• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
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Derahan

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Greetings there reader! I welcome you to yet another astounding issue of the new AARlander which you will hopefully find very interesting. So as usual I want to give my gratitude to those people who made this new AARlander possible. First and foremost, my thanks goes to anonymous4401(please be right name correct me otherwise),Canonized and the others, who along him, worked on the first AARlander and made this one possible with their work there, otherwise this AARlander would not be here (most likely). Secondly I want to thanks the moderators who made it possible for me to do this and came up with the idea to revive the AARlander for a second round. Thirdly I want to thank Gen. Marshall, the one who has made the graphics and also is spreading the word about the AARlander on the forums and last but not the least all of those who has contributed to this number of the AARlander, a many thanks to you all who in the end makes this possible with your articles.

And yet, a final thank you to you readers who when you read this, makes us others who work with the AARlander filled with the spirit to continune our work here! Thank you!

And for feedback and critique to us, head to the subscription thread where you can also subscribe to the thread and get a notice when the next edition is released!

Code:
[SIZE=3][URL="http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?788373-The-AARlander-Edition-18&p=17696921&viewfull=1#post17696921"]The AARland presents AARland's AwAARds - Seelmeister[/URL]

[URL="http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?788373-The-AARlander-Edition-18&p=17696930&viewfull=1#post17696930"]Glauben! Kämpfen! Siegen! A Hearts of Iron III review - Misterbean[/URL]

[URL="http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?788373-The-AARlander-Edition-18&p=17696939&viewfull=1#post17696939"]Steam Machinery - Aldriq[/URL]

[URL="http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?788373-The-AARlander-Edition-18&p=17696959&viewfull=1#post17696959"]The Decline and Fall of Roman Civilization, a EUIV review - Seelmeister[/URL]

[URL="http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?788373-The-AARlander-Edition-18&p=17696961&viewfull=1#post17696961"]Editor's Note[/URL][/SIZE]
 
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Derahan

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AARland Awards – April 2014

Welcome to another round up of the award winners from April 2014!

WritAAR of the Week

*6/4/14: Olligarchy
13/4/14: AlexanderPrimus
20/4/14: General_BT
27/04/14: Alfred Packer

Fan of the Week

6/4/14: Nikolai (also 9/20/07, 9/19/11, and 12/1/13)
13/4/14: Idhrendur
20/4/14: blitzthedragon
27/4/14: Soda7777777

Weekly AAR Showcase

6/4/14 The Road to Liberty by rorlegion (V2)
13/4/14 In Spite of Tyrants by Jape (V2)
20/4/14 Struggle for Survival by StoneColdCroat (DH)
27/4/14 Warriors of the North by Skywalker_T-65 (HOI3)

Role PlayAAR of the Month

May 2014 – Contravarius

Video AAR of the Month

After a two month break, the fledgling Video AAR of the Month award has a new nominee for April! With Let’s Plays growing ever more popular in AARland, and indeed across the internet generally, hopefully we can sustain and build interest in this award.

April 2014 - Alexlifeson for his Sofia AAR

GtA

Another community initiative which has made a comeback recently is the Guess the Author (GtA) thread. The premise is relatively simple; the organiser (Coz1) will set a topic which usually has some link to Paradox games, for example most recently the topic was ‘an heir’. Writers are then encouraged to submit a short piece of writing on this topic, with the first four notifying Coz being selected for the round. Coz then publishes the selected pieces in the thread, but without revealing the identity of the authors. The community are then encouraged to offer constructive feedback, and to try and guess the identity of the writers! After a few weeks, Coz will reveal the authors names, and then the authors have the opportunity to respond to the feedback which has been offered.

Interest had damped in the GtA thread last year, and the recent return has followed a short hiatus. For all those budding writers out there, GtA is an excellent opportunity to challenge yourself to write on a topic of someone else’s choosing, and a great chance to get some very useful tips and feedback on your writing. As with all community initiatives in AARland, this only works well if people are willing to participate and to offer comments and feedback for writers. There was strong demand among writers, with the four spots filling quickly and being oversubscribed – but if this sounds interesting to you drop by the thread and offer some feedback, there is still plenty of time! A good turnout makes the likelihood of a new round all the greater, so if you’d like to participate in the future

[HR][/HR]

Hello again, it seems we have a few months to catch up on, so welcome to the AARland Awards overview for May and June.

Fan of the Week

We ended up being stuck for a while during May, and so there are only 5 award winners in what has been an interactive AAR dominated period;

25th May - Andre Massena

1st June - Riccado93

8th June - Contravarius

15th June - Dyranum

22nd June - Rudders10

Congratulations to all!

Roleplayer of the Month

Not at all suprisingly, the iAAR players feature heavily in this award as well! We have managed a successful handover four months running now

May - Contravarius

June - Riccardo93

July - Somberg

Weekly AAR Showcase

May and June delivered us a full complement of showcases, 9 deliciously good AAR's for us to feast our eyes on (including the excellent Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, reviewed this edition!). It is satisfying to note that over these two months we covered a large number of the Paradox games, including a welcome appearance by HoI2.

4th May - A Shadow over the Pacific - TehDarkMiner (HoI3)

11th May - All Alone - Ilaruum (HoI3)

18th May - The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volksmarschall (EUIV)

25th May - Lords of France - Merrick Chance' (EUIII)

1st June - A House Divided - Jape (V2)

8th June - The Butterfly Effect - El Pip (HoI2)

15th June - All Hail Britannia - Athalcor (V2)

22nd June - The Australia Project - InvisibleSandwi (V2)

29th June - Un Sogna d'Italia - JerseyGiants88 (EUIV)

Character Writer of the Week

4th May - General_BT for the characters in 'The Fire and Cross'

25th May - Aidun for the characters in 'The Little Club'

1st June - AlexanderPrimus for the characters in 'Aethelan: Tale of Kings'

22nd June - CzokletMuss for the characters in 'This is Madness'

29th June - Nick Giordano for the characters in 'Osterreich Uber Alles'

Writer of the Week

Another award which has managed to garner the full 9 nominees the two months covered, congratulations again to the highly deserving recipients.

4th May - Alfred Packer

11th May - birdboy2000

18th May - CzokletMuss

25th May - Philo32b

1st June - volksmarschall

8th June - tnick0225

15th June - JerseyGiants88

22nd June - Sybot

29th June - Great One

AARtist of the Month

May - Svip for Glory for Ulm (EUIV Edition)

June - phily_boy for Macedonia

Q1 2014 AARland Choice Awards

At the end of May, Avindian also announced the results for the AARland Choice Awards 2014Q1. If you haven't already, check out the excellent winners.

CKII

Fourth place; The Little Club by Aidun and Bloodsnake and Battlewolf by Revan86

Second place; AlexanderPrimus with Aethelan: Tale of Kings

First place; This is Madness by CzokletMuss

Darkest Hour

Fourth place; Tommy4ever's Westminster System and Lucifer's Achtung Panzer

Third place; Tanzhang's Loyal we Began, Loyal we Remain and Antonine's Vive l'Empereur

Second place; Kaiser_Mobius's Dual Monarchy at War

First place; One and Indivisible by Teivel

EUIV

Tied for fourth place; Avindian's Japan or Bust and tnick0225's Milan: An Adventure in Italian Politics

Third; The Decline and Fall of Roman Civilisation, by volksmarschall

Tied for first place; Random World Order by CatKnight and Glory for Ulm by Svip

HoI3

Fourth place; The German Reich and the Second World War by enigmamcmxc, Warriors of the North by Skywalker_T-46 and Hochseeflote by sebas379

Second place; Uriah with Doppelganger

First place; Ilaruum's All Alone

Victoria 2

Fourth place; Children of Mother Russia by Derahan, Osterreich Uber Alles by Nick Giordano, the Greatest Germany by the B and the Australia Project by InvisibleSandwi

Second place; A History of the World According to Paradox, part III by magritte2

First place; A Biography of Great Men by DensleyBlair

Congratulations to all the winners, and all those nominated.
 
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Derahan

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For the past several months, I have been following this AAR faithfully, and there are a couple of reasons why.

First of all, it is the only AAR using the “Deutsche Wehrmacht Immersion” mod, which focuses on the world’s biggest bully. It uses German place names (Italien instead of Italy, for instance), and it allows the use of battalion-size support units. The number of brigades per division has been increased to 8 or 9. If you are like me, and you adore playing with the real OOB, there is no other mod that even comes close.
The use of non-NATO counters takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you will be able to differentiate between a panzer-division and an infantry-division at a glance.
I love this mod, so I can only endorse this AAR as well.

Secondly (and I am trying very hard not to give any spoilers), I like the careful use of the Kriegsmarine in combination with the Luftwaffe. A true example of how it should be done.

Third reason is that he uses the battleplans to show us what he is planning to do, which is something that is still very rare today, and gets an automatic +1 from me.

Guillec87’s useof screenshots has improved tremendously. His first updates had small pics or thumbnails attached, but since then he has grown quite adept at showing us, for instance, the impact of the Battle of the Atlantic on British shipping.

So is it all perfect and good?
Well, some might argue that it is going too good. Despite some setbacks early on during the invasion of the Soviet Union, Guillec87 keeps winning, and sometimes, in an AAR, we like to see a player who is struggling to come out ahead.

But if that doesn’t bother you, come down and give this AAR a chance.

Link to the AAR: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum...n!-K%E4mpfen!-Siegen!-%28A-DWI-Germany-AAR%29
 

Derahan

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  • Pride of Nations
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Last November Paradox finally stopped updating the GamersGate version of Crusader Kings 2, leaving the game 'Steam-only' like Europa Universalis IV. This sparked once again the usual Steam-rocks/Steam-sucks debates in the forum. A few years ago I would have also been firmly with those who consider Steam an evil monopoly hell-bent on world-gaming domination, but frankly, after the advent of mass-market consoles and mobile gaming the reality is that PC gaming has become a small country in a very big continent (even if, of course, you or I think it is the purest, truest, best form of gaming :)). I understand that Paradox have better use of their scarce resources than to produce separate installers for multiple online sellers.

That is not to say I dismiss all the concerns raised on the anti-Steam camp, in particular the issues of privacy and digital ownership; I do think they are important, but they affect a much wider set of cases and digital content, which my opinion will only be addressed eventually through legislation, not by market forces. So feel free to mistrust Steam all you want, but if you love Paradox games you are going to have to live with it for the time being. Why not make the most of it and try to use some of the good things it actually brings to gaming while minimising the not-necessarily-so-good ones?

Take control

One of the most frequent complaints about Steam is the way it wrestles control away from the player, imposing updates and always-on Orwellian checks. And though it is true that Steam would much rather you played always connected and with the latest updates installed (never mind the DRM nature of this, in the end you are less likely to give Steam trouble if you run the latest client and patches at all times) the fact is that you can control both from your Steam client.

To be able to play your games without internet connection – whether it is due to privacy worries, having to wait for your internet provider while moving house, working offshore or simply because you are stranded on holiday in a remote and magical place like Tahiti – you can take your account offline in the menu with "Steam > Go Offline" (in Windows) or "Account > Go Offline" (in Macs). You will have to do this while connected to start with, and ensure that the games you want to play offline are up-to-date. For as long as you are on offline mode you will not be able to access any other Steam service (granted, if you are without internet connectivity this will not be particularly high on your list).

On the other hand, if you are simply worried that a patch or update could stop a certain game or save games from working (as it is often the case with Paradox games, where big patches tend to break compatibility with previous saves) you can tell Steam not to apply updates automatically for a particular game. To do this, right-click in the game you want to safeguard in your Steam library and select "Properties" in the pop-up menu; on the "Updates" tab you can change the automatic updates setting to "Do not automatically update this game":


From now on, whenever there is an update for that game you'll see it flagged next to the game, but it won't be applied until you go to "Downloads" and explicitly choose to install it.


Alternatively, Paradox has been leaving older patch versions under the beta program for some games after a new patch is released, which you can also access under the tab "Betas" in the game properties. In there you can select the particular version you are happy to keep playing from the drop down list and Steam will download and 'revert' the game folder to that version for you. An indicator of the version next to the game will let you know that you are using a 'beta' version, until you decide to move on back to the latest official version. For example, you may choose to stay on patch 1.5.1 on EUIV while you assess the changes brought about by Wealth of Nations/1.6 in the forum.


You can touch this

Another popular misconception is that Steam locks all your games in some digital/magical black box from where they can never be retrieved (cue evil Disney-witch laughter). However, it is not Steam, nor the wicked witch, but the game publishers who choose when and how to enforce DRM for each game. And as it turns out, Paradox are decidedly on the nicer side of the witchy scale, being very relaxed about you doing whatever you want with their games once you've bought them; whether it is to mod them or to make a hundred copies of them in your hard drive, you can. This is not surprising, given how modder-friendly Paradox games have traditionally been.

Depending on your platform and assuming you installed Steam in the default location, you should find all your games in the 'steamapps' folder (in Windows: 'C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common', in 64-bit Windows: 'C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common', and a little more hidden in a Mac: '/Users/youruser/Library/Application Support/Steam/SteamApps/common' and in Linux: '/home/youruser/.local/share/Steam/SteamApps/common'). If you can't find it in the default folder you can always bring up the properties of the game in your Steam library, as we saw in the previous section, and click on "Browse Local Files" under the "Local Files" tab.

Once you've located the game you want to mess with you can copy its entire folder elsewhere in your hard drive and keep it there, safe from any future updates and ready to be surgically modded to your most experimental desires, without affecting the main copy of the game. You will have to launch these now orphan copies from their own executable, though, not from Steam, and you will not have access to Steam features like achievements and cloud saves, but if you are into modding in a big way or want to finish a certain save game with a particular patch version while still being able to play the current one you will definitely want this extra control of your game folders.

Embrace the cloud

The cloud might be that overhyped, overused and ridiculed word, but it is undeniable that when it works it is a fantastic technology. Two of the most powerful Steam features are cloud-based: seamless multi-platform support and remote saving. The former may not be of use to many players, but the latter should be tried by everyone.

In the latest Paradox strategy titles the so-called Ironman mode allows you to initiate a game in which a single save is kept in the cloud, where it gets frequently refreshed so you don't lose any progress. Naturally, this also means that the save file itself (and the old play-reload-rinse-repeat method) is out of your hands. This could seem ludicrous to consider as a feature at first (especially if you are the kind of person that hoards gigabytes worth of saves for each running game), but it can actually be quite liberating – what is done is done. Removing the choice of reloading does add a lot more weight to the choices in-game, which may lead you to consider them more carefully, like a real statesman would (an old-fashioned statesman anyway, some might add).

If you are writing an AAR (and even depending on the type of AAR) you will be either thrilled at the added sense of jeopardy this mode gives your story, or rightfully horrified at the thought of embarking on a writing project where you have little control of the outcome whenever the capricious random number generator, the ever-fickle AI or your mercurial cat decide to conspire against you. As always, use your discretion and see what works for you. Another plus coming from this mode, given how AARland is full of early graves due to 'lost' saves, is that at least it might reduce the mortality rate.

One last thing to say about the Ironman mode: because Paradox game saves tend to be easily-editable plain text you will only be able to obtain Steam achievements when playing in this mode. Generally I like to think of achievements a bit like missions in EU3/4, they are nice to have, can be fun and sometimes give you some aim and purpose, but you shouldn't end up playing the game just for them. And if it's just bragging rights you are after, well, forget achievements! Nothing can beat writing a good AAR about something you've accomplished in a game! :)

Be social

One final point that shouldn't really come as a big ask to any Paradox forum member: enjoy, participate and contribute to the community whenever you have the chance. With over 75 million users Steam may not always be the polite, affable community we've all grown used to here at Paradox Plaza, but like any big city it has its nice and less nice corners – you should explore them and find the ones you like. You may be surprised to find old games you thought no one played anymore having their small communities still modding and discussing them, and helping new people (re)discover them.

If you already have friends on Steam you can make use of the in-built chat feature and hook up with them for a multi-player game. Even in-game you can use the Steam overlay to keep track of friends and notifications (of course you can disable this if you'd rather not be disturbed while you are empire-building).

A relatively recent addition to encourage both social interaction (and gamers parting with more of their money) is trading cards. Each game in Steam that supports them will give you a certain number of free cards out of a set as you play the game. You can complete the set by trading those missing ones for other game cards you don't want, or purchasing them from other players. When you complete a set you can craft a badge to display proudly on your user profile... All that fuss for a badge, you say? Well, it might an irrational thing, but if you've been in the Paradox forums long enough you should know there are few things gamers love more than badges on their profiles! :)

I hope these few tips help you make the most of Steam while you play your favourite games on it. If you have any questions don't hesitate to post them on the AARlander feedback thread or contact me directly (you can also find me on Steam with the same handle, I'll likely be playing EUIV, CK2 or my current guilty retro-gaming pleasure: Luftrausers!).
 

Derahan

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  • Pride of Nations
  • Rise of Prussia

These of you who have been around AARland for some time will recognise the name of the author, who last wrote regularly back in 2011. Volksmarshall was a fixture in the Victoria II boards then, but on his return he has now turned his attention to Europa Universalis IV.

One of the most popular games for AAR writers, and indeed the Europa fan base generally, is of course Byzantium. Starting in such a desperate position, with the Ottomans breathing heavily down Constantinople’s neck from both the European and Asian shores, the alluring challenge is initially to try and survive, and then perhaps rebuild the glory of the Romans.

Volksmarshall, however, does not focus on gameplay. Instead, his AAR is a rich historybook, starting well before the events of the game in the 12th Century, and fully introducing readers to the historical development of Byzantium in the centuries leading up to the Crusade of Varna. The title of the AAR will perhaps not fill the reader with confidence, from a gameplay perspective, but it will not take long at all for the rich narrative to draw you in.

In terms of images, too many in game shots would perhaps not fit as well with the history book fill, but Volksmarshall has used his extensive knowledge of the period to pull together an excellent mix of art pieces, tapestries and even stone carvings which are highly fitting for the format and style of the writing.

At the outset, I knew very little of the history of Byzantium but this excellent and informative AAR has quickly brought me up to speed. Volksmarshall tells of the intrigues of the court as the influential families duked it out for power, the complex relations among the western and eastern Christians, and the unmistakable and menacing growth of Ottoman power, which hangs over all developments in the AAR.

However, while Volksmarshall makes no promises that The Decline and Fall will prove to be an ironic title, the Byzantine Empire will not be going down without a fight. A detachment is sent east, to the Greek state of Trebizond. Even this small conquest proves to be highly challenging to the enfeebled vestiges of Rome, but nonetheless soon the Greeks have secured a small base at the rear of the Turks.

The Decline and Fall is an well written, well researched and fantastically entertaining AAR, which is well worth checking out.
 

Derahan

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  • 200k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Pride of Nations
  • Rise of Prussia

Well then dear reader, this issue was quiet short but I believe you can understand as summer has come to us (northern hemisphere atleast) which means vacation and people going away etc. Thus this is just a small issue in the middle of the summer. Hopefully there will emerge another one before the end of August!

But do not falter in your beliefs! The AARlander is far from dead if you thought that! It is simply summer which means we got to have vacation as well and rest up, which I know you dear reader can understand.

That is it for me from now, nothing big this time etiher.

Cheers.
D.
 
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