Hearts of Iron IV is an intricate and complicated game, with a huge number of mechanics to wrap your head around. It’s a hard game to learn, but it’s immensely rewarding. All of us are in the same boat, learning together since the game’s recent launch, but here are a few basic tips to help beginners and new players get up to speed. These focus mostly on the interface; also check out our unit tips guide, coming soon.

heartsofiron4Hearts of Iron IV Paradox Interactive


Let’s start with a real basic one that isn’t necessarily obvious: some of the national focus screens and research screens can scroll to the right. It’s a little more noticeable for the research screens, but you may have a lot more national focus options than you think. That’s the trouble of such a complicated interface: It’s easy to miss things.

Diplomacy Basics

Hearts of Iron IV is a war game, of course, but it isn’t all about war. Diplomacy plays a huge role, and there are a bunch of actions you can take even before war breaks out—this is especially relevant if you start in 1936 instead of 1939. You can offer lend-lease programs to your allies even if you’re not involved in the war yet to help keep them afloat. Of course, you’ll need a lot of excess production for this to be viable, but hey, that’s why it’s a United States thing.

But that’s just the beginning. The real fun comes in the intrigue, like meddling in other countries’ politics… and supporting particular political parties. Pushing for particular parties to win can help make Hearts of Iron IV diverge dramatically from world history (communists in Britain? Maybe you can make it happen!), and is definitely worth playing around with.

Civilian Factories

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The Hearts of Iron IV tutorial loves to tell you to build civilian factories , even before military factories, but it doesn’t do a great job of explaining what civilian factories actually do. Here’s the lowdown: they increase the number of structures you can build at once (and, to some degree, the speed in which you build them). So they accelerate your overall production rate down the line. They’re an investment, but they’re worth it in the long run. Try building lots of civilian factories at first, then start splashing in military factories when your production has some flexibility.

Battle Plans

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This one’s a little obvious… unless you’re messing it up, in which case you’re probably really frustrated. When you’re drawing your battle plan, don’t think that’s the path your armies will actually move along. It isn’t. You aren’t drawing the armies’ movement path, but the new front they’re going to advance toward. The arrows, representing your forces’ paths toward those positions, will autopopulate based on the front line you draw. You can even make battle plans with multiple steps: just draw further front lines and your units will push forward after getting to the first ones.

These are just the basics, but Hearts of Iron IV isn’t always as intuitive as we would like. Sometimes starting at the beginning makes sense. Check back later for a slew of tips about preparing your units and armies, and other Hearts of Iron IV tips.

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