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Monday, August 08, 2016

HOI4 Red Byzantium AAR

Post 1 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-18 23:40:00 UTC

Red Rome time! It's like my Byzantium campaign, except good.

• Byzantium
• extra straits
• 10 supply companies
• no resistance
• no xp for division designer
• excessive major countries bugfix
• various graphics mods

Well, at least it was meant to be good, I've noticed Italy and Soviets have -100 Byzantine rivalry penalty with me, so if relations meant anything it would make it difficult for me to join Comintern. Fortunately they're pretty much meaningless.

I did more aggressive opening:
• +15% mana guy into Communist guy
• 2nd focus CB on Bulgaria
• 3rd focus CB on Turkey
• 4th focus CB on Yugoslavia
• only after that going for two extra research slots (8 focuses minimum)

After that I could do Romania quick, and it would probably be fine that early, but then if world tension goes too high, it might backfire horribly. Tension is at 45%, I can't fabricate until it's 50% (or until I go red) - Allies can guarantee, but Romania can't just join faction until tension is at 80%. Maybe it would work this time?

Bulgarian opening

The mod is darker than playing literally Hitler

What to do next?

Post 2 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-19 01:18:38 UTC

I delayed extra research slots and tried to squeeze in claims on Romania. Spanish civil war ended (fascists winning as usual), getting tension to 60%, and it was key to do it before Japan gets it over 80%, allowing Romania to join the Allies.

However Romania decided to give me Dobrudja, which is nearly useless state with 384k pop, no resources, and only 2 civ factories. Oh well.

Then I tried a cute plan, here it is:

• I decided to confuse the Allies and start fake fabrications on Albania, Czechoslovakia, and Belgium - UK guaranteed them, increasing the chance of early Axis-Allies war.
• After UK did its thing, I fabricated on Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. All are non-aligned so nobody will want them in any faction (unless already at war with me), UK should be out of guarantees, easy conquests
• Unfortunately while France was asleep (they only make 0.2 mana/day after focus until they fix their government, so they didn't even save 25 for a guarantee), UK surprised me and spent 100 mana on 4th guarantee - on Iran. To hell with them, but that's legit mechanic.
• Iraq taken, no problem there.
• DoW on Saudis, tension goes to 100%, they join the Axis day one. Like, WTF?
• OK, check autosave, let's see why the fuck Germany would allow them to join. Saudis to ask Germany -125, so Germany would not agree if Saudis asked.
• Console switch to Germany. Popup with "can invite to faction", Saudi's willingness to join the Axis at +29.
• Just double check UK and Soviets - both cases the only reason they don't get popup is that Saudis have "-200 would rather join the Axis"
• And just in case China - OK, they legitimately get "-300 both are losig wars"
• So basically any AI minor can magically join any faction it wants, against wishes of its leader, by magically generating that fucking popup, which faction leader autoclicks.
• Of course player has no way to magically generate such popups.
• That's the most blatant case of AI cheating I've seen so far in this game.
• I understand that when faction leader is at war, minors can join factions because faction leader has strategic reasons to let them. But this is just sad.

OK, rolling back to Romania giving me Dobrudja. I'll come up with another plan, one which works around AI cheating.


Post 3 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-19 04:58:47 UTC

So because I can't safely expand any more due to cheating AI, here's plan B - fabricate on Albania, Czechoslovakia, Finland, and Belgium. Only after UK made 4 guarantees, I fabricated on Iran only. Somehow that did not work, as UK made its 5th guarantee. OK, trying Iraq instead - and last minute UK made its 6th guarantee. Like, what the hell UK? I've never seen AI make more than 3 and that's 6, just to spite me. That's 525 mana. Is Chamberlain another Hitler or what?

By the way those guarantees should give me a damn notification!

And is this specifically anti-player measure? I'm non-aligned nation in no faction, who wants to fight some other non-aligned nations very far from UK, and they spend ridiculous amount of mana on me.

Also I make 146 infantry equipment a day (level 1), China makes 95, PRC makes 11 (all level 0). I decided to send KMT China 2000 a month, which is about half of my production. The idea is that Chinese will provide Chinese dudes to use my guns, and that will weaken Axis. For long time it seemed like it wouldnt't make much different, but China eventually broke through the Northern/Beijing front and took over Korea, then turned Central/Shangdong front into a lot of pockets, then finally was able to deal with Southern/Fujian pocket.

I cancelled the lend lease after I sent them 30631 infantry equipment - enough to equip 51 of their silly 6inf divisions, with better guns than they'd be able to produce on their own.

I went communist, war economy, extensive conscription - and now that all my infantry had maintenance companies, I could exercise them to +25% level with zero equipment loss. That's pretty good.

Everybody really wanted to avoid the war. I really hoped Czechoslovakia with one of 6 UK guarantees would resist Hitler, but it folded. This time Hungary got all of Slovakia, and joined the Axis early.

So far things look bad, but I still have one idea before world war starts.


The Patriarch blessed guns we sent to China, with good effect.

Northern front broke through, but Nanjing was frontline was almost the whole war.

Japan seems to have lost. Germany and Hungary blobbed well. I have one more plan, arrows might hint at it.

Post 4 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-19 14:28:40 UTC

My cute plan was to fabricate on Poland (major in Miedzymorze faction, so nobody can guarantee them) and Romania - then attack both, and Romania would presumably join Miedzymorze, but then who knows what AI will do for sure.

By the way without historical focus, all majors have about 20% chance of creating own faction, and about 80% of joining hisotrical one. For Poland that's reversed, they have 80% chance of creating Miedzymorze. I suspect that might have been coding error. Or maybe it's intentional, in a way how Poland dies exactly matters relatively little to the big picture.

Unfortunately I've noticed that France got rid of its disjointed government, so they had mana for guarantees. And 1 of 6 UK's guarantees expired together with Czechoslovakia (seriously, UK should suffer big penalties as for ignoring a guarantee, like let's say -100 mana -5% NU or something), so if they wanted to be assholes again, they could spend 150 more mana to fuck with me once more.

Well, so much for that plan. I'd need to burn more mana for fake fabrications (I already did 6, for about 30 mana each time), and it might turn out that France also wants to guarantee 6 countries like UK. By the time I'd disarm them and be able to attack some minor, WW2 might erupt and everyone in Europe will be in one faction or another.

Maybe I should just wait for Axis and Allies to start their war, and intervene? I fabricated a few fake claims, France guaranteed 4 countries. Then I tried to do Poland+Romania, hoping that maybe it wouldn't do 5th.

Meanwhile Poland told Hitler it won't give away Danzig, so Axis-Miedzymorze war started. Pretty much next day Albania told Italy to go to hell, UK guarantee for Albania triggered, so Axis-Allies war started as well.

I hoped Poland would hold until my justifications against it and Romania finished, but no such luck, it fell, and Soviets took the other half by focus button.

Not like that was of much use - Romania got guaranteed by UK (it's second 6th guarantee) and France (5th guarantee) - while they were at phoney war against Axis. What the hell is going on? AI used to stop at 3 guarantees each.

OK, one more plan - cancel Romania, join Comintern, just attack the Axis together with Soviets... And Soviets attack Finland (which folded to ultimatum, that ultimatum is broken as I found out in my Soviet campaign, it only gives 1 of 3 claimed states and doesn't remove other 2 claims), getting into war with the Allies.

OK, Comintern, you're on your own - I'll fight Axis myself.

Oh and there's small additional risk that Italy will go through Allies' Middle East and invade Anatolia. That would be annoying.

By the way I was wondering why China won't just finish off Japan now, as they clearly have overwhelming numbers. So what they do? Put half their army on Soviet-Manchuria borders. Fucking AI.


WW2 started

Miedzymorze eliminated, Allies-Comintern war is on now.

Post 5 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-19 16:40:47 UTC

I demanded Rhodes from Italy. Excatly same time Italy got their CB on me, as focus buttons are all 70 days in perfect synchrony. They refused - it would be hilarious if AI agreed, then DoWed me anyway, but at least it didn't fail this way.

Both Allies and Soviets invited me to their faction. Of course it would be silly to join them, as they're technically at war with each other - even though they don't really put any effort whatsoever into their war.

Obviously Axis put all their divisions on my border, and ignored the Allies. I barely got to Venice, the rest of North Italy was taken by the Allies, who then decided to stop completely.

Spain joined Axis and joined wars against me and China, but not one against the Allies - still between them blocking my trade thrugh Gibraltar straits and Italy taking over Suez, it could plausibly starve me of resources at some point.

Well, at least I could attack Hungary. It capitulated, it wasn't exactly megapocket, but Axis frontline collapse resulted in a lot of small pockets. I reached French lines in Italy, so there was only Germany to face - and they decided to fight Denmark, Netherlands, and Belgium at the same time. It was slow push with a lot of micro, but they never attempted any serious counterattacks, and I got it all.

Now there's a bit problem, as Japan is in the Axis, and there's no way in hell anybody will take it unless I do so - and I have neither naval nor sea power. I could plausibly unblock Suez and hope I can hop from East Africa to Raj without getting sunk, walk to China, but then what? I have no paratroopers, no planes, and almost no navy.

Weirdly neither Spain nor Italy are majors, so Japan capitulation would end the Axis.


There were many nice pockets like one in Northern Transylvania here, but nothing crazy. It was mostly manual push on whole frontline.

Axis tries to block me with all it's has, meanwhile they're stabbed in the back by baguettes. Push for Budapest was how I broke Hungary, and that's how Axis frontline collapsed allowing me to advance.

And that's it about Germany. I could definitely use some paratroopers or marines now.

Germany still fighting because NU is silly. Allies did not move in Italy for very long time now.

Post 6 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-19 18:44:09 UTC

Ongoing wars were:
• Italy/Germany/Hunagry vs Allies
• China vs Axis
• Byzantium vs Axis
• Comintern vs Allies

That implied that if Italy capitulates before it calls Japan into the war, war against Axis in Europe might end.

I wanted to push with regulars, but the frontline had ridiculous number of units on both sides and zero supply, so that was not a good idea.

Instead I setup two 5-regulars invasions of Silicy. That went well, 9 landed, 1 was kicked back to Greece. Now let's transport the rest of units to Sicily. And nope, it doesn't care what I clicked, it will walk around. Cancel order, nope, still walks. Reassign troops, give them other others? No, that order was not fucking possible to cancel.

And to make it even worse, they were using all my convoys while walking around. For fuck's sake.

Anyway, I had 9 divisions to take South Italy with - and it was first time I used shore bombardment to force my way through straits. I tried to reinforce them with another landing - nope, same fucking bug, another two divisions and 6 convoys bugged out.

I thought maybe I should just let them walk there, but they'd just attack enemy positions at 0 organization without any break. Finally what seemed to work was telling them to go to Crete, and from Crete to Sicily.

Unfortunately my amazing plan failed, as Japan and Spain joined that war before Italy could capitulate. I took a detour to liberate Suez, and I thought I'd be able to trade with US this way, but nope, the only way is through Gibraltar, lazy bastards can't be bothered to send trade all the way around Africa.

France and UK are dealing with Spain, and I'm going to let them. My plan is to instead join Allies (whenever I reload the game I get fresh invitations to Allies and Comintern), and wreck the Soviets, those fake Communists. From there I can take Japan.


Rome for the Romans!

Plan Sicily. I learned from marcoan7onio about multiple landing tiles per invasion thing, that makes them much more reliable.

9/10 landed, one got bounced back

I told those guys to move to port on Sicily, they bugged into this, it was impossible to cancel or override. I haven't seen this bug before.

I took time to secure Suez canal to trade with US, but Americans are Gibraltar or no trade.

The best way to Japan is through Moscow.

Post 7 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-20 02:05:17 UTC

Contrary to my expectations Allies did not invite me to their faction again on reload. Oh well, fabricating on Soviets is just 30 days. Big downside of it all is that Soviets can move their troops to my border, if I surprise joined the Allies their borders would be undefended.

I still wanted to have some backing, so I joined Chinese front. I wanted them to at least take Vladivostok, to save me some work fighting through Soviet 70% national unity (well, it could have been higher). Of course they failed, even though it was almost undefended.

One thing reloading seems to have fixed is that I could finally trade with USA - unfortunately most of my convoys were basically lost to that damn Sicily naval move glitch.

Unfortunately my attempt at naval invasion of Crimea ran into another glitch, with 4/10 of divisions I sent deciding to go the land route. What the fuck is this again?

Well, I added myself 228 convoys, that's how many seem to be stuck - at least as far as I can interpret the tooltip.

Anyway, Soviet invasion. My army was about 2/3 7mnt2art, 1/3 7mnt2mspart, and very small number of 3mtank3mot - so it was basically infantry war. I'm slowly upgrading art to mspart as they get produced, but it's going to take a while.

I landed in Crimea, and pushed from Poland (fairly narrow front between Lithuana and Romania) and Caucasus (startig from very narrow and badly supplied frontline with Turkey).

As Polish front was very narrow, I didn't push, I just spread a few tentacles to pocket about 40 divisions, which broke the front and from there on it was on aggressive AI push.

Caucasus frontline required a bit more micro, and Crimea front got stuck because Soviets parked 20 divisions at the only exit. Eventually they all connected, and from there on aggressive AI could handle general direction of push, I just corrected it locally.

Unfortunately because of Chinese laziness Soviets fought a good while after Moscow fell. On the upside I had time to take all key victory points in Finland, even thought it was member of Allies and original cause of the Comintern-Allies war.

Dividing spoils UK setup 4-state democratic Russia, which will inevitably press some focus buttons to attack me sooner or later, because focus button can't handle this shit. China got some ugly bits in Mongolia and for some reason Aalands.

Now I can either move my troops to naval invade Japan, or move them to French border to prepare for inevitable DoW by Democratic Russia.


How far I needed to push for them to surrender, at 70% national unity.

Factions. In the end I got fairly little value from joining Chinese faction.

And that bug again. This time they decided to walk in the middle of naval invasion.

Crimea landing successful. Polish front started with two big pockets, after that enemy resistance was much weaker. It was important to expand frontline, as supply was quite restrictive.

Two divisions taking a swim, I have no idea why. About half of divisions on Polish frontline got pocketed before I started pushing, resistance was fairly weak afterwards.

And now everybody is together in one long frontline.

You had one job. The Chinese took literally one tile here, and that tile is not Vladivostok.

Result of peace conference. Germany and South Italy unfortunately still merely occupied, pending invasion of Japan. Big part of historical Roman Empire under control of the Allies.

Post 8 - Originally published on Google+ on 2016-07-20 05:03:18 UTC

There wasn't much to be done except invade Japan. I sent my tiny fleet of 30 ships, half of them damaged, all the way to Vladivostok. They got into a few fights against Japanese fleet, and lost a few destroyers, but light cruisers are totally OP, so loss ratio was ridiculously biased - I wasn't OMG dominant, but I was about competitive with Japan, who should be naval superpower compared with me. Other than getting 1940 tech light cruisers and putting some naval xp into them, I did almost nothing naval. No advisors, no doctrines, no nothing.

I put half my army which was still using regular artillery (upgrading them every now and then, it would take another year or so before it's done) on Allies borders just in case they want to surprise DoW me, but they didn't.

The more modern half using medium self-propelled artillery (with a bunch of upgrades) all went to Japan. I did some cleanup of various Japanese naval invasions and of Siam who has very poor sense of timing and joined the Axis when it was basically over.

Meanwhile, with level 2 transports (limit 40, preparation speed 200%) I setup 4 invasions of 10 7inf2mspart each - preparing for 35 days. Invasions were not unopposed, and 1/40 got bounced back to port of origin, but penalties like "out of supply" and "naval attack without marines" are nicely counteracted by unbreakable armor and just enormous amount of firepower they were packing.

4 landings took no ports, so I immediately started building ports on all of them, but then I simply shot my way to nearest ports anyway. At least I had air superiority with just 400 heavy fighters - I'm pretty sure Japan had like 10x as much, it just hates actually using them in current patch.

By the way it's quite silly that any division that gets bounced becomes unattached from its general.

After that Japan capitulated, we had peace conference, and world peace ensued.

I considered continuing the campaign, fighting Allies for historical Roman provinces, but between released Germany, Japan, and Russia the game will probably just go full retard with everyone pressing focus buttons which make absolutely no sense in current context.

Some conclusions.

• the game is full of bugs and (hard to say if intentional or due to bugs) AI cheats - I hope they fix it in the future

Division templates:
• signal companies are just as worthless as I thought. That "+5% initiative" speeds up planning bonus by 5% - that is from 2% to 2.1% a day (2% to 7% would actually be pretty sweet) - and contrary to tooltip does nothing to increase reinforcement rate. So at least that's clear now, it's completely worthless unless it has some magic hidden bonus.
• I researched rocket artillery, but it was very late so I didn't add rocket artillery company
• That leaves 6 supports I like: art, engineers, recon, hospitals, maintenance, logistics. Recon's tactics bonus is somewhat unclear - but at least it increases movement speed.
• I'm not terribly sure if mnt or marines are better for infantry
• It's totally viable to play with just infantry - I destroyed Germany, Italy with pure infantry army (one cav and one ltank with half the tanks just padded the numbers). For Soviet campaign a few medium tank divisions were recruited, but by the time they arrived the hardest fighting was over anyway. I didn't even bother sending them to Japan.
• I ended up making like 30 medium tank divisions for war with the Allies (in addition to my ~250 regulars), but that war never happened.

• Escorting naval invasions with "convoy escort / do not engage" mode is surprisingly viable even against a much more powerful navy - and light cruisers are OP enough that medium-sized country can compete with biggest navies.
• Presumably at some point they'll nerf light cruisers, and it will be back to paratroopers.

Diplomacy and strategy:
• AI can go for 6 guarantees each - it always stopped at 2-3 in my previous campaigns. If this is consistent thing, and not just an unexplainable one-off, this makes it much harder to avoid war with the Allies.
• Perhaps I should simply fight the Allies instead of trying to avoid it?
• Communism is better than non-aligned, but it seems like simply weaker fascism. Longer fabrication times meant longer window for Allies to guarantee my targets, meant more difficult expansion.
• every faction is better than Miedzymorze

Lend-Lease vs volunteers:
• lend-lease to China is viable way to cripple Japan, but that was a ton of equipment
• I don't think it's viable in any other case, you can't do it before the war, and it will take at least half a year before significant number of new divisions come out
• you'd have very hard time saving let's say Poland this way, it just won't last long enough
• the main exception is if someone has a lot of divisions already out there, but they are horribly underequipped - that's the case for both sides of Spanish Civil war, I think their divisions spawn with 30% equipment or so
• if it was possible to preemptively gift someone a stash of equipment, that option would actually be useful - China being able to build 100 divisions in 1936-1937 would completely wreck Japan
• volunteers take 14 days to start making a difference, and don't rely on AI that much
• volunteers can't be used if you plan to go to war, and increase world tension, lend-lease is safe


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