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MacGregor

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This is meant to be a sound (hopefully:D ), practical guide to the newby when first playing HoI. OK, first, open the box. Look at the neat disc, supplements and advertisments. Make plans to save money for Crusader Kings.;)

1. Read Manuel: I know, most of you won't. ;) At least not at first. But it's good and has a neat history section. Will make your next world history course a breeze.

2. Play the tutorial: OK, a lot of you will skip this step too. But HoI IS a big, complicated game. Take a few minutes and go through all the tutorial chapters. It'll save you a lot of time getting your feet on the ground and cut down on the "How do I load units on ships" threads.;) Don't say you weren't warned.

3. Tell your nearest loved ones you have to go out of town on business (or for school or whatever) for a week. Check into a cheap hotel (you won't be noticing the lack of amenities) and stock up on caffiene laden drinks, cigarettes if you smoke, and anything else you generally needed when cramming for exams. It's best to use an assumed name when checking in because you never know when you will be reported missing to the police. Food is optional.

4. Turn your computer on, make a few last minute emails to the boss if you need more cover, and stick the disk in the computer. When the scenario selection screen comes up, choose the 1936 scenario (all initial hints here will be focused on this scenario) and make your country choice. Except for Meiji and a few others, we all know that choice will be Germany. :D ;)

Now let's get down to business.
 
WINNING AS GERMANY

First Impressions

1. Your army is not big enough to take on the world yet. It needs to grow.

2. Your navy is small and outclassed by the UK and US. You can catch up, but you'll never win a ground war if you do. Forget about the navy. This thread is about WINNING.

3. Your Air Force is not world class yet, but you have to get it there. Unlike the navy, you can do this with the Luftwaffe.

4. You have a strong economy, but are short of some critical resources. You have to find a way to get more oil and rubber or that fine economy of yours is giong to screech to a halt.

What to do first

1. Don't worry about building your industrial capacity. You will expand it through conquest.:D Oil and rubber are your immediate concerns.

2. Do worry about protecting your industrial capacity. Those strategic bombers the UK has will decimate it when the time comes if not protected. So fighters and interceptors of good quality are needed. But that's going to take years. Right now, at the beginning, start building AA in the Ruhr valley. Think about the future, you'll be glad you did.

3. Make sure you allocate exactly the amount of consumer goods you need to in order to keep dissent at 0%. Dissent can have a drastic effect on the effiecincy of your industry. Don't let it rise, and if it does, get it back down (and that's a bitch). SO DON"T LET IT RISE.

4. Don't produce any pre-war units. Do your research first and then produce some good quality units. Don't worry, you basically control when war breaks out. Unlike any other nation in the game, Germany basically controls the onset of the conflageration. Work on your timetable, not theirs.

5. Trade excess coal for oil and rubber. Trade at 3:1 ratio if you can to insure an uninterupted flow of goods. But keep enough coal to make sure enough of your industries can keep running. (2 coal per IC, 1 steel per IC and 1/2 rubber per IC are needed). Once you improve your synthetic oil and rubber techs enough, you can cut back on the amount of oil and rubber traded for. But that'll be a few years.

6. Set up two convoys to East Prussia to keep troops there supplied and to bring back the little, but precious, oil you can get from there.

Research

1. Don't forget to research your air, naval and land doctrines. They are necessary predicates for many applications and often give big organization bonuses. Organization in HoI is equivelent to morale and quality. Two armies of equal size will almost always find the one with the highest organization winning.

2. Land. Enough said. You're not going island hopping pal. Forget the navy and the Graf Zepplin.;) Focus on the Wermacht. Tanks are fine, but don't forget to research your infantry too. They'll always be the backbone of your army.

3. Air. Go for quality, but forget the Ural Bomber. Short and medium range aircraft of high quality is what you want. And those jets, but you gotta get some rocketry experience before you can get the jets.

4. Sea. Forget the Navy. Ok, research the hell out of submarines and build scads of them, but forget the rest of the fricking navy, OK. With subs, you can make a go at really strangling the British Empire in this game. I'll let you in on a secret. The Brits have scads of convoys just waiting to be discovered and sunk. Have a go at it. But surface raiders worth their salt take too much research and money and sink way too fast because they are a lot easier for the Brits to find. Subs are cheap and dangerous. But forget about the rest of the Kreigsmarine.;) :D

5. Electronics and Industry. Gotta research these for high quality units, special units such as paratroopers and commandos, intelligence benefits and more efficient synthetic oil and rubber plants. There are LOTS of things that are very good in these categories. Go for it.

6. Artillery. Gotta have it, not only for the big guns, but for tanks, ATs, and a host of other stuff.

7. Nukes. Don't make me laugh. Sure, you can try and beat the Amis in developing the bomb, but that's all your going to do because you aren't going to have enough ICs left to have a army or air force strong enough to beat Tunna Tuva. Conquer Europe before the Amis get the bomb. That's your best bet.

There's a lot more stuff. Your cabinet, assigning generals and admirals, diplomacy (hah, Germany don't need no stinking diplomacy) etc. But you gotta figure out some things on your own.

Good Luck.:)
 
Winning As The Bear (or "Back in the USSR")

First Impressions.

1. You're BIGGGG. Got tons of provinces. You're essentially self-sufficient in resources with the exception of rubber. Your industry esentially starts off equivelent to Germany's and only surpassed in any significant way by the US.

2. But you've got a BIG problem befitting a gigantic state. You start out having to spend almost all of your production on consumer goods. Seems the Soviet people really can be as demanding as their capitalist counterparts. You'll need the rest of your capacity just to get minimal supplies to your fairly numerous, but ill prepared, army. Not much new production or research for you. For a while, the Germans are going to outstrip you in both those areas and there's not much you can do about it.

3. Army, big but weak. Air Force, small but weak. Navy (hah ha ha ha :D ).

What To Do First

1. The economy is a problem because so much has to go into consumer goods. OK, you can consider these "cheats" if you will, but I'm actually going to suggest you use a little "hindsight." (Like you weren't going to already;) ). OK, you've read Mein Kampf," what's Hitler going to do? He's going to attack you silly, and probably sooner rather than later. START MOVING THOSE INDUSTRIES TO THE INTERIOR ASAP. DON'T build industries west of the Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad line for if you do they'll probably be of more use to the Germans than you. Now, most provinces to the east don't have the infrastructure or capacity to build industry, but find those that do and build, build, build. Build until about 1939, then cut back and start unit production if you can. You consumer goods needs should be more reasonable by then and you'll have more free ICs to play with.

2. Think about defense. Build land fortifications in the Big Three cities. Why? Obviously because they have a lot of industry in them you'll want to protect, and fortresses help in defense. But more importantly, those fortresses can act as a supply source and even if forces in them get cut off or surrounded, being fortified and supplied they may be able to hold out until you can relieve them. If you lose each of the Big Three cities, your days are probably numbered depending on how successful you interior industry building program went. You may want to sacrifice one to save the other two.

3. Make sure you attach either AA or AT brigades to each new infantry unit you build.

4. Use excess coal and steel to trade for rubber so you don't have to waste precious research rubles on developing synthetic rubber techs.

Research

Remember, the first couple of years your research will be painfully slow. But it'll get better.

1. Navy. Hah ha ha ha hah. Moreso than the Germans, forget about it.:D

2. Air Force. Nice to have but secondary to land by all means.

3. Army techs, including land doctrine and artillery. This is where the bulk of your research has to go. Focus on these areas in this order. Infantry; Artillery; AA; Tanks and AT; Command and Control; Defensive doctrines (at least at first). With tanks, you don't have the luxery, like Germany, of developing 20 different types. From the first focus on one really good design (say the T-34) and only chose the applications that lead to or improve that design. Then do what they did in real life and build lots of them. Getting a bunch of light tank designs will mean a lot of wasted research rubels and buring hulks.

4. Everything else. Catch as catch can. But make sure you look into those applications necessary to advance your primary goals (like infantry organization and the T-34).
 
God Save the King (UK)

First Impressions

1. It'll look like you'll need God's help once you realize what all you have to do to make a go of it as Britian.

2. You have a good economy and control a lot of resources. But you only control them. You've still got to get them back to Mother England. Moreso than any other country you have to manage and PROTECT your convoys. You'll control the world market for rubber. Use it as your trading medium when you need to trade. You have some oil in your colonies, but once the war gets going you'll need to trade for more to keep those ships sailing and aircraft flying. Try and build up your oil stockpile for the inevitable.

3. You're spread out all over the place. You have few land units and weak garrisons. Obviously you're not prepared to protect your holdings at the start.

4. Your navy is the backbone needed for your survival. Protecting convoys, protecting Mother England from invasion, cutting off Axis supplies to North Africa and elsewhere, these are all musts. Your navy gives you an advantage here. KEEP IT.

5. You also have an initial advantage in strategic bombers. Keep it to and try to research to extend their range. You can play havoc with German industry with that arm.

6. Your army is going to need a LOT of work.

What to Do First

1. Trade some excess rubber for oil. Get that stockpile built. Don't go on unnecessary pleasure cruises while at peace. Get your navy into ports at strategic locations and leave them in port. Make sure those ports are supplied with oil and supplies.

2. Spend a lot of time making sure your convoy system is up and running and effecient. Make destroyers your military unit building priority because you are going to need a LOT of them to protect those convoys.

3. Build AA in your southern and industrial provinces. Protect them. You can't afford to lose ICs to German bombing attacks.

4. Upgrade your garrisons at strategic points. Focus on Gibralta and Malta first, then Singapore, Colombo and Hong Kong next. Don't worry about building up the fortresses in those places, they are already strong enough, rather, bring the garrison units to full strength and consider reinforcing them. Units beginning in India are good for that.

5. Build transports and destroyers until you know you have too many. Then build some more. Know the sea zones where your convoys run so you'll know where to search for German subs and raiders when hostilities break out. You can see them on the supply screen.

6. Diplomatically influence as many small European nations as you can. Get them in your alliance if you can. Don't waste your time and diplomatic influence on the US. They'll only join up with you when they're good and ready. (But once their "war entry" numbers start approaching 90, you can start inviting them into your alliance, you might get lucky and they will say yes).

7. France. Who the hell knows what to do about France? ;)

Research

1. OK, here you can spend all you want on the navy. ;) :D But first and foremost, focus on doctrines and applications that help out your destroyers and ASW capabilities. You gotta protect your convoys and supply lines.

2. Air Force. Continue improving the range and effeiciency of your long range bombers. Also focus on short and medium range fighters. Focus on carrier based aircraft. All right, focus on everything that flys. ;) :D

3. Army. After spending so much money on the navy and air force, what's left for the army? Not much. But focusing on it is a necessity. The Navy and AIr Force will help in defending your colonies and prevent Operation Sealion, but you have to have an well organized and effecient army to actually prevent them from being over run. You have too much to research and not enough ICs to do it all. Welcome to the real world. Consider taking military control from your Commonwealth Allies if you can convince them it's a good idea. Australia and Canada should be able to supply enough land units to fill in a lot of gaps in your defenses. But it makes your job of managing the war a lot more cumbersome.

4. Industry and electronic techs. Yes, you need these too to make your meager forces stand up to the hoards they will surely face.

5. Nukes, rockets, et al. Nice to have but given your limitations do you really think they are practical? Probably not. But the techs that lead to jet flight are worth the effort if you can squeeze out a few extra ICs.

God Save the King. (Maybe it should be "FDR Save the King.";) :D ).
 
Nippon (or "Meiji-Tenno's Private Empire")

First Impressions

1. Your navy rocks.

2. Your Air Force and Army are OK, but could use a little modernization.

3. Compared to the other major powers, your economy is rather small. On top of that, you have virtually no oil and rubber resources. Fortunately for you though, the solution to that problem lies not too far to your south. ;)

4. You don't automatically start as part of the Axis. It may be possible, and maybe even advantageous, to steer your own path through the minefields of the decade ahead.

5. Your political focus is on two things-- China and the Indonesian Islands. Everything else revolves around your need (and wish) to dominate these two areas.

What To Do First

1. The China Syndrome. The China question is going to be the one you have to wrestle with in the early years. Make your decision about what your policy will be early, and try to stick to it. China, or rather the several factions that make up China, is a tempting target for several reasons. It has lots of coal and steel, and a little oil. Sorry, no rubber at all. Captured intact, it's relatively primitive industrial base can still increase your IC output by 30%+. That's nothing to sneeze at. But there are drawbacks as well. For every unit you build, or have to reorganize, for every month you have to fight, for every infantry unit that starves in the mountainous terrain, you are wasting ICs you could have been using to prepare for the possibility of facing down the initially inert, but potentially robust behemouth laying East, across the vast Pacific. Taking China, economically, is probably a wise move. But for each Chinese faction you attack, and especially for each you subjugate, the great behemouth grows a bit more irate with you. Richer lands (for what you really need, oil and rubber) lay to the south, and don't seem to cause as much commotion when captured (as long as The Netherlands aren't an official part of the Allies).

2. Until you move south, you will be short of oil and rubber. Trade and synthetic production is all you can do early on.

3. You own lots of islands that can be used as foward bases for your Empire. Start early in preparing them defensively. AA and 1 or two levels of fortifications will teach those Leathernecks a thing or two.

4. Don't forget you will need to vigourously defend your close in islands to keep your enemies from having air bases that can put the home islands at risk. Defend them to the death.

5. The best defense against an aircraft carrier is another aircraft carrier. Remember this for your most potent potential foe will likely have many such carriers. The Yamamota was a beautiful and powerful ship, but like all battleships in the era, it was dead meat when faced with carriers.

6. Forget about applying the Code of the Samuri to submarine warfare. It may be dishonorable to use subs against "simple merchant ships," but to fail to do so is just another way to commit self-disembowelment.

Research

1. Navy. Carrier ops doctrines and applications are essential for an island Empire. Subs and ASW (to protect your newly acquired lands to the south and to supply those innumerable islands you'll have to garrison) should be next in line of priority. You can get by on the starting tech for surface combatants for a good while.

2. Air Force. Those Zeros have an edge for only a limited amount of time. Upgrade your fighter and naval attack aircraft as fast as possible. Land attack aircraft are much less important to you (unless you do something silly like pick on the Soviet Union. Nah, not even Meiji would do that.;) :D ).

3. Army. Moderately advanced army units is all you'll need to deal with any Chinese threat. Focus on Marine units. They'll come in a lot more handy than those army grunts. Tanks are essentially useless to you unless you plan on one of those silly excursions to Siberia or Australia.

4. Your not going to have a lot of ICs playing as Japan. Therefore other research options will truly be rare and probably not of much help. But make sure you search out and research those odd techs in other categories that can help you with your main goals.
 
The Big One-- The US of A

First Impressions

Your economy drawfs anything else in the game. You produce 60% of the world's oil, and a substantial % of coal and iron.

Your military is uneven. You have a great navy, equal to the UK. But your army is small (about the size of Portugal's) and your air force, while a little larger, is outdated. It'll be a while before you reach your full potential.

You have, by far, the steepest demand for consumer goods in the game at the start. Fully 80% of your production must be allocated to making the populace fat and happy at the start. This will lower as the Axis get bolder and it starts to dawn on the isolationist populace that war may be a sad necessity.

You're country is well developed (ICs and infrastructure) but couldn't defeat a riled Santa Ana if he got aggressive at the start. Luckily, he died 150+ years ago.

What to do First.

1. You're economy is so big, even with 80% of it going to consumer goods you can still do a good bit of research. Start early.

2. Don't start building units until your research pays some dividends.

3. Dismiss ineffective ministers when you can. Because of you're economic size, you can lower the dissent level this causes fairly painlessly.

4. Build forts and AA on Pacific Islands you want to keep. Hawaii, Midway, Baker, Guam (may lose it anyway), Wake, etc.

5. Raise the AmeriCal Division in Colon to protect the Canal. Do this early because when things get hot you might forget about it. ouch.

6. Don't worry much about diplomacy; you're isolationist remember.

7. Elect FDR whenever you can (I like his ministers better).

What to Research

You can easily research a lot more than any other country. You can't do everything, but you can do about 70-80% of everything. Early on choose one or two areas you're willing to forgo, and don't look back. You should be able to do most of the rest.

1. Navy--focus on carrier ops and apps, ASW and build lots of transports to ferry you're forces overseas.

2. Air Force--go for it all. I found that early on the F4F Wildcat is the best fighter for carriers (like in real life). I also like to use torpedo bombers on the carriers, but naval bombers will do.

3. Army--Again, research everything related to ground forces. It'll take a while to catch up to the Germans though.

4. Electronics and Industry--Researching these areas will give you advantages other countries will never get because they can't afford them. Use it to your advantage.

5. Special Weapons-- Go with rocketry just to get jets. You are the only country that has the realistic wherewithal to build nukes. Go for it if you wish. Just research enough sub techs to keep you competitive. They are most helpful in the Pacific of course.

Final Note: Do your research, then outbuild eveyone else. Stay out of the war as long as you can so that you can meet the enemy on equal grounds tech wise, but with an overwhelming number of units. And help out the Brits and Ruskies as much as you can.

Good Hunting.
 
France--The Great Enigma

France is a tough nut to crack. It will test your abilities as a player to the max. Early in the 1936 scenario you will have only one goal--prepare your country for the inevitable German onslaught. A task easier said and done.

First Impressions.

1. At first glance, it appears that you aren't in too bad of shape. However, appearances can decieve. While you are the German's equal in number of units, you are very much their inferior quality wise. And in this game quality (as expressed in organisation and apps which add to unit stats) is everything.

2. You have a moderate sized economy (about 192 ICs at full production). But that is less than 2/3rds of the size of the German economy and even smaller than the UKs. To survive, you have to keep your economy at full production.

3. You have a big empire (not as big as the UKs, but big nonetheless). However, generally your colonies are not as rich as the UKs. You can get most of the rubber you need from Indochina, and import some coal and iron from Africa, but you only get a couple of drops of oil from your Mid East holdings, way too little to make much of a difference.

4. You start out allied to the UK. You can use your diplomatic influence on Belgium, The Netherlands, Poland and Czeckoslovakia to try and get them in the alliance earlier. That will give the Germans and Italians something else to think about if it can be done.

What To Do First

France is tough because no matter what you decide to spend you're ICs on, that means that something else you absolutely have to do to survive will be left undone. You just have to do the best you can and hope for a little luck (maybe the Germans will try the Maginot line instead of the Ardennes).

1. Make the economy effiecent. In the 1936 scenario, you know you will at best have only 4 years to get ready for battle. Given the starting conditions, you would perfer to have 6. Thus, you have to squeeze every IC you can out of your economy. First, balance your resources. You start with significant coal and iron/steel in your homeland, but will still need to import some coal and iron from Africa. You will also need to get the rubber from Indochina to Metropolitan France. And finally, those few precious drops of oil drom your Mid East holdings. This means effecient convoy management. Do this on January 3, 1936 (the numbers aren't accurate until then). Revisit it a couple of months later to make fine tuning adjustments. On the same date, make 3:1 trades on the world market for oil and any other resource you may be running short of. The tooltips over the resources are a valuable help in running your economy (again, after January 3). Your goal, make everyone of those 192 ICs available to you, you'll need them.

2. Improve the quality of your ground (first) and air (second) units. I'll cover this more in the research section.

3. Improving defenses. This is a tough choice. Why? Because when you improve a province's defenses (or infrastructure or build new ICs) half of the province's ICs are dedicated to that task and thus unavailable for your use in research and building units. Here you have to make hard decisions. However, I would strongly incourage building AA in Maginot line and other provinces where the Germans may attack. No matter how hard you try, your air units will not be as good as the Germans when war breaks out and AA will help blunt those Stuka attacks. If you're brave, you may want to build 1 level forts north of the Maginot line to slow the Germans down a bit if they go there. The first fort level only takes 6 months to build and will provide supplies to units cut off there. A fort in the mountains in the South will definately slow down the Italians, especially with your crack Mountain troops down there.

4. You may wish to build up your IC capacity in North Africa to expand your economy a small bit. But I wouldn't advise more than a year of this as you need those ICs for more important tasks.

5. Research first, but when the research starts paying dividends upgrade your air units and tanks to the latest models. As 1939 rolls around, you should switch from primarily researching to primarily producing units. You're going to need those units soon and they take a while to build. If you upgrade your old air units, you won't need to build as many new ones (not that you have enough ICs to build many anyway). Focus on building ground units. Your Navy is already robust, so you don't need new units there, exept for maybe a couple of DD divisions for convoy protection.

Research

1. Get your ground organization up as fast as you can. This means starting early on Land Doctrines which are expensive and time consuming. Focus on those doctrines that increase infantry and tank organization. With what few ICs you have left over, focus on Infantry techs which help out your defense power. Don't waste research on the Penicillian, Blood Transfusion, Field Hospital line because it takes too long to pay modest dividends. The Americans can afford to go that route, you can't.

2. After ground improvements, focus on air units. Again, that means air doctrines and focusing on improving either your fighters or tactical bombers. You probably can't improve both in time. I prefer fighters. Also, in order to improve air organization through the Home Chain Doctrine, your going to need to do a little research in the electronics field to get and improve your radar. You probably won't be able to do it, though it's a close call.

3. Everything Else. You just don't have the time or resources to do much else in the research field. Some artillery techs will help with your defense and are necessary for improved tanks, but anything else will be a waste of precious resources. Stick with techs that help out your ground and air defenses because that's the only way you're going to have a prayer.

Tactics

I've added tactics for France because it is more important to them than for most other countries.

1. Let the enemy come to you. If you take the bait and try to move into Germany while they are preoccupied in Poland, you're begging for a diaster. Their qualitative superiority will chew you up in the open plains and hills in Germany as soon as they take care of the Polish issue. And it probably will only take a few weeks for them to subdue Poland. Stay in your forts, keep a mobile reserve, and hope you can wear them down.

2. Don't count on the UK for much help. If anything, their army is in worse shape than yours and they have a lot more things to worry about than you do. You're pretty much on your own in the early months of war.

3. If you can, take control of the Belgium army. The AI does a good job of defending Belgium, but you, as their commander will be able to do a little better. They have to be in your alliance first.

4. Use AA and your fighters to intercept the German Dive Bombers. If left unopposed, they will sap your units, even the one's in the Maginot line, of their organization making a German breakthrough probable.

5. With any new ground units you build add an AT or AA brigade. The Germans will likely have a lot of Panzers that need to be stopped in their tracks. Also, make sure you have a sufficient oil stockpile before the outbreak of hostilities.

6. Don't forget about Italy. If they are part of the Axis they can raise havoc in the South if left undefended. 4 or 5 units (2 of them mountain) located in fortified mountain provinces with AA defenses can usually hold them off. The problem is being able to fford that sort of defense.

7. Defend Paris at ALL COSTS. Lose it and you'll be relegated (if you're lucky) to a few colonial units and a ship or two, with no economy to speak of. Not a very fun game.

France is a challenge, even for the best players. It also can be a hell of a lot of fun, though frustrating at times. Give it a go after you've played a couple of other, better set up, countries. This is what gaming is all about.
 
Mamma Mia, It's Italy

First Impressions

1. You got a lot of units. But some are militia and some are not full strength.

2. You also have a big navy. But since you're at war at the start, they're mostly at sea, eating up all that oil you don't have.

3. You're at war with Ethiopia.

4. You have the worst resource problem of any of the majors. You've got quiet a large colonial base, but they are resource poor compared to Britian and France. You not only have no rubber or oil to speak of, you don't even have enough iron/steel to keep your factories running at full blast. Since you only have 132 ICs at the start you need as many working for you as you can get.

5. Your research is going to be slow compared to other majors, so you'll have to be more selective.

What to Do First

1. Tweek your convoys. Make sure your forces are supplied and get the minimal resources you can from your colonies to Roma.

2. Capture Ethiopia. They have about 20 iron/steel will help out a lot.

3. You spend more on supplies than any other country because of your large number of forces. After capturing Ethiopia, consider putting some units in reserve to cut down on supply costs.

4. Make plans to take the Balkens. That'll help out your industry a lot.

5. You don't start out as part of the Axis. Germany will invite you soon. Consider the implications (Do you really want their help subduing Yugoslavia and taking your provinces?)

6. Trade on the world market for oil, rubber and iron/steel. You've gotta do it to keep your industries effiecient.

Research

1. Infantry doctrines and tech. Make them better than IRL.

2. Short and Medium aircraft. Keep control of the med.

3. Subs to harrass the Brits.

4. Not going to be able to do much else until you expand you're industrial base with the help of the Balkens. Just because Mussolini couldn't do it, doesn't mean you can't.