You can play Hearts of Iron IV like a pro with these hints, techniques, and strategies. Hearts of Iron IV, like the majority of Paradox Interactive’s games, can be difficult for newcomers to understand. It’s not easy, after all, to guide a nation through the biggest conflict of the 20th century.
For a country that isn’t careful, one bad decision can spell certain doom. In order to prevent catastrophic failures, numerous decisions—both big and small—must be planned in advance. Before playing, it can be very helpful to understand the secrets to success. Hearts of Iron IV is layered in many ways. It can be challenging to coordinate those layers, particularly during times of conflict. But with the right knowledge, beating Hearts of Iron IV can be less of a hassle and more of a breeze. Games created by Paradox might seem incredibly intimidating to new players.
Through the release of numerous DLCs and updates, Hearts of Iron IV, which is now more than five years old, has become even more complicated. Supply, occupation, shipbuilding, and espionage are just a few examples of the gameplay mechanics that have all undergone some revision. Players may recall how ridiculously simple it was to steamroll over enemies during the game’s first year of availability. Even seasoned players now need to show a little more finesse after years of much-needed polish. These expert advice will hopefully offer some much-needed direction for fans who want to plunge into the chaos of World War II for the first time in this war simulator’s growingly complex environment.
Protect the Coasts
Coastal defenses are a gameplay element that experts never ignore but beginners frequently do. Obviously, depending on which nation the player is in control of, this task requires different levels of attention. Landlocked countries need not be concerned about this issue. Any nation that controls a coastline should start building a defense as soon as possible. Undefended coastlines are ripe for invasion by enemy vessels.
Build a lot of coastal forts and station second-line troops to guard the perimeter. Do not feel the need to erect a massive chain of barriers. Enemy amphibious assaults can be beaten with even minimal preparation.
Create A Range Of Ships
It’s important to remember the navy when acting as a major power. After all, why waste a valuable asset? Variety is the secret to any effective naval buildup. The temptation for new players learning the ropes to stick to one kind of ship is strong.
That tactic, though, isn’t always very effective. An effective task force designed to engage the enemy should have a wide range of ship types. All seasoned players have their preferences, but a ratio of about 4:1 is a good target. In other words, for every capital ship, there should be four screening ships.
The breakdown of what is included in screens and capital ships is as follows:
- Light Cruisers
- Aircraft Carriers
- Super Heavy Battleships
- Heavy Cruisers
Each type of ship has distinct advantages and disadvantages, which explains why there is such variety. A stronger enemy navy can outmaneuver and outgun a task group made up only of one type of ship. On the other hand, a variable collection of ships is prepared for anything. Submarines can also be put in separate groups called “wolfpacks” to terrorize enemy convoys.
Special Forces Training Based On Your Needs
It’s simple to overlook Special Forces units in the rush to produce as many infantry and weapons as possible. There are three different types of Special Forces: mountain troops, marines, and paratroopers. It’s best to study the map and make advance plans so that these troops can work as effectively as possible. Utilize each unit’s advantages and observe them at work.
As an illustration, consider a naval invasion of Great Britain. Use that variable navy! A German player will want to dominate the air and sea over the English Channel. Before the main army arrives, marine battalions might want to secure the ports. In order to block supply routes and hold important cities, paratroopers can also be dropped behind enemy lines.
Due to the terrain in England in this case, mountain infantry will not be very useful overall. It’s important to keep in mind that players can only train a certain number of Special Forces units. Special Forces are subject to a cap that prevents them from being more than 5% of the player’s overall battalion strength. Therefore, don’t waste money on training tools you won’t use!
Military Occupation & Partnership
In Hearts of Iron IV, occupation is more difficult than it was at the game’s initial release. Players who wish to directly occupy every territory they conquer will need to invest additional time and resources to ensure its safety. A territory that is successfully occupied will provide the player with more resources and factories. However, it is essential to effectively suppress resistance.
Otherwise, repeated acts of sabotage by an angry populace will not benefit the player. The establishment of collaborative governments is a viable alternative. Although players will not directly administer the territory, a semi-independent puppet government will shoulder the burdens of collaboration.
Spend money on the Intelligence Agency
Effectively utilizing one’s Intelligence Agency is yet another useful tool in a nation’s arsenal. There are numerous investment opportunities available to players; however, it is advisable to decide beforehand what type of spy agency the player desires. For instance, if the player anticipates occupying a large number of territories, it is advantageous to focus on the Defense branch.
This specialization provides bonuses for anti-partisan activities and makes operatives more effective at eradicating opposition. As with all aspects of managing a war-torn nation, the key is to capitalize on one’s strengths and stick to them.
Unlock Additional Research Slots
In Hearts of Iron IV, research is crucial to keeping pace with other nations. Among other things, research increases the effectiveness of industry and the lethality of combat units. The quicker a nation can conduct its research, the greater its advantage over its adversaries.
Larger, more developed nations typically begin with three or four slots unlocked. Smaller and less developed nations begin with only two, putting them at a disadvantage.
Intelligent players should always prioritize National Focuses that grant an additional slot, regardless of the initial count. Outproducing and outgunning one’s opponents inevitably leads to victory, and research is the linchpin.
Prioritize Production Technology Always
What should be done with all of these research slots? Never neglect military-beneficial technology, but neither should production be ignored. To keep tanks and airplanes rolling off the assembly line in a timely manner, it is crucial to maintain efficient production. Research is essential to sustaining this efficiency. Always reserve at least one research slot for an industry technology.
When playing as an Axis nation, it is generally prudent to select the Dispersed Industry tech tree due to the high risk of bombing. The United States and other allies can get away with Concentrated Industry. In addition, whenever possible, always prioritize Production, Construction, and Fuel/Rubber technologies to stay ahead of the curve.
Without fuel, warfare cannot be conducted in the 20th century. Almost every unit in the game requires fuel, including tanks, half-tracks, artillery, ships, and aircraft. If a nation’s fuel reserves are completely depleted, units will continue to move, but will incur severe combat and speed penalties. Consequently, players must constantly monitor their fuel levels.
Constructing synthetic refineries is beneficial, but fuel silos also require attention. Larger fuel silos allow for the storage of greater quantities of oil for future use. Invading and occupying countries with substantial oil reserves is also a useful tactic. Do not allow the tanks to run dry!
Continue Training The Force
Despite the presence of diplomacy systems in Hearts of Iron IV, World War II will eventually break out. When it comes to victory or defeat, a country’s military will play a crucial role. Regardless of whether a player’s military is large or small at the beginning of the game, more will be required. Starting in the 1936 bookmark is advantageous because the player has approximately four years to build up their forces.
Infantry and artillery are essential, but tanks should be considered as soon as possible if feasible. When improvements are made, they should be allocated to the principal front-line troops who conduct the majority of the fighting. Garrison units have no need for all of this expensive new equipment.
Train Those Soldiers
Countries that begin the game with substantial military forces (such as Germany) should never be idle. Similarly, newly trained divisions should never simply wait on the front lines with their hands in their laps. Assuming there is no immediate threat, land-based units should conduct military drills. The same is also true for air and naval units.
Exercising consumes equipment, which may impede the training of new units and the rollout of upgrades. However, exercising units will eventually reach the “Regular” level of experience, making them more lethal on the battlefield. Exercise also grants a small amount of Land, Air, or Navy Combat Experience, allowing divisional templates to be augmented.
Maintain 20 Combat Width (Most Of The Time)
Fans of Hearts of Iron continue to argue regarding the optimal combat width. Simply put, the combat width of a division determines how much space it occupies on the battlefield. The dispute centers on which is superior: 20 or 40 feet in width? The majority of a player’s units should typically maintain a combat width of 20.
Maintaining lengthy front lines with every division at a 40-foot width can be a drain on supplies and personnel, particularly if the situation deteriorates. It is preferable to keep certain elite units, such as armored divisions, at 40 width. Since these units are more robust, they can be used as spearheads when trying to breach an enemy defensive position. The more numerous and smaller 20 width units can then complete the task.
Gain some additional political influence early
In Hearts of Iron IV, Political Power functions as a currency. A player must spend Political Power in order to perform actions such as amending a law or appointing a new advisor. A nation gains political power gradually, but there are factors that can accelerate the process. Early production of large quantities of Political Power can be extremely advantageous.
Appointing a consultant who grants a bonus to Political Power accumulation is an excellent initial step. With increased Political Power, more advisors can be appointed, which will benefit not only war production but also other sectors of the economy. The player has an advantage over his opponents if the draft and economy laws can be modified quickly to be more war-focused. In the early game, there is no such thing as too much Political Power.
Get on the offensive as soon as possible.
World War II will erupt regardless of the player’s desires. Unpreparedness typically results in getting steamrolled by a more formidable neighbor. Fortunately, players have the advantage of hindsight regarding World War II. They have until roughly the beginning of 1940 to organize their homes. Having additional Political Power reserves can be extremely useful in this situation.
To reduce consumption of consumer goods, the player should shift as quickly as possible towards a war economy. Additionally, stricter conscription laws must be enacted so that manpower does not become an issue. Appointing a political advisor who can increase a nation’s support for the war can be advantageous when attempting to implement these changes.
Prioritize Military Factories
Players have two fundamental options for factories: civilian or military. Civilian factories accelerate the construction process and can be used for international trade. In contrast, military factories produce all the necessary war supplies for the military.
Ultimately, military factories will have to take precedence. Whether or not a campaign succeeds or fails depends on the production of war-winning equipment.
This is especially true whenever time is of the essence when playing as a country. Construct enough civilian factories to meet the fundamental needs of commerce and construction, then proceed with the military buildup.
Always Keep Some Trade in Mind
Buying and selling in Hearts of Iron IV is a simple procedure. In order to get the materials they need, players may sacrifice part of their civilian factories. Oil and rubber, among other resources, are crucial to the manufacturing process. When resources are inadequate, output suffers as a result. Having a few more civilian industries allows for increased trade opportunities.
In spite of the light punishment, a limited shortage of resources is nonetheless acceptable. Utilizing civilian industries for the production of items of greater strategic importance is essential. Don’t go crazy with your trading, and make sure you maintain your head above water.
Lead developer at Lost Rabbit Digital. Writer for Good2Games. Boden began freelancing for Good2Game in 2021. He got his start making games and is still interested in the inner workings of games via the modding and speedrunning communities. He is addicted to co-op crafting games, lengthy novels, and multiplayer cryptid hunts.