I recently purchased a platinum package of Hearts of Iron II (includes Doomsday and Armageddon) at a real bargain price. However, I never played any Europa Universalis-based game before and I'm wondering if HoI2 with all expansions is the proper way to start with Paradox grand strategies. To be honest, I am little afraid of being overwhelmed by the game's complexity and difficulty right from the start.

Should I play any earlier EU game to fully enjoy HoI2 with all expansions? If so, which one would you recommend (first EU, first HoI, or maybe EU2)?

Is it worth to purchase and play the first HoI for some time to get used to game rules, concepts and mechanics? Are these two games significantly different, or is the later version a simple, logical extension of the formula?

2 Answers 2


Not at all. HOI2 is way better in every respect; playing HOI won't give you anything for story or game mechanics, since they both have same flow and time span excluding the expansions. It will be just nostalgic. :)

For playing EU/Victoria: actually they have the same engine but whole different approaches on gameplay. Each one gives different flavors and depths. Playing EU1 before EU3 is like playing Civ1 over Civ5; it won't affect your experience.

For me the best Paradox game is the one in the oldest time period, Crusader Kings; I spent ages on that game as I love the ancient days of small kingdoms. And having a say on your heir's genes and education was awesome. EU is too much of the big empires era, hard fights and less politics.

Victoria and HOI both have more depth but also more distractions if you like to play the main scope; they cut the flow a lot and I always felt like I am out of control all the time in both games. :)

  • Hope you know Crusader Kings II is in work at Paradox! Also eagerly waiting for it!
    – LudoMC
    Jan 14, 2011 at 18:55
  • omg didnt know that, great news, hope it works in OSX :D
    – Yunus
    Jan 14, 2011 at 18:57
  • 1
    You can already check the Dev Diary here: forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/list.php?category/… @sarmackie: btw, I second the opinion of Yunus and you can start playing for hours on HoI2 right now. You'll definitely enjoy it, I'm sure!
    – LudoMC
    Jan 14, 2011 at 19:01
  • 1
    I think comparing the different games in the EU series to playing the different Civ games is pretty accurate. My own expansion to EU2 came out several years after EU3, because many people just could not bring themselves to jump to the new engine.
    – mmyers
    Mar 1, 2011 at 23:40
  • Skip HOI2 in favor of Arsenal of Democracy if you have it.
    – Joren
    Feb 3, 2012 at 15:59

HoI2 Arsenal of Democracy is the best HOI game till today (unfortunately for HOI3 which has an amazing engine and research is done very well).

Victoria 2, especially the latest version is an amazing simulator of reality, most of the time I spent looking how my country develops on its own.

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