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Steel Panthers is a series of computer wargames, developed and published by several different companies, with various games simulating war battles from 1930 to 2025. The first Steel Panthers game was released in 1995, and the most recent was released in 2006 and is still updated regularly.
Players control individual tanks and vehicles from a top-down perspective, on a map with a hexagonal overlay. Infantry are mostly in squad/section (8-12 men) sized units, but some units, like snipers, can be controlled individually. The whole force under a players control would typically be Battalion sized, but may be as small as a Platoon or Company, or as large as a Regiment/Brigade.
The games are turn-based and are played against the AI or other humans via email or hotseat.Contents
As with other tactical turn-based wargames, the game features realistic military control, with the smallest common units being squads, up to a brigade sized force. The player takes control of nearly every aspects of warfare around his soldiers, from simple ammunition usage, to the morale, disposition, and command-chain of his troops.
The game features: packed single-battle scenarios and campaigns (either branched or linear), single battle generator, campaign generator, and long campaign generator.
All of the games in the series are quite similar in features and appearance. However, the third part in the original series is clearly distinct in that it offers platoon-size formations instead of the scale of individual tanks and squads of the other installments.
The games offer various modes of play: human vs. human (hotseat or online), human vs. AI and PBEM (play by email). The players receive historical military units at the beginning of a scenario and have the option to buy reinforcements with points earned in different ways. The units are then moved on a hexagon grid map similar to a large number of board and computerized wargames. In addition to ready-made battles and campaigns, players can customize single scenarios or create their own campaigns.Series history
The Steel Panthers series includes the following titles:
Rights to the game and source code were acquired by Matrix Games who developed and released as freeware a remake based on the Steel Panthers III engine (but limited to the timespan of World War II), Steel Panthers: World at War!
The Camo Workshop released a mod based on Steel Panthers II called SP2WW2 (Steel Panthers II: World War 2) in 1998. It was released in 1999 as an official stand-alone expansion. They also released a new Steel Panthers game called SPMBT (Steel Panthers: Main Battle Tank). The Camo Workshop introduced new features to their two Windows based versions of Steel Panthers. Steel Panthers: World War 2 (WinSPWW2) features battles from 1930 through 1946, with an extreme vast array of OOB (Order of battle). Steel Panthers: Main Battle Tank (WinSPMBT) features battles from 1946 to 2025, with 93 different factions and states to allow for the simulation of a variety of different real and hypothetical conflicts. Those versions are still maintained and improved, with the latest update released in 2018.
In 2005 Shrapnel Games took over distribution of Camo Workshop's output, handling the distribution of the Windows version of their games. WinSPMBT was released in June of that year as a free download. A CD version with added bonus features was also offered as a commercial product (though the free version of the game itself is a full wargame already), the first time Camo Workshop had charged for one of its games. WinSPWW2 was released on May 15, 2006.Music
The soundtrack to Steel Panthers featured tracks composed by Rick Rhodes and Danny Pelfrey.Reception
Steel Panthers was named the best wargame of 1995 by Computer Gaming World, PC Gamer US and Computer Games Strategy Plus. The editors of PC Gamer US called it "easily one of the best tactical simulations ever developed for the PC."
Steel Panthers and Steel Panthers II were named, collectively, the 62nd best computer game ever by PC Gamer UK in 1997.References