Hearts of Iron 2
There are some grognards among us. I used to be one, but the logistical considerations of grognard type games did me in. The last time I tried playing a game of Advanced Third Reich, my cat decided to have some fun with the counters. That was about 11 years ago. I spared my kitties life.
I discovered a really deep computer game called “Hearts of Iron 2” (HOI2). When I saw HOI1 about 4 or 5 years ago, I was very disappointed. WAY too much micromanaging. When I saw HOI2, I wanted nothing to do with it, but the grognard in me got the better of me and I was hooked. This is not your typical PC game. You can tell that the processor is busy doing all kinds of stuff, but this is not a fancy graphics oriented game. This is a serious simulation of WW2. LOTS of detail that would be almost impossible with a board game, and even for a PC game, the human player can be overwhelmed with decisions, especially if fighting a two front war as Germany or the United States.
Production, Supply and Logistics, Espionage, Research, Government and Political, and of course warfare. I have seen the war go until the late 1940s, I have seen the Germans push the Soviets past the Ural Mountains and I have seen the German line in the east collapse in 1943, giving the Soviets the chance to liberate most of France. I have seen Mexico join the allies in one game and the Soviets in another.
This is a very intense game and one that is not for everyone. But if you are like me and enjoy an epic game AND if you are a grognard (or an old one like me), then you may want to give this game a shot. I’ll be honest – The first time I played HOI2, I did not like it. The learning curve is BIG, but with the help of my friend Adam at work, we were able to offer encouragement to each other. You can learn to play the game in about an hour, but it will take at least a few weeks (depending on how much time you spend) to get in touch with some of the finer intricacies. My friend and I have had long discussions on the optimum mix of division types and how to best allocate the elements of air support or how to best organize a panzer corps. We will often have sessions of play where the game is mostly paused, but we are just reorganizing our armies and reassigning leaders. There are many hundreds of historical military and political leaders represented in the game. Not to mentions corporations and scientists who help you with your technology tree.
I have not played in about six months or so. This is a fantastic multi player game. You can even have multiple people on the same team playing either against the AI (which can at times be pretty stupid) or against other teams of players.