Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
Boy, oh boy do I love me some Hearts of Iron IV. As an avid fan of the Axis & Allies board game back in the day, having a game like this was a godsend — or, perhaps, yet another crippling blow to productivity in endeavors beyond gaming. Poor time management aside, my management skills when it comes to invasion forces and numerous fronts are at their peak, yet my mind’s saber grew dull on the bodies of my mid-20th century foes.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good WWII game as much as the next guy and the vanilla Hearts of Iron IV does its job well. But that doesn’t mean I can’t dream of military conquest in other eras, right? Sure, I could play more Europa Universalis or Crusader Kings but there’s something about the streamlined focus on combat and military production in HoI4 that piques my interest. After all, I could always play Risk on Steroids and Baby Killing Simulator 2012 (my alternative titles for the aforementioned Paradox games respectively) whenever those moods strike.
For now, I need more hearts made from iron.
Like all good games (and an increasing number of Paradox’s line-up), Hearts of Iron IV has a bunch of mods conveniently available through Steam Workshop. While a complete list of what’s available would be exhausting (they’re now well into the hundreds, almost thousands) and having already covered some national focus mods in the past, I figured I’d turn my focus on the best Hearts of Iron IV conversion mods — or at least the best ones out now that I’ve managed to try out.
From the modern era to the Great War and even a zombie apocalypse, these conversion mods shall keep you entertained for countless hours. And if not… well… World War II still needs to be won. But I promise you shan’t (nor shouldn’t) be disappoint.
Created by: Chairman Meow, Chricri3112, Devillris, Grymic, Kaiser1871, Nadamas, Pablaunz, Pvt_Larry, RickyZhangCA, Skjold, Stuffi3000, Ted52, UnnecessaryEnemy17, Walcanarus
For those who prefer mucking up the relative peace of the 21st century (at least compared to the prior 2000 years), look no further than Millennium Dawn. With start dates at the beginning of either 2000 or 2016, you may control any of the 100+ countries that exist today, rebalanced for modern warfare (that is, the tech trees are a little less early 1900s and a bit more 2000s). With a new millennium comes plenty of new political ideologies ranging from social liberalism to conservativism and authoritarianism, even to radical Islam (yes, terrorist organizations play their own role in tipping international politics in this virtual world as well). There’s also been a shift in natural resource locations as well as the option to build resource-producing factories for countries that aren’t so economically blessed — a feature I wish was present in vanilla HoI4.
Admittedly, the 2000 start date is a bit slow out of the gate. In fairness, not much warfare between the major powers happened though I’m surprised there hasn’t really been any triggers or events for Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Western invasion of the Middle East. Moreover, during my tenure as that pesky Nigerian prince always asking for money (and later found the communist manifesto to be inspiring enough to rebirth the nation as the People’s Republic of Nigeria), NATO didn’t even step in to save any of my (former) African neighbors as I helped liberate the oppressed working class.
Still, there’s plenty of new features in Millennium Dawn and still more to come. And for those who need more to add to the base mod now, there’s about a dozen or so sub-mods available for your perusing. Some of the big ones I noticed (and enjoyed) are the unit retexture mod (which updates character models to their modern equivalents), a Trump and Brexit start-point scenario, and Fires of War, which seems to be its own expansion, adding yet more features to the already-expansive Millennium Dawn.
Either way, do you have what it takes to be a leader in the modern world?
Created by: Benoit (Mundus Bellicus), Crouching Lemur, Darksaber501st, Devillris, Dizzle, Felicianum2, Iahvan, Jadasong, Kaiser Anony, Kraftbruehe, Mixmaximonster, Seonake, tihhoni, Tsunami, Vale, Wolferos, Xabi273, Zak MacKay, Zkuhh
So maybe you’re not suited for leadership of any of the nations of today. That’s not a problem. In The Great War, you can step into the office of any of your favorite turn-of-the-20th-century countries. This isn’t just a conversion mod either; The Great War — as you already know in hindsight — leads up to WWII, appending enough technology and national focus policies to almost double what you’re used to in vanilla HoI4.
For those who still have chlorine in their lungs from Battlefield 1, this mod is a great addition to your WWI collection, including custom unit textures, plenty of historical events, and the fun of rolling out the experimental technologies that defined the conflict. While waging war might have been a bit simpler back then, what without so many planes and main battle tanks that came to fruition decades later, dealing with trenches and swarms of infantry has its own complexities you’d be keen to study and master.
Created by: ~mw~, Aarn, AllyJammy, Arda, Augenis, Axelius, BattleSarge, Chef Exellence, CulturalMarxist, Dedlift, DoctorPainkiller, Esmaerla, Firefly, Gibzit, Hayro, Kakletron, Kallar, MattTheCzar, Miinda, Mikus, MonarchistKaiser, Mark, Musteline, Nijato, Packard, Phil, Pinback, PPsyrius, Rebi-chan, Selim, Strategia, Tatiana, TheBlackWinds, VincentDN, Wyandotte, Zankoas, Zarasophos
Perhaps history as we know it is too boring for you. Worry not, friend, for there’s always Kaiserreich. Originally a Hearts of Iron II and Darkest Hour mod, the team behind this one is working tirelessly to breathe new life into a Hearts of Iron IV version. Currently in alpha (version 0.2 to be precise), Kaiserreich has plenty to do now that Germany has won WWI, the world shattered and redivided to fit the whims of the Kaiser.
This isn’t just a “what if” scenario surrounding the rise and victory of the Central Powers, but a completely alternative reality with plenty of different characters, ten new ideologies, and “thousands of new events that offer a wide range of different possibilities.” Did I mention this mod is just in alpha?
For those who need a change of pace with a little bit of a steam-punkish edge (I’m honestly not sure if that was their intent but I’m definitely getting those vibes, being the noob to Kaiserreich that I am), you definitely ought to give this one a try.
Created By: Riprap, Risaldar, UtilityThrone |Hans|
So we’ve covered either end of the past 100-some years (and even some events within that timeframe that didn’t even happen). But what about the conflicts in between? Say no more, fam. With Cold War: The Iron Curtain, East meets West in ideological conflict between the glorious communist revolution and the economic powerhouse that is capitalism.
Aside from the European hotbed (I’m looking at you, multiple Germanies), you also get to bear witness to the communist uprising of China against nationalist forces as well as other movements throughout the world. With new national focuses, countries (like North and South Korea), and tech trees, there’s plenty to keep you occupied in the mid-1900s onward. More occupied than Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union.
That’s how occupied we’re talkin’.
Created by: MrKmproductions
Finally, why even bother fighting your living, breathing human neighbors when you can go up against the undead? It wouldn’t be right anyway without some sort of zombie survival mode and Infection aims to bring just that. Starting in 1936 (and playing virtually the same, with the exception of a massive zombie horde), fend off the shuffling mobs with outbreaks starting in southern Spain and the Arabian peninsula.
Think you’re safe in the Western Hemisphere? Think again because the zombie menace also has boats to spread their viral need for human flesh. Of course, you can use this incursion as a pretense to annex the surrounding countries. But will you be able to stand alone or will this new threat be enough to unite humanity?
I’ll leave that up to you.
What are some of your favorite Hearts of Iron IV mods?