Hearts of Iron III lets you play the most engaging conflict in world history, World War 2, on all fronts as any country and through multiple different scenarios. Guide your nation to glory between 1936 and 1948 and wage war, conduct diplomacy and build your industry in the most detailed World War 2 game ever made.
User reviews: Very Positive (1,501 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 7, 2009

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Packages that include this game

Buy Hearts of Iron Collection III (Jan 2014)

Includes 20 items: Hearts of Iron III, Hearts of Iron III DLC: German II Spritepack , Hearts of Iron III Semper Fi: Dies Irae Götterdämmerung, Hearts of Iron III: Axis Minors Vehicle Pack, Hearts of Iron III: British Vehicle Spritepack, Hearts of Iron III: Dies Irae Stars & Stripes Spritepack, Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland, Hearts of Iron III: German Infantry Pack DLC, Hearts of Iron III: Italian Vehicle Pack, Hearts of Iron III: Japanese Infantry Pack DLC, Hearts of Iron III: Japanese Vehicle Spritepack, Hearts of Iron III: Mega German Spritepack, Hearts of Iron III: Semper Fi, Hearts of Iron III: Sounds of Conflict, Hearts of Iron III: Soviet Infantry Pack DLC, Hearts of Iron III: Soviet Music Pack DLC, Hearts of Iron III: Soviet Pack DLC, Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour, Hearts of Iron III: US Infantry Sprite Pack, Hearts of Iron III: US Pack DLC

Buy Paradox Grand Strategy Collection

Includes 4 items: Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV, Hearts of Iron III, Victoria II

Buy Hearts of Iron III: Semper Fi

Buy Hearts of Iron 3 DLC Collection

Includes 18 items: Hearts of Iron III DLC: German II Spritepack , Hearts of Iron III Semper Fi: Dies Irae Götterdämmerung, Hearts of Iron III: British Vehicle Spritepack, Hearts of Iron III: Dies Irae Stars & Stripes Spritepack, Hearts of Iron III: DLC - German Sprite Pack, Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland, Hearts of Iron III: German Infantry Pack DLC, Hearts of Iron III: Japanese Infantry Pack DLC, Hearts of Iron III: Japanese Vehicle Spritepack, Hearts of Iron III: Mega German Spritepack, Hearts of Iron III: Semper Fi, Hearts of Iron III: Sounds of Conflict, Hearts of Iron III: Soviet Infantry Pack DLC, Hearts of Iron III: Soviet Music Pack DLC, Hearts of Iron III: Soviet Pack DLC, Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour, Hearts of Iron III: US Infantry Sprite Pack, Hearts of Iron III: US Pack DLC

 

Recommended By Curators

"Hardcore historical strategy geeks, this game is for you. Be warned, though: it does not do any hand-holding."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (9)

April 10

Hearts of Iron IV - Development Dirary #15 - On the High Seas



Podcat is back from the US and is eager to share his latest thoughts with you all!

Hearts of Iron IV - Development Dirary #15 - On the High Seas

2 comments Read more

March 20

Hearts of Iron IV - Development Diary #14 - National goals are scrapped, National FOCUS is in!



Attention!

Due to podcat going across the pond to inspect the troops in the new world Johan has made a guest return into the Dev Diary world! Today we are learning more about what happened to the National Goals and why National Focus is so much better:

Hearts of Iron IV Development Diary #14 - National Focuses

Enjoy!

And as usual, you can catch up on old Dev Diaries in our archive

3 comments Read more

Reviews

"offers a challenge to most strategy die-hards"

— Dreamstation
"Paradox has done a tremendous job of making this complex design relatively easy to get into."

— Gamespot
"With incredible flexibility, freedom, and depth, this is a history buffs dream and should not be passed up if you are a fan of the genre."

— PCgameworld
"Serious wargamers are in for a real treat as the hardcore franchise returns for another go at the world's most terrible war."

— Gamespy
"Featuring a fully integrated combat model, a wide range of strategic and diplomatic options for your country, and an intuitive AI system, Hearts of Iron III is shaping up to be the best game in the series yet."

— Strategy Informer

About This Game

Hearts of Iron III lets you play the most engaging conflict in world history, World War 2, on all fronts as any country and through multiple different scenarios. Guide your nation to glory between 1936 and 1948 and wage war, conduct diplomacy and build your industry in the most detailed World War 2 game ever made.
Features:
  • Play as any nation from 1936 to 1948, more than 150 countries to choose from.
  • Control the oceans with aircraft carriers, submarines and battleships and use your air force to defend your skies, support your naval and ground forces, and to bomb your enemies
  • Thousands of historically accurate real-world military commanders and politicians.
  • Realistic military command AI with unprecedented levels of interaction
  • In-depth diplomatic and political system.
  • Historical accuracy combined with an unparalleled level of freedom of choice
  • More than 10,000 land provinces makes the game five times more detailed than HoI2 and the most detailed depiction of World War 2 ever made.
  • Customize your divisions in detail with more than 20 types of brigades
  • New economic system makes it possible to buy weapons from abroad.
  • Mobilization and reserves gives the option of surprise attacks, Blitzkrieg made real.
  • Government-in-exile makes it possible to continue to struggle from abroad with underground movements and uprisings against the oppressing power.
  • Strategic warfare system makes it more important to defend the skies and oceans against foreign attacks; leaving cities open to enemy bombing will now be devastating.
  • A completely new intelligence system, with several types of intelligence sources, makes it possible to get information about enemy reserves and troop movements.
  • Assign troops to "theatres" on the map to fight two-front wars more successfully.
  • The new AI system and more detailed map will allow for more strategic decisions.
  • Flexible technology system with hundreds of categories, where major powers get their own unique attributes.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    • Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® 2000/XP/Vista
    • Processor: Intel Pentium IV 2.4 GHz or AMD 3500+
    • Memory: 2 GB of RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB
    • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 or ATI Radeon X1900 videocard
    • Sound: Direct X-compatible sound card
    • DirectX®: Direct X 9.0
    • OS: OS X 10.5.8 or higher
    • Processor: Any Intel CPU
    • Memory: 128 MB VRAM, 1GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: 1.3 GB hard disk space
    • Video Card: GeForce 7300, Radeon HD 2400 (GMA cards not supported)
    • Internet: Broadband connection for Internet play
    • Registration: Internet connection for registration
Helpful customer reviews
244 of 258 people (95%) found this review helpful
12 people found this review funny
132.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 30, 2014
It took many hours, 3 in game years and countless spies, but i got a nazi elected as the president of the U.S.
10/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
386 of 452 people (85%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
76.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 8, 2014
Plays as Canada
Builds a ton of factories
Makes a rather large tank force
Helps the US attack Finland
Watches the US run away as soon as I show up
Runs out of fuel/supplies
Gets routed by a horde of angry Finns

12/10, would invade Finland again.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
237 of 273 people (87%) found this review helpful
13 people found this review funny
1,485.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 22, 2014
Still not sure, i will play some more before i decide if it's good.
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212 of 259 people (82%) found this review helpful
277.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 7, 2014
I was a big fan of HOI2 and played it a lot. It had a good balance of playability and realism and there were some issues which needed fixing, such as convoys and the occasionally flaky AI but it was a good game.

HOI3, sadly, is not. It has taken me a while to work out why, but I think it's because, in trying to make it a complete war simulation, the developers have failed to either make it accurate or make it fun. The accuracy claim sounds harsh, so let me explain.

1 - Research. There's no logic to it. One has to seperately research the gun carriages and weapons for anti-tank guns, for anti-aircraft guns, and artillery. That's six separate thingies to research. Then there's a seventh bit for heavy AA for your provinces.
Now in reality, what happened was that the best anti-tank weapons (British 17pdr, German 88, American 3") all started life as AA guns. It would make far more sense to have a 'foundry' option where guns could be researched and then applied to different areas.
Why even force people to research three lots of gun carriages? It makes absolutely no sense.

The same applies to separate research for cavalry weapons, militia weapons, and infantry weapons. What, we're all using different rifles now?

As a minor aside let me come on to the logic behind the naming of each progressive unit. For example, the British medium tank starts as the A9 cruiser, then when you research 1940 tanks it becomes the A15 Crusader (skipping the A13), then for 1942 tanks it becomes the Sherman Firefly. What? No Cromwell? Why the Firefly? This isn't the only case of a total lack of logic in the choice of naming. The naming doesn't affect the game but for a game which boasts of its realistic nature it is totally out of place.

IMO the complexity of the research tree does NOT add anything to the game. I think it could have been halved in size and been far more enjoyable to use without losing any gameplay.


2 - Convoys. The problem with convoys is that there is no mechanism to manage their routes. This was a problem in HOI2 where the German AI could sink the entire British convoy fleet by hanging around in a few areas of the North Sea and continually sinking ships. The very least HOI3 should have had is a convoy management system. The player should be able to tell the convoy routing system NOT TO SAIL through certain areas. Instead I have to watch convoys being sunk in the middle of the North Sea and around the English Channel, instead of rerouting all my convoys to the NW coast of Scotland or Liverpool and Belfast (as was done historically). It's a huge oversight and it is one of the primary problems with playing as the British. One of the other problems is that the cost of both convoys and escorts is fixed and does not fall over time (as it did historically with Liberty Ships and corvettes). It's almost as though the game is written solely with land combat in mind and about 3/4 of the way through someone said "Hey, wasn't there someone else in WW2 beside Germany and Russia?"

It's a real problem and affects playability and the prospect of a historical outcome to WW2.

3. Naval AI. While I'm on the subject, the AI doesn't seem to know what to do with its ships. The Germans send their battleships out unescorted to hang around the west coast of England and get sunk. Which they do. A lot. It makes me suspect that the major emphasis for the game was on land combat and naval was not addressed properly.

4. Allies. In HOI2 getting allies to fight for or with you was easy. They often sent you units, and there was an option for you to take over their entire armed forces. In HOI3 that option doesn't exist. And they don't send you units. You have to 'set objectives' to get the allies to work with you. These objectives don't really work. So, when playing as Britain, Canada keeps its air force and navy and army in Canada. When you urgently need Canadian fighters to defend your airspace and Canadian destroyers to patrol the Atlantic, they won't budge. There is no way to unify command, so you don't fight as allies but merely as participants in a global war where you aren't fighting each other. It's poor.


5. Crashes. Oh my goodness, the game's unreliability is terrible. It crashes to desktop the whole time. To minimise the inconvenience of losing my game progress I set it to autosave every game week, which is the most frequent autosave setting. However, if you are in the middle of a huge amount of preparation for your forces (reorganising your divisions for example) the game might crash. This has happened a couple of times to me, where I've been playing as Soviets and have been engaged in a major reorganisation of my 300+ divisions, and the game has just crashed to the desktop, and of course the autosave hasn't kicked in because I'm not progressing time through the game. HOI2 never did this, and it's by far the most infuriating feature of the game.

6. Graphics and Interface. It's cluttered and it's illogical and it's poorly laid out and it's not designed to work on higher resolution settings. It's a bloody mess. And let's talk about the little pictures for each unit that appears in the research window and the production window. Apparently it was too much effort for the devs to dig out the pictures of the units that they used in HOI2. As a result far too many units, which had the correct photo in the previous game, have a 'stock' photo in this game.


There are historical oddities, too, ones which ought to have stood out like a sore thumb. It is now possible to build (assuming you have the IC) lots of provincial AA without expending any manpower. Who's manning all those guns? Historically Nazi Germany had to commit a million men to defending their homeland from bombers, and that was a drain on manpower. In HOI3, they don't have to. They had to in HOI2.

I could live with the game if it was new. If it had been out for a couple of months I'd say "Well, every game ships with bugs so I can live with it for now." But this isn't a new game, it's been out for years, and instead of fixing the very serious reliability bugs, and instead of sticking in a few dozen stock photos, Paradox decided that an urgent priority was some 3D counters which they could charge extra money for. It's not good enough.

I can't recommend this game. If it was claiming to be a beer-and-crisps wargame I could overlook its historical inaccuracy. It's claiming to be a very accurate game, and it isn't. It's not accurate enough for a historical wargame, it's not fun enough for a 'quick dip in and have some fun' wargame. It's too unreliable to be any kind of game at all.


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146 of 185 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
69.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 4, 2014
Became Germany and defeated the Allies. USA never joined Allies, so I declared war on them too. USA joins the Comintern, and helps Russia but to no avail.

10/10 would make America Communist again.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
55 of 61 people (90%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
750.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 22, 2014
This game lets you play as any country during World War 2. I played the base game plus all expansions (SF, FtM, TFH).

You can manage every aspect of the war, from diplomacy to espionage to research to actual combat. You can even try to stay neutral and sit out the fighting if you want, but what fun would that be?

There is an enormous amount of complexity - casual gamers beware! If one part of the war is too tedious for you, it can be set to be automated. For example, rather than personally overseeing every trade deal you can check a box and let the computer handle all of your trades. The computer is not as smart as a person and it can't metagame but in most tasks it does an adequate job.

Personally, I'm a WW2 history buff and I love to wrap my head around complex rule systems, so this was right up my alley. This is one of the few games I've played where I wrote out multiple pages of notes to plan my strategy.

For my first game I decided to play as Canada, which is a good beginner choice because you're safe from imminent invasion and have a decent (not overwhelming) amount of resources to play with. Just like history I joined the Allies. I sent troops to help France, getting my first taste of combat. I lost of course, but learned a lot and even got to stage my own hectic Dunkirk evacuation to get my battered troops out of harm's way. Later my rebuilt forces kicked the Italians out of Africa and captured Sicily. An amphibious invasion of mainland Italy failed, but when my British allies successfully invaded Nazi-occupied Greece I joined them and had great fun. By 1944 the Soviets had overrun most of northern Europe, with the western allies in control of the Balkans and Africa. I quit at that point, since finishing the war against Japan was a naval battle and most of my fleet had been sunk.

Next I decided to play a totally ahistorical game. I chose Brazil and decided to ignore WW2 and try to conquer South America. I built a huge army of militia and other low-quality bullet fodder, successfully overwhelming my neighbors through sheer numbers. Alas, my flagrant violations of the Monroe Doctrine had attracted the wrath of the powerful USA. Shortly after I captured the Panama canal the Americans arrived in force and their tanks proceeded to pulverize my hapless militia. Still, it was fun, and I learned about the importance of anti-tank weapons and combined arms.

My next game came about while fooling around with the espionage tools. As Germany I helped the national socialists win the 1937 election in the Netherlands. It was a huge electoral upset, sweeping away the liberal democracy and replacing it with a totalitarian state. Accusations of fraud and vote rigging were completely unfounded (tee-hee!). I thought, wow, this is so cool, I just changed a government! But the only thing cooler would be to actually play as this new government. So I saved the game and rejoined it as the new extremist Netherlands. I joined the Axis, but refused to join Germany in declaring war on the UK or Soviet Union. Instead I conquered a bunch of neutral nations, and acted essentially as a resource "banker" for the Axis faction, as the Axis powers are resource-starved in the mid to late game. What fun!

I've played many other games but the stories are too numerous to repeat. I'll just say if you like military strategy you're in for a treat!

I have a few criticisms. Despite the manual being 80 pages long, it wasn't enough. There are many things in the game which aren't well documented. HOI3 is even more complex than Civilization V, but it lacks the helpful "Civopedia" feature that game had to quickly look up how something works.

For example, in one game I was playing as Finland and planned several years in advance to declare war on Germany and then launch an amphibious invasion of Norway. I spent considerable time (years in-game, hours in real life) building up my fleet, but when it came time to attack I found I couldn't move my ships to Norway. After much puzzling I discovered that since the Germans owned a specific province that the Danish straights were blocked to me. There was nothing in the manual about straights being blocked, and nothing on the map to illustrate that they were. So all my preparations were for naught. Lesson learned: Save often! Or better yet, set the autosave for every 6 months so if any similar nasty surprises happen you'll be prepared and maybe able to recover.

My other criticism is that the supply system is dumb. For some reason ports and airfields don't stockpile supplies. So if you re-base your planes or ships to a new base you immediately run out of fuel. Even worse, all supplies are distributed from your capitol. So if you're playing as the USA don't be surprised when your troops in California start starving to death because their supplies are inexplicably drawn all the way from Washington DC (and each province the supplies go through results in a supply tax).

I would think the solution to this problem would be to create supply dumps at appropriate locations. Unfortunately Paradox's solution to the problem was to create an "Arcade mode," an optional mode in which all supplies magically appear wherever they need to be all the time. But this just creates new problems because a big part of the military strategy is about cutting off enemy forces from their supplies, using bombers to shred their logistics, ect. With arcade mode you lose all of that, so I ended up sticking with the default supply system despite its flaws.

Overall I recommend this game to WW2 history buffs and military strategists. Casual gamers should stay away though.
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54 of 62 people (87%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
111.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 20
Step 1. Play as Luxembourg
Step 2. Wait 3 years
Step 3. ???
Step 4. Profit.

10/10 would be forcibly painted grey again.
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44 of 48 people (92%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
11.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 15, 2014
I like it. Now how the hell do I play it?
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75 of 101 people (74%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
8.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 11, 2014
Restored Italy to the former glory of the Roman Empire only to fall under the combined weight of Allied and Soviet forces.
10/10, would Benito Mussolini again.
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38 of 42 people (90%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
56.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 29, 2014
Chose Haiti
Spent 103 turns building an infantry
realize if I sell all my natural resources I can buy a tank from portugal
Join the Axis
Used unprecedented military strength to overrun the ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥s in the Dominican Republic
Annexed by the US

9/10 would see the rise of the Haitian warmachine again
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
31 of 31 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
194.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 24
>Plays as Germany
>Makes plans for world domination
>annex Austria and czechoslovakia
>attacks and annexes polan
>Norway Declares war
>laughs
>Allies declare war
>Sends all men to western front
>Norway invades through denmark and kills my units their
>Oh ♥♥♥♥ nigr.jpg
>Norway with their one regiment pushes through germany and takes over berlin
>gets annexed

10/10
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73 of 104 people (70%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
178.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 14, 2014
Made America Join the axis and get canada to conquer Washington
12/10 would Moose Stomp America Again
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63 of 93 people (68%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
12.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 6, 2014
Spend 3 year prepare for Barbarossa , losing at the gate of Moskow, and Stalingrad , and the rest is history

10/10 would go to war again
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22 of 23 people (96%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
169.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 17, 2014
Decided to make Poland stronk and stop German invasion in 1939. Needed more IC so invaded Romania and Bulgaria. Made the smart decision to become Communist and hopefully get help from Soviet Union to stop the germans. By 39 I still wasn't totally ready, so when Germany demanded Danzig, I gave it away. 2 months later I was ready, and waited for the invasion that never came. Germany invaded France, and I saw a gold opportunity to attack while they were occupied. Invaded Germany, but Slovakia and Hungary were able to hold me until Germany was ready to counter-attack. The Germans came and handed my ♥♥♥ to me, while the Soviets only watched from a distance.

11/10 Would feel betrayed by the Soviets that never helped me, again.
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14 of 15 people (93%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
285.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 13, 2014
If you ever wanted to call the shots in WWII this is for you. Takes about a week of tutorials and gameplay to get the hang of it. Pretty complex, but after nearly 70 hours the game feels like second nature to me. Highly recommend the Black ICE mod to really get the most out of the game.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
26.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 2
Playing as Germany I decided to take my cores back from Lithuania instead of attacking Belgium. France and the UK didn't let it slide. France gets smashed into pieces, Italy actually does something good and helps and I declare war on the Spanish non-nazis.

2 years later, everyone in Western Europe is Nazi, Spain is split between the uncompromissed Nazis and the compromised Nazis while we're beating the ♥♥♥♥ out of the Communists.

Or at least that's what my newspapers are printing in Berlin while the Russian empire is just 100 km away.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
18.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 30
Hearts of Iron III is an excellent game. It allows the player to control any nation in the lead-up to WW2, or during it if you prefer. These range from Nazi Germany, of course, to the Dominican Republic, which gives you an idea of the level of choice on offer. The game essentially drops you into the world as head-of-state of one of these many nations, and it's entirely up to you what to do from there: will you align with the Axis in Europe to gain your share of the economic gains in the upcoming war? Or will you side with Stalin's Russia and work to undermine Fascism and the Allies, in an attempt to dominate the world with Communism?

However, the level of historical accuracy in HOI3 is astounding, despite the player's ability to make independent and alternate choices. For example, there is a system of "decisions" in the game which often provide some sort of benefit, one of which is the historical Anschluss of Austria for Germany. As well as this, there are literally thousands of officers, with their own traits and skill levels (which can be improved with combat), to assign to command your divisions or brigades. These are just two examples in an intricate web of historical detail. WW2 history buffs like myself will be elated at the opportunity to not only, for example, command Rommel's Afrika Korps, but lead it to complete victory in the Middle East! Again, this is just an example that popped into my head, the level of possibility is insane.

Aside from the military aspect of the game, which is the focus, there are various other sectors of your nation that you can alter control. There is the politics tab, where you select your ministers and make policies, as well as administer the areas that have come under your occupation through war. There is the diplomacy tab, where, if you are a leader of a faction, such as the Axis, you can influence nations to join you in alliance, and make trade deals, sell equipment, declare war, ETC. Other tabs include research, production, intelligence. I won't go into detail on these, but all are as important as each other.

Pro´s
+ Insanely high level of historical detail (accurate divisional names, commanders, ministers in governments, literally tens of thousands of provinces)
+ Ability to relive or rewrite history, in your own unique way.
+ Greatly immersive, you get to the point where hours just slip away in what feels like minutes!
+ Huge scale wars, on land sea, and air, where you are the commander in chief.

CONS
- Not recommended if the player is looking for amazing graphics- the gameplay is what sells HOI3, not the visuals.
- A tad buggy. The game crashes relatively frequently, especially if tinkering around in console commands.
- Steep learning curve, but once you get the full hang of it, you'll realise it was well worth the time put into it.

Overall rating: 12/15 (Great!)
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
44.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 1
It's a really good strategy game and i like the political elements.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
326.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 24
^ I don't like it
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
674.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 31, 2014
637 hours playing the vanilla game, im only just looking at the mods now. The best game I have ever played.
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