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Nice AAR Ironhead.....I've been playing this game for several years now and had to figure this out all by myself. I still play vanilla 1.3b because I'm always paranoid of corrupting my files by doing different versions....

Can't wait to get to the parts to see how you do your battle planning. Will keep reading....

KLorberau said:
Nice AAR Ironhead.....I've been playing this game for several years now and had to figure this out all by myself. I still play vanilla 1.3b because I'm always paranoid of corrupting my files by doing different versions....

Can't wait to get to the parts to see how you do your battle planning. Will keep reading....


That's why I just copy/paste the HOI folder and install whatever mods to the copy. I Have like 10 diferent HOI2 installations on my computer.
The Intelligence folder was added as part of the Doomsday version of HoI2. While it certainly adds flavor and a new dimension to the game, it can also be distracting to new players. Once you get a firm handle on the mechanics of the game, feel free to use the intelligence folder to explore the various espionage missions available. For this game, however, we are going to limit our use of the intelligence folder. Go ahead and click on the Intelligence folder.


This is the intelligence interface. On the lefthand side of the screen we see a list of all the nations in the game. To the right of each nation's name is a number, repreenting the number of spies we have operating in that country. In most countries we have zero spies; in any one country we can have no more than ten. The chances of a successful espionage mission depends on the number of spies we have in a country; the more spies, the more likely an espionage mission will be successful. Even with ten spies in a country, though, most espionage missions have small chances of success; that, combined with the exorbitant costs associated with sending spies and conducting espionage, makes the Intelligence folder a bit of a hassle for inexperienced players.

The righthand side of the screen represents a view of the country we currently have highlighted on the left. Right now we are looking at our own country, Germany. Because it is our own country, we don't need spies to see information about us. We can see on the bottom righthand corner the various technologies that we are studying. To the left of that we see that we have 51 foreign spies currently active in our country (we will soon be taking action to start exposing those spies and killing them). If you use the Intelligence folder for nothing else, use it to eliminate all spies working in your country; AI nations can conduct espionage on your country, just as you can do to them, and it can be pretty painful when they do. In the top righthand corner you can see the actions available to us. For our own country, all we can do is send spies (sending spies to your own country is like a counter-espionage program -- their role is to expose and kill foreign spies in our nation), and conduct counter espionage. Click on Send Spy.


The one action that has a 100% chance of succeeding is sending spies to our own country. We want to kill all of the foreign spies in our country, but to do so we need counter-espionage agents. Click OK. We must wait more than eight days between espionage missions on any one country, so we cannot send anymore spies just yet. Over the coming weeks and months, though, we will send ten spies to our country, which will maximize our counter-espionage chances, and then we will conduct counter-espionage every chance we get until there are no more foreign spies in our country.

We could also spy on other countries from this folder. Scroll down the country list and click on France.


We have four spies in France, and they give us an approximate picture of France's current capabilities. As you can see, they estimate that France has 25 infantry divisions, two armored divisions, one bomber division, and so on. Bear in mind that the accuracy of these numbers are linked to the number of spies we have; with only four spies in France, these numbers are likely wrong, but they give us a rough estimate of France's capabilities. We also get a look at what France is researching, as well as what they are focusing their production on.

In the top right, we see the various espionage missions that we could conduct in a foreign country. The odds of success for any of these missions are minscule until we can get ten spies in this country, so the first thing we would do before conducting any other espionage missions is to send spies, over and over again, until we have ten spies there. However, even sending spies has a small chance of success. Costing us 28 money each time, you can see how the price can add up quickly. For this reason, in this game we won't try too many espionage actions. However, two options available to us right now are Sleep Spies (which make our spies impervious to counter-espionage efforts) and counter-espionage (which targets French spies, operating in their home country for the purpose of counter-espionage). Again, we will do neither of these; we just clicked over to here to see the intelligence that our spies provide.

And that, in a nutshell, is the Intelligence folder. After learning the game a little bit better, you could start a new game and really exploit your intelligence capabilities. Remember that your Minister of Intelligence can add modifiers to the success rates of various missions. Also, when playing as a smaller country with less-developed technology, the Steal Blueprint option is probably the best espionage activity you can conduct. By stealing blueprints from advanced countries such as Germany, the United States, the Soviet Union, Japan, and United Kingdom, you could bring your smaller country up to par pretty quickly.

Next we will take a quick look at the Statistics folder and the Menu options, and after that we will be ready to unpause the game!
Da#m, I wish that you wrote the manual for HOI and HOI2. When I was learning how to play, I was very confused and gained very little from the manual. I had to learn how to do everything by tens of hours of trial and error.

Thank You very much for doing this. I bet that many a newbie is very thankful that you have done this (And maybe I will pick up one or two minor things that I don't know yet. ;) )

Once again, thank you very much for doing this. :)
The Statistics folder does not have any actions for you to execute. Rather, it is a large compilation of useful (and some useless) information from all parts of the game. Let's click on the Statistics folder.


The main part of the interface displays the data that you are viewing. Right now, we are looking at a table that shows how many Victory Points each country has. Directly above this table is a dropdown menu with various other categories of information. On either side of the dropdown menu are arrows. Clicking on the arrows will progress to the next category; using the dropdown menu can quickly access information that is buried deep in this folder. Click on the dropdown menu.


As you can see, there is a great deal of information at your fingertips. As we progress in this game, the statistics folder will make it easy for us to organize our increasingly complex strategy and assets. Feel free to explore some of the pages of the statistics folder. For now, we don't need to look up any information, so this wraps up our discussion of the statistics folder.

Next, click on the Menu button. This is where we would save the game, exit the game, adjust options, turn on/off hints, etc. By the way, if you are receiving pop-up hints, click on the Hints button and turn them off. The rest of the menu is pretty self explanatory, but before we proceed, let's adjust some of the options. Click on Options.


Here is where we could change some of the options that we had set before we started this game. Note that we cannot change the difficulty or AI aggressiveness. We can, however, adjust the volume settings, if the music or sound effects are getting on your nerves. We also want to adjust message settings. This will allow us to control how information is delivered to us. Click on Message Settings.


Throughout the game, as different events happen, they will be presented to you in different ways. Some events are so trivial that they are only recorded in the game log at the bottom of your map screen. Some events are important to be displayed in a pop-up box. Some events are so important that not only do they appear in a pop-up box, but the game automatically pauses.

Here, we can change the settings for certain messages. There is a long list of events can be triggered, and, to be on the safe side, it is better that we be notified for most of these. And if we're going to be notified, it is better for the game to be automatically paused for us, so that we can make an informed decision at our leisure. For this reason, we are going to change the settings for many of these events. To change a message setting, simply click on the event you want to change. A series of options appears at the bottom of the box; click on the option you want, and the symbol next to the event in the list will change. At some point in the future, if you decide that there are events for which you do not need a pop-up box and an automatic pause, you can always change it later. For now, scroll down the list of events and change the message settings so that your list looks like what I have above and below:




Once you your message settings are set, click OK. Remember how we had changed our armaments minister to Hjalmar Schacht, and he was supposed to give us a +10% IC bonus? The game does not calculate that bonus right away. We would have to proceed to the next day of game time to receive that bonus. However, if we save the game now, exit, and reload the game, the game will calculate that bonus into our IC and we will still be on 1 January 1936. With the extra IC that Hjalmar Schacht's bonus gives us, we can build factories in two additional provinces. Make sure you choose provinces as far from England as you can!

Okay, we are now ready to start playing this game. :)
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Well, excellet summary of HOI2 Ironhead. Glorius AAR. Im leaning lots... and ive been playing for over a year now.
Hell, I'll know the manual now. I didn't notice it was in the box. I can't find the box anyway. So, I will read this. Harr harr.
Remember you should note, to the new players (especialy those that got used to conventional RTSs) that they need to radicaly change their way of planing their builds.
In normal RTS, if you loose your force, or a new threat arises, you can bild counterforce quite quickly, in minutes. In HOI it's not so. Here you are not thinking in minutes, but years. You need to plan your builds in advance

Now this might not seem as much to you, but it was one of mine biggest problems when I first started this game (ut didn't help that I started DD campaign as YUG), and my industry got hit by STRATs, and I actualy started building interceptors, and more industry. I should have built infantry and milita because I needed troops NOW!.
Now that we have everything set up the way we want it, we are just about ready to unpause the game. Before we do, we will give our first orders to one of our military units. Click on the View Map screen and click on the unit that is located in Dortmund.


Here we have a corps of three infantry divisions. It currently has a generic, faceless leader appointed to command it. We could appoint another leader to command it. To do so, click on the silhouette of a head in the upper lefthand corner of the unit information interface.


At the top of this interface we see the commander currently appointed to lead it. Right now, we have a generic commander (if you have the "Auto Assign Leaders" button at the bottom of this interface checked, then someone will automatically have been appointed already). Generic commanders are bad - they suffer significant penalties during combat, and if you have a unit that you intend to use in combat, it is better to appoint anyone - even an incompetent leader - to command.

We see below a list of the officers you currently have available. More officers will be added to this list each year (for example, Erwin Rommel is added in 1939). If you click on the Greek alpha sign, the list will be sorted alphabetically; if you click on the three chevrons, the list will be sorted by rank; and if you click on the medal, the list will be sorted by skill level. Go ahead and click on the medal. We will see our best officers at the top of the list.

Okay, let's take a look at the generic commander we have at the top of the screen. Next to the silhouette is some information about this commander. The first thing we see is his rank: major general. There are four ranks for military leaders in this game, and the two-star rank (major general for army and air force officers) is the lowest. It rises all the way up to five-star rank (field marshal for army officers). Rank determines how many divisions the commander can lead in combat. A major general can command one division; a lieutenant general can command three; a general can command nine; and a field marshal can command twelve divisions in combat. Each rank can actually lead more than their maximum into combat, but this leads to enormous penalties, and it is something we will want to avoid at all costs. There is a certain type of unit - a headquarters unit - that can double the number of units a commander can lead in combat, but that is a little more advanced and I will discuss that later.

We also see that his skill level is 0 (skill levels give a significant bonus in combat - the higher the skill level, the larger the bonus). Below that is his experience. Experience accrues through combat, and when an officer accumulates 100 experience points, his skill level goes up by one.

Many officers also have certain traits that add bonuses (or penalties). For example, we see that General Rundstedt, in the list below, has the traits "Defensive Doctrine" and "Offensive Doctrine." These traits give combat bonuses to units under Rundstedt's command while attacking and while defending. These traits can give crucial advantages to our forces! There are a number of traits like this, and during the game we will discuss a few more of them. All of them offer a bonus of some sort, except one: the Old Guard trait actually gives a combat penalty. Regardless, Old Guard leaders are better than having a generic leader.

At the bottom of this interface are two boxes - Auto Promote Leader and Auto Assign Leaders. The Auto Assign Leader function can make life much simpler for you, but assigning the right leaders for a situation is part of what makes this game fun, so we'll keep this option unchecked. Note, however, that appointing new leaders reduces the organization of the units affected (see organization, below) so if you start a campaign where you will be fighting right away, then you might want to check this box. The Auto Promote Leader box, in contradistinction to the Auto Assign Leader option, is almost always beneficial. When you manually promote leaders (using the promote button below the leader's photograph), the leader's skill level will be reduced by one. The Auto Promote function will not cost the leader any skill level points. Auto promotion is linked to the number of units you have; the more units, the more leaders will be auto-promoted. It will be a while before we have enough units to auto-promote leaders but in the meantime, it couldn't hurt to be ready by having this button checked.

Okay, at this point we would normally assign a leader for this, and for the rest of our units. But since we, as Germany, can determine when we go to war, we can afford to pull our forces off of the front lines and consolidate them in one place for now. By consolidating them, we can place them all under combined commands of a few leaders. And if those leaders have the "Logistical Wizard" trait, then the number of supplies that our units draw will be subsantially lower, thus saving us some supplies. So for now, we won't assign a leader. Click Back.

We still have the unit in Dortmund highlighted. Before we send it to a central location to join the other units and receive a new commander, we will send it to Cologne. Why? Because, historically, Germany was prohibited by the Versailles Treaty from sending military units to the Rhineland region of their country. This, like most of the rest of the Versailles Treaty, was deeply unpopular with Germans. We will violate this part of the treaty by sending troops to the region. This will trigger an event that will, among other things, reduce our dissent (which has been at 2% since changing ministers). So, with the unit in Dortmund highlighted, right-click on the province of Cologne.


We see a blue arrow indicating that the unit has been ordered to move to Cologne. If we were to unpause and let game time pass, we would see this arrow get brighter, with the brightness moving from the base of the arrow to the point, to indicate progress of this unit.

But we also want this unit to move toward a central location in Germany after it reaches Cologne! Rather than send it to Cologne, and give it new orders, we can just put add more destinations to this unit's marching orders. Hold the shift key, and right-click on the province of Leipzig. We see the blue arrow snake from Cologne to Leipzig.

While we are on this unit, let's look at an individual division to see its characteristics. Go ahead and click on 33. Infanterie-Division.


Below the picture of the infantry, we see the commander (still generic) and the province it is currently in. Below that, we see the unit's statistics:
  • Strength: Strength is how much manpower this unit has. Right now it is at 100% strength, meaning all positions are filled. After a few weeks of fighting this could drop, and it will cost us reinforcements to replenish its strength. Units below 100% fight with reduced combat strength.
  • Organization: This represents how organized the command, control, and logistics of the unit is. This is probably the most important stat; this will decrease while marching, and will decrease much more rapidly while fighting. If a unit's organization drops too low, the unit will be forced to retreat. When you lose a battle, it is because your organization is too low for your unit to continue fighting. Organization is regained while retreating and while staying in one place. However, organization regains much slower than it is lost, especially when our TC is over its maximum and it is in a province with low infrastructure, and this can slow down our blitzkrieg attacks -- especially as we get deep into Russia. We have an upper limit right now of 73%, and this will go much higher in the next couple of years as we research new land doctrines. This is also much higher than the nations we are facing, but they will eventually catch up. That is one reason why it is important for Germany to strike early.
  • Morale: Morale dictates the organization regain rate. The higher the morale, the quicker organization is regained. Our morale rate, 60% seems good, but it is lower than the Soviet Union's. When we get deep into Russia, we will see that enemy units are regaining their organization faster, and this could spell trouble for us.
  • Softness: Each unit has two attack capabilities - soft attack, and hard attack. Soft attack is usually much higher than hard attack, so as we fight enemy units, our units with high softness ratings (such as infantry units, with 100% softness ratings) will suffer higher casualties and higher organizational loss. Two types of units - armored and mechanized infantry - are considered hard units, because their softness rating is so low. These hard units tend to sustain higher organization late into campaigns.
  • Hard attack. This determines how good this unit is at fighting hard units.
  • Soft attack: This determines how good this unit is at fighting soft units. The way combat is simulated in this game is that each hour, a "dice-roll" determines whether we score a hit against the enemy's soft and hard targets, based on our values of soft attack and hard attack, versus the enemy's hardness rating. Since all units, even armored divisions, have a softness factor, the soft attack value is more important than the hard attack value.
  • Air attack: This determines how much organizational loss this unit can inflict upon air units that are attacking this unit.
  • Defensiveness: This determines how likely this unit is to sustain organizational loss and casualties while defending.
  • Toughness: This determines how likely this unit is to sustain organizational loss and casualties while attacking.
  • Air defence: This determines how likely this unit is to sustain organizational loss and casualties while being attacked from the air.
  • Suppression: This determines how well this unit can suppress partisan activity in conquered lands.
  • Maximum speed: Self-explanatory. Bear in mind that a corps can only go as fast as the slowest unit in it, so try not to group fast units, such as motorized infantry, with slow units, such as normal infantry.
  • Supply consumption: This is the number of supplies this unit consumes each day.
  • Fuel consumption: This is the amount of oil this unit consumes each day.
  • Experience: This represents the unit's experience. Experienced units enjoy a bonus in combat.
  • Effective supply efficiency: This is a function of the infrastructure of the province its in and the nation's TC. Effective supply efficiency, or ESE, determines how fast organization is regained.

Down at the bottom lefthand corner of the screen, to the right of the global map, are two buttons - one with a plus sign and one with a minus sign. These are zoom buttons. Let's click the minus sign and zoom out. We now have a much broader view of Germany. We want to send the rest of our units to Leipzig as well, so that we can combine them under the command of leaders with the Logistical Wizard trait. Highlight all these other units by holding the left mouse button down and dragging a box around them (be sure to exclude the unit in Dortmund!). When we have all these units highlighted, right-click on Leipzig to give them marching orders for Leipzig.


Good! Now, finally, we can unpause the game! Although HoI2 is billed as a real time strategy, it is actually more of a turn-based strategy -- but each hour comprises one turn. The hours will go fast, depending on our game speed, so don't let it get carried away. Try to pause again at 00:00 2 January 1936. The game has now recalculated our IC to account for our 2% dissent, and as a result our IC has gone down. Click on the Production folder to see.


But don't worry - our dissent will be reduced to zero in a couple of days, after that unit we sent to Cologne arrives. Furthermore, we can see that one of our ships will be completed in a couple of days. One thing we do need to worry about at this point, though, is trade. Click on the Diplomacy folder.

Now that a day has passed, the country list on the left shows what surpluses each country have. If the country has an icon to the right of its name, it has a surplus of at least 1 unit for whatever resource is indicated by the icon. The trade system in HoI2 can be a little confusing, but there are a couple of basic strategies. The easiest thing you can do is just turn on the automatic trade options from the Production folder. The most difficult thing you can do (and arguably the gamiest) is to set up a series of trade deals with the Soviet Union and a bunch of smaller countries. The Soviet Union's AI is designed to trade for supplies at outrageous prices. As a result, you can trade supplies to the Soviet Union for a huge amount of rare materials, oil, cash, and whatever else you may want. You can then turn around and trade those resources that you got from the Soviet Union to a third country, such as Italy or Sweden, for more supplies than you had originally given to the Soviet Union. Do this a few times, and you can build up a huge resource stockpile through arbitrage, while importing all of your supplies and thus having to dedicate zero IC to building your own supplies.

Building an arbitrage network with the Soviet Union can be complicated and time-consuming, so we will pursue a third option. We will start out by making a trade deal with Italy. Find Italy in the list of nations on the left, and click on it. Click on Offer Trade Agreement.


The sliders for each resource indicate how much we can trade. If we drag the slider to the right, we are offering them that resource; and if we drag another slider to the left, we are demanding that resource in return. At the bottom of the interface is a number that indicates the odds of Italy accepting our proposed trade deal. Since we have lots of excess energy, we can go ahead and max this slider out at 100; we also have a few excess metals, so why don't we max this slider out as well. In return for this, we want all of Italy's excess rare materials, all of their excess money, and as many supplies as we can get. We could take our chances and ask for so many supplies that the odds of Italy accepting would be low; but for the sake of moving this game along, we can also just ask for enough to leave it at 100%. We might not be getting the best end of the deal - and in other games, you will probably want to push the envelope a bit and aim for trade deals that have a 50-75% chance of success - but if we fail now, we have to wait seven days before offering that country another trade deal. At this point in the game, our supply situation will be critical in seven days if we don't procure some supplies. So go ahead and trade 100 energy and 6.1 metal for all of Italy's excess rare materials, money, and as many supplies as we can get while still keeping the odds of success in the 90s.

At this point, we could leave the trade system alone; we have shored up our shortage of rare materials, which was most pressing, and although we will still have a shortage of supplies, we could always divert IC to building supplies if it became an emergency. However, for this game we will make a few more trade deals. Offer trade deals to Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Finland, and Japan. Try to get as many supplies as you can get from them by trading away some excess energy. The reason we chose these nations is that we will eventually want to try to ally with them, and active trade deals will work to gradually increase friendly relations with them (relations range on a scale from -200 to +200; trade deals can increase relations to a maximum of +50).

Go ahead an unpause the game, and pause it again at 00:00 3 January 1936. You will probably see several AI-initiated trade deals pop up. If it looks like a decent trade deal, click on accept or press return to accept it. If you don't want to accept the trade deal, click on decline. If you are still suffering a shortage of any materials, or a shortage of supplies, try to initiate a few more trade deals with other nations to trade your excess resources for resources that you need. When you have finished making these trade deals, unpause the game.


The game will automatically pause itself for our first event: the Reoccupation of the Rhineland. Our unit from Dortmund arrived in Cologne, and as a result our dissent goes down, our IC goes up, and we get more money and manpower, plus a free slider move toward Hawk Lobby. The downside of this is that our relations with several countries get worse (not that it matters too much, we will be going to war with them soon anyway), our belligerence goes up, and United Kingdom and France get "gearing up for war" events (which will increase their preparations for war). Overall, this is a very good event for us. Take a moment to read the event description, and when you are ready, click OK and let the game run to 5 January. Pause at 00:00 5 January 1936. The game has recalculated our IC after those modifiers kicked in, and you can take a look at our production sliders and make sure they are still optimized. If we have any excess IC due to this event, go ahead and build another factory (or, if you were unable to secure enough trade deals to shore up our supply shortage, dedicate the extra IC to building supplies).

Good! We are doing well so far, and we are almost at the point where we can let the game run for quite awhile without pausing. We will stop here for now. Next, we will deploy that naval ship that is almost built, and employ some more spies. Don't lose any enthusiasm just because it has taken so long to get this far; now that we have the basics under our belt, we can quickly proceed toward an aggressive foreign policy.
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I say tell them to turn autopromote off, as almost no one uses it for various reasons. I for my part don't use it for RP reasons, as a Lt. General with skill 5 can be worth more than a Field Marshal with skill 3.
trekaddict said:
a Lt. General with skill 5 can be worth more than a Field Marshal with skill 3.
True, but auto-promote doesn't reduce skill level at all - right? At least that's what I thought. And a Field Marshal with level 5 skill is worth more than a lieutenant general with level 5 skill.
Ironhead 5 said:
True, but auto-promote doesn't reduce skill level at all - right? At least that's what I thought. And a Field Marshal with level 5 skill is worth more than a lieutenant general with level 5 skill.

It does IIRC, but as I haven't used it since HOI2 1.3a I can't really tell.
Leader traits don't effect units if the command limit is broken, IIRC. I hope you have lots of Logistics Wizards.
Really? I'll have to do an experiment to confirm. If so, then that changes things a bit -- I'll have to go back and edit in a new strategy.
Just want to add my voice of appreciation and encouragement. As a newbie (not just to HOI but to grand strategy games in general- unless Football Manager counts as grand strategy ;), finding this thread has rekindled my hitherto rapidly expiring hope of making some sense of this game.