Hearts of Iron II is a RTS game thats a combination of Risk and Axis and Allies for the PC. you have some 2000 territories or "provinces" spread throughout the map and each one may have some attribute from terran to economic. You have industrial proudction in the game called IC or industrial capacity and you can fiddle around with slider bars to determine which part of your economy shall benefit the most. You have a production screen where you tell your industry to build certain units from land divisions (infantry, motorized, panzer, mechanized, militia, etc), to air sqaudrons, to naval flotilla's. You research technology and can trade around blue prints (which speed up research) and technology with your allies (yes you have diplomacy), and the technologies you research go from doctrines that improve the fighting ability of YOUR divisions to researching the newer and more advanced units. (say you have the PzIII medium tank and want to research the PzIV). The smallest unit that can fight is the division though the "brigade" is smaller but it doesnt actually fight you attach it to a division to improve its stats. You can attack nearby provines and/or get nearby division to "support attack" which is the same as attacking but those troops dont actually leave the territory. The time goes by real time in a timestamp of "hours:days:years" and depending on the speed you set it at at medium speed its 1 second per hour but it could easily be 10 hours per second. The game lasts from 1936 (in the grand campaign) to 1947 but can be modded to last till 2199. The diplomacy is interesting, you spend money to do diplomatic actions such as "influence", coup d'etat, bring to alliance or offer alliance, break trade agreements, offer trade agreements, trade lump resources, the list goes on. ANd of course delcare war. Now another thing is the domestic politics of your nations there are many slider bars to determine your national ideology. you have a right wing, left wing slider, authoritan-democratic slider, open market-central planning, open-closed society, drafted army-standing army, dove loby-hawk loby, interventionalism-isolentionism etc etc. I have freidn who turned the united states National Socialist. Another aspect is belligerance, by declaring war you gain belligerance and the more belligerant you are the more likely a democratic nation will delcare war on you. The game has some triggers in it to get certain things moving else the comps would NEVER do anything, like getting Germany to expand and invade poland and etc. The multiplayer-single player aspect is amazing you can start a game in single player and load it in multiplayer and vice versa. Now any game of Hoi2 will take a certain amount of obseesiveness to finish to the end but trust me this game is WORTH IT, you can play as ANY NATION that existed in the scenario/campaign you play. You could be vensulala or switziland or poland... The game is indeed quite worth it to buy or pirate just buy it eventually. And play it at normal and with the AI at furious.