DoW counry that already surrendered, that's just silly), so any kind of UK rush would be unlikely to succeed
• Oh, Canada became a major power after all, so Allies wouldn't have surrendered after loss of UK anyway

Meanwhile Japan war was very winnable. I was producing 400 heavy fighters a month, with this number about to increase to 675/month once production lines reach their full speed, possibly even 1k/month in a few years.

Once it was decided, I took like 15 minutes to rearrange OOB (who said that was gone?). Mongolia gave me military access, so I could pass troops from Central Asia and Raj to Siberia a bit faster. The Japanese took Vladivostok, but didn't advance that far into Siberia by the time my troops showed up. Frontlines were:
• Siberia
• (Mongolia gap)
• North-West China
• (Tibet gap)
• East India - starting from my ridiculously overfortified Dacca line.
• Air superiority everywhere, as Japan is also using its fighters mostly to prevent anyone from landing in Japan.
• Meanwhile in Europe my paratroopers took Sardinia and Corsica, with Italians putting some resistance, and Polish/Hungarian expeditionary force was dealing with Finland, and with that the last enemy holdings on the continent would be gone.

I put highest priority on the Southernmost front, with huge concentration of infantry, tanks, and paratroopers. It went forward a bit, but it soon ran out of steam because of jungles, rivers, and lack of supplies - I had to withdraw most of my armies while waiting for infrastructure to be upgraded.

Meanwhile middle front was moving forward at steady pace, and nothern front, whose job was basically not letting Japan overrun Siberia met so little resistance that my tanks were in Beijing before Bangkok even saw any of my troops.

Well, now it's time to launch the paratroopers. Japan has tons of airplanes, but seems to put them on island defense duty from the wrong side. Let's see how it goes. Victory over Axis means I only have UK, Canada, USA, and some Indonesian/Australian islands to deal with.

By the way, I was building navies, and I forgot to tell them to deploy anywhere in particular, so they decided to deploy them in Benelux - of course all 11 ships got sunk trying to get to home waters. Seriously game, what kind of bullshit is this?


Japan is defending its oil and rubber in Siam reasonably well, but they left the way to air strip Korea poorly defended.

If that's not a bullshit excuse, I don't know what is.

WTF is this nonsense? It seems to be a bug due to war merging. Germany got Madagascar from France from this bug, somehow.

Japan and UK have same idea of putting all planes on protecting their islands. Japan just does it from the derpy side.

Post 12 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-05 23:25:45 UTC

While it's fine to keep pushing land war in China, it was time to send paratroopers to Japan.

Actually I thought I got transport planes in Korea already, but I didn't, and while waiting for them Japanese managed to put 1k planes in their Japan air region to respond to my planes - good timing allows for paradrop with less oppositionn. Well, I had 3k for that. They were shooting themselves down at 2 mines : 3 theirs ratio, which is not amazing, and it was much slower than it patch 1.0.

By the way even with my excessive major fix the majors are:

• Miedzymorze - Poland (faction leadear), Byzantium, Spain, Russia (Spain's puppet)
• neutral - Brazil, Sweden (I think Portugal was briefly on the list too)
• Allies - UK (faction leader), USA, Canada, France (surrendered)
• Axis - Japan, Italy (surrendered), Germany (faction leader; surrendered)
• Comintern - Mongolia (I think country inheriting faction leader status generally becomes major, even if it's ridiculously tiny, I've seen Latvia etc. do so)

Anyway, my paratroopers all landed, but most losing half their manpower. Painful. I got everything from Nagoya westward, except for two pockets, before I had to stop, and I couldn't drop anyone eastwards as it was out of range. Since I captured a bunch of ports, I transported some tanks and the rest of paratroopers there.

I lost 1 of 19 divisions I sent in spite of bullshit tooltip saying there's 0% chance of them intercepting me. I have absolutely no idea how anything naval works.

I just pushed with my tanks and paratroopers into Tokyo, eventually leaving big pocket to starve, as they were a bit too strong to bother crushing (by the way AI often gets magical supplies even when in a tiny pocket for weeks, not sure what are the mechanics here). Of course with ridiculous national unity this game has I was holding:
• all lands of every Japan's ally
• all lands in China, Korea etc.
• Sakhalin
• all Japanese islands except Hokkaido

But I still needed to take last two cities on Hokkaido to get them to capitulate. Fortunately all Japanese islands have bridges between them, otherwise it would have been really bad.

In the peace deal, Spain puppeted what was left of Japan, Germany (including Danzig of all things), Italy, and Ethiopia to add to their Russian puppet.

Anyway, at this point we're so ridiculously overwhelmingly more powerful than anyone else that I'm going to call it a day. I think I have more factories, land, and resources than everyone else put together, or something close to it, and the rest of my faction is pretty strong too. Hilariously I'm still 3rd in total score behind USA and UK as 90% of score seems to be air power. Like are you even trying game?


Initial landing, paratroopers lost a lot of troops

This plus total collapse of everything on continent is somehow not enough to surrender. No victory points in that pocket.

I got impatient with my tanks attacking the bridge, so I paradropped on one of two Hokkaido's cities. I still needed to take the other one.

Post 13 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-06 00:28:49 UTC

Post-campaign retrospective.

Patch and mods:
• Strategic View Adjustment mod is quite neat
• Byzantium mod has fairly high power level, but nothing crazy
• 1.1 patch fixed quite a few things - mostly a lot of UI issues got fixed; AI prioritizes fronts, so it's at least more interesting to play against, even if it's not objectively stronger than before (see Japan's air force on wrong side); warscore seems sane now
• 1.1 patch made the already overpowered artillery even a bit better, as towed artillery it had zero defense due to typo in game files in 1.0
• the game still feels like playable beta, not a proper release, but then again all Paradox games have this feel

Game mechanics:
• Coups are extremely expensive, extremely slow, and seem useless, unless coup gets to steal units in its starting state in addition to about 4 crappy inf it spawns with for all your effort. I've seen Maginot Line coup trick, that was cute.
• I wish I had an idea how AI makes guarantees - I thought they'd only bother guaranteeing in Europe, but Iraq and Iran both got some. Then again, they technically neighbour UK and France.
• I wish I had an idea how AI allows countries to join factions. If there's already a war between factions, then any new country in conflict with one will join the other, that's clear. But why the hell UK allowed Romania in, but not any of the other countries? Is it because it was democratic?
• Diplomacy seems useless overall - there's no way to improve relations with anyone to the point they'd join your faction.
• You can try to flip countries' ideology, but since it's not scaled with country size it costs just as much to flip USA's as Luxembourg (well, except for ideology defense modifier some majors have).
• Even with the fix for Raj etc. going major, every campaign seems to turn into world conquest campaign far too easily. Tricks to rust before USA joins Allies are extremely unreliable. Probably joining Allies yourself is easiest way to actually finish the game, but that's fairly boring as you can't fabricate on minors as Democratic. Even then, Japan will usually join the Axis, so it's huge trip from where you are to Japan.
• I have absolutely no idea how navies work. There was one Romanian submarine in Black Sea whole game. It magically survived like twenty battles with my whole fleet unscratched, and without refueling port.

• Every time you play you need to decide which ideology you go for, which factions you'll join, and which factions you'll fight. These decisions affect your choice of strategy from day one. Without historical AI there are some possible surprises, but you can't wait and see as your early choices affect whole game.
• Staying non-aligned is a bad choice, going communist or fascist is easy, and it's all upside and no downside. Even democratic countries don't really give a shit about your ideology (it's +10 vs -10 modifier). I'm not entirely sure which is worse - democratic or non-aligned, but they're both terrible. It would be nice to have some kind of rebalance here.
• Joining Poland's faction is the worst possible choice. Poland is CB magnet, and far too weak. Remain factionless, start your own, join any real faction, or even join United Chinese Front - anything except Miedzymorze.
• Starting wars with multiple factions at the same time is a really bad choice.
• And obviously I made all three mistakes at once.
• Retrospectively I should have gone red, join Comintern, fight Axis for Italy, and call it a day. Or slow down warmongering (or even go blue), join the Allies, and defeat the Axis. Or even go fascist and found my own faction. I went literally the worst possible route.
• In a multi-way war you'd think everyone would fight everyone else - yet somehow AI factions mostly ignored each other's wars, so as weakest faction we had to defeat the whole world. It's surprising it worked.

Spanish intervention:
• This was the key event in the war
• Germany pressed "Alliance with Spain" button, which removed "recovering from civil war" from Spain, and let them join factions, as well as gave Germany and Spain relationship bonus
• Before that, Italy pressed button to give them Baleares from Spain
• So Spain was presumably unwilling to join the Axis due to strategic reasons to dislike Italy (it's way bigger than relationship bonus Germany got)
• And guess who's already fighting Italy? Miedzymorze! So Spain already interested in joining a faction found just the right one, and actually wrecked Italy.
• So Hitler and Mussolini acting together managed to create this spectacular backfire in a way than neither could do alone.

Other major events:
• I'm not totally sure why Hungary joined our faction instead of the Axis - it has reasons to dislike Romania, but then we were both at war with the Allies. It would actually be more convenient for me if they stayed neutral I think. Of course if they joined the Axis, it would really wreck our overextended lines.
• When I attacked the Axis, having troops on Siam border was just ridiculous. The panicked retreat was completely unnecessary. I should have put them on Japan's border and they'd probably hold (well until Japan pressed button to DoW or puppet Siam).
• The war with the Allies was a risk - I didn't know if Romania will join the Allies or not (or even if they'll just fold into my ultimatum). At that time Italy was fabricating on me, so I could have let it go, put troops on Italian border, and join the Allies.


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