Weebs At War: Let's Play Hearts of Iron 4!

Put your Let's Plays in here.
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What's all this then?

This is Hearts of Iron 4, a grand strategy game released in 2016 by Paradox Development Studio. It is currently the latest in that series, and has been continually developed and received new DLCs up to now, with more content still due to be released past the writing of this post.

So what's this game about?

Basically, this is a game all about World War 2. You pick a country and guide it from 1936 to 1948 (actual end date is flexible), making decisions, building nations and running wars along the way. If you've played other Paradox games, you have a basic idea of how this is going to go, though this game is more war-focused than, say, Crusader Kings 2 or such.

If you haven't played a Paradox game, basically imagine yourself in control of the major facets of a country. You decide which direction your politics take, build your cabinet, you construct your nation's industry, you decide what weapons you build and what kind of an army, navy and air force you set up with those weapons, you trade resources with other nations, build alliances, spy on each other, all sorts of stuff you need to do to run a successful nation. As such, there's a lot of stuff to learn with this game.

And what about the LP?

Well, as I said, there's a lot of stuff to learn with this game. Furthermore, this game has an interesting multiplayer function where multiple people can play the same nation, with changes any player makes instantly being visible to all players. With that in mind, I decided to combine those two factors to create this LP. As such, here's who's part of this LP.

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First, we have myself, TheMcD. I have about 1000 hours in this game, though a good part of that was probably spent in observer mode watching games with different mods develop because that interests me. Still, I have a fair amount of experience in this game, even if there are some parts I really don't know how to work optimally. I can get through games and win wars. Sometimes. I will be taking the role of teacher in this LP.

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And for our second participant, we have Ibblebibble. As he describes his experience with this game himself: "I last played the game on release, and then played Italy and lost to Greece." Ibble will be taking the role of student in this LP.

So together, we will be playing this game in co-op multiplayer and attempt to get through a Germany campaign while I teach Ibble to play the way I play. From there, we see how things go. Things might go great! Things might not go great. Hopefully, it will be entertaining either way.

You said something about mods.

Yeah, I'm using a few minor graphical mods I like and one multiplayer utility mod. Here's the list of mods I'm using.

- Square Counters: Exactly what it says. Normally, counters that show units are rectangular in this game. But I come from HoI2, where counters were square. So I prefer it this way.
- Universal Colored Puppets: This colors puppet states the same color as their overlord. It makes maps look a bit nicer when you can tell at a glance that a country is just a puppet.
- WW's Map: This is just a map mod. I think it looks cleaner and nicer, so I use it.
- No Forced Pause / Slowdown For MP Lag: There's an automatic slowdown with speed when somebody lags behind in multiplayer. Since this is just two people playing co-op and we're probably going to be frequently pausing to go over stuff anyway, I figure it's easier to disable the automatic slowdown and keep us in control of the speed.

I don't think that's all the mods you're using.

No, those are all the mods. Everything else is completely normal vanilla HoI4. Don't question it.

Anything else?

One more important note. Do not treat this LP as a comprehensive tutorial! You will be sorely disappointed if you do that. This LP will teach you to play my way. That is not necessarily a good thing. It will probably be enough to play the game, find some success, and have fun. But people who know the game better will probably tear their hair out at some things I say. Please don't get mad. I'm just kinda dumb.

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BGM List:
Episode 1: haircuts for men - когда зло господствует (Tracks 1 through 8)
Episode 2: VA-11-HALL-A - Prologue (entire album)
Episode 3: Tetris (CD-I) (entire album)
Episode 4: haircuts for men - 大理石のファンタジー (Tracks 1 through 7)
Episode 5: Anno 1602: Creation of a New World (entire album minus fight music)
Episode 6: Age of Empires (in-game soundtrack) + Age of Empires: Rise of Rome (in-game soundtrack)
Episode 7: Omerta: City of Gangsters (Tracks 1 through 9)
Episode 8: haircuts for men - EARLY TAPE WORKS (1981 - 1984) VOL.1
Episode 9: Super Mario World Arranged
Episode 10: Victoria 2
Episode 11: Sim City 3000
Episode 12: Sim City 3000
Episode 13: Side Pocket
Episode 14: Omerta: City of Gangsters (Tracks 9-17)
Episode 15: haircuts for men - EARLY TAPE WORKS (1985 - 1987) VOL.2
Episode 16: Knights of Honor
Episode 17: Root Double
Episode 18: haircuts for men - EARLY TAPE WORKS (1988 - 1992) VOL.3
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What's all this then?

This is Kaiserreich, the most popular mod (that doesn't just enhance the vanilla game) for Hearts of Iron 4. It started out life as a mod for Hearts of Iron 2 / Darkest Hour and has been in development for ages.

What's it about?

Kaiserreich is a mod that sets out to answer the question "How would WW2 look like if the Central Powers had won WW1?". And as a result, a lot of things are different, even if we end up seeing a lot of familiar faces. We go more into what's going on in the world of Kaiserreich in the first video before we make our choice of country: The Socialist Republic of Italy.

How will this go?

In this game, Ibble will be taking over as host and making more decisions while I take more of an advisory/guide/military commander position and go over some more things as to how playing a minor power in an alliance is different to playing a major power. Let's see what happens!

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BGM List:
Episode 1: Mario Golf
Episode 2: Kamaitachi no Yoru
Episode 3: Kaiserreich Soundtrack (Darkest Hour version)
Episode 4: Kaiserreich Soundtrack (Darkest Hour version)
Episode 5: Final Fantasy IV Guitar Collections
Episode 6: Grim Fandango
Episode 7: Fallout New Vegas (Old World Blues radio + some music from a mod extending that radio station)
Episode 8: Mega Man: The Robot Museum (+ one track from Castlevania: Sonata of the Damned) by Joshua Morse, available at https://ocremix.org
Episode 9: Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings
Episode 10: AI: The Somnium Files
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What's all this then?

This is Equestria at War, one of the largest mods for Hearts of Iron 4.

...ponies?

Yes, ponies. Also griffons. And more.

So, what's it about?

Well, as the name might imply, this is a mod set in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic universe. In a way. Most of the world here is basically made up by the mod creators, but it does use main characters from the show in some capacity. Except now it's World War 2.

And, well, it's probably one of, if not the best mod made for Hearts of Iron 4. Everything in it just works, and there's a copious amount of content for basically every country you can see. While it doesn't go as crazy as some other mods on the custom mechanics and such, I would say it's the most polished experience you can have in Hearts of Iron 4 modding.

So much like with Kaiserreich, we start out by going through the world the mod gives us before eventually settling on our choice: The Griffonian Empire.

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BGM List:
Episode 1: 死夢VANITY - albums "diamond rush" and "eternal"
Episode 2: haircuts for men - nothing special, nothing wonderful
Episode 3: Plastique - albums "Suite" and "Vision"
Episode 4: Professor Layton and the Curious Village
Episode 5: Heroes of Might and Magic III
Episode 6: haircuts for men - ダウンタンブルと死にます ep (tape edition)
Episode 7: Hearts of Iron 2 & Hearts of Iron 3
Episode 8: haircuts for men - テンペスト地域 (COLLECTED EDITION)
Episode 9: Caesar III
Episode 10: Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Episode 11: haircuts for men - EARLY TAPE WORKS (1993 - 1995) VOL.4
Episode 12: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
Episode 13: Shadowrun Returns
Episode 14: haircuts for men - EARLY TAPE WORKS (1996 - 1998) VOL.5
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What's all this, then?

This is the One Year War mod for Hearts of Iron 4. It's a Gundam mod.

What's it about?

Gundam. Universal Century Gundam, or so I'm told. Look, I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about here. Ibble's the one that knows about Gundam, not me. I know there's Zeon, and there's an Earth Federation, and the point we start at Zeon has like half the world and I think I heard that that's when the original show starts or something (there are earlier bookmarks).

And what makes the mod special?

There's two main things. For one, there's the tech tree, which amongst other things has a whole bunch of different mobile suits and such to research, build and field. This comes with a whole bunch of different equipment. And the other thing is that there's space, which in HoI4 means that there's a part of the map that's just cut out and completely separated from the rest of the map apart from straits that go across the entire world. It's kind of a mess, actually.

Is it any good?

That's a complicated question. For now, suffice it to say that our time playing this mod will not last as long as Equestria at War.

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BGM List:
Episode 1: haircuts for men - Solo Works Discography 1982~2016
Episode 2: Mega Man Battle Network 1&2
Episode 3: Age of Empires 2: The Conquerors
Episode 4: Mickey's Speedway USA
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What's all this then?

This is Red World, a mod with a quite simple premise: What if the Soviets won the Cold War? As such, in the year of 2010, the Soviets are on top of the world with the Warsaw Pact spanning most of Europe, and the USA collapsed and splintered into many different independent states.

Anything else special?

Not really. Red World is a pretty basic mod as far as mechanics are concerned, sticking pretty much entirely to vanilla and transplanting the research tree into the modern day pretty much unchanged, which is very handy. However, it has some very fun campaigns due to its premise. In this playthrough, we will be going through one of my favorite paths: John Foster's Union of American Soviet Socialist Republics. You'll see, things get fun on this path.

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BGM List:
Episodes 1-13: Assorted Red Army Choir songs
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What's all this then?

This is Hololive of Iron.

...what?

Yes. Anyway, long story short, this replaces a whole bunch of the vanilla map with countries run by Hololive characters. It's inherently very chaotic, with every Hololive country able to go fascist, communist, democratic or non-aligned, leading to very crazy alliances and clusterfuck wars.

Ibble and I did this for April Fools Day, and we might revisit it if the mod gets an update.

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BGM List:
Episode 1: The Vocaloid Jazz Sessions (Vol. 1 and a small part of Vol. 2)
Last edited by TheMcD on Fri Sep 17, 2021 1:41 pm, edited 51 times in total.

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It's so weird hearing Ibble talk about how he doesn't remember the dates of WWII, but that's probably because here we have at least two dates hammered into our heads: when the US entered the war and when it ended it. :v: I'm curious to hear what you guys grew up being taught about WWII, honestly. I have some combo of what I was taught in school, what I read up on on my own, and the oral history passed down by my family.

Also, as I said before, you guys both have the most soothing voices known to man and thus it's a chill LP to watch when getting ready in the morning.

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We learn the start and end dates of the war here, no idea when the US entered, though.
But I just had to pause the LP to come say, as a Swede, you are dead wrong about our relationship with Germany. The reason for it might have been fear of being invaded and not trusting the Allies to be able to protect us, after they failed to do so for France and Norway, but on the other hand, there were several higher ups who was quite friendly with Nazi officials as well. It wasn't until it became clear that Germany might not be the winner after all that we started aiding the Allies more. We did help rescue almost all of Denmark's Jews, and over half of Norway's, as well as Finnish ones, but that was again not until the war had started to shift towards the Allies favour. And, all throughout the war, Sweden allowed shipping of iron ore through the country to Germany.
We might have been neutral on paper, but our concessions, esp the iron, very likely played a part in prolonging the war by supplying the German war machine.

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Tanegashima wrote:
Tue Sep 29, 2020 2:07 pm
It's so weird hearing Ibble talk about how he doesn't remember the dates of WWII, but that's probably because here we have at least two dates hammered into our heads: when the US entered the war and when it ended it. :v: I'm curious to hear what you guys grew up being taught about WWII, honestly. I have some combo of what I was taught in school, what I read up on on my own, and the oral history passed down by my family.

Also, as I said before, you guys both have the most soothing voices known to man and thus it's a chill LP to watch when getting ready in the morning.
I'll see if I can work that into an episode, since we're probably going to have some dead air at times.
Thesaya wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:50 am
We learn the start and end dates of the war here, no idea when the US entered, though.
But I just had to pause the LP to come say, as a Swede, you are dead wrong about our relationship with Germany. The reason for it might have been fear of being invaded and not trusting the Allies to be able to protect us, after they failed to do so for France and Norway, but on the other hand, there were several higher ups who was quite friendly with Nazi officials as well. It wasn't until it became clear that Germany might not be the winner after all that we started aiding the Allies more. We did help rescue almost all of Denmark's Jews, and over half of Norway's, as well as Finnish ones, but that was again not until the war had started to shift towards the Allies favour. And, all throughout the war, Sweden allowed shipping of iron ore through the country to Germany.
We might have been neutral on paper, but our concessions, esp the iron, very likely played a part in prolonging the war by supplying the German war machine.
I don't remember how exactly I worded it, so I might have been mistaken on that front or failed to express it correctly, but my understanding of the relation between Germany and Sweden was "ostensibly neutral, effectively browbeaten into support with trade".

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TheMcD wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:33 am

I don't remember how exactly I worded it, so I might have been mistaken on that front or failed to express it correctly, but my understanding of the relation between Germany and Sweden was "ostensibly neutral, effectively browbeaten into support with trade".
Yeah, that is how they want it to be seen. As I said, the truth is not as nice, although the "veil of silence" that the government surrounded themselves with means that except for tidbits that came out much later, we'll probably never know the full truth of how browbeaten Sweden actually was.

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Hey, just a quick FYI: Ibble and I determined we're going to go for recording once every two weeks, starting next week. I will be shooting for having a video out every week. However, we can't record this week, and we only recorded that first video the first time, so the next session will be next weekend, and I'll see to it that I get the first video of that session edited and uploaded that weekend as well.

So no video this weekend, next one should be next weekend.

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Looking forward to seeing a playthrough of this. HOI is the game my teenaged self would have desperately wanted to play, but somehow it just never clicked with me.

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Alright, I got it in in time! It's still this weekend for me!

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In this video, we add "WW2 factoid collection" to the list of things this LP is probably not going to be as we start letting time pass in the game and spend some time chatting about particular things we at least believe we know about WW2.

Also, note that from now on, episodes will be coming from longer recording sessions (this first one went about 3 hours and 45 minutes), so there will be abrupt cuts at the end and videos will start in medias res apart from the first one of the session.

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Alright, now that I have some episodes ready, I will be establishing a schedule - I'll post a new episode every Friday evening. And with that...

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This time, we have a bit of a lull as we wait for the Spanish Civil War to kick off, so Ibble gets to look around the world and check out all the places he's been in his life, and then we start prepping for the Spanish Civil War.

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New video!

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This time, we start messing around in the Spanish Civil War and find ourselves going over basic military stuff with our two tank divisions.

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New video!

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This time, we have a lot more happening in the Spanish Civil War. We play around with the espionage system, let our tanks roll on the plains of Spain, and remilitarize the Rheinland. Also, stay tuned for the surprise ending!

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New video!

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This time in our Spanish Civil War adventures, we get ourselves in a bit of a pickle.

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New video!

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With the Spanish Civil War done, it's time we turn our eyes towards our own territorial expansion. However, we're not going to be kicking off wars just yet - at least hopefully. For now, we'll just demand land and see what happens.

Note: My headset mic is a temperamental thing, and as such, even with leveling, some of the audio in this video in particular gets a bit too close to weird ASMR territory. Alas, not much I can do now.

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New video!

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With the Anschluss done, we now start moving in the direction of countries where we might run into trouble. Plus, we take a trip back to our school days and remember what we were taught about WW2.

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I'm not surprised that India getting fascism requires Germany doing it first, considering that something like that happened historically. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) began as a Hindu nationalist and anti-British paramilitary, but the buildup to World War 2 prompted them to take on some fashy elements as part of an "enemy of my enemy" strategy. And those fashy elements have never really gone away, which is constant bad news for India because one of their political associates is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), one of the two biggest political parties in India.

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NGDBSS wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:37 am
I'm not surprised that India getting fascism requires Germany doing it first, considering that something like that happened historically. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) began as a Hindu nationalist and anti-British paramilitary, but the buildup to World War 2 prompted them to take on some fashy elements as part of an "enemy of my enemy" strategy. And those fashy elements have never really gone away, which is constant bad news for India because one of their political associates is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), one of the two biggest political parties in India.
It makes sense, yes, but the problem is that this is HoI4, where countries can change ideology practically on a dime. We just select a focus and hey, look, Hitler's gone and we can be a democracy again! India is weirdly unique in being possibly locked out of an ideology change based on another country's choices.

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New video!

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The war with Poland comes closer, but for now, we're still trying to expand diplomatically. Also, a new potential competitor alliance bloc makes its appearance!

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New video!

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We're still waiting for Poland to make its own faction so the war becomes easier without France intervening.

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New video!

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Italy does a dumb this time, and we don't get involved. Instead, we take care of Poland.

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New video!

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We decide that we can help Italy out a bit this time, and as a result, we take a slightly different route than one might have expected.

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New video!

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With France out of the picture, we're left with the Balkans to mop up. But then, a great complication ensues.

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New video!

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Boy, do I feel dumb for blowing off the Anti-Comintern Pact a few episodes ago. Well, now we need to deal with the consequences of our actions, and that means the Soviets are coming for us.

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New video!

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This time, we're going to try and figure out how we're going to crack this Soviet nut. And meanwhile, the Brits just can't get enough of us and keep wanting to go on vacation on our rightfully stolen land.

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New video!

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It's time to stop screwing around and commit to a big push. Will it work?

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New video!

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With the Soviets now out of the picture, we start working on mopping up some different areas of the map.

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New video!

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We make our move towards trying to invade the British mainland. Either way, the campaign ends here. Will it be with victory or failure? Only one way to find out!

Next week will be the beginning of our Kaiserreich game!

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What's all this then?

This is Kaiserreich, the most popular mod (that doesn't just enhance the vanilla game) for Hearts of Iron 4. It started out life as a mod for Hearts of Iron 2 / Darkest Hour and has been in development for ages.

What's it about?

Kaiserreich is a mod that sets out to answer the question "How would WW2 look like if the Central Powers had won WW1?". And as a result, a lot of things are different, even if we end up seeing a lot of familiar faces. We go more into what's going on in the world of Kaiserreich in the first video before we make our choice of country: The Socialist Republic of Italy.

How will this go?

In this game, Ibble will be taking over as host and making more decisions while I take more of an advisory/guide/military commander position and go over some more things as to how playing a minor power in an alliance is different to playing a major power. Let's see what happens!

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New video!

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It's another "setting up before we unpause" video, but this time, we actually unpause in the first video because I don't have to explain everything!

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New video!

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It's time for a bunch of congressional action. Kaiserreich sure loves its events.

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New video!

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While we don't have any tank divisions to send into volunteer situations, we can still send units, so let's do that to pass some time.

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New video!

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With our Argentinian adventure ending in total failure, we look to other arenas while we wait for the French to get going.

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New video!

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Alas, the French have to ruin our volunteer fun by demanding Alsace-Lorraine. So with that, The Big One officially pops off.

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New video!

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We get some support on the northern front. Let's see if we can make something of it.

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New video!

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The war has progressed to such a point that we can make some big moves, especially with one front now freed up.

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New video!

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We interrupt our regular video schedule to bring you an important announcement about the future of this LP!

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New video!

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And now back to our regular programming. With the Reichspakt taken out, we move to bringing syndicalism to Africa. But, well, Africa does not like having entire armies clashing in it.

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New video!

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For the final video of our Kaiserreich campaign, I switch over to subtitles single player, letting the AI take over our country. You'll get to see why I called the campaign done when I did.

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What's all this then?

This is Equestria at War, one of the largest mods for Hearts of Iron 4.

...ponies?

Yes, ponies. Also griffons. And more.

So, what's it about?

Well, as the name might imply, this is a mod set in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic universe. In a way. Most of the world here is basically made up by the mod creators, but it does use main characters from the show in some capacity. Except now it's World War 2.

And, well, it's probably one of, if not the best mod made for Hearts of Iron 4. Everything in it just works, and there's a copious amount of content for basically every country you can see. While it doesn't go as crazy as some other mods on the custom mechanics and such, I would say it's the most polished experience you can have in Hearts of Iron 4 modding.

So much like with Kaiserreich, we start out by going through the world the mod gives us before eventually settling on our choice: The Griffonian Empire.

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New video!

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Now that we've made our choice, let's get started with the great Griffonian Empire under the great Grover V. Surely, he will continue to have a long and fruitful reign.

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New video!

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Alright, so we're now under a pseudo-theocracy of sorts. But that doesn't mean things are going to get worse! I mean, there's no way we're going to be committing horrendous war crimes a few episodes from now.

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