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File:7fa6ccffc869038811411bb109b945f6-Hearts of Iron 2 1571.jpg

Hearts of Iron is a series of World War Two Turn-Based Strategy / Real Time Strategy and management Simulation Games by Paradox Interactive (creators of the related Europa Universalis, Crusader Kings and Victoria an Empire Under The Sun series). The games allow players to take the role of virtually any country on Earth as of the time at the beginning of the games various scenarios. The series has (like most of Paradox's games) been well received.

The series currently consists of : Edit

  • Hearts of Iron (2002)
  • Hearts of Iron II (2005)
    • Has two expansions: Doomsday and Armageddon
    • As well as two official updated version/add-ons: Arsenal of Democracy, and Iron Cross
    • Another update which includes World War One has been released: Darkest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III (2009)
    • Received a download-only expansion titled Semper Fi.
    • Newest expansion titled For The Motherland was released recently online.
  • Hearts of Iron: The Card Game (2011) which uses the series name and is based on World War Two but has little else in common

This video game series provides examples of: Edit

  • Adolf Hitler: The first minister listed in the game's files. Rather appropriately classed as a "Powerhungry Demagogue."
    • In the third installment he narrates the tutorial for you.
    • The game also takes a ridiculous amount of time to tell you that his facial hair is inadequate and that he's not a very good painter.
  • Alternate History: A major marketing point of the series, the game allows for things as big as the USA having a revolution in response to the Great Depression (you can choose whether to become Socialist, Fascist, Communist, or something else), to events as small as a historically-neutral country joining a certain side (Spain/Turkey/Argentina/Portugal joining the Axis, Brazil joining the Communists, the USA joining the Allies before Pearl Harbor, etc).
    • The second expansion for HoI2, Armageddon, features a full-on alternate history as one of it's campaigns. Nations include the United States of North America (US/Canada), the Confederates being independent and owning Mexico, a communist Britain that controls the low countries and Denmark, a communist Japanese republic, Russia still being a monarchy, Prussia still being an independent nation, and many others.
  • Alternate History Wank: Any good player will cause this in the nation they play as: Germany conquering the Soviet Union and the world, Japan conquering China, France or even Poland holding off the Nazi tide, the red flag flying over all of Europe, the United States conquering the Soviet Union and Germany, etc. Anything is possible.
    • Also heavily avoided with the popular Alternate History mod Kaiserreich, which depicts a Germany that won WWI, but not immediately and totally, only after a long drawn out war. The standing German Empire has many internal problems by 1936. Other major factions that oppose them do exist: Communist France and Communist Britain, the loyalist remains of the Commonwealth (Canada, Australasia, Delhi), and the Japanese, Russians, and USA are wild cards.
  • As Long As It Looks Foreign: Comintern nations in the third installment will have their names written in faux-Cyrillic on the map. This led to a fair amount of complaining from Cyrillic reading fans. As usual, there's a Game Mod to change this.
  • Aussies With Artillery
  • Awesome but Impractical: Super-heavy armor, strategic rockets, and super-battleships tend to be like this. However, when deployed properly, they can be QUITE effective.
  • Balkanize Me: China is represented as an alliance of several warlord factions (the Nationalists and Communists are just two groups among many) essentially functioning as an Enemy Mine to defend against Japan.
  • Banned in China: Because it has Tibet as an independent country with its own flag, which the PRC has banned since 1959, and so is Manchukuo, as well as having China divided among the various warlords.
    • Though Chinese modders made the most mods, and none of them have a selectable unified China.
  • Bonus Boss / Easter Egg: Open up the console and type "Alienattack [province number]". Watch the slaughter begin.
  • Boring Yet Practical: Infantry: versatile and doesn't require fuel or any other resource besides manpower, which, unfortunately, they eat like nothing else.
  • Canucks With Chinooks
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Sometimes averted, sometimes played straight, depending on how the game. With the most recent version of HoI III, France (as per Paradox Interactive tradition) is somewhat of a monster.
  • Character Portrait: Every general and every minister for every country in the world has one. Some of these, like "General Camerashy" and "Admiral I'm on the Phone" have reached Memetic Mutation levels.
  • Chinese With Chopper Support: Theoretically available, if one is a skilled Communist Chinese player.
  • Cold War: Generally happens after World War Two to some degree, and frequently degenerates into World War Three. There are some mods in the official forums that add the Cold War as a whole up till the early 1960s into the mod.
  • Command and Conquer Economy: Pretty much a Justified Trope, especially for countries like Germany or the USSR. You can mandate new industrial development and allocate amounts of industrial capacity points to the areas of consumer goods, production, supplies, reinforcements and upgrades, with boosts or penalties to said industrial economy with certain minister types in your cabinet, whether you are at war and what choices you make in some events.
    • Also justified in that during the war the Allied governments also controlled production to a larger extent than normal through rationing and other means.
    • Additionally, if you try to do this when you're not at war, it can lead to high dissent.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In the second game the AI can see everything; it can carry out amphibious assaults anywhere on the globe; and its organisation regenerates while moving. It can also materialise massive fleets that weren't anywhere on the map or in any port a moment ago when you checked with the nofog cheat to make sure there weren't any nasty surprises waiting for your amphibious assault somewhere.
    • It kind of needs it though, since the out-of-the-box AI is so poor.
  • Cool Ship: "Advanced Super-Heavy Battleship" Need I say more?
    • Yes, you do. "Nuclear Battleship".
  • Delaying Action: With the correct doctrine, or luck, defenders can activate a "Delay" event, which slows down the attacking sides advance and penalises the attackers chances of causing casualties to the defenders, for a slight reduction to the defenders own chances.
  • Disc One Nuke: In Hearts of Iron 3, there is a stat which keeps track of what percentage of your army is made up of officers, and this directly affects how well your units perform (training more officers means your men are lead better in battle). Keeping it up to at least 100% is necessary to have your troops in good shape, but it can be boosted up to 200%. This means all of your military will be at double their normal organization. And since the highest the AI will raise their officer ratio is about to 120% or 130%, it's fairly easy to steamroll over everyone else just by taking advantage of this stat, at least in the early game. Multiplayer games tend to have a 'house rule' of only raising the officer ratio to 120% or so.
    • The most recent patch reduced the maximum effectiveness of the officer ratio bonus to 140%. Any further than that and the player receives no bonus, beyond having additional officers in the case of attrition.
    • More literally, it's perfectly possible to get nuclear weapons by 1940 if you spam nuclear research techs.
  • Divided States of America: It's quite possible, if the Random Number God is unkind to them in regards to random events or if they handle the aftermath of the Great Depression especially poorly, for regions of the United States to start organizing partisan militias and declaring themselves independent, eventually resulting in either the complete collapse of the country or a Communist revolution.
    • While the base game and HOI 2 only involves the CSA, Texas and California seceding, one of the expansions, Iron Cross, takes it overboard and adds Alaska, Hawaii, an Indian nation, Deseret, Chicago, New England, the Intermountain Federation,the African-American nation of New Afrika and Cascadia
  • Double Standard: Bizarrely, while the Rape of Nanking is an in-game event (though outside of the Japanese player's direct control) things such as The Gulag, terror bombing, or the Holocaust are officially banned.
    • The USSR does have the choice of enacting the Great Purge though. The game gives a severe penalty if you don't do it.
  • Easy Logistics: Averted. All units consume "supplies" that needs to be transported to the front. Getting cut off from supplies is a VERY BAD THING. Also, motorised units require fuel as well as supplies. Running out of fuel? Well, better build something other than tanks...
    • Semper Fi now gives you a choice. You can use the 'realistic' supply system, which features convoys, air-drops, and is based on an engine that calculates the efficiency of your logistics system by how far from your nation's capital your troops are to simulate the logistics... or you can use 'arcade mode'. In arcade mode, you troops receive supplies no matter where they are, and as long as you don't run out of them you're fine.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Depending on the course of history, it's entirely possible for the game to end in a final showdown between an alliance of fascist dictatorships and their conquered puppet states and an alliance of equally repressive Stalinist dictatorships and their puppet states. Or a final showdown between Germany, Italy and Japan when they're the only ones standing at the end.
  • Finns With Fearsome Forests: The Winter War is scripted to happen in III, although in the other games it might happen or it might not depending on the circumstances. Alas, the Finns almost always lose the war in a matter of days or weeks.
  • Game Mod: Countless, including ones which take the game to an Alternate History, World War One, The Vietnam War or Turn of the Millennium setting. A Cold War mod is presently in development). Also there is a Fallout mod.
    • Some of these mods have/are being released as stand-along games, such as Arsenal of Democracy, and Darkest Hour.
  • Gauls With Grenades: Original, Vichy, and Free varieties.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Foreign IC", "foreign manpower" gained from appointing an Efficient Sociopath or Prince of Terror as your minister of security.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Can be used by the player or the AI, though generally not advisable, unless you have a serious numerical advantage. Surrounding and cutting off the enemy is a good strategy, however, because it cuts them off from supplies.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: The Silent Workhorse minister trait is basically this.
  • Indians With Iglas: Theoretically available, given it is possible for the vanilla game to extend into the 50's and 60's and India is an available nation. India can also be released as a puppet nation by Britain in Hearts of Iron III. You wil have boatloads of manpower and a decent industrial base, but your main constraint is Britain's AI controlling your resources. If however, the British surrender to the Germans, you will get full independence.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Most often seen when importing in a scenario from Victoria an Empire Under The Sun. Whilst the borders and existing countries will change, the leaders most often won't. Meaning that you can have Adolf Hitler in charge of a democratic Germany, with or without the World War One scenario having happened.
  • Israelis With Infrared Missiles: See Indians With Iglas.
  • Josef Stalin: The Soviet dictator is a minister in the game, appropriately classed as a "Ruthless Powermonger" and "Backroom Backstabber".
  • Josip Broz Tito: The Yugoslav communist leader makes an appearance as both a political and a military leader.
  • Kaiju Defense Force: See Indians With Iglas.
  • Katanas of the Rising Sun: Imperial Japan is a playable faction.
  • La Résistance: It's possible for partisan groups to form if unrest is high enough, with this generally being significantly more likely in occupied or colonized territory than in your home nation. High partisan activity can positively cripple a country's infrastructure, and eventually may lead to open revolts in which the partisans organize and outright seize territories from their host nation.
    • The For The Motherland expansion will allow players to build "Underground" commando units to arm and mobilize resistance units in enemy-occupied territory, allowing for anything from subtle partisan resistance to sudden revolts and large-scale assaults by well-equipped rebel formations. This can be used to play merry hell with an enemy's supply infrastructure. In fact, this is one of best weapons a government-in-exile has available to it.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Any Head of Government ministers with good traits are this, especially if the Head of State is a "Happy Amateur" or "Popular Figurehead".
  • Mnogo Nukes: Can be developed by the USSR player.
  • Nazi Germany: It's possible, through patience or cheating, to turn Germany back into a Monarchy or a democracy. Germany will also be divided into the FRG and DDR (West and East Germany) once it has been conquered, with the sizes depending on what areas were taken by the Allies and Comintern - it is quite possible to have an entirely democratic or communist Germany.
  • Nazis With Gnarly Weapons: Even to the point of developing nuclear bombs, which the Nazis didn't come close to developing in real life.
  • New Roman Legions: And it's quite possible to make them far outperform their real-life counterparts.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Heavily averted. You can play any nation on Earth, including more obscure nations in the war such as Nicaragua or Liberia at the time of the game's scenarios short of microstates like the Vatican or Monaco.
  • No Swastikas: Thankfully averted by some user-made modifications, though discussion of them is generally penalized on the official forums and After Action Report writers often pixelate them if they're using such a mod.
  • Nuke'Em: You can do this after some appropriately lengthy research. Using a nuke not only destroys large stacks of units, it also gives the targeted nation a major dissent hit. This causes their army to perform very weakly.
  • Old Save Bonus: Paradox have a range of similar titles based on periods throughout history, and it's possible to start a game from 1066 (in Crusader Kings) through several other games (Europa Universalis and Victoria an Empire Under The Sun) until Hearts of Iron II ends the campaign in 1964.
  • Peace Through Superior Firepower: Can be developed by the USA player, which is in best position to develop nukes first as was the case in real life.
  • Poles With Poleaxes: Can hold off the Nazis and the Soviets if you play well enough.
  • The Purge: The Great Purge can be conducted by the Soviets. There's good reasons to do it, though if playing a long game, many Soviet players will avoid it and gain control through less brutal means.
    • Darkest Hour for Ho I 2 has a generic Purge-like decision. Using it gets rid of "disloyal" generals.
  • Railroading: In the third installment, the British will always declare war on Germany by 1941, even if they're allied with Poland, have the United States in their sphere, or didn't even annex Austria. If you make use of the "noneutrality" cheat, your threat will shoot through the roof very quickly, so Britain may actually declare war on you specifically for annexing Austria, the Sudetenland, or Czechoslovakia.
  • Red China: What Communist China wants to, and can, be.
    • Actually doing this in-game without cheating is next to impossible.
  • Reds with Rockets: If one develops a Comintern nation's rockets and nuclear weapons research enough, though the Soviet Union is usually the only Comintern country that will be able to pay for it.
  • Risk Style Map: Hundreds of provinces. The third installement has somewhere in the region of ten thousand regions, achieved by subdividing territories and provinces into smaller areas that must be fought over individually.
  • RPG Elements: Cabinet ministers and military leaders have different traits which have varying effects on the nation, diplomacy, the military and the troops under their command.
    • The third instalment introduces "strategic effects", which you can gain or loose depending on certain conditions, such as joining a faction, fighting enough battles, controlling a strait or canal, or holding enough provinces to dominate a body of water like the Baltic or the North Sea.
  • Second Sino-Japanese War: A staple of games as either Japan or one of the Chinese nations.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: How long can you last as Ethiopia (which starts the game being invaded by Italy) or Luxembourg (the smallest country represented)?
    • Answers: it depends on what difficulty you are playing (it is virtually impossible to do it on most settings above normal for either difficulty or aggression barring immediate aid from the West) and indefinitely (as long as you spend most of the war cranking out land forts and AA and a token force to actually man them) respectively.
    • Playing as Uruguay or Tannu Tuva and doing anything besides sitting there watching the rest of the world is also a big challenge.
      • Particularly for Tannu Tuva, as it borders on Guide Dang It. It starts as a Comintern nation surrounded by the USSR (leader of the Comintern) and Mongolia (a Soviet puppet and member of the Comintern) cut off from any access to the sea and with a pint-sized pile of resources. And via event it gets annexed by the Soviets automatically in 1944, forcing you to secede at some point prior to the event and eventually declare war on the Comintern and HOPE you have enough of a military to push out and survive. Not to mention the Japanese and Nationalist Chinese are sitting around waiting for you if you do.
      • As Tuva you can try to buy land in south America or Africa. Then everything's easy.
    • Haiti anyone?
      • Playing a Central American/Caribbean micro-nation isn't too bad, because you can generally conquer your neighbors as long as you don't let the USA intervene.
        • God help you if they do.
    • Playing as Madagascar here. Trying to build up an empire to take over the world and then shut it down.
  • South Africans With Surface to Air Missiles
  • Spanish Civil War: Will occur in-game if you begin playing in 1936. It is usually random as to which side wins. If Republican Spain is played by a human, it is even possible to avert the entire war via a glitch.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: Both on the strategic and tactical levels. Players may well choose to pull back from a section of their line in order to withdraw from an obviously lost fight towards better terrain/reinforcements or they may be pulling the attacker into an encirclement trap assisted by the rest of the front line and reserves. Defending generals with the right doctrine or who are just lucky can also get it; it shortens the front, leaving attacking and defending units who take up more room than the front allows Locked Out of the Fight, and gives the defender a net advantage (both sides are penalised in their attack chances.)
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: FAR too many examples to list here, but for instance, if Germany attacks Poland and then makes it into a puppet state, the USSR will automatically invade the eastern part, and Poland will receive the same provinces it did in reality.
  • The UK Armed Forces
  • The Strategist: The player basically becomes this.
  • Ultimate Defence of the Realm: Can be developed by the British player.
  • Yanks With Tanks
  • We Are Not the Wehrmacht: See Indians With Iglas
  • Winston Churchill
  • World War One: Previously done via Mods, now put into the game canon itself with Darkest Hour.
  • World War Two: Pretty much the point of the game, though it is possible to avert in very rare circumstances.
    • In Hearts of Iron 3, the UK is scripted to declare war by 1940 even if Germany hasn't done anything threatening yet.
      • In Hearts of Iron 2, if Germany declines to declare war on Poland or Poland gives in to Germany demands, either a war will start in the Balkans (Hungary attacking Romania or vice-versa usually) which will bring all of the super-powers to declare war on each other (just like World War One), or the USSR will just declare war on Germany, with the UK and France following up soon after.
  • World War Three: Happens 8 times out of 10, given the fact that the victors (for instance, the Allies and the Comintern) tend to fall out over the spoils in a pretty dramatic fashion.