Lately I've played the most Hearts of Iron IV. Soon after release, I was lukewarm on it, but it has improved over the years - I think a combination of in-game improvements, and my learning how it works better. I have three recent games. Spoiler China : The first is as China; Japan decided not to attack anyone, so it was a bit anti-climactic, but I defeated the Communists, built up, and most recent sent a million men to help defend the Communists - in the Soviet Union from the Germans. My strategy focused on defending the Dneiper and the oil reserves in the Caucuses, and it did slow the German expansion in the south, but by now Leningrad and Moscow have fallen, so I am sending another million men to help defend the Volga. The Soviets have been utterly useless so far, but if we're lucky the combination of a Chinese army of two million and extended supply lines will buy the Soviets enough time to stop and regroup. Or at least enough that I can build a new Great Wall of China in the Gobi Desert and the northern mountains. All in all I'm a bit disappointed to have not faced Japan, but the Soviet defense was an unexpected yet interesting turn of events. I also successfully took Vietnam from fascist France, making China the only Allied nation to have achieve a victory of any magnitude. Spoiler Poland : The second is as Poland, allied with Romania. In that one, Germany attacked right on time, but we counter-attacked and took eastern Pommerania in September, 1939. The battle then settled into a stalemate over the first year or so, before our just-barely-adequate armies started to bend, losing group first around Poznan, then Danzig. But conveniently, the Germans also declared war on the Soviets around this time. While the Soviets disliked me due to having signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, I decided to take a strategic gamble and stopped defending the Romanian bridgehead. The Germans exploited this and then marched onto Soviet ground, opening the floodgates as the Red Army stormed west - much more successfully this time, since the Polish Army was still keeping the Germans west and north of Warsaw. Fascist Hungary was soon steamrolled, Romania regained their lost ground, Prussia lost its first letter, and we retook Lodz, Poznan, and Danzig, making it as far as Stettin. Unfortunately, around this time the Germans defeated France, and then sent their entire army east again. We held steady for awhile, doing our best to make warpus proud, but a German amphibious attack into Prussia, which overwhelmed the Soviet defenses there, made our front collapse. Retreating quickly to avoid losing whole armies to encirclement, we now have only Warsaw and some of the surrounding countryside. But we do have over 60 divisions there, and so far that has kept the capital from falling. After repelling the first few waves of German attacks, many of them seem to have moved east to fight the Soviets, and it is our hope that either the Soviets turn the tide, or the British open a successful front in the west while it is sparsely defended. Spoiler Imperial Germany : The latest one is as Imperial Germany, under the Kaiser. It has been a plotting, highly peaceful game, as after overthrowing the Nazis, I remained at peace until the Soviets declared war on me in late 1943, having taken roughly three years to defeat Poland. As the last major power not to be at war, and having fomented monarchist sentiment in Russia, it was an easy defense. We were soon on the offensive, a month or two later White Russia rose in the Caucuses, and by late winter the USSR was no more. Poland was partitioned (sorry warpus), and with the east secured, it was finally time to retake Alsace-Lorraine from the French. In the early '40s, Italy had successfully defeated France, before Britain liberated France and defeated Italy, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. But Belgium declared war in support of France, so I re-executed the Schlieffen Plan, this time with tanks. Although tank losses in eastern Belgium were heavy, once we were past there the hammer swung down on Paris, and France fell in about a month and a half. The only fly in the ointment was a successful Danish offensive in northern Germany, as I'd forgotten they had joined the Allies the year prior. But that was corrected, and Czechoslovakia, who was entirely surrounded by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria, and Romania, fell in about a month as well. I'm currently dueling with the British in the air and at sea, and preparing for an invasion. Whether that can be pulled off is unclear. Particularly with recent additions to the Central Powers - White Russia, Finland, Portugal, Brazil, and Afghanistan, most of them members of the Anti-Soviet Block who joined when the USSR declared war - I think we have the stronger long-term position, but the RAF and Royal Navy still have numerical superiority, and the battles so far have not produced a clear winner. Other games I've played recently: 80 Days. A delightful travel-the-world adventure; I nearly froze to death on the most recent voyage. Renowned Explorers: International Society. A charming, but not necessarily easy, story where you play a team of adventurers in the late 1800s, exploring Egypt, Transylvania, the Caribbean, and other points of interest, either using diplomacy, deceit, or force to accomplish your objectives. Doom. The original, 1993 version. It still holds up pretty well! I have just reached The Shores of Hell. Urban Empire. Not really a city builder, more of a mayor game. I think a lot of people were expecting something like that other Finnish city builder, Cities: Skylines, and that's not what it is. It flopped as a result, but I like how unlike other city builders, you aren't a dictator but have to engage in politics, able to persuade the council to do some of what you want, but not all. Investing in infrastructure; funding city services; passing certain laws. I'm currently in the late 1800s and am gradually expanding electricity, running water, and gas street lights, and to a much lesser extent telephone coverage, while also having recently built the city's first high schools. But there are the slums on the east side that have been long neglected, we need a few more clinics, and our rail infrastructure is becoming dated (though we do have our first tram line!). I also like that, generally, money doesn't grow on trees, as the seemingly unlimited supply of funds was a large part of what made Cities: Skylines not fun for me. Finally, there's some degree of personal and social development - in my current city the Socialists are powerful and the Communists exist, whereas in my last one I played an old conservative who convinced the city council to disallow unionization. It's a game where I find it a shame that it didn't succeed, as with a year or two or extra development and maybe an expansion, it could have really shined. As it is, it's interesting if you like the political and fiscal side of development as well as building, although it does have performance issues as the city grows. Knights of Pen and Paper. A role playing game that is inspired by some wizards of the coast. I've never played Magic, but this is a fun game, even if the mechanics aren't as refined as Darkest Dungeon. There's also a good amount of content; I thought I'd finished the game and won, but nope, there's more! Stellaris. Got put on hiatus by HOI4; as usual I prefer history to space. But I have a game that I will likely resume, as the Commonwealth of Man. I was mildly disappointed that due to a bug, there is no United Nations of Earth on the other side of the galaxy, but it's still been a fun time, forming alliances with some avians and foxes, initially losing to be then taking planets from the reptilians who took a star system ideal for human habitation after I failed to colonize it due to inexperience, and always being wary of the fanatical purifiers on my border who wish to conquer all other life forms; thankfully the fungal species on their other border has been keeping them busy lately. Across the way, I very nearly allied my other neighbor, before they decided I was a better rival, so I've been working on allying the slaving despots across from them instead. We don't allow slavery ourselves, but we can't have a two front war with no allies should the fanatics on the other side defeat their fungal foes and invade us next. Yeah, I've been playing a lot of games due to covid. And Banished is another good game that I played most recently in June. I like its relaxing pace, setting, and resource-based economy.