I guess it just goes to show how slow wargaming can be sometime that I can not do a write up in a couple of weeks, come back, and there is still not much to talk about. This week’s highlight was the release of WarPlan yesterday from Matrix Games. It’s a WW2 grand strategy game that focuses solely on the European theatre.

It’s ok – it won’t blow anyone’s minds, but it’s competent in its own way and hopefully that’s good enough. I suspect there’s only so many more games of this nature the market can tolerate because between the Gary Grigsby titles, Strategic Command and Hearts of Iron 4, there’s really no need for much else in this space.

I’ve only got a couple more things from PDXCon that’ll be relevant here to go through – mainly Hearts of Iron 4 stuff from my interview with Dan ‘Podcat; Lind. I really enjoying talking to him more than the other grand-strategy leads because he’s very much into his telemetry and player data, and the insights he shares are always fascinating.

Meanwhile, in the world of wargaming…

New Game: Galactic Ruler

Remember the Supreme Ruler series by Battlegoat? God those were weird games. There were super deep, grand-strategy level war games that kind of just chucked everything at you all at once. They were never the prettiest games either but the teams dedication to trying to create the perfect sandbox historical simulation was always something to be admired.

They’ve cropped up again by announced a new title due next year called Galactic Ruler. It’s Supreme Ruler, in SPAAAACCCCEEE! It will attempt to bring that hardcore series trademark to the realm of sci-fi, where you can interact with both a planetary and a space layer. We suggest you check out the Steam page for more information, but it’s looking pretty ambitious already.

New JTS Titles

Wargame Design Studio have released another set of games under the JTS label. Japan 46’ is the follow up game to May’s Japan ‘45, and then a new Civil War Battles game has been released that looks at the Shenandoah campaign.

The Colonel is already hard at work putting Shenandoah through its paces, and I’ve got the ‘other’ Joe working on Japan ‘46 so expect reviews for those to drop over the next couple of weeks.

Interesting Project: Digital Blitz

I just happened to be on some wargaming themed Facebook groups when I saw this. Digital Blitz is fast-paced grid wargame platform that features a bunch of different scenarios. It’s aim is to bring that old-school board wargame feel onto the computer, without all the bits.

You can check out the official website here, and it seems to only be available to acquire via the Windows 10 store.

Hearts of Iron 4 Fun Facts

To round things off I thought I’d share some fun facts I gleaned from Dan Lind during our interview and from the presentation he made at PDXCon this year:

  • 64% of players use mods, with Road to 56 being the most popular (13%) followed by Kaiserreich (8%). Over 25K mods overall.
  • The new monthly peak for the game is 660K in concurrent players.
  • It’s still officially the most played PDS title, getting beaten only by Stellaris sometimes around expansion releases. It’s also the most stable in terms of player numbers.
  • It now has over 2 million base game sales.
  • Top Nation is still Germany, but on average more players play minors than majors.
  • People who play Austria choose the Monarchy path 75% of the time.
  • Germany is 50/50 split between history and alt-history paths, with Monarchy being the favourite alt-history path.
  • 10% of people who play on the maximum difficult also max out the slider that boosts their nation.
  • 23% of players do runs on ‘Very Easy’ – Dan can’t figure out if that means the game is too hard, or people just like having a ‘relaxing’ WW2 experience.
  • 18% of players use the Custom Game Rules that were introduced in Man the Guns.
  • He didn’t give a number, but Dan also mentioned a lot of players in single-player (not MP) also love doing Coups, which is why they were moved to the Espionage system.

More than any other team, the Hearts of Iron 4 group felt that they had to lean-in more to telemetry backed data because the game is very much split between those who want a more linear historical experience, and those who enjoy the what-if sandbox.

Only one of those two groups tend to do most of the talking, however, so Lind felt compelled to start collecting actual player user data to try and figure out what the majority of people were actually doing, versus what the loudest players were saying. Like I mentioned above, it’s why the HoI team is one of my favourites as they always have fascinating insights to share.

That’s all we’ve got time for this week. If there’s anything we’ve missed, let us know in the comments!