Who is Anastasia Romanov and what does she have to do with Hearts of Iron IV? The short answer is that she’s a secret monarch choice for Poland in the WW2 grand strategy game. The long answer is a lot more nerdy.
Historically, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last reigning monarch of Imperial Russia. He was executed along with his entire family (Anastasia included) by Bolshevik revolutionaries in 1918.
While the rest of the Imperial family’s remains have been identified, Anastasia, her sister Maria, and brother Alexei wern’t initially recovered. In 2007 Alexei’s and either Anastasia or Maria’s remains were finally discovered, but before this myths and rumours regarding Anastasia’s (and others) survival of the massacre were rife. Several men and women came forward over the decades pretending to be lost Romanov royals. In Hearts of Iron IV: No Step Back – the most recent expansion for the WW2 strategy game – Poland gets a new alt-history branch of its national Focus Tree that lets you restore the monarchy.
In the April 21 developer diary, three potential monarch options are talked about, but there is a secret fourth branch where you can invite Anastasia Romanov to take the throne instead. In order to access this hidden branch, you need to complete the ‘Fulfil the 5th of November Act’ focus, which will then offer you three candidates. Reject all three twice in a row, and then Anastasia is offered up as a fourth option.
Anastasia’s personal section of the focus tree look this:
Credit: FrangibleCover / Reddit
Now, it’s worth mentioning that the developers have gone a bit meta here. The Anastasia Romanov you appoint as Poland’s new monarch in Hearts of Iron IV isn’t the real Anastasia Romanov, but rather one Anna Anderson.
She is credited as the most famous of the Anastasia imposters to have come forward, with her claim coming to light in the early 1920’s. By the start of Hearts of Iron IV’s timeframe in 1936, Anderson was living in Germany at the pleasure of members of the aristocracy.
Anderson’s claim wouldn’t be definitively proven as false until the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union allowed the international community access to the remains of other members of the executed royal family.
So there you have it, you can have a pretend-pretender on the throne of Poland, if that takes your fancy. If you’re looking for other tips regarding Hearts of Iron IV, we’ve put together an in-depth look at HOI4 supply, as well as some thoughts on the current Hearts of Iron 4 meta.
Related: The best WW2 games on PC
You can also skip all that faff and just look at some Hearts of Iron 4 cheats instead, if you really want.