In Waking the Tiger, we created the backend support to give the AI multiple paths it can go down, and in the free 1.6 'Ironclad' update releasing together with Man the Guns, we have expanded this feature by combining it with the Custom game Rules menu, which now allows you to pick which path a country should go down.
Every country with a unique focus tree now has at least two AI strategy plans, depending on the number of branches in the focus tree. You can either pick which plan the AI should follow specifically, let the AI pick a plan at random, or tell the AI to obey the other game settings.
The setting for an AI overrides all other game settings, so if you check historical focuses but tell the German AI to restore the Kaiser, it will pick Oppose Hitler anyway.
Since this would allow you to set up scenarios that would make some achievements fairly trivial, these settings largely disable achievements.
It should also be noted that this allows you to create combinations that lead to situations we didn’t anticipate when we made some focus trees (“Should Democratic Germany really ally with Communist Hungary to contain Fascist France? What if Britain is Communist?”) or event chains. Given the often mutually-exclusive nature of focus trees and the sheer number of possible combinations, that can lead to situations where one AI can no longer continue its path or things behave in an unexpected way.
Today, we are going to go through a little AAR based on one of the little scenarios people around the office have been using: “How many monarchies can I have at the same time?”
So Germany will bring back the Kaiser, Hungary will restore Austria-Hungary, Romania will aim to achieve Balkan Dominance, Japan will restore the Emperor, Manchukuo will attempt to gain independence, Britain will give support to the King’s Party (Charles II of Romania approves, but is quietly told that is not what that means) and finally the Netherlands will try to support the only man in the Dutch government - Queen Wilhelmina. France is kept as default (so it will react to Imperial Germany), the US and Mexico are set to be random. We will observe from the country of Uruguay.
Germany kicks off the Monarchist revival with their civil war. As a little sidenote: we have reworked the positioning of the armies at the start of the German Civil War a little to give a more coherent front line. Meanwhile, the Hungarian AI has decided to strengthen the Monarchists, Britain is still building up its industry and Japan is supporting the Kodoha Faction.
While the German Civil War rages, Britain continues to build up and Hungary is rushing down the branch to restore the monarchy. With Romania set to expand later, that is probably the right choice.
Hitler’s Summer Offensive has the Royalists in Germany on the backfoot for most of 1936 before they manage to contain it. At the same time, Otto von Habsburg has assumed the Hungarian Crown. Incensed by Edward’s insistence to marry Wallis Simpson, the British government has resigned. Manchukuo is still biding its time, building up its industry.
By October 1936, the Royalist counter-offensive is in full swing and has largely succeeded in restoring the original frontline. Meanwhile, Otto’s first act as King of Hungary is to start an ambitious program of industrial expansion - believing, no doubt, that providing jobs to the Hungarian workers will help build support for his rule.
Surprising many observers, Alf Landon has defeated Roosevelt in the presidential elections and wastes little time in returning the dollar to the gold standard in a bid to undo the damage wrought by the irresponsible policies of his predecessor.
As 1936 turns into 1937, the Royalists in Germany have pushed deep into fascist territory in the South and the far North. The British Empire has broken into pieces as the Dominions have shed the last ties to their former mother country, causing one British Civil Servant to exclaim “Not since Helen of Troy has such misfortune been brought over a great nation by a single woman!” (Churchill, reportedly, remarked “If only she had been single.”)
About a year after the insurrection started, the writing is on the wall for Hitler. A last-ditch offensive in Mecklenburg has failed with only moderate territorial gains. As the King’s Party solidifies support for the monarchy in Britain, Otto von Habsburg has begun to take the next step on his way to restore the old lands of his dynasty: Turning Hungary into Austria-Hungary by adding Austria through a referendum.
By early April 1937, the fighting has reached Berlin. Hitler orders all available resources to be thrown in a counterattack under General Steiner, but is informed by his Generals that this attack did not take place. He takes the news with his usual stoicism. The city falls a few days later, and the fascist government does not survive the end of the month.
In Britain, Edward has taken the crown and is evidently preparing a great coronation ceremony. Against all expectations, the people of Austria vote to return to the rule of a Habsburg King.
The rather hasty departure of India from the British Empire brings the question of the Muslim population in the country to the forefront: worried about a lack of representation, Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh have taken up arms to defend their freedom. Observers expect a long and bloody struggle.
By this point, the Civil War in Spain is considered little more than a sidenote, as Alf Landon shocks the world with a strong commitment to a policy he calls simply “America First”.
The news of a minor incident in the Zeppelin Hindenburg is missed by most major newspapers, although German Princess Victoria Louise has reportedly shown a great interest in it.
Meanwhile in Asia, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek is preparing a new offensive to finally bring the warlords on the periphery under his control. Emperor Puyi has successfully re-negotiated the relationship to Japan, giving him much more control over internal matters.
As the press in Europe prepares to attend the official ceremony in which King Otto of Hungary is crowned Kaiser of Austria-Hungary and the German Military Government declares its commitment to restoring the monarchy, the central government in China has declared the “Southern Pacification Campaign” against the obstinate Guangxi Clique and the governor of Yunnan.
The Spanish Civil War ends in a Republican victory. In his first speech as Emperor of Austria, Otto announces that his government will seek to deepen ties with the former provinces of Bohemia and Slovakia, while also extending his warmest congratulations to the German government for defeating “the poisonous snake of fascism” in their country, promising to do what he can to help them in restoring the old order.
Seeing the way the wind is blowing (especially since their traditional ally, France, seems to face a resurgence of communism and may not be available to protect them for much longer), the Czechoslovakian government decides to accept Otto as King of Bohemia and be absorbed again into the resurgent Austria-Hungary. Not to be outdone by his now much larger neighbour, Charles II of Romania takes steps to institute a Royal Dictatorship.
In India, Pakistan has shocked observers by reversing initial Indian gains and taking the offensive, with fighting now in the outskirts of Delhi. In Manchukuo, Emperor Puyi has purged the General Affairs Council of everyone he suspects of divided loyalties. In neighbouring China, the war in the southern part of the country has ground to a stalemate while Chiang Kai-Shek turns towards what many suspect was his true objective all along: eliminating the small base of the Communist party.
On the 4th of August, 1938, some 20 years after he was forced to abandon his throne, Kaiser Wilhelm II returns to Germany. The world, he remarks, seems to have finally understood why it needs monarchs. Meanwhile, Austria-Hungary, although still technically under the provisions of the Treaty of Trianon, has begun a barely-concealed rearmament program.
The fortunes of war in India have turned once again, as India has launched a major offensive along the entire front and has pushed back Pakistani forces all along the line.
With the demise of the Hitler government in Germany, fascist Italy is looking increasingly alone on the world stage. This is cemented by diplomatic maneuvering at the highest level, with an exchange of personal letters between Kaiser Wilhelm II and his distant cousin Edward VIII. It appears that both see eye to eye with regards to Italy, and some diplomats even speculate that this is but the first step towards a full-scale alliance between the previous enemies. With France looking increasingly likely to fall to communism, Germany is eager to secure its back while it deals with the communist threat on the continent.
In the final days of 1938, Indian forces finally crush the last bits of Pakistani resistance and end the long and bitter struggle.
At the start of 1939, the political landscape of Europe has changed quite dramatically. Two monarchs regained the thrones they had lost in 1918, and one has brought back the crown to a level of power not seen in centuries. In the Far East, Emperor Puyi is biding his time, as he knows that Japan must eventually strike against the Soviet Union - and when it does, his moment has come. The King of Romania has cemented his power, and although any attempt to strongarm Hungary is now impossible, he may yet assert his position on the Balkans.
Meanwhile, in the US, conservative and reactionary elements have made a comeback, leading to a decisive shift to the right of US politics. With the post-war order in Europe collapsing and old thrones being restored, the US starts to prepare for an intervention in Europe, should it come to that.
That’s all for today. Next week we will have a MASSIVE RECAP episode, and then it’s time for the 1.6 Patchlog and Man the Guns release the week after.