Arsenal of Democracy (AoD) is a Second World War grand strategy game, closely based on Hearts of Iron II (HoI2). It’s based on the same engine, but offers greater detail and more realistic game mechanics, for a richer, more historically accurate experience. For real fans of the series, AoD is still the firm favourite – even though HoI3, the latest of the series, offers far superior graphics (AoD is based on a graphics engine over 10 years old!)
The Community Open Resource Exchange project (CORE) is a community mod for AoD. It’s massive. It’s main aim is to recreate the period from 1936 to 1953 in even greater detail with even greater historical accuracy, without changing the central game-play (e.g. no extra micromanagement). Almost everything in the game has been changed dramatically or tweaked, from unit types and technology trees to the infrastructure and resources found in each province. The game’s artificial intelligence has also had a lot of work, and the mod features a lot more events than the vanilla version of the game (especially flavour events).
It would be very laborious to cover all the changes here, and most should come out through the AAR. Here are some of the key ones though:
- Separate six and nine battalion division organisation for infantry and armour, reflecting historical organisations at the time. Each country starts with one or the other (the UK with nine battalion, for example, and Italy with six battalion).
- Provinces now consume as well as produce resources, to reflect civilian consumption. This is only really a factor in densely populated areas. Resources are generally more scarce.
- The technology trees have been completely revamped, pretty much to the point of unrecognisability. Special attention has been placed on the industrial technology tree, with economic recovery from the Great Depression featuring heavily in the early years. There is also a lot more dependency between the industrial tree, doctrine trees and the military wing trees (air force, army and navy). Concepts such as foreign purchase or domestic production of certain key industries is represented.
- There are now five levels of industrialisation with which a nation can start: subsistence economy, agriculturally-based economy, pre-industrial economy, semi-industrialized economy and fully industrialized. All nations can work their way up this ladder through technology, but it’s a long road! This new mechanic impacts massively on the game, compared to vanilla AoD, where every nation was considered fully industrialised (albeit perhaps without the resources to do much with it).
- The secret weapons tech tree especially has seen a lot of work. It’s now much more of a tree in its own right, rather than a collection of odds and ends. All nuclear and rocketry technology is now found here, along with advanced electronics, jet age technology and other things.
- There are now many more tech teams available, but many of those are made available by events as the game progresses. Technology specialisations have also undergone some work (such as the new logistics specialisation).
- Reserve divisions replace vanilla AoD’s militia divisions. These reserves represent ordinary, if slightly weaker, infantry, but without much of the heavy equipment a standard, industrialised infantry division would have. They now play a much more important part in the game, forming the backbone of many nations’ armed forces.
For more – read the AAR as it unfolds!