Who I am and why am I here?

I have wanted to try my hand at blogging about games for a long time. I have been a PC gamer since the 80’s (I’m not really sure if it was even PC gaming then). My first computer was a “Trash 80” (TRS-80) with a tape deck for storage and it was on this computer that I first experienced gaming. That first game was the Text based adventure “Raaka Tu”. I have to admit that I was not very good at it (I never mapped) but I had caught the bug. I have been playing games on the computer ever since.

The main reason I am here is to share my love of games. I plan on discussing as many of the games in my library as I can. That alone provides me with several hundred potential posts. Some of these games I have hundreds of hours in and some I have yet to play.

Hopefully, there is an interest and people will visit. This site will definitly improve as I narrow in on my goal for it. I will post things I find interesting and share links. Please feel free to contact me and let me know what you think.

I don’t know what the future will bring for this blog but the only way to find out is to start.

Hearts of Iron Lemonade?

The old saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is the first thing that comes to mind in my latest “victory” in Hearts of Iron 4. I know I said my goal was to talk about different games , but this story needs to be told.

I was building up my army for another attempt against France. Instead of using 40 width armies, I was going to try 20 width. To be completely honest, this is an aspect of the game that I don’t totally understand. But many forum discussions talk about the benefit of one over the other. I was playing in Ironman mode with non-historical events and had just defeated Poland. Fortunelay, France and England were not gauranteeing Poland’s independance, though the Balkan states and Romania were. After my victory I was in possesion of a lot of territory, as well as resources and factories. I had turned my forces towards France and had called it a night.

The next day, I fired up the game again. In the intervening time, Paradox had released the 1.9 Patch that went along with the “La RĂ©sistance” DLC release. When the game started up, much to my surprise (and horror), I noticed that I had no army. Every single division was gone and there were no troops to be found. My air force and navy were still intact but no troops. Even worse, my manpower was still low and reflected the impact of the army I had produced.

I quickly quit the game and restarted and still no troops. Up to this point, this had been one of my best run throughs, but I still had the slog that comes along with fighting France and the UK. I restarted one more time in the hopes that the gaming gods would give me my troops back, but to no avail. I was just about to exit back to the main menu , when I noticed something.

Looking at my borders with all of the other countries, I noticed that none of them had troops either. I had 10 infantry and 4 tanks in production, so I deployed them as is and now had the largest army in the world. I had been producing a claim against France and when that occurred I declared war. My troops marched unopposed across France and I conquered it in 7 days with no losses. While my troops were marching across France. I created a second army with 1 division and prepared my invasion of England.

After my Lightning fast destruction of France, I had to wait for my naval invasion to be planned. While waiting, I sent my entire air force to the English Channel to work on the British navy. When my plan was complete, I sent in the navy to get enough navy superiority to allow the invasion to occur and launched it. In the intervening time, England was able to put together a few troops, but so was I. My army was now at the mind numbing size of 28 divisions. We rolled over England in just a Month and the war was over. England and France were mine. It was at this time that I realized that my garrison troops were stringer than anything else out there as well and I mass produced those as well. The picture below is what my “army” looked like just before I sent troops to the Eastern Front. I justified on Russia and invaded.

This invasion took longer. Russia was able to cobble together some armies in preparation. That and the fact that Russia is so damn big lead to a 6 month long invasion and The GERMAN REICH was victorious. At this point, I realized that while fun this was not a way I wanted to be wasting my time so I ended it here. The picture below shows some of the battles and their results.

It was a fun ending to an otherwise heart stopping realization that the patch had erased my armies. I was able to learn a couple of new things about the game mechanics as well as some of the changes to the game that the new DLC is introducing. I look forward to my next play-though with that DLC installed, but for now I am moving on to something else. So, remember, “When life gives you lemons……..”

Hearts of Iron 4

The game I am playing at the moment is Hearts of Iron 4, from Paradox. This is my go to “What do I play now?” game. This game checks several of my gaming boxes. Strategy games are on of my favorite genres. Outside of gaming, I am also a history fan and more specifically a military history fan.

As you can see, I have over 400 hours played in this game. I have all of the DLC (except La Resistance, which comes out on Feb.25th) . As I mentioned above, when I can’t figure out what to play, I play this (kind of my gamer comfort food). It is challenging enough to keep you engaged, but has periods where you can let it run on auto pilot for a couple of minutes.

The DLC aspect of all Paradox gamed is both a blessing and a curse. On the pro side, it adds new material and mechanics to the game. In my opinion, these changes have made the game much better than the original product. Paradox does an incredible job with their Dev Diaries explaining what they are doing with the update and how it affects the game.

On the con side, it can get a little expensive to purchasing all the DLC for the game. There is a part of me that wonders why it can’t be part of the the original game (also a common complaint on the forums and reviews). To be fair, Paradox does offer free updates for some of the features in the updates. Theses items also come on sale pretty rgulaly.

I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert at this game. My game play has been mostly as Germany. The main reason for this is that the navy aspect of this game scares me a little. I also am pretty sure that I don’t completely understand all of the under the hood aspects of the game. I have the conquering Poland part down, but once I open up the Western front, all bets are off. I always seem to get bogged down in Holland and Belgium. A part of me thinks this might be because of some of the updates, because I feel that it was easier to do so before some of them were released. But the weird thing is, I keep wanting to try different tactics. I WANT to figure it out.

I have also tried playing as the US. The good thing about the about the US is the oceans that act as a buffer, allowing you to figure out what is going on. The bad thing is the oceans because you are so damn far. That and I am having a really hard time figuring out how to manage the Pacific.

There is a pretty large community out there of players. The information in forums and on YouTube is very good. There are videos for new players, tactic videos, and play-though videos showing various aspects of the game. The official wiki is also a great resource. Another nice thing about the game is that you can hover your cursor over pretty much any aspect of the game and get valuable information.

Another great aspect is the mod community. There is a lot of great user created material that enhances the game. One I have tried is set in a world where Germany won the First World War. Kaiserreich completetly changes the game and makes it fresh. And this is just one, a quick look at the Steam Workshop shows over 27000 mods, changing everything from portraits to the whole game.

I don’t feel that I have done this game the justice it deserves. If you haven’t tried it, give it a look. If you have, let me know your thoughts.

Better than a new computer?

GeForce Now

I have long suffered from not having enough computer to support the games that I like to play. This has been a problem for PC gaming for a long time. Add to that having a limited budget and that problem gets worse. I have had to play many games on lower settings and not get to enjoy the full potential of the game, or even worse, have live with frustrating frame rates that take all the joy out of the games.

About a year and a half ago, I heard about a cloud base program that was in beta and figured I might as well apply and see if I would get an invite. Much to my surprise I did and that’s where I discovered a whole new gaming world. That program, Geforce Now, from Nvidia has changed my gaming life. I have been able to play high performance games on my less than high performance laptop.

For the longest time, I had to check with the website “Can You Run It?” before getting a game and even then, more often than not it was at the minimum requirements. Now I can play pretty much any game. I have played Witcher 3 at full graphics and actually have to be careful when playing Hearts of Iron at top speed because it runs to fast.

I plan on reviewing/revisiting a lot of games in the future, but I thought I would start with the program that makes it possible. The aforementioned graphics are the biggest plus to this program. Right now it supports a lot of games on the Steam library as well as from uPlay and some games from Epic. You do have to own the game on those platforms in order to play them.

You also have to have a hardwired Ethernet connection or 5GHz wireless router. I have been using the wireless option and have occasionally had some graphical glitches, but that is usually when other devices are on the network.

I would highly recommend anyone reading this to give it a try. I know there are other cloud based systems out there but in my experience this is the best out there right now. There is a free option that limits your access to an hour at a time but as of this writing (Feb. 17, 2020) the Founders’s membership at $4.99/month is a steal (one year is cheaper than an new graphic card). Let me know what you think.