A New Beginning
So, as I said in the introduction, I'll be playing the United States of America, starting from January 1st, 1936. Originally I chose the US because they have very little impact on the game for the first half (so I can show how stuff works) and they have a lot of impact on it in the second half (so I can have some fun, too). Things might turn out a bit differently this time around though. We will see. And I'm playing from '36 because that's the only starting point in the HPP. We simply don't have the manpower to make the other bookmarks work too. Maybe sometime in the future, but I'm not making any promises.
Oh, the good old US of A! The land of freedom, second chances and the Great Depression! Will you emerge as a new Superpower by the second half of the twentieth century or will you go under as many Empires have before? Only time will tell! (Although smart money says it will probably be the former. Just a hint.)
So let's take a look at how things are at the start of the game!
I attached a smaller map of Alaska and the Pacific Islands. Their relative size is pretty much proportional to their importance.
As you can see from the screenshot, we have tons of base IC (probably more than all the Allies put together right now) and we have lots of resources as well. Both of these will change quickly though. The game starts with a very bad event for the US, representing the Great Depression. It has multiple phases but as it starts out, it will hurt my economy big time. I have a decent amount of manpower, which might be unexpected for vanilla players. Well, the US had quite a lot of unemployed people at the time. My Officer Ratio is 100% and I have 80% National Unity. I have 68 Diplomacy Points, but I don't really want to use them for anything right now.
Note the name of the country: it's United States of America, not USA. Neat, huh?
At the start, I have three decisions I could make and three others that are not yet available. The first two would allow me to release Liberia and the Philippines from being my vassals to be completely free and independent, but I don't want to do that. Doing so would decrease my Threat level worldwide, but I don't need that and this action would have no other advantages. The third decision fires several introduction events explaining some of the main features of the mod, but I don't really need to see those, do I?
The other three decisions are "Leave the Naval Treaties", "They went too far!" and "Gearing up for War". The third is very similar to the vanilla decision, giving a small reduction in Neutrality and it can be activated if any two of the starting Faction Leaders are at war with eachother. The "They went too far!" decision reduces my Neutrality to about 50, but it needs to be below 90 to begin with, so it won't happen any time soon. (And it also has some ugly side-effects like gaining 50 Dissent or so, depending on how high was the Neutrality before that.) "Leave the Naval Treaties" is connected with the way how the naval tonnage restrictions are handled in the mod: all naval majors start the game with the basic techs of ships (the Design Principle) unavailable. During the first year, there will be an event allowing them to either sign the Second London Treaty or withdraw from the whole deal all together. This decision would allow the same.
Here's a bunch of info that will become obsolete in a minute.
My faithful minion I mean respectful teammate TZoli invested a lot of time to make the starting OOBs and construction queues as accurate as possible. So I guess I will just stick to these fancy new ships. Not that I need them with all my already built ships and all, but whatever. As for the IC allocation, I'll simply put it on "Prioritize Production" for now because the Great Depression will hit me in the head very hard within a day after I press the pause button to start the game. Theoretically the effects should already be there when I load up the campaign but I thought it would be beneficial to the player to be notified about the reasons why the USA starts with crap for IC. Then again, with the Introduction events, that should be taken care of already. Maybe I should fix this. Later. Stay focused! I'm writing an AAR now, not a mod! At any rate, we will get back to the Great Depression in a minute. Let's move on to Technology!
Yes, I know, you don't see much on this single screenshot but you can't expect me to get a picture of every tab!
Now, as you can see, I start with 22 Leadership points to allocate. 20 of that comes from my Great Power Status (the US was quite powerful after the Great War) and 2 comes from being rather educated. Provinces no longer give any Leadership in the HPP. Scientists, officers, spies and diplomats all can be relocated so they are not really linked to the provinces in any way. You will still start to lose Leadership if you lose half your country though.
As you might expect, I have a few territories where I have decent level techs and even a few ahead of time (mostly Naval stuff and surprisingly to me at least, Medium Tanks) but I'm behind in a few areas. Now, I don't expect to be at war for quite a lot of time so I can (and should) neglect Doctrines for now. I will focus on modernizing my Army and and my Air Force first. The four basic Infantry tech goes first, and I also add in Engineers. I don't want to use them in Battalion size but the bonuses from their equipment will be applied to the Engineers included in Infantry Regiments and that might be helpful in the long run. I'll also update my Artillery because I like to use them. Ships will be good for now. Some bomber techs, Radio Detection Equipment, Industrial Production and Efficiency, Supply Transportation and Organisation aaaaand that's it for now. I'll put 0 to Diplomacy (let them come to me!), 4 on Spies (I'll build up some spies in the leaders of all three factions, just in case) and 4 on Officers (I start with 100% but that can go up to 150%, so there's room for improvement here).
Now you might be thinking to yourself: "Wait, what? That's only 14 points in Research! How can you get away with puting only 14 points to Research?!" Well, the thing is, the other majors also have this much. In fact, most of them start with a lot less! Germany starts the game as a Regional Power only, with only 10 Leadership. So, moving on to Politics.
Yes, I know that the National Revolt Risk modifier blends together with my next Election date, but that can't be fixed on my end, sorry.
Take a look at my cabinet! Aren't these guys awesome? Yes, I don't think they are either. Cordel Hull might have been acceptable in the first Volume but since then the Great Compromiser trait was expanded a bit and now it increases Neutrality and that won't do at all. His replacement, Arthur Vanderberg is an Iron-Fisted Brute, increasing Threat Inpact with 5% (that's the threat I generate towards others, so it doesn't really concern me) and decreases Ruling Party Support by 5%. Could be worse. For the Armament Minister post I chose George H. Dern, a Military Enterpreneur. The +20% Supplies will help a lot very soon. Hoover can stay, so much so that I put him in charge of foreign intelligence as well. The military guys have little effect for now so I won't mess with them.
As you can see, the Popularity and Organisation of the Democrats is quite a lot higher than the Republicans and all the others are pretty much insignificant. There are some well-placed events that make sure that it stays like this. My form of government is Presidential Republic, which basically means that the main man in charge is the Head of State (the President), he's the one calling the shots. It also means that there's no constitutional way of removing him so an interesting feature (holding early elections) is not available for me. This government type (like the other democratic types) gives a small reduction in National Revolt Risk, a small drifting bonus towards the Allies and others will also consider me less threatening than they would consider an autocracy. And it also determines who I can appoint into my cabinet: anyone from the democratic ideologies and also Paternal Autocrats. (If I had a Parliamentary Democracy instead, I would be allowed to appoint all democrats and Left-Wing Radicals in addition. I'm not sure about Constitutional Monarchies, but I think they can get in both ends. Or only Paternal Autocrats? Whatever.)
A few ministers sacked, appointed some new ones. Didn't change any laws yet but I won't for a while anyway.
And here's my Intelligence window. Nice, huh?
So, I put the priority of the UK, Germany and the USSR to max as well as in my own country, put the domestic mission to Raise National Unity and left it on None in those three countries. Now you might ask: "What's the point of increasing your National Unity above 80 anyway? You will never be invaded!" The reason is the "They went too far!" decision. To use it at 90 Neutrality, I need either 85 National Unity or 50 Organisation and even though I start with 65 Organisation, I'm not sure how long it will remain that high. But you will still ask "Why don't you lower your Neutrality then?!" Because I have this funny little Strategic Effect called "Neutrality", which slows drift, boosts Ruling Party Support a little and increases Neutrality by 0.025 and another one called "Monroe Doctrine", doing the very same. 10 Spies can lower Neutrality by 0.03, so I would still be ahead with 0.02. The Monroe Doctrine will go away if I'm threatened by someone with at least 50 points, and both will go away if I have less than 85 Neutrality. But since I can't lower it manually, only events will help with that. So in effect I will need to wait until Europe goes up in flames before I could do practically anything.
Time to start the game! I won't do any reorganizing because I don't need to and I really don't feel like it right now.
Farewell, 1700 manpower and half of my IC and resources...
The Great Depression. You can see the effects for yourself now. Cutting my IC in half is rather harsh but it has the fortunate sideeffect of also lowering Consumer Goods Demand. With that effect in place I have barely enough IC to feed my Production queue, let alone do any actual Upgrading (and there's like 40 IC needed for that). I'll need to sell some stuff and buy Supplies to help with that, although that will only give like 10-15 IC. Then there's the New Deal, an economical program especially to fight the Great Depression. It is modelled by a series of decisions with a three-months long effect:
It reduces Manpower (the unemployed people get suck up into the Industry), but it increases IC a bit and helps with the Money and Resource problems. It also increases Consumer Goods Demand though and it costs some money to get it started. But on the positive side, it has a chance of giving me some free IC, and it also helps remove the Great Depression faster. (That effect will be gradually lowered over time by recurring events and the frequency of those events highly depends on having the New Deal in effect.) For some stupid reason, the Consumer Goods Demand updates faster than the IC modifier so it gives some trouble at first, but it is quickly fixed.
I also start to get trade offers. The UK would buy Supplies from me. Problem is I don't really make them right now. How about some Fuel instead? Or maybe you could sell Supplies to me! Oh, what the hell... I need the money to keep my New Deal working. I also sell Rares to everyone who wants to buy. Right now my IC is lower than my resources could feed anyway.
So, yeah. This is pretty much how far I got in the first session. It's January 15th now. My economy stabilized, I'm pouring out resources like mad, and I've put trade on AI because I couldn't care less. Hope it own't bankrupt me though Oh, yeah, and I also sent spies to Japan to increase threat. They are the ones who will agrevate me the most and I want to get above that 50 Threat limit ASAP. That might help a bit. See you next week!