This is the second in a series of reviews looking at the evolution of Hearts of Iron IV. See the previous review here:
Hearts of Iron IV: Heart of Production

After a couple of major patches, the first expansion for Hearts of Iron IV was announced on November, 1, 2016. It was a ‘small’ expansion, termed a country pack, which focuses on adding flavor to the game by adding new focus trees for countries outside the main seven (and the free add-on of Poland). Together for Victory focuses on the British Commonwealth, and came out alongside patch 1.3 on December 15, 2016.


Without the expansion, Britain has two subject states (or puppets) at the start of HoI IV: the British Raj (India), and British Malaysia. The rest of the Commonwealth (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa) are merely parts of the starting Allied faction (with no other members, including France, at that point).

With the expansion, they are all considered puppet states of the United Kingdom. However, a fair amount of nuance was added to support this. There are four autonomy levels for any puppet, ranging from “integrated puppet” to “dominion”. Autonomy goes up or down, and will then cause a puppet to shift which level it is at.

Each country held as a puppet shares in a technology sharing pool; each country that has a technology in the pool gives a research bonus to everyone else. These are only available with the patch, and can be set up outside of a set of puppets, but they create them automatically. This is generally a 10% bonus to research per country, but colonies and puppets (the lowest two autonomy levels) get half that. Even at the reduced level, it’s still important for countries that are probably disadvantaged in technology to start with.

Various things will affect autonomy, with the biggest opportunities coming from participating in wars. Actively fighting in a war under the overlord country will generate war participation score which will transfer into autonomy. Similarly, lend-leasing equipment the master needs and exporting raw materials to it will also help. At the level of colony or lower, the overlord can actually build new factories and infrastructure for the puppet, and this lowers autonomy.

Other countries will work under this system too. Manchukuo was split off as a separate country from Japan in the patch (this was as much because of AI improvements as anything else, though the Japan AI seems to struggle in this patch), and it holds that and Mengkukuo as integrated puppets in the 1936 start.

New Trees

The central element of the expansion is five new focus trees for the British Commonwealth (British Malaya does not get this treatment here or in any further expansion; on the other hand there’s extremely little to work with there as a player nation with a grand total of one factory of any type). All of them allow the countries to go fascist or communist (with a fair amount of work), or work for straight independence. (This can all be done without the expansion or using the focus tree, but they are intended to make the process simpler, and give aid to those ideas.)

They only have national spirits (unique country bonuses) with the expansion, and all start as dominions (the highest level of puppet) except the British Raj, which is in the next tier down as a colony.

India (British Raj) has four debilitating national spirits, one of which lowers autonomy each day. It is politically non-aligned and starts with a grand total of seven techs researched in 1936, and only two research slots. Five slots is possible, but they’re not the most accessible. The army is tiny, and vastly under-equipped (the existing infantry divisions are at about 30% equipment). The two military factories will be needed just to equip the infantry. The three branches of the focus tree concentrate on independence, expanding the army, and infrastructure. Independence has an early split between going fascist or communist, and working on those national spirits, but it can’t even be started until world tension reaches 10%, and the path that works on the national spirit and peaceful independence has several medium-term pitfalls.

South Africa’s two national spirits cripple its manpower and lower production. Politically, it is democratic, but one national spirit will cause a small drift towards fascism. Technology is not bad for a small country in 1936, but it will need to import almost all resources, and starts with only one military factory (and no dockyard). The focus tree is divided into six branches, including a sub-branch for going communist where South Africa attempts to kick all the other colonial powers out of Africa.

New Zealand has no beginning national spirits, but suffers from its small size. It only produces tungsten (with some oil and steel available in the focus tree), and will have to trade for everything else with four civilian and one military factory (two of the civilian factories are needed to produce consumer goods at start). There are three available building slots, and the focus tree can net another seven factories. Its three starting divisions use up almost all the available manpower. The focus tree has a number of good bonuses in it, but you’re starting from a tiny base.

Australia is suffering from the Great Depression, which lowers factory output and national unity, but has no other national spirits. It starts with a very low manpower warning (what is available is less than half of what starts in the seven divisions of the army), which could be solved with limited conscription, which requires going three deep into the focus tree. However, that branch also has two research slots and the ability to remove the Great Depression. Four military factories to start feels luxurious compared to other Commonwealth countries, but there’s only nine free building slots to start with, two of which are in New Guinea and the Bismark Islands.

Canada starts in a similarly poor position, with the Great Depression and a conscription crisis putting it at very low manpower. The focus tree allows for a lot of industrial expansion, but it is locked behind world tension and/or being at war. Short of that, there are three available civilian factories, five military, one dockyard, and fifteen building slots at start. It is the only dominion that starts with three research slots, and while it starts with only tungsten and minimal steel production, there is a focus slot that adds 14 oil production that isn’t too hard to get to, and steel and aluminum production in the restricted part.

And finally, the patch added the idea of continuous focus. This is a small set of abilities that can be used instead of the normal focus slots, and will give a bonus as long as it is active. A country is limited to taking them after unlocking ten regular focus slots, so they can’t be used before the end of 1937. Most of the options are increased production (of various types), but can also reduce training time, or speed up repairs. In conjunction with the expansion, they can also generate autonomy points (if a puppet), or reduce them (if an overlord).


The country selection screen got a small change. Namely, there is now a second row of options that take you to all the countries that currently have a unique focus tree, but aren’t one of the major seven powers of the game, which is a nice touch now that there’s going to be an expanding list of such countries (and it would get refined a bit as the number of countries grew).

Garrison orders now have the ability to dictate what kinds of things should be garrisoned. And since you can have separate armies covering the same area with different selections, you could set up an army to cover the beaches and airfields, and another to suppress resistance, and so on. It will also now tell you how many divisions are needed to cover all the individual locations implied in the order.

A new type of order was added in the expansion. A normal offensive line will try cover its flanks, causing it to spread out, and cause a fair amount of drift and overlap in crowded fronts. A spearhead order will confine itself to a narrow front, and is designed to be useful for encirclements and the like. This caused ire at having to pay for what should have been a base mechanic (and I agree), but it has remained the only such expansion order type (or new type at all), and letting it unlock with the purchase of any expansion could have been a good idea.

A few new controls were added to the theater interface. You can now set reinforcement priorities for an entire theater, and some new icons will tell you how offensive and defensive combats are going. There’s also a log of all the combats in the theater for the last year, with some more detailed logs available with the expansion. That last might also have been a good idea to offer with any expansion, but frankly they’re not worth worrying about. The extra data available just doesn’t begin to answer any of the questions that might be asked. It might show you that some of your divisional templates aren’t working out, but won’t give any statistics that might tell you why, nor, when it shows lost equipment, give any info beyond the general type (so you might know the enemy is already using the next tank type, but it won’t tell you that it’s been up-armored and up-gunned from the base statistics). But all of this does make proper theater organization more important, as that’s also the main “sort” function here.

In patch 1.3.3, a couple more tweaks were made to the game. Infrastructure now grants a bonus to the time needed to build a factory. This encourages a natural concentration of industry in well-developed areas, but it’s also fighting an overall slowdown on factory building put in to keep the mid-to-late game from seeing too much production. And tooling time (production efficiency) was changed so that it increases rapidly at low values, and slows down as you reach maximum efficiency.


The idea of starting with a smaller expansion that is not aimed at new mechanics points up the lack in HoI IV’s basic design here. There is so much to fill in for details on various countries that this expansion just barely scratches the surface.

Of course, stepping away from the major powers in a WWII game is generally less interesting than for a long-form game like EU IV; a decade isn’t really enough time to fix all the problems of a smaller, less-developed, country. So the other Commonwealth countries are among the more interesting ones to flesh out; also, the new autonomy mechanics make the relationship more interesting for the UK as well. So in the end, I consider it a worthwhile expansion, even if you just want to play as Britain. And there’s a good number of people who will want to play as Canada, Australia, or New Zealand (and presumably South Africa and India, but the former three is where I encounter most of the demand). The new order type and three extra music tracks are a minor bonus on top of that.