It’s 1943, and in honour of the Japanese recovery from the Great Hanshin Earthquake I have installed my first nuclear reactor at Fukushima. We are, of course, talking Hearts of Iron 2 here. I’ve captured China and established the Empire of the Sun God (better names accepted) and I’ve also installed a rocket research facility in Niigata, and managed to gain access to the ICBM technology option. My plan, obviously, is to beat the USA to nukes. I figure that if the USA develops “electronic computer technology” and I develop a nuclear capable ICBM, then nuke Seattle, I can interpret that act as nuking Microsoft.

Which would be a good thing.

In 1943 I’m struggling to produce enough supplies and raw materials, and my oil stocks are dwindling – this despite owning all of China – so I’ve decided the only rational option is to invade the Netherlands. They’re colonialists, so it’s cool. Only bad people will die. Bad dutch people, even. What have they ever done for you? Sadly I’ll never be able to annex the Netherlands, because I don’t have transports with that kind of range, but I can capture Indonesia and West Papua. In the real world I would liberate them both, but in the game I can’t do that, but capturing the territory gives me access to their oil, plus a jumping off point for Australia, and a possible redeployment point for my V2 missiles (which are worthless; which is why I only made 1). I’m not sure if it’s worth bothering with the Phillipines, but I probably will.

The big problem arose on 21st September 1943, when the computer offered me the option of a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour. This gives me the benefit of a short term advantage in naval conflict, but in the long term leads the US to gear up for war. I would have decided against this option, and gone for war against the Netherlands only in the short term, but alternate history has turned in my favour. In this instance of Hearts of Iron 2, the USSR invaded Germany in 1940 (which justifies Germany’s real-life decision in 1942, clearly). They annexed Germany in 1943, which is further proof that you shouldn’t rouse that particular bear. France declared war on the USSR a few weeks later and their allies followed, so currently the USA, UK and France (my key enemies) are embroiled in a war with the USSR. This means that I have a good 3 years before the USA can turn its sights entirely on me, and if the lessons of history are any guide, France is completely and utterly doomed. With the collapse of France on the continent I can capture their territories in Asia – I wonder what happens then? Anyway, this should neutralize the USA’s traditional industrial and supply advantage, and if I join a military alliance with the USSR I’m guaranteed to win the game. Alternatively, if I quietly develop nukes and ICBMs, I can destroy the USA’s infrastructure and take them from the flank while they’re embroiled in a continental war of stupendous proportions.

Unfortunately, my naval forces have proven weak and this is a big problem against the USA, who are right now building about 15 aircraft carriers with the express purpose of destroying my navy. But they have some tough decisions to make with Russia about to stomp France, so maybe they’ll change direction and leave me to capture the Phillipines, Indonesia and PNG. Then I’m going to have sufficient oil and troops to do the dirty and capture England and Vietnam…

Interesting times in WW2. Stay tuned for the tale of Japan’s development of nuclear weapons…