I bought Hearts of Iron III this evening, the product of a delayed reaction to the game being talked up on the Idle Thumbs podcast many moons ago. There’s something in me that’s always wanted a game like this: complicated, measured in pace and historically accurate. Everything about it seems like a ton of fun.
Unfortunately, I tend not to be very good at strategy games like this. I’m more of a Civilization games player, and even then I tend to ramp the difficulty down and then race for the nuke. And also, spacemen. With Hearts of Iron III, I’ve resolved to be patient, or at least to be comfortable with the idea of enjoying the game in a different way. Specifically, I’d like to play the game without worrying too much about winning, exactly. Rather, I’m looking to play the game as well as I could and to use it to facilitate more daydreaming and historical role-playing. Yes, I’m a nerd. Sue me.
So, what has happened to date in the Hearts of Iron experience? Well, I started up one of the four main scenarios offered, taking control of Japan the morning of the Pearl Harbor attacks. It raises all kinds of interesting questions when it comes to games like this. At some point, I’m going to play as Germany. Or, what if I take control of a minor nation and decide to ally with Germany? In the game, it’s just another actor in the global conflict. In real life… I’m not comfortable with people who LARP as Nazis and I don’t know what I think of effectively trying to win as Germany, or how I would approach role-playing Russia. It kind of takes the fun out of it, though. I don’t expect to have much success with the game in terms of winning the war (really, I am not good at these games) but I would like to mess around with the scenarios and see what happens.
So, I took control of Japan’s diplomatic relations and declared war on Ireland.
Germany immediately informed me that they had taken leadership of the Axis Alliance and that they would be handling diplomatic relations from this point forwards. This struck me as rather funny, but it’s also an early sign that I’m going to like this game quite a lot.