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How the heck do you play this game?!" A simple tutorial AAR

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

Welcome to the "How the heck do you play this game?!" AAR. This AAR is designed to be a tutorial for novice players, and will demonstrate all the steps to a successful campaign from beginning to end. We will start with the simple building blocks of getting started, and progress with baby steps toward the more advanced concepts of the game. By the time a novice finishes reading this, he will have a firm grasp of the game dynamic and will be able to conduct his own campaigns with any country.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we will play as Germany in the 1936 scenario, with normal difficulty and normal aggressiveness. Our goals will be simple and largely historical. We will allow the game to be event-driven up until the invasion of Poland. We will try to forge alliances with the traditional Axis powers. We will conduct a traditional invasion of Poland in September 1939, and wait to attack France and the Low Countries until May 1940. We will also invade Denmark and Norway when the appropriate event fires. Our invasion of France will be through the Ardennes region (Luxembourg, Bastogne, and Liege) and we will try to "sickle cut" Allied forces in Belgium. We will attack Greece and Yugoslavia after that, and invade the Soviet Union in the spring of 1941. That invasion will consist of small encirclements by our mobile forces, with infantry reducing those pockets. Our panzers will not outrun the infantry by more than what the next encirclement requires. Meanwhile, we will concentrate on a U-boat navy until we can subdue the Soviets.

The intent is to reduce gamey exploits. Advanced players know that it is better to attack as early as possible with Germany, and that it is better to build a carrier navy or surface ship navy. Advanced players know that late into the invasion of the Soviet Union panzers can be sent forward to quickly seize Sverdlovsk. We will not do that here, because advanced players also know that easy victories do not necessarily make for fun games.

I am playing with Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday, with patch 1.3a (JCJS). If anything I mention during the course of this AAR is different in the Armageddon version, I encourage spectators to mention it and I will edit my posts to note the differences. Spectators are also encouraged to voice their opinions for what they believe are the best options for certain situations. If an option is doctrinally correct and not "gamey," we will follow that option.

When reading this AAR, text that is bold and white represent instructions for those following along to execute. Everything that is in normal, green font represents additional details that are provided as an FYI -- just in case you want to know WHY you are doing what you're doing.

So let's get started!

  • Lesson 1: Getting Started

  • Lesson 2: The Diplomacy Folder

  • Lesson 3: The Production Folder

  • Lesson 4: The Technology Folder

  • Lesson 5: The Intelligence Folder

  • Lesson 6: The Statistics Folder, Menu Options, and Message Settings

  • Lesson 7: Military Units and Leaders, Trade Deals, and the Reoccupation of the Rhineland

  • Lesson 8: January-February 1936

  • Lesson 9: March-December 1936

  • Lesson 10: 1937

  • Lesson 11: January-June 1938

  • Lesson 12: July-December 1938

  • Lesson 13: January-August 1939

  • Lesson 14: Invasion of Poland

  • Lesson 15: Sitzkrieg

  • Lesson 16: Invasions of France, Benelux, Denmark, and Norway

  • Lesson 17: Blitzing England and Invading Yugoslavia

  • Lesson 18: Invading Greece and Preparing for Barbarossa

  • Lesson 19: Phase 1 of Operation Barbarossa (May-June 1941)

  • Lesson 20: Phase 2 of Operation Barbarossa (July 1941)

  • Lesson 21: Phase 3 of Operation Barbarossa and the Bitter Peace (August-October 1941)

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