Author Topic: Out of the Great Abyss -- Ethiopia. World War One. HOI2:Darkest Hour AAR  (Read 28653 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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And then, for no apparent reason, I decided to play Ethiopia in World War One.

 ;D

Wait. Let me backtrack. I have an explanation.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 07:21:55 AM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 03:43:24 PM »
Introduction

In preparation for my upcoming 100th Anniversary Mega-Multi-Great-War Campaign, I felt I had better get more familiar with the interface and playstyle of one of the games I’d be running my multi-campaign on: Darkest Hour, the only Clausewitz game I know of that currently features a WW1 grand campaign. (Technically Vicky2’s grand campaign can run up past WW1 to the start of WW2, but it doesn’t start there. DH’s WW1 campaign can last into summer of 1942, theoretically unlocking all techs available up through the 70s!)

I thought long and hard about which nation to start with, and Darkest Hour has plenty of them. I didn’t want to start with Russia (or any other main WW1 combatant) because the whole point of this early experiment is to get to know the engine in a low-key setting of the period where I’m not flooded with decisions all the time but still have room and capability to feasibly grow in some directions. I looked at various Mexican, Central American, South American, Chinese/SEAsia and Arabian possibilities, but decided that I wanted to try bringing the ancient Christian nation of Ethiopia back from the edge of its grave -- or as it was known as this time by another ancient name, Abyssinia.

In 1914, Abyssinia holds a number of promising but underdeveloped territories in the central eastern interior of Africa, and is one of the only three playable African nations -- the other two being South Africa (too apartheidish for my taste) and Liberia (which has a nifty history but only one territory surrounded by France and Great Britain who will soon be Entente partners). The only other African nation per-se on the map is Senussi, the desert kingdom south of Tobruk and Benghazi; but while they have similar options of whether to go with the Entente or the Powers, and I’d appreciate the opportunity to see how far I can bootstrap myself up from even more of nothing than Abyssinia, they aren’t a playable faction (and I can’t figure out how to mod them into being one).


 
After several decades of fighting off various colonial incursions in the 19th century, while trying to modify its government and culture more along the lines of modern European nations (starting with a separation of church and state powers), Abyssinia has managed to succeed in losing its coastlines to Italy (and France, and Britain, though to be fair Oman had already taken a good part of it first during its slave running days), but also had succeeded in remaining a unified state (or at least a unified culture more or less during a period of rebel dissolution) and not becoming a puppet of any colonial power. Also, it has clawed and scratched its way up to being in some ways almost as advanced a military power as the United States during its civil war back in the 60s!

Abyssinia’s new emperor (stop laughing, he has a culture stretching back to the days when Ethiopians ruled Egypt), Iyasu V (Jesus the 5th, no relation -- I swear I’m not making that name up, that’s what the game gave me), sees great potential for Abyssinia to enter the 20th century as a native African power without peer, and as the only surviving unconquered ancient Christian power, becoming a light of reason and peace to the world.

But first he must pull Ethiopia up out of the darkness of the Abyss.

(Yes, I know I called it "Abyssia' in my humorous map comments.  ;) )
« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 04:17:38 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 04:17:05 PM »
Part One -- Purgatory

[Note: it took me a while to find my 'narrative' voice, so just bear with me. Also, considering Ethiopia's situation, there won't be many screenshots for a while; but if readers have questions where screenies may help, I'll be glad to provide them.]

So, who do we have in our Abyssmal government? (You might as well get used to the puns...)

Iyasu V: a stern imperialist and disciplinarian, he calls his beloved nation to get its act together before the rising winds of world war hurl them all away. He’s good at calling people to a more frugal way of life, and takes a direct hand in effectively training the troops -- from a managerial standpoint, helping them get the provisions they need to become effective faster. But his paternal oversight generates a lot of resentment; hopefully offset by other factors.

He has appointed the archbishop Mikael of Wollo as head of government; a cheerful and moderately popular man, he reduces dissent and acts as a public relations and morale boost. Overwhelmed by the surprise of being called from his monastic pastoral office by Iyasu (especially considering the prior division of church and state functions), he’s happy to be here, and puts a good face on the current administration and its plans, but he’s a scholar and a moral encourager, not a manager, so he tends to be monetarily inefficient in the work allowed in his post by Iyasu. Still, that includes giving charity to the poor, of whom Ethiopia has a lot. Though Iyasu is a good man at heart, he can be brusque about the needs (and attitudes) of common people, so Mikael acts as his conscience, publicly and privately.

Foreign Minister Dejazmach Beyene Yimer is a different kind of scholar, a refined academic intellectual whose main role behind the scenes is to serve as the government’s headhunter for any intellectual talent in the country. Because he has a related hobby of studying other cultures and nations, he has managed to wheedle himself the post of chief foreign minister, and it’s certainly helpful that he knows enough of the relevant languages! But his disdain for other African nations, and for Muslim nations, and for decadent and heretic Protestant and Catholic Christian nations (the Ethiopian Orthodox seceded from central orthodoxy over a thousand years ago), tends to mean he isn’t very efficient at diplomacy.

[Note: in theory I could have options to replace my government figures; in practice with Abyssinia I don’t. But Yimer is the one I’d get rid of if I could as he’s only a liability. Still, I’m willing to pretend he’s the guy who is largely responsible for Abyssinia having any chance at all of developing itself technologically, about which more anon.]

Last but far from least is Iyasu’s good friend Habte Giyorgis, surely a miracle sent straight from God! A dedicated scholar of all aspects of the military, Iyasu was so impressed with the man’s genius and dedication that he has appointed him not only Chief of the Army, but Chief of Staff, Minister of Security, Head of Intelligence, Armaments Minister, and Chief of the Navy -- once Abyssinia reclaims its coastline. The man even has serious flights of fancy, so to speak, about creating Africa’s first indigenous Air Force! -- at great personal expense he has had a model of that French monoplane shipped to the country for study, and can barely be restrained from learning to pilot it himself: he’s far too valuable to the nation to risk in such a way.

Iyasu must admit that if any man had the ability to usurp him in a coup, it would be Habte; but fortunately the man is only a scholar, ambitious in what he can do for the country but a humble man who would regard such a treason as cursed by God. Besides, in effect he will soon be running the country anyway, and Iyasu would rather Ethiopia rise again on Habte’s shoulders than never again at all.


 
[Note: I realize this looks like I’m horribly haxoring the game, but I swear this is what the designers set up for Abyssinia. Giyorgis is insanely competent at everything. Did a designer get lazy and just plop him in everywhere remotely militant? Was a designer a huge fan of Ethiopia and ‘wrote himself’ into the game as a Gary Stu? Did this guy really exist historically, and if so HOW DID HE NOT CONQUER THE FREAKING WORLD?!? If the latter, my guess about the answer is “because he lived in Abyssinia at the turn of the century...”

No kidding, though, if Abyssinia has any chance of making a respectable dent in the world of World War One, this guy by himself is half the reason why.]


The very first thing Habte reports is that most of the generals in charge of Ethiopian divisions are corrupt; not cripplingly so, but enough to cause morale problems among the troops, and more importantly they would like to overthrow Iyasu if possible and use Habte for themselves.

While this sounds like paranoid egomania and/or a way for Habte to consolidate his own personal power in the nation, it also happens to be factually true: every grandmother in the street knows it’s true. It’s time to show people their new Emperor knows there are problems and will take whatever steps are necessary to stamp those problems out.

At midnight on June 27, 1914, after months of quiet preparation, the new dawn of Abyssinian glory began without ten of its generals, executed in their sleep for exploiting the state for their personal gain and oppressing the common people.

In public, Archbishop Mikael would lament later that morning while making the announcement to the press that such steps had to be taken without benefit of a proper trial, but these men were too dangerous to be given such opportunities. The leader, as everyone well knew, had even renamed himself Iyasu V, in anticipation of replacing the real Imperial heir in a coup! Fortunately the people did know about the corruption of the generals, so public dissent remained restricted mostly to clergy who saw only another totalitarian dictator removing opposition in a publicly excusable and popular fashion. In private, Archbishop Mikael warned Iyasu, “If the end justifies the means, what justifies the end?” The Emperor accepted the rebuke, and hoped he would never need to do something like this again. The troops on the ground gained some morale from the purge, as expected: fresh promotions helped, as did the faint sense that they would now be called to be more than thugs -- and that they would be held accountable if they insisted on acting thugishly, too. The families of the slain generals were closely watched (and compensated for their loss), their souls commended to God’s remedial discipline in the hope of resurrection to come.

And marching orders came in the morning.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 04:23:36 PM »
Part 2 -- New Dawn

Part of the reason the purge of the generals was carried out without much complaint from the people, was that (through Mikael) Iyasu and his cabinet had devised a series of strong announcements to accompany the news.

First, the handpicked loyal squads which entered the divisional command posts to execute the wayward generals, brought with them orders of deployment. All divisions were ordered to begin marching later that morning for the northern and eastern borders, specifically those near to the hated Italian invaders. The troops were assured that provisions would be made for disturbances in order as new generals were promoted up through the ranks (with officers filling their places), and also that they would not be sent into combat any time soon. Nor did high command expect an invasion from Italy -- yet. But rather than being spread out through the nation, guarding more against the people than the enemies of the people, the troops were being brought together in useful areas where they would be organized and updated to the best equipment currently available.
 


That’s a lot of militia. A lot of disorganized understrength militia (only 10% strength), with equipment that might have been state of the art for militia in 1870, and without even any headquarters! -- every division (of only about 1000 soldiers) fends for itself. The only true infantry in the whole nation is the Imperial Guard, based in the capital Addis Abeba, and their gear is almost 20th century in quality!

We aren’t tribal clans with 18th century muskets (like those poor souls up in Senussi), but we’ve got a long way to go. Habte says in theory we shouldn’t even spend effort upgrading them to equipment more like the Imperial Guard; but for practical purposes we don’t have any better options in anything like the short term. The best we can do is to consolidate them for reorganization at the borders and let them dig in (in case Italy advances) and pick up new equipment for a while. Where “new” means “20 years old”. Some divisions aren’t expected to get in place until mid-September anyway.

This introduces our immediate military goals. As can be seen on the map, Abyssinia is a landlocked country, thanks mainly to Italy. If we’re going to expand in the long term we only have two options: declare war on Great Britain and move inland, or declare war on Italy (and/or France who holds the port of Djibouti) and retake our ancestral coastal territories. Fortunately there are almost no troops nearby at all (so far as we can tell), colonial or otherwise, except for an Italian garrison of two militia divisions upcoast. Also fortunately, we have a standing hostility with Italy for invading our lands years ago -- and against Oman, though they may not remember it, and even though their coastal lands were taken by Italy and Britain. Habte says that if we work hard at improving our nation, feasibly we could not only retake our coastal lands but counter-invade the weak Muslim nations across the Red Sea and remove any future threat of invasion from Arabia ever again. His long-term plans include building a respectable navy and an air force, along with quality infantry and artillery. He likes the notions of armored artillery tractors he has been hearing rumors of, but doesn’t think they would work very well in our part of the world; but he is already looking to the Americans for inspiration in building a corps of infantry who can assault our enemies by sea.

Diplomatically we had better make friends with Britain as soon as feasibly possible, which means giving up the Hargeisan coast (unless Italy manages to take it first of course); and since Britain and France are likely to be allies in the great European War brewing across the Mediterranean, we should try to ally with them, too, and let them keep Djibouti. Italy seems likely to ally with Germany, with whom we have ambivalently decent relations: Habte’s own father is German for that matter! (Which might explain a lot...) But if the dominos of European war fall around us, we may have to consider reclaiming Germany’s African holdings for native Africans -- though that would mean leapfrogging in a naval invasion past Britain’s African coast territories to the south. Hopefully matters won’t come to that, as they are a fellow Christian nation who has never caused us much trouble; Italy is another matter, but we’ll do what we can for the soldiers and civilians whose lands we hope to liberate in a few years. The Muslims in Arabia are yet another matter again.

But that is a long way away. First we must build our own country’s strength. For that, we need to increase our industrial capacity; and for that we need factories. We have six. IN THE WHOLE NATION. Five are in Addis Abeba itself, thanks to herculean efforts by Iyasu’s father Menelik II (for which the corrupt generals wished the family’s demise), despite the region having almost no infrastructure (20%). The only other factory is in Dire Dewa, where half our farmland is watered by surrounding mountains. It basic roads are consequently developed beyond the mere trails found elsewhere in our country (aside from the capital itself) -- and probably a little cultural overflow from nearby French and British mountain coastal colonies doesn’t hurt, as their residents send caravans down for informal trading. But the miracles of the previous Emperor are at an end: unless we drastically begin developing our national infrastructure, we have no hope of building more factories, and without more factories we have no hope of making a better life for our people -- and a shorter life for our enemies’ soldiers who will be sooner or later coming to take our land with the weapons developed overseas!
That also means research, and lots of it; but until our industrial strength increases substantially we can only put two research teams to work at once. Fortunately, our researchers are militantly minded, in basic ways which will help our country sooner than later; unfortunately, we need non-military research much sooner than later. But they’re willing to do what they can even outside their field of interests. Perhaps we will find more skilled researchers as we grow.
 


Aside from the Gemgiabiet, a simple facility intended for training our foot soldiers, and of course our Oletta Military Academy for training our officers, we have a grand total of two men capable and willing to take on any research task: the redoubtable Habte Giryorgis himself, whose dreams it must be said run far in advance of his practical skill; and an eccentric German friend of Habte who insists on calling himself TAEZAR! Or Taezaz; his throat is ruined from years of smoking so his voice often sounds like he’s gargling rocks. He dresses like someone whose name only he seems to know, but whom he insists was a foe of Napoleon long ago. While he would make headway admittedly faster than the Gemgiabiet, it seems safer to assign the Oletta Academy to one of the two slots.

At the moment, the best idea seems to be to research... well... research! -- if possible we shall keep Habte busy constantly learning more effective ways to research, and put Oletta Academy to work learning industrial lessons other nations developed, God help us, by 1870! -- not only basic construction engineering, but foreman training and production teams, and even how to control work hours and appoint daily tasks.

Strange as it sounds, this one step is our most important research possible, for with it we will be able to improve infrastructure in any district, and then to build factories. Also, books will be printed and sent to officers in the field for teaching troops how to create entrenchments when they’re camping in an area. Habte meanwhile will be working on some kind of machine he says will sort cards with holes in them... but he promises this will help other teams complete their research faster.

This will cost a little money, and while we can afford it easily we don’t have much to start with -- only about ten million pounds sterling, which for a person is unimaginable wealth (as those rebel generals discovered) but for a modern nation is far too limiting.

Beyond our other plans, therefore (not including our actual strategic goals of course, not yet), Mikael announces to the people that Abyssinia will now begin printing our own currency! Habte warned that this will reduce our puny industrial capacity somehow, but on this he sounds insane -- it doesn’t seem to have hurt any other modern nation to have done it! Indeed, preparations were made months ago, and the new currency is released into circulation this morning: all 200 million of it!

Iyasu promises that the people will have consumer goods enough, though not an abundance; and that our soldiers will be supplied; and he makes good on those arrangements, while diverting the rest of our little industrial capacity to bringing our militia up to almost-20th-century standards. Archbishop Mikael even quietly makes some adjustments to edge our country into a freer market, which will provide more salary for research assistants, and reduce upgrading costs and time, though it will also reduce our income from consumer goods.

Indeed, a new day dawns on our little corner of the world: with violence, true; but also with hope for freedom and security.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 04:29:55 PM »
Part 3 -- Days of Turmoil

Habte and Iyasu discussed whether the militia who aren’t expected to be in place by late September might as well be disbanded and directly retrained as properly updated infantry divisions. However, that would take more manpower than currently available (even with the disbanded militia), and would also take somewhere near 240 days. For now they’ll just concentrate on getting updated; but militia already near the borders will be given priority.

On the 29th, the Foreign Minister accepted an ongoing trade deal with Great Britain, on his own recognizance, which will result in our industrial capacity being destroyed a few months from now so that our supplies, which we have plenty of, will increase. The Foreign Minister is an idiot, but Iyasu partially blamed himself for agreeing in an offhand moment that the Minister would have a totally free hand at economic diplomacy. After coldly pointing out the near certainty of Abyssinia’s destruction by this deal, Iyasu instructed Yimer to stockpile funds and industrial materials, selling oil and supplies as necessary, while restricting Yimer from several economic actions without notification and approval by Iyasu.

By July 10, Yimer had redeemed himself by accepting ongoing trade agreements with France, Russia and Germany (which might become problematic later), creating a balanced import export situation which allowed our economic factors to increase.

At about this time, Habte and Iyasu revisited the notion of beefing up our divisions more directly, by training brigades of military police: a significant number could theoretically be created in just over two months, and would help our divisions keep peace in the territories we hoped to reclaim soon. However, Iyasu had to veto the plan when they observed that creating these brigades would hamper the already crippled attempts at upgrading the troops; and besides the brigades would add no combat effectiveness at all. Upgrading the troops and then deploying the manpower to bring them to full strength (10K strong instead of only 1K) would still be a more effective way to project power for the foreseeable future. Our weakness, though painful, isn’t hopeless; and thirty years from now we hope to look back on these days with appreciation for how far we’ve been able to come!

Midsummer rains seem likely to delay the furthest troops from arriving (much less beginning to upgrade and reorganize) until early October.

One month into the New Abyssinian Dawn, Habte has completed about 10% of his research into better research; the OMA is lagging but this was to be expected. At this rate we won’t be able to create new infrastructure until midsummer next year. Still, we have no options but to soldier on. Habte reports that to bring our divisions up to full capacity would require almost 280 manpower units; at the moment we can provide 10 per year. We will certainly benefit by consolidating the divisions, but even so our ability to project force is dismal. Traders report that France has sent an infrantry division to Djibouti; whatever its calibre it is likely to be better than any ten of our militia divisions put together -- or our Imperial Guard for that matter! We can only hope they don’t take a mind to invade down out of the coastal mountains into our unguarded eastern territories; nor roll up the coastland held by Italy, preventing us from retaking our land without declaring war on our trading partner. Still, it’s worth keeping in mind that they have our ancestral land right now, as much as Italy does...

In the marshlands of Goba, between the two rivers leading out of the Abeba heartland, our first divisional movements were completed on July 27. The militia divisions which had already been camping in the area, and so were the most reorganized already, were set into their own corps, and three of the newly arrived divisions also received a new corps -- though we don’t have true headquarters yet, so the corps are more like loose groupings of divisions each under a particular ranking general of one of the divisions in the corps. Three per corps is the limit beyond which organization is hampered, so we have sent one of the divisions into the Goba reserve as the Army of Tigray (which seemed to please them). Eventually their purpose will be to invade south and secure the desert of Baidoa, then to hold it against possible counterattack across its boundary rivers while the larger corps follow a circle route into the coastline area, spreading out to re-take Mogadishu etc. Probably that will be next spring at the earliest. Hopefully Italy will be too busy to reinforce before then: scouts on the northern border indicate the single Italian militia in the region has vanished, possibly allowing us to move northward more quickly than expected.



The strategic map early morning July 27, 1914. Some of our divisions were rerouted by other paths or to different places, still following the same basic deployment concept, which now might be late November before those two farthest western militia groups arrive.

In late July, the Austrian-Hungary Empire issued an ultimatum to Serbia, who sought and received Russian support -- but then also accepted all but the hardest of the Austrian demands. Italy withdrew from its military alliance with Austria-Hungary, citing “Italian concerns”.

On July 30, the French Pacifist Juares was assassinated. A few days later, the Ottomans announced they had purchased two British battleships at excellent terms, which were immediately delivered to the Ottoman Empire where they rested at port in the Mediterranean.

At 9:00 in the morning of August 4, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, notwithstanding Serbia’s capitulations to most of their ultimatum demands -- and notwithstanding Russia’s choice to stand with their Slavic brothers. Russia and Montenegro entered a military alliance with Serbia and declared war on Austria. Habte and Yimir agreed this would set off a diplomatic chain reaction leading to a continental European war. That afternoon, Mikael led a special national prayer service for the souls of the young men soon to die -- and the civilians who soon would follow.

August 5, Germany sends Russia an ultimatum, while Russia continues to mobilize. Habte’s German cultural contacts think the Ottomans will enter a quiet defensive agreement with the Germans.

August 6, Russia ignores Germany’s ultimatum. Germany enters a military pact with Austria-Hungary and declares war on Russia, Serbia and Montenegro.

August 7, France mobilizes, and Germany requests France’s neutrality.

Yimer brought word that in his diplomatic meandering he had learned quite by accident that France would be interested in picking up five of our depleted militia infantry divisions for 85 million pounds sterling. We were unsure how much good our five worst militias would do us in the foreseeable future, whereas if we had 300 million pounds this would put us close to being able to invest in a national research program for paying our researchers better and providing them with modern 20th century tools. Habte especially, as might be expected, had wished for such an investment in our county’s future (he planned to hire researchers to be assigned from a pool to any projects, rather than keeping any such money for himself); but did not like the idea of prostituting our soldiers to die in a foreign war.

Father Mikael arrived from his weekly round of overseeing charity to the poor, a task gladly offered to him by our Pope in consonance with his new governmental connections, and seeing the sober disquiet on the faces of our other leaders offered an inspired suggestion: just as we who seem poor in the eyes of the world seem rich in the eyes of God toward the poor in our midst, so also our achievements as meager as they are might seem valuable to those less fortunate than we. If then we wish to raise money to help our research, what if Yimer sought out nations even more destitute than ourselves who would gladly pay to lift their nation and people up to our level? Not indeed the Muslims of southern Arabia, he hastened to add, but thanks to telegraph offices we now had access through our foreign ministry to nations all over the world -- yes, even more honorable Muslim nations perhaps than the pirates who haunted our coasts in past centuries.

The other members of the Four stood in awe of our humble Archbishop’s suggestion, and Yimer exclaimed that he knew the perfect first group to contact: those poor Senussi tribes up north near the Italian coast, who might with their new information act to harry our Italian colonial oppressors!

Father Mikael added that Yimer should perhaps quickly poll any more advanced nation who might be willing to sell technology to us before the coming war made such relationships political suicide.

Electrified, Yimer raced out and began cabling contacts all over the world. Within a week, we had our answer, and gave thanks to God Most High for sending us such a lesson through the Archibishop.

The Senussi certainly were interested, but could only afford to pay 19 million when the cost of attempting the deal at all would be 43 -- a disappointing result, which naturally we did not pursue.

Belgium, amazingly, netted 15 million; Bolivia 13; Chile 1; Luxembourg 1; Holland 16; Sweden paid an astonishing net 6 million for cavalry technology dating back to just after the American Civil War; but we truly struck diamonds with Venezuela who was willing and able to pay 126 million pounds sterling (plus all negotiation expenses!) for 1870s cavalry and infantry technology.

We even floated the notion of offering agricultural technology to the barbaric southern Arabs; but they weren’t interested in paying a single coin for it.

Sadly, no nation anywhere was even offering technology for sale. But overall we soon had absolutely certain promises which brought our total to over 390 million pounds sterling (we could have tried for more but didn’t want to risk failure, though Yimer assured us that for all practical purposes we could have picked up another several million just as certainly). We immediately sunk 300 million pounds into our research, which permanently raised our research by only half a percent of speed but Habte said to give him 30 days and we might be surprised at what else he was able to accomplish.

Later that morning of the 7th, the diplomatic telegraphs were overwhelmed with a confusing flood of news. Germany declared war on France without even giving them time to decline neutrality; Belgium and Luxembourg entered military alliance with France, and everyone promptly declared war on everyone else with Russia entering a military alliance with France and its allies -- but cancelling its military alliance with Serbia and Montenegro! Serbia and Montenegro also cancelled their alliance with each other; but then all three nations joined the alliance with France. Yimer says this was only a matter of diplomatic accounting, so to speak.

To no one’s surprise, the United Kingdom joined the French Alliance on the 8th, and the appropriate war declarations were made. Germany financed a Baghdad railroad, and Russia started a wave of patriotic propaganda. On August 9th, Britain’s various puppet states joined on the side of Britain, of course; but for our purposes a far more annoying announcement was that Oman, our ancestral oppressor, had joined the Alliance, too. That means we would be declaring war on Britain (and France) and all the Entente allies really if we ever move forward with our plans to secure the southern Arabian penninsula and wipe out those pirates once and for all.

Germany annexed Luxembourg on August 11; the first national casualty of the war. Fortunately, our diplomatic deal with them should still be valid, as it would be annoying to lose 10 million pounds of diplomatic expense for nothing.

On August 18, the Ottomans somehow managed to bully Germany into granting them another two warships, apparently in ransom for the Mittlemeer division. Why Germany doesn’t just declare war on them, too, I don’t know, but Britain seems ready to do so. Meanwhile, with our second wave of maneuvers complete, three rested corps, one north and two south, make plans to cross their respective rivers into assault position. By late November they should be in place and rested.

That will be the earliest we can try to reclaim our lands.

[Historical/game-plot note: the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox, not to be confused with the Ethiopian branch of the Eastern Orthodox, were a part of the Coptic Orthodox Church based in Alexandria, Egypt, until 1959, and are still considered in autonomic communion with them although the Coptic Pope granted them their own administrative patriarchiate and thus their own head patriarch as head over their own archbishops. They would still refer to the Coptic Patriarch as Pope today, but as an honored title and position, not as having administrative authority over them. The game doesn't regard Mikael as a clergyman, only as a "happy amateur" who's good at reducing popular dissent; but his name "Mikael of Wollo" fits the notion of a monk, so I've gone that route in characterizing him.]
« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 07:09:38 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 04:31:29 PM »
Part 4 -- A Day of Doom

Around mid-August, Yimer concluded a diplomatic trade with Great Britain which no one seems able to explain; apparently he renegotiated the ongoing trade agreement to reduce our imports of industrial goods and increased our export of supplies, leaving us with a supply deficit! Iyasu may have to take the reins from Yimer after all.

On the 21st, Russia lost Warsaw, and Japan cabled an ultimatum to Germany, who explicitly said they weren’t even going to bother answering! This public non-answer of an answer was especially insulting to the Japanese, who promptly joined the Entente.

A few days later on the 24th, Yimer managed to undo his negotiation blunder earlier in August by renegotiating Russia’s trade agreement with us: they’re still unable to meet much more than half our import requirements, but at least now we have a net surplus increase of goods again.

On August 28, the British withdrew their Navy from Ottoman territorial waters, and Russia sent troops to occupy northern Persia.

On Sept 5, Britain responded by sending troops to protect the southern Persian oil fields -- effectively occupying those territories.

Habte trotted proudly into the government offices on Sept 7 bearing a book he had composed laying the groundwork for basic air military doctrine. The Emperor stared at it for a minute in what Habte, somewhat correctly, regarded as shock; then asked mildly if we had even one aircraft to use it with, or even one thing necessary to begin trying to create aircraft to use it with. Crushed, Habte hung his head in shame; the poor academic had simply followed out whatever line of thought he had been fancying at the moment when we spent three hundred million pounds of silver on increasing our national research capabilities.

Still, Yimer thought we might be able to recoup our investment on the open market; and Mikael added that our long-term plans did envision African air supremacy. “Is your research into cards with holes in them ready yet?” Iyasu asked. Habte swallowed and shook his head, but promised that by April next year...!

“Go back to work, Habte. I’ll call you when I think you might be useful.”

Tears seeped from his eyes as the scholar left the room. But he had only himself to blame; and he knew that any other man would have been fired -- or more likely shot as a criminal. Mikael observed that numerous churches and charities had received mysterious anonymous donations over the past month; the staggering numbers now suggested a common source.
“Even so,” said Iyesu, “he knew we needed something, anything, more immediately helpful than that. Our whole nation stands on the edge of a sword, above the abyss. We cannot survive the decade at this rate. He may have doomed us all.”

Yimer, thumbing through the notes, added that they would have to be processed by academics first for presentation and proper dissemination. That wouldn’t take long, but our meager facilities were already absorbed completely by Habte’s and the OMA’s projects.

Iyasu sent me out to fetch back Habte; I found him weeping disconsolately on a bench outside, drawing stares of panic from those who passed by and recognized him. “Come back inside, and quickly! Stop that! -- don’t you know you might cause a mass exodus to Britain’s lands if people think you think our cause is lost?!? The Emperor may be about to pardon you, sir, in a way.”

“How long to properly edit and collate this information, to make it legible and... this is crucially important... salable, Habte?”

The academic shuffled through the papers, wiping his eyes. “Three months?”

“Jesus Christ.” Even Mikael shook his head, although he didn’t share the Emperor’s exclamation. “Get to it, then,” the Emperor added.

“I don’t know that I can do this while also... oh...”

“Yes, you wanted to work on this, so work on this. You have made your choice for all of Abyssinia. At least you can pick up again on your other project after... WHAT?! No, Habte, if you are saying you’ll have to start from scratch, I don’t want to hear it. God save us, Habte. Be gone; get to work on what you can do.”

Chastened, the greatest genius of all Ethiopia left the room.

[Note: yes, the game randomly gives you a blueprint 30 days after spending money on national research; but the blueprint is useless until it is also researched. Which can be done relatively quickly, but at this level of progress “relatively quickly” would still be three months, and that’s WITH someone who specializes in the research’s components working on it: in this case Habte. Hopefully, once a research component is learned it needn’t be learned again, and so can reduce the research time of other concepts which require that component; but I found from experience that even if a component is completed it has to be relearned from scratch if the research is cancelled. ARGH! This is the first outright BS complaint I’ve had with Darkest Hour.]
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 04:35:22 PM »
Part 5 -- A Day of Regathering

On September 8, Japan purged its corrupt generals; a move we understood the wisdom of, if also the grief of doing. The Emperor still looked as though he wanted to purge Habte, saying little to Yimer and Mikael, and less to aides like myself.

On Sept 10, Russia lost the region Riga, though whether to enemy invasion or revolt we couldn’t tell; Yimer said his contacts darkly suggested the latter. The Tsars had long had a bad reputation of oppressing their people -- the stress of this war might shatter that mighty nation, physically the largest in all the world, to burning shards of glass.

On Sept 11, Emperor Iyasu took a necessary risk: our upgrade program seemed to have utterly failed so far, so if we wanted to have any chance of taking and holding our stolen coastal territories from Italy, we would have to put more men in the army soon. The least expensive and most effective way to do this, was to enact a three year conscription. It ate our supplies to the bone, and dissent shot through the roof: Father Mikael thought we risked about a ten percent chance of revolt in any province at any time. How we were to offset that, I don’t know. We couldn’t even reinforce more than about a quarter of our divisions every day -- those two poor militias marching from the hinterlands would receive none, but still their regular supplies -- and even once our manpower finally drained we wouldn’t have full divisions everywhere. Nevertheless, our divisions quickly started receiving new recruits from all across the nation; and with a three year training program we could be sure that whenever later troops arrived they would be moderately well experienced already. As always, Iyasu made sure the troops and the citizens were well if frugally supplied.

[Note: I don’t know why the upgrade program didn’t seem to be working. Granted, it could only upgrade 12% of my troops, but it didn’t give a rate like per-month or whatever. Probably I should have chosen one division to receive upgrades until it pinged up, and then chosen another troop, etc.; I did choose some to receive no upgrades, and others to receive priority, but obviously that didn’t work.]

Habte carefully pointed out that we might as well dismiss the several divisions still on the march, and rotate them back through training into other divisions. Iyasu accepted this; but hadn’t yet forgiven Habte for his irresponsible lapse. Habte reported his consolidation of research was still on track, and then departed.

For many days we heard nothing much concrete about the war in Europe -- the usual non-news about war bonds being issued; Yimer said his contacts indicated Germany was ramping up its infrastructure. Iyasu suppressed twinges of jealousy: the German Empire had had decades of prior development already, and had earned the ability to help their country in such ways. For all Iyasu’s life his father had worked against many hardships only to prepare the day to begin such a task. We didn’t have much to show for it yet beyond a slightly reformed military; but the New Dawn Plan had only been in effect for a little more than three months. Habte apologized profusely for not correctly understanding how best to upgrade the divisions: had he focused on only one, it might have been up to late 1890s equipment already. Instead, the diffuse spread of equipment might as well have been of no effect. Father Mikael watched for signs of revolt. The Republic of China demanded the repatriation of a man, Sun Zhongshan, being held prisoner on some charge by Japan. On October 11, Austria-Hungary annexed Montenegro, the second small nation swallowed by war. Our final corps moved into place in Gode. A few months of rest and expansion and we’d be ready to take back our stolen homes while Italy was busy distracted by flames to its north.



On October 14, El Salvador purged its generals; several days later, the United States pulled out from Veracruz. So far the New World had stayed out of this Old World War (except for Britain’s puppets Canada and Newfoundland). Would they now begin attacking one another?

We laughed when various German contacts confirmed on October 23 that Germany had tried to bribe their ‘secret’ defensive allies the Ottoman Empire into joining the Central Powers, but the canny and arrogant Ottomans simply kept the gold and refused! A nest of vipers, themselves long poisoned by the intrigues and seductions of Constantinople: we still to this day remembered those Byzantine plots, fifteen hundred years ago. Whoever removed that sad, accursed city from the world at last would earn a prayer from us: that they themselves, whoever they were, would escape its webs.

On November 1, as if by magic or miracle, one of our northern frontier militias reported that they now met the criteria for 1897 weaponry! Sad as that sounded in 1914, we still were greatly pleased; but how had it happened?

A bemused Habte explained it, with humility, to the Emperor: of course when we were bringing various militias up to strength, we weren’t producing and giving them 1850s kit! At a certain point...

“...every reinforced division will naturally also upgrade!” Iyasu leaned back in his chair, his face slack in shock: how had we not realized?

“Well, yes; because, you see, except for your Imperial Guards, all the divisions started with only a thousand men. The situation is very unusual, please understand -- sir, did you not... er...” Habte ran his hand through his hair.

“My very good friend, no I did not understand!” Iyasu leapt to his feet, laughing, and practically vaulted the table to take the absent-minded scholar in a grateful hug. “You were watching out for us all along! -- and I have treated you poorly, when I ought to have trusted you more! Please, forgive--“

“But sir, you were right; I wrongly thought you had given permission to study whatever I wanted the most at the moment. I should have put that time and energy into completing my task at hand, or anyway speeding it up. I did fail my country, sir. I deserved your disappointment over my selfishness.”

“Then let us forgive one another, not as having earned it, but because we both repent of our various wrongs against each other! For though you did wrong, indeed, I should have respected you more for all your other contributions. And I am sorry.”

That night, two men feasted as friends once more.

That night, Mexico overthrew Zapistas, bringing the rebel colony into its fold once more.

Two very different regatherings. One would require more forgiveness, and repentance, and reconciliation than any man could imagine -- and wouldn’t soon occur.

[Note: DUHHHH!!!! I’m glad the game designers thought this far ahead, although having said that I don’t understand why in the world a division would only start counting as its upgrade after swelling to ten times its previous number under the older kit.]

[Note: I'll be out of town for much of the coming weekend, so it might be Monday night before the next entries. I intend to play the campaign on the road, if possible, but I'll have to be sure to get snapshots and take notes along the way.]
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 07:39:53 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline MetalDog

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 06:51:19 PM »
Good luck, Jason!  And safe travels.
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2014, 07:20:13 PM »
Thanks, MD! I have several more entries composed already, and hope to add a few more to my notes this weekend.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2014, 08:04:32 AM »
Schedule changed so it's DH tonight and tomorrow morning (and maybe early after lunch) at home for sure. :) Possibly tomorrow night, but unlikely to start up again until Sunday afternoon.

The upshot is that I should be able to post more entries sooner than expected, starting tonight.


Dramatic question: is it unhistorical to have 'good' idealists running Ethiopia at this time instead of people trying to milk the system for their own advantage?

Answer: I have no idea what the real-life political climate was at this time (though I may do some research soon -- I know the government eventually went Marxist). But I toyed around with different mixes of characterizations, and decided

(1) to follow the cues given in the descriptions provided by the game, as closely as feasibly possible;

(2) that in order to accomplish anything the leaders shouldn't be working at cross purposes (in the beginning anyway ;) );

(3) to allow the game events to drive the story and thus any dynamic characterization;

and (4) that having men of good intentions be tested by their situation would be more dramatically interesting.

Right out of the gate their initial plans and accomplishments expose some minor cracks, blindspots and hypocrisies. I've left room for each of them to evolve in various directions as the game continues (including the nameless aide providing the narration), so I don't have planned character arcs for anyone. Which isn't how I normally write fiction (where I have preplanned arcs for my major characters, as well as plot goals to work toward and through), so I'm enjoying various little surprises the game is engendering.  8)

I'm also preplotting the initial situation for the Senussi, if I can ever figure out how to mod the game to make it a playable nation and set up a feasibly minor-but-feasible way for it to advance, and thus start play from an even more undeveloped position. So hopefully I can set up a remake someday called "The Tombs of Timbuktu".  ;D
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline mkivcs

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2014, 01:22:29 PM »
Jason This is a gem. I grant you absolution from your nations flouncing around in dominions
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 01:25:09 PM by mkivcs »

Offline Martok

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2014, 01:35:50 PM »
This is cool, Jason.  Nice to see an Ethiopian AAR (and in the WW1 scenario, no less)! 




Right out of the gate their initial plans and accomplishments expose some minor cracks, blindspots and hypocrisies. I've left room for each of them to evolve in various directions as the game continues (including the nameless aide providing the narration), so I don't have planned character arcs for anyone. Which isn't how I normally write fiction (where I have preplanned arcs for my major characters, as well as plot goals to work toward and through), so I'm enjoying various little surprises the game is engendering.  8)

I do this as well in my AAR's -- not exclusively (I tend to do at least some character "pre-planning" when/where I can), but more often than not.  I think AAR's tend to lend themselves to "on the fly" character development much more than most types of fiction. 

« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 02:42:54 PM by Martok »
"Like we need an excuse to drink to anything..." - Banzai_Cat
"I like to think of it not as an excuse but more like Pavlovian Response." - Sir Slash

"At our ages, they all look like jailbait." - mirth

"If we had lines here that would have crossed all of them. For the 1,077,986th time." - Gusington

"Government is so expensive that it should at least be entertaining." - airboy

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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2014, 01:45:25 PM »
Thanks, mkivcs, and Martok; although I feel like the Abyssinians need at least five Ghidoras at some point.  8)

I'm chafing at the bit to get home and into the next stages of the New Dawn plan.  ;D

The next part, or the one after that (I have a long one I may break into two), will give an idea how the war in Europe is going at the start of 1915.

Meanwhile I've done some research at the office while chafing at the bit working taking a breaks, which indicates I can easily mod the game to continue past the nominal mid-42 stop date, possibly into the early 70s. However, a lot of "people" and research teams in the game may stop becoming available after 1926... which is weird, since the vanilla game does allow the mid-42 extension. Will they disappear and not be replaced? I don't know.

I think I can occasionally do a bit of light file hacking to overcome some of the goofiness in research such as the teams never gaining in experience, too; maybe add a fifth team later when slots open up. I'm tempted to lower the industrial requirements to auto-add new slots (set in vanilla 1.03 as 20 per slot after game start), but that might unbalance everyone's research and speed them along too quickly; but I think I can spot tweak Ethiopia to add a new slot a little faster instead.

My research also gave me a good idea how to mod up the tribal remnants of the Sassanids (whom I take to be the Senussi) for a remake of the campaign later. When-if-ever I do that, I have a mod-soup list to try compiling together so I can start back in 1897, with some hope of continuing to fire events after 1933 -- in my current game [edit: opps, traffic jam on the yard, had to fix...] there is no segue into the WW2 pre-campaign so special historical events stop will stop happening in the mid-20s or sooner. Of course a special connecting mod still means events from 33 onward won't fire off reliably without results equivalent to a historical WW1, but at least that way there's still a chance.

The mod-soup will also (hopefully) add in some missing German units, and some basic taxation, and an expanded tech tree. But for the Abyssinian campaign I'm sticking with vanilla 1.03 plus a few light spot-mods for my team where applicable. I'll be sure to note those as I go along.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 02:35:43 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline OJsDad

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2014, 02:28:46 PM »
Jason, great AAR.  I've liked playing some of the nations that did not fair so well in history while playing Victoria2.  I know the AAR I just started is I'm playing as Germany, but I think you can see the vast differences between in game and what really happened.

I really wish Paradox would either make a game that starts in, say, around 3000BC, or at least one that starts around 1400 and goes through 2000.  I think they could really pull it off and would offer a great counter to Civ. 

Are you playing the original HOI. 
'Here at NASA we all pee the same color.'  Al Harrison from the movie Hidden Figures.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Out of the Great Abyss -- a Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour AAR
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2014, 02:42:15 PM »
OJsDad,

Thanks! No, it's an "official" licensed fan-mod (meaning Paradox sells it) for HOI2: Armageddon, called Darkest Hour. The engine is still the same as HOI1, just expanded and tuned up.

Theoretically, they did have a game chain running from CK1 (I think?) to EU3 to Vicky2 to HOI 2: Armageddon. So from 1066 to the early 60s (if not later).

Great Invasions from Matrix uses a pseudo-Clauswitz 1 engine, and runs from early 350s to somewhere just before 1066, but of course you can't port the ending conditions to CK1.

CK2 can start back in the late 800s, and does connect officially to EUIV; unsure if that connects to Vicky2 yet. CK2 also features an official design-your-ruler tool, which might allow someone to port part of a GI campaign into it.

I'm watching your AAR carefully as having upgraded HOI2 and upgraded HOI3 should make for a nice comparison.  :)
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 02:45:22 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.