If you’re a fan of alternate history, you’ll love MapChart. It has the tools you need to create custom maps, perfect for exploring “what if” scenarios and imagining how the world could have looked differently.
MapChart as an alternate history map maker
Craft your own versions of how the world could have been with a few clicks.
Choose from a variety of map templates, including a world subdivisions map, a Hearts of Iron IV states and provinces map, a Europa Universalis map, and a “War Games” map, which is divided into thousands of hexagons.
You can then color the various provinces, add a legend, and download a high-quality PNG version of your map.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. MapChart offers a range of customization and editing options, so you can truly make your map your own. Add patterns, style the legend, or use our handy shortcuts to color your map quickly.
The map templates
MapChart features 80+ different map templates, but here we can focus on the ones that are most suitable for making alternate history maps.
Let’s have a closer look at some of them:
World subdivisions map
Number of subdivisions: 3,811.
Link: World subdivisions map.
As its name says, this is a world map split into each country’s first-level subdivisions. For example, it displays Germany’s states, Russian oblasts, French regions, Swedish counties, and so on, for all countries in the world.
It features useful tools, like coloring multiple country subdivisions at once, isolating countries, or searching for the exact subdivision you want to color.
If you are looking to create a map with smaller range, you can also use the continent-level maps: the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. These are essentially slices of the world subdivisions map, just with a little more detail.
“War Games” map ⚔️
Number of subdivisions: 10,403.
Link: “War Games” map.
This is an imaginary map of the world, where each country is divided into areas (hexagons), depending on its size. For example, Russia has 1,660 tiles, United States has 737, while Rwanda only has 2 tiles. You can get a breakdown by country, in CSV or Excel format, to compare their “power”.
It’s a really fun map to use and play around with what-if scenarios! Interestingly, you can also get some mesmerizing map setups, like this:
Europa Universalis IV map
Number of subdivisions: 3,361.
Link: Europa Universalis IV map.
If you love alternate history, you are most likely a fan of grand strategy games from Paradox! I know I am, so this is a map of provinces from Europa Universalis IV, one of the most popular strategy games ever.
It features all provinces included in EU IV’s map, so you can use it to play out your campaigns, or just for creating your own empire and country setups. There is also a button (in More Options), that lets you save time by quickly coloring all wasteland tiles on the map!
Hearts of Iron IV – States map
Number of subdivisions: 904.
Another map from a popular strategy game, it features the world map from the Hearts of Iron IV game, split into its states.
Since the game is set into an entirely different era (1936) from Europa Universalis IV, it also has rather different subdivisions to color and edit.
The map has recently been updated to reflect the latest patch changes (v1.12 “By Blood Alone”).
Hearts of Iron IV – Provinces map
Number of subdivisions: 9,996.
This is it. This is the ultimate map for alternate history scenarios!
The Hearts of Iron IV provinces map has almost 10,000 (yes, ten thousand) provinces to color. I cannot imagine a better way to map out even the most complex alt history ideas.
You can also color all provinces of a state at once, either via Step 1 > Color all Provinces of a State, or by holding down Alt/Option + Shift and clicking on it.
Since it is one of the most complex maps out there, it can sometimes be a bit slow to zoom in/out. Using the available tools and shortcuts can surely help with that!
Finally, this map is also up-to-date with the game’s latest patch changes (v1.12 “By Blood Alone”).
Tools and shortcuts
On most of the above maps, you can use some tools and shortcuts to accelerate the map-creating process. You can, for example:
Color en masse (like using a paint brush)
Hold down the
Command, if on macOS) button and move your cursor over the map to quickly color it, without needing to click on each map element.
Color all subdivisions of a country/state at once
You can quickly color all subdivisions of a group, e.g. all provinces of a state in the HoI IV provinces map, or all areas of a country in the “War Games” map.
You can find this option in the Step 1 > Color all subdivisions of a country section, or you can simply hold down
Alt/Option + Shift and click on the map for the same result.
Isolate one or more countries
On the world subdivisions and “War Games”, you can use the isolate options to hide all other countries and focus only on the ones you need to show and edit. Find it in Step 1 > Make a Map of a Single Country and Step 1 > Isolate Multiple Countries.
Use the power of ⚡️ Scripts!
Scripts are a quick way to get data from a map or just have fun! They include:
- Random color: Randomly colors the whole map.
- Random color by group: Randomly colors the whole map by group (country or state).
- Find uncolored: Scans the map for countries that are uncolored and outputs them as a list.
- Count: Outputs the total number of elements on the map.
- Count by group: Outputs the total number of elements on the map by group (country or state).
- List: Get a comma-separated list of all countries/states on the map.
You can find all of these via the Step 1 > More Options > ⚡️Scripts dialog:
Customize your legend
If you are making an alternate history map, you surely need a beautiful and informative legend, to show what each color corresponds to on the map.
There are many ways you can customize your legend, and you will find them all in Step 2 > Legend Options:
- Change the legend visibility or show only its title.
- Change its size (you can also drag the legend’s edges with your mouse).
- Customize its position (you can also drag it around the map with your mouse)
- Change the background and font color of the legend.
- Select a different font. Alternate history maps are a great opportunity for using a more stylish font!
- Split the legend into two columns: especially useful for legends with many items!
Here is an example legend from an alt history map:
Save and resume your map
Of course, working on your alternate history maps can take a while, so you need a way to save your progress and come back to it later. For this, you have two options on MapChart:
- Download a small text (.txt) file with your map’s configuration. You can later upload this file to continue from where you left off. You will find this via the blue Step 3 > Save – Upload Map Configuration button.
- Save your map on your own account, and simply load it when you come back to the page. To take advantage of this powerful feature, you need to be a Plus user.
Finally, if you prefer to check and edit your maps on the go, the above options are also available with the MapChart mobile app. You can import your text files there, or, if you are a Plus user, instantly load your map settings and continue working on them from your mobile device!
More Shortcuts and tips
There are even more shortcuts that you can use to increase your map making efficiency. You can check out all the available shortcuts in Step 1 > More Options > Shortcuts dialog. Also, make sure that you check out the Tutorial page in case you need help, and follow MapChart on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) for more helpful tips and updates!
Share and have fun
Once you’ve created your alternate history map, you can share it on forums, subreddits, or Discord servers and discuss it with other like-minded fans. You could even use your map to play map games or create your own empires and countries.
Have fun mapping!
Here are links to all the maps discussed in this post: