Originally Posted by Nonfiction
vic 2 is solid, just make sure you get all the mods that fix major problems
HOI3 i havent played since release when it was unplayably bad.
btw to expand on this, vicky 1 + revolutions xpac (aka ricky) is my fav paradox game. Your population is not just numbers, but is abstracted as "pops," stacks of people in a province that can be soldiers, farmers, aristocrats, factory workers, etc. My favorite part is that they finally found a way to make wars actually costly. Because your manpower pool is made up of the total number of soldier pops you have in your country, as you take casualties so do your soldier pops, so very costly wars can make it so your manpower pool is crippled in future conflicts. Losing pops in wars to occupation or by having to draft your pops means your economy can collapse due to having no one working in factories etc. Made wars much less frequent (at least against equal powers).
Game also has a fairly good working economic system with supply/demand and such. Lots of problems mainly due to standard terrible AI, and Great Britain being pretty overpowered, but still a lot of fun.
Not as familiar with vicky 2, I played it for about a week with all of the mods fixing pop demand bugs and other errors, but I didn't really love it as much. The sphere of influence system/minigame thing they have is really ****in stupid and makes it really difficult to play as a non-great power iirc.