Steel Panthers is a turn-based wargame focusing on combined armor/infantry small unit actions in the European and Pacific Theaters during World War II. The combat area is viewed from a bird's eye view and each individual vehicle, soldier, or heavy gun is portrayed with a lifelike top-view. Appropriate audio accompanies movement and combat. The game may be played in single scenarios or as a one of nine continuing campaigns where the player must allocate and maintain his forces from one battle to the next. Two-player e-mail play is supported. A battle generator quickly creates random scenarios and a full-featured scenario editor is also included. Custom scenarios are available from SSI and from other sources.
Steel Panthers is a wargame (turn-based strategy game) by Strategic Simulations, Inc (SSI). The game is set in World War II, where the player fights battles by controling tanks, infantry, and other war marchines on a battlefield divided into hexgonal units (hexes). The game was designed by Gary Grigsby, who is considered by many as one of the preminent wargame designers.
Steel Panthers has spawned a whole trilogy, of which the last release was Steel Panthers 3: Brigade Commands. There are many types of games that can be played, including campaigns that span the war, stand alone historical battles, what-if scenarios, random battles, and play by email (PBEM) battles. However, there is also a scenario editor that lets you create your own battles, designation the type and number of units present, creating the landscape, and choosing the game parameters for the player. There are tens of countries to choose from, each with accurate represenation of their arms. In addition, there are different units for the US Army and the US Marine Corps. Information about each country's arms can be found in the Encyclopedia, in addition to a picture of the real thing.
WWII... All the way from the initial attack by Germany on Poland to the allied/Soviet taking of Berlin. Here's your chance to go back in time and relive the biggest battles of the entire war. Not in the dugouts of France, or in the remnants of the city of Leningrad, but in the comfort of your home or office chair.
The initial setup of the game lets you choose to fight the battles of the Pacific, or the ones taking place in Europe. It also offers the intriguing prospect of playing as either side, so if you want to find out how it might have gone, this is a definite possibility. This also gives the game a completely new level of replayability, as the missions and forces will look completely different depending on which side you choose. This fact takes us to the point where the game really racks up some nice points: The detail level of the armies. Before a mission starts, you have a number of points which you use to buy units. They range from foot-infantry, mounted cavalry, snipers and engineers to armored trucks, tanks, support aircrafts and naval bombard units.
Every unit has it's own unique benefit and disadvantage, combining them all is the key to success. Shooting rifle rounds at a tank is highly ineffective, but mining an area ahead of the tanks arrival or bombarding it using a mortar will do the business. Likewise, the tanks can be cumbersome and easily picked out with artillery. All the armor strengths and attack capabilities of the units are clearly stated during the buying phase. And from a laymans point-of-view, all units seem to be rather accurately described.
As far as the gameplay's concerned, it's a standard turn-based strategy-game, with the added bonus of an often overlooked aspect - if you want an airstrike, or to bombard an area with a mortar or battleship, you need to plan ahead. It will take a set number of turns before the strike element can be utilized, so you need to foresee the enemies next move. Either that, or just bomb half the map to oblivion before your troops get anywhere near the enemy...
The steep learning curve of this game is the downside of it. There are so many tactical commands and military words that you might get have some real trouble with at the beginning. But if you overcome this, you'll start to see this great game for what it really is: A true classic!
People who downloaded Steel Panthers have also downloaded:
Steel Panthers 2: Modern Battles, Steel Panthers 3: Brigade Command (1939-1999), Panzer General, Pacific General, Panzer General 2, Allied General, Civil War Generals 2, Panzer General 3: Scorched Earth
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