PC Gamer

In a fascinating post on his blog Idle Scrawl, BBC's Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason attempts to re-fight the Second World War in Hearts of Iron III in order to try out a popular theory that the war could have ended far sooner had things worked out differently. Read on to learn how he did.

Among some historians, the theory goes that if the Allies had mobilised their forces and defended Czechoslovakia in 1938, the mass slaughter of the Second World War would have been replaced by a much shorter conflict. Mason attempted to see if this was a viable theory by re-playing history through Hearts of Iron III, creating an alternative past that he found "frighteningly accurate".

Playing as France, Mason attempted to re-arm his nation and strike against Germany after signing defence pacts with the Polish and Czechs. He soon found though that the game's complex political system ensured that this was not a simple task, with the neutrality of the Allies reflecting the mood of the 1930's accurately, meaning it was difficult to to install war-time plans and relationships.

"At first I thought this was a pretty unforgiveable glitch" writes Mason. "But digging into the rules, hacks and kluges of HoI3, and real life history, the game is frighteningly accurate."

Eventually, it all goes wrong. Whilst the Allies amass tanks ready for invasion, the Americans refuse to lend Mason's French army a hand. The situation declines. "The game is trying to tell me that if the Allies had adopted re-armament earlier, with all the military rhetoric and sentimental songs and propaganda films that would have gone with it, Russia may have cemented its alliance with Germany much earlier than in real life, and American neutrality - never fragile when it came to wars in Europe - may have been strengthened" explains Mason.

The blog is a fantastic study into the possibilities of alternate histories, and will certainly appeal to those with a knowledge of the period. Head over to Idle Scrawl to read it in full.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Quintin Smith)

Paul Mason, Economics editor for BBC’s Newsnight, has only gone and written one of the most interesting pieces of games journalism I’ve read in a while. In a blog post entitled “I re-fight World War Two and lose“, Mason takes a shot at playing hardcore World War 2 strategy game Hearts of Iron III using tactics that some WW2 historians believe could have brought Hitler’s Germany to its knees in a fraction of the time. As you may have deduced by now, it doesn’t go so hot.

Firing up the “Politics” interface I was at first amused to find my president, Albert Lebrun, classified as “barking buffoon”, prime minister Albert Sarraut as a “happy amateur” and my intel boss as a “dismal enigma” – but not amused to find that I could not change any of this before the scheduled election in 1940. My finger itched over the military coup button, and I immediately resorted to installing a far-right French police chief to quell dissent and abolish strikes.>

Go read! Thanks to Fred Wester, CEO of Paradox for the tip-off. No, really.

PC Gamer

Hearts of Iron III is to receive a new expansion pack - For The Motherland - Paradox Interactive have announced today. Click more for the details.

The game is to feature a much deeper political system, the ability to stage coups and Allies vs Axis vs Comintern (Communists) combat. Paradox are also hoping to alter the pace of the game somewhat too, in the hope that players will be able to complete a game in a single evening.

There's currently no concrete release date for For The Motherland, but we'll let you know as soon as it's announced.

To get the latest on Paradox Interactive’s press conference as it happens, head over to our live blog.
PC Gamer

Paradox Interactive have announced the latest game in the popular Hearts of Iron series; a free-to-play digital card game.

Hearts of Iron: The Card Game will see players take on the role of either and Allied or Axis tank commander and destroy their opponents through the use cards. A trading system will be implemented as well as deck management.

To keep up to date with all the latest happenings over at the Paradox press conference, head over to our live blog.
Product Update - Valve
Updates to Hearts of Iron III: Semper Fi have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:

  • Fixed multiple crash bugs, most related to nations being annexed
  • Fixed the missing unit model picture bug
  • Fixed the Arcade Mode freeze during "Adapting History"
  • Fixed the bug with automated HQs below Theatre level suddenly deciding to defend the whole theatre front
  • Convoys should no longer ship either fuel or supplies when none are needed in the area
  • AI improvements across the board
Product Release - Valve
Purchase now to experience the first expansion to the critically acclaimed Hearts of Iron III. Take charge (or delegate) at any level, from division to nation, through a variety of scenarios.

Announcement - Valve
Enjoy two wonderful strategy games with Hearts of Iron III & Europa Universalis III Complete. Both are on sale for 50% during the Midweek Madness sale!

A good strategist would never pass up this kind of opportunity.