Content Type: Gaming Guides
Internal management of your country occurs through changing laws in Hearts of Iron IV. These laws influence how ready your country is for war and help you realize the full potential of your war machine. Each law costs 150 political power to change, with the exception of conscription laws. They are divided into three categories, conscription, economy, and trade laws.
Armies in Hearts of Iron IV use not just equipment, but also your manpower. Your available manpower is calculated as a percentage of your population that is available to fight. That percentage is primarily influenced through conscription laws.
The best way to control your available manpower is by introducing harsher conscription laws, but manpower can be gained through other avenues. Some countries have national focuses that increase their manpower, while some technologies also increase it.
Conscription laws cost 150 political power per tier, so moving up or down two tiers will cost 300 political power.
Downsides of Harsher Conscription Laws
Conscription laws are not a simple upgrade to your manpower. As more men are drawn in to fight your wars, the less there are to work in your industry. In addition to reduced production, your country will also suffer from longer training times as less qualified candidates join your military. I would recommend to not move past the Service by Requirement if it can be helped, although obviously increase conscription if necessary.
Economy laws influence the effectiveness of your factories, oil production, and construction. There are five tiers of economy that every country has access to, each progressively expanding your industrial capabilities. For the most part these are positive upgrades, with the exception of the Total Mobilization law, which reduces recruitable population.
Unique Economy Laws
There are three economy laws in the game that are unique to certain situations and are not available to every country. These are Undisturbed Isolation, Isolation, and Collectivized Society.
Undisturbed Isolation and Isolation are available exclusively to the United States. They start the game with Undisturbed Isolation and can later upgrade to Isolation, before eventually reaching the five normal tiers other countries have access to.
The Collectivized Society law is a rare occurrence that requires Anarchist Spain to win the Spanish Civil War. Once this happens they must complete the “All Must Bear the Torch” national focus, which unlocks this incredibly powerful law. It’s important to note that you cannot replace this law once it is in place, but there’s realistically no way you would want to since it’s the best in the game by far.
These laws, unsurprisingly, impact how your country engages in trade. If you want to read more about trade, be sure to check out out guide here. Think of these laws like a spectrum, with benefits and downsides no matter which law you choose.
Spectrum of Trade Laws
On one side of the spectrum, you have the Free Trade law, which exports the most resources and provides a boost to production, construction, and research. However, this means you have less domestic resources to use in your factories and thus require you to trade for them.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is the Closed Economy law. This exports 0 resources to the global market, allowing you to utilize every resource you have available. However, this removes all bonuses to construction, production, and research you receive from normal trade laws. Along with the lack of bonuses, you also cannot receive civilian factories from trade due to no exports.
Overall, I choose to use the Limited Exports law, as it has a nice balance of resource retention and production bonuses. Your choice will depend on your playstyle and personal preferences, as there is no clear best trading law.
Laws seem like a minor mechanic at first, but really they are a deep and meaningful one that requires your attention. Throughout the game you will want to analyze your situation and modify your laws as you deem fit. While there is a significant political power investment, in the long run the right law can guarantee victory.