Four Major Announcements from PDXCon 2018

By Strategia

775 words

This past weekend has been a very exciting time for grand strategy fans, as PDXCon has started in Stockholm, Sweden. New games and expansions have been unveiled at the event. For those of you who do not want to watch the full video or could not make it themselves to the event, I will go through with you about some of the major events at the show.

Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury

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Holy Fury is all about crusades. Crusaders have been historically an integral part of the Middle Ages and is in the name of the game itself, but the mechanic has needed some attention in recent times. Holy Fury aims to change that. A new interface will immerse you in the mechanic, and give you all the confidence you need in taking back the Holy Land. Catholic rulers can become a saint, and be favored by the Pope in taking land and leading the crusade. New events relating to religion and crusades will also make you feel like the game is fleshed out and detailed. Also, the clergy will become an important part of your nation, by crowning the king and having a lot of influence in court and country. There are also new mechanics for pagan nations, including a warrior lodge that you can rise through the ranks in, and succession laws, which your Pagan Elder Council has the final word on. Finally, there are shattered and random worlds, where the nations or the land is randomized, similar to EU4’s Random New World mechanic. Overall, Holy Fury is set to become one of the better expansions, but it may be one of the last expansions before the game settles down.

 

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The new crusade mechanic.

 

Europa Universalis IV: Dharma

index-1.pngDharma‘s main focus is on the sub-continent of India, one of the interesting but less fleshed out regions of the game. Utilizing the Rule Britannia mission system, the Indian nations and empire have received new trees, which will make your experience much more interesting and entertaining. For owners of The Cossacks, new estates have also been added. New trade mechanics have also been included, such as charter companies and upgraded trade centers, so you can invest in them. Policies have received a rework, with new special bonuses. Finally, you can now customize your government, that will define how you manage your realm. As with CKII, Dharma is likely to be one of the last expansion of the game, as Paradox will likely start new ventures.

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The upcoming mission tree for the Delhi Sultanate.

Hearts of Iron IV: Man the Guns

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Man the Guns will mostly focus on the naval side of combat, by adding greater depth to that theater. It will also focus on the democratic nations of the game, such as the United States. You can now add armor or guns to ships, refit older ships to more advanced ones, and customize warships. Currently, we do not know much about the expansion compared to the rest on this list so I will go more in detail in another post once we have more information. Hearts of Iron IV has sorely needed a naval rework, and this is the perfect chance, combined with new national foci.

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A close up look at some of the ships in the expansion.

Imperator: Rome

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Well, it’s not Victoria III, but I must say, I’m still pretty excited about this! Imperator: Rome takes place in 303 BC/BCE to the rise of the Roman Empire so there will be tons of content. The game map will span from Spain to India, so there will be many unique cultures and religions in different areas of the map. Features such as character management, different government types, and battle tactics will definitely be interesting mechanics. This game probably has a lot of potential and combined with modders’ ideas, the game will prosper. Currently, the game is scheduled for an Early 2019 release, but this could change later. As with Man the Guns, there is not a lot of information, but as time goes on we will learn more about the game. I am very excited for this game, so let’s hope Paradox doesn’t mess it up!

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The pleasant interface and the detailed map.

Sources:

Paradox forum announcements for the information about the expansions and the heading pictures.

Steam store pages for the pictures. (Search the expansion or game’s title to find them)

Thanks for reading!

After a long hiatus, I have returned and will be posting more content regularly. Be sure to check out my other blog posts and also give me your feedback and comments in the section below. Goodbye!

-Strategia

 

Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger Review + 1.5 Cornflakes Patch

by Strategia

1100 words, Wow!

Introduction

Waking the Tiger may be the best expansion for Hearts of Iron IV to date. Like I said in my earlier blog post, this is HOI4’s Art of War. The main feature of this expansion is the East Asia region, which has been significantly reworked and expanded in detail. Many countries have received sparkling-new focus trees. Besides that, several key systems have been removed, replaced, or added to the game. I won’t spoil everything either so you can try some of the lesser known additions for yourself. Now, let’s start looking at the core features of both the expansion and the patch!

 

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A look at some of the unit models in East Asia.

 

Major Features:

National Focuses in East Asia

Like I said earlier, the main focus for WtT is East Asia. There has been a significant rework with a variety of options to play as, from the Kuomintang nationalist government to the small Chinese warlord.

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An example of one of the new focus trees, this one for Nationalist China.

 

The Kuomintang has received a gigantic tree, with their focus on unifying China and annihilating the Chinese Communists and the warlords before Japan knocks on their door. Alternatively, they could create a Chinese United Front like they did in real life, but it would be dysfunctional with many small countries fighting an Asian superpower. Japan also has gotten a focus tree, which has been completely reworked from the old focus tree which was very small and lacked content. There are now four paths, including a communist Japan allying with the Soviet Union, a democratic path focusing on an Asian Arsenal of Democracy, the real-life historical path with going south towards China and the European colonies, and finally establishing a “Japanese Shogunate”, which would be non-aligned and non-interventionist. While the reworked industry, army, and naval foci are free, the alt-history paths are part of WtT.

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The Japanese reworked focus tree.

Going towards the smaller nations, the Empire of Manchukuo led by the last Emperor of China, Puyi, have received a focus tree allowing them to break free of China and establishing a second Qing Empire. Finally, the warlords of China have received a “generic” focus tree, but they are allowed to claim the name of China and their national focus tree. Now if they could update the actual generic focus tree to Waking the Tiger standards… Anyways, the new national focuses and additions have made East Asia a lore-rich and interesting area, with plenty of content and paths for you to explore.

 

Updated German Focus Tree

Here is another focus tree. The German focus tree before WtT was not that bad at all, but it definitely could have been expanded. While the industry, army, and naval paths have not been touched significantly, there are now 2 new alternate history paths. The trigger for these paths starts with the player choosing to ignite a military coup against Hitler’s regime and the remilitarization of the Rhineland. Germany then descends into a civil war, with you controlling the new German Military Junta led by August von Mackensen.

 

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August von Mackensen, or the “Last Hussar.”

 

After you win the civil war, you can choose to restore the House of Hohenzollern and the German Empire to its rightful place as leader of Germany. Then you can form an anti-communist shield and focus on them, or hate both them and the Western powers, recreating the Central Powers. Alternatively, you can restore the Weimar Republic and create a European Union, which would again focus on defeating the communist threat. I tried a test game of the German Empire, and it is one of the best and most interesting games I’ve ever played, with plenty of decisions and content to keep you interested. Now, like with the Japanese focus tree, the new industry, army, and naval paths are free, while the alt-history paths are part of Waking the Tiger.

Minor Features and New Mechanics:

Chain of Command and New Traits and Abilities

Before Patch 1.5, there was only Armies and Divisions, which could be led by either Field Marshals or Generals. Now, Cornflakes introduces a new addition to the mixture, and that is Army Groups. While armies will now be led by only generals, army groups will be led by field marshals. A field marshal can command only a couple of armies effectively, while a general can only command 24 divisions (72 if using garrison order). For me, it’s a welcome addition, but it will probably need some time to get used to it instead of the old abstract system we had before.

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The new Chain of Command system in Cornflakes.

Also, generals and field marshals now can be upgraded using traits and abilities. Instead of commanders randomly getting perks based on where they are fighting you now have the ability to “promote” them by giving them perks at the cost of a new currency called “Command Power.”

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The new traits and abilities interface.

For example, Erich von Manstein in the picture has the earned trait called “Panzer Leader.” At the cost of some command power, you can upgrade him to “Panzer Expert.” Finally, instead of the arbitrary skill number, you now have 4 different areas of skill which vary depending on the general.

Missions and Decisions

Everyone’s favorite menu in EU4 is back! The mission and decision interface are meant to compliment the national focuses so you can have a more immersive experience. Things you can select vary from generic things like “Anti-Communist Raids,” to historical events that depend based on the nation that you are playing as. I really enjoy the mechanic as it allows for a much better experience that national focuses or events couldn’t really fill.

 

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Some of the missions and decisions for Germany.

Acclimatization

This is one of the less important features in Waking the Tiger. Basically, while your units are in an extreme environment (Desert or Winter), your units will adapt to the harsh climate and be more prepared. One way this shows on the map is their unit uniform changes based on the environment. A small change, but pretty useful to have in the Russian winter!

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Left: Normal Units. Right: Acclimatization in Full Effect.

Is it Worth It?

Compared to expansions before Waking the Tiger, this seems like Hearts of Iron 4.5. It adds a lot of new features that will definitely spice up your game. Unlike previous expansions, I would say it’s worth it at full price, but it never hurts to get it on a sale. It is a little bit buggy, but like most Paradox expansions, the hotfix will fix most of it. Even so, Waking the Tiger truly is HOI4’s Art of War.

-Strategia

Sources:

HOI4 Dev Diaries and Wiki Article

 

 

 

How my Dad made the switch from a old iPhone 4 to a Amazon Kindle Fire

by Strategia

350 words

My dad is addicted to his old Apple iPhone 4. After a long, tiring night of work he usually gets in his bed and starts reading. For several hours he usually either browses YouTube, Wikipedia, or the web. Since he has a variety of interests, there is always something he’s seeing. Now, the iPhone 4 has been around for a while, it was originally released in 2011 and smartphones and tablets have changed a lot since then. Even replacing many of these things at least twice, the home button was damaged, the screen was worn, and applications took a while to load. Naturally we needed a replacement, even with my dad’s unwillingness to change devices.  So we started researching. Naturally the most logical course of action would be to stay in the Apple department, after using Apple products ever since he started to work on them for his graphic designer job. He still proudly displays his 19 year old Bondi Blue original Mac in the living room.

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A original 1998 iMac

He praised Apple for its intuition, however in the current day and age he was concerned of the price for a full-blown iPhone 8 or 7. He wasn’t so sure he needed a phone either, a tablet’s size might do it for him. So many options to choose. After looking on both Apple and Android devices, we had stumbled on the Amazon Fire lineup of devices. Everything about it just seemed right, low price for great value. After much consideration, we decided to seal the deal and buy a Fire for the price of $60. The agony to wait was crazy, it took almost a week with free shipping, but it finally arrived. As soon as the package arrived, we tore down the box and started up the device. It was just as we expected, a budget-level tablet, yet it could still do the job well. If we would have known earlier that we could have gotten a tablet for $60 dollars, we would have gotten it before. A great steal if you are ever going to purchase it!

-Strategia

 

Louis XVI and a brief history of France’s struggle between Monarchies and Republics

by Strategia

600 words

Today, on January 21, 1793, Louis XVI or “Citizen Louis Capet” as the revolutionaries called him, was executed by guillotine. One year later, his wife Marie Antoinette was also guillotined. This was an important milestone in the revolution as it allowed the new First French Republic to focus on the other powers threatening to restore the weak and severely in debt Ancien Regime. At the time many did not except the House of Bourbon to come back to the throne since most of their heirs had either been killed or had escaped, but little did they know that the last part of the 18th century and most of the 19th century would be a battle in France between republicanism and monarchism.

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Louis XVI’s portrait

The French Revolution

The 1790’s would be chaotic for Europe, as new revolutionary puppet states were replacing former kingdoms and duchies. Meanwhile in France, the revolution was taking a bit of a softer tone as some of the more radical Jacobins, like Robespierre were ironically executed by their own device, the guillotine. Eventually, many people were tired of this war and wanted peace. Then a popular general, Napoleon Bonaparte seized the country in the coup d’etat of 18 Brumaire and declared himself First Consul. A few years later, he crowned himself Emperor of the France and famously declared, “The revolution is over. I am the revolution.”

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Napoleon I on his Imperial throne

The Rise and Fall of the Napoleons

Napoleon used parts of revolutionary reforms, but for all intents and purposes, the French state was a monarchy. The people now idolized Napoleon and his new Grande Armée. The Republic was left to be forgotten and lost in time. By the time Napoleon was finally defeated and the end of 25 years of war, it seemed as if the Republic and the initial Reign of Terror was a distant memory. The old Bourbon monarchy was restored, but the revolutionary spirit lived on in the slums of Paris. For the first part of the 19th century was teetering on anarchy, until the Revolution of 1848 finally toppled Louis Phillipe I, or “The Citizen King.” A new Republic was established, but like its namesake, it was taken over by another Napoleon. Napoleon III and his Second French Empire did not invade every country, but it provided all the glory and wonder that an empire with colonies would have.

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An official portrait of Napoleon III

This was not the end of the great war between monarchism and republicanism though. A man named Otto von Bismarck, the Chancellor of Prussia, had been trying to unite Germany after the old Holy Roman Empire was dissolved. Already he had created the “North German Confederation” and had secured Prussia’s place as the leader of the future Germany. Bismarck fabricated a war against France for Alsace-Lorraine, which had been a battlefield between France and the long gone German state of Alsace. He declared war in 1870, and swiftly marched his and the southern German states’ armies to France. After some initial success, Napoleon and his empire lost the crucial Battle of Sedan. The Second French Empire was crushed, and Bismarck used the war as the catalyst to unite Germany.

Napoleon III surrendering and Wilhelm I’s crowning as Emperor of the German Empire.

A Republican Victory

A proto-communist uprising in Paris happened but was swiftly defeated and the Third French Republic was left with a broken country. Never again would a monarchy control France and the Franco-Prussian War added new animosity to the long standing Franco-German feud. The long war between monarchism and republicanism was over, with a republican victory.

-Strategia

New Year’s Update

Hello, I’m Strategia, and I wanted to make some announcements and some thanks. First of all, I’d like to thank every single one of you who have opened, visited, followed, and liked my posts. I never thought that I would have so many visitors in such a short span of about 2 months. I’d also like to thank MovieBabble and Chris Nicholas for being the first people to follow and like my blog, respectively. Go check out their blogs if you are interested. Soon I will be starting an AAR, or an After Action Report. After Action Reports are when you write about your playthroughs after you play them. I will hopefully start one on a popular mod called Kaiserreich, once the 0.6 update comes out. If you’re not a fan of that, there will still be opinions and reviews, just like I normally write about. I’ve also upgraded the blog URL, so instead of just strategia760846598563968 or whatever numbers were on it, it is now just strategiagame.com. That should make it easier for people to access the blog, and to allow search engines to easily index my blog. These past 2 months of 2017 have been great for me and this blog, and I am hoping that 2018 will be an even better one!

-Strategia

The Game that Mesmerized Me, Assassin’s Creed Origins

**SPOILERS FOR ASSASSIN’S CREED ORIGINS**

by Strategia

174 words

When I heard that Assassin’s Creed Origins and Wolfenstein: The New Colossus were coming out at around the same time, I had to choose between both of them. I eventually chose the latter. While I don’t think that was a bad decision, when I eventually got Origins yesterday, I was glued to my TV screen. In Origins, you play as Bayek, the medjay of Siwa right before the whole love story between Mark Anthony and Cleopatra and the subesquent annexation of Egypt by the Roman Republic. After your son is killed you go on a revenge spree to kill anyone who was involved in the tragedy. After starting the game I spent at least 3 hours in the open world fantasy solving quests and reclaiming Egypt for Egypt. If you haven’t got this game already and love open world RPG’s, this is probably a must buy. Ubisoft really revived the Assassin’s Creed franchise after the disasters of Unity and Syndicate…

-Strategia

Bridge Constructor Portal: A Review

by Strategia

560 words

(Author’s Note) This will deviate a little from my normal strategy game reports.

Overview:

Bridge Constructor Portal is a game where you, well, construct bridges. You might be thinking, “Since it has Portal in its name it must be Portal 3!” I’m sorry to disappoint you, but ClockStone and Headup Games (The developer and publisher, respectively) only collaborated with Valve to use the Portal IP for their game. And based on what I have played so far, they have made a decent job. Now let’s delve deeper into what this game actually holds!

Gameplay:

In Bridge Constructor Portal, there are 60 levels. Each level is a separate test chamber. In a test chamber, you have to get one or more trucks to make it to the exit doorway using a series of bridges. Later there are obstacles, like turrets which will force you to find creative ways to pass the test. You are guided by the infamous GLaDOS, which will “help” you with snarky comments. ss_c60ebbe2ef0561264829739a78c372b53c814b39

An example of a complicated method to solve this test.

There are 2 materials you can use, a simple base for your bridge, and a type of rope which can hold your bridge. Once you have some sort of design you can test it to see if it can hold. If one of the parts of the bridge turns red it is dangerously close to collapse, and if it stays in the air you can send one truck to finish and leave the test chamber. If that works you can send the rest of them to gain some extra points. Keep in mind that there is a money system at the top of your screen, however, you have no money cap and can build as much as you like. After the first couple of tests, the famous portal returns as a mechanic. In this game, portals with matching colors are connected, unlike the system in Portal 1 and 2 where there were only blue and orange portals.

Aesthetic and Design:

In B.C.P, the game utilizes the Portal style and mechanics pretty effectively. Many of the characters, mechanics, and utilities from the Portal franchise are back like turrets and the large buttons. For a game like this, you shouldn’t expect 4K crazy ultra graphics, but overall, it’s nice to look and explore the game. With the time and effort, I believe they have created a believable heir to the Portal dynasty…

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A look of some of the props used in the game.

Is it Worth It?

Overall, yes, if you like these types of games this is probably the game for you, especially if you like the Portal franchise. However, this is not just for Portal fanboys looking for some sort of Portal 3, this is an actual game which is separate in its own right. But let’s be honest, will Valve ever make a game with a 3 in its title? One criticism I’ll have to voice is that I think that with more time, they could have delivered a more complete game. There are only 2 materials you can use, and it seems that the money “system’ is only there as a waste of space, and not something that you actually had to worry about. Even with those imperfections, I still think Bridge Constructor Portal is a great game.

Is the Cake still a Lie?

Find out for yourself!

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Final Score: 7/10

-Strategia