Cover art from the first game in the series
|Genre(s)|| Tactical wargame |
|Developer(s)|| Strategic Simulations |
|Publisher(s)|| Mindscape |
|Creator(s)|| Gary Grigsby |
|First release|| Steel Panthers |
|Latest release||Steel Panthers: Main Battle Tank and "Steel Panthers: WW2"|
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 update was released in 2018 and is still updated regularly (yearly).
Steel Panthers is video game released in 1995, and is the first game of the Steel Panthers video game series.
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.
A turn-based strategy (TBS) game is a strategy game where players take turns when playing. This is distinguished from real-time strategy (RTS), in which all players play simultaneously.
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.
A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two or more squads/sections/patrols. Platoon organization varies depending on the country and the branch, but typically, per the official tables of organization as published in U.S. military documents; a full-strength U.S. infantry rifle platoon consists of 39 Soldiers or 43 Marines. There are other types of infantry platoons, depending upon service and type of infantry company/battalion to which the platoon is assigned, and these platoons may range from as few as 18 to 69. Non-infantry platoons may range from as small as a nine-man communications platoon to a 102-man maintenance platoon. A platoon leader or commander is the officer in command of a platoon. This person is usually a junior officer—a second or first lieutenant or an equivalent rank. The officer is usually assisted by a platoon sergeant. A platoon is typically the smallest military unit led by a commissioned officer.
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.
Hotseat or hot seat is a multiplayer mode provided by some turn-based video games, which allows two or more players to play on the same device by taking turns playing the game. The term was first used as a reference to playing a PC game and trading seats with the other player, but the mode dates back to early 1980s arcade games. A notable example of games that use this mode is the Heroes of Might and Magic series, which allows up to 8 players to play locally on the same computer.
In computer science, artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans. Colloquially, the term "artificial intelligence" is often used to describe machines that mimic "cognitive" functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as "learning" and "problem solving".
Play-by-mail games, or play-by-post games, are games, of any type, played through postal mail or email.
The Steel Panthers series includes the following titles:
Steel Panthers II: Modern Battles is video game released in 1996, and is the second game of the Steel Panthers video game series.
Rights to the game and source code were acquired by both Matrix Games and the Camo Workshop.
Matrix Games is a publisher of PC games, specifically strategy games and wargames. They are based out of Epsom, Surrey (UK) with subsidiary offices in Arlington, Vermont, Milan, Italy and Edmonton, Alberta. Matrix Games/Slitherine also own and financially support the online game reviewing publication Wargamer.
Matrix Games developed and released as a freeware a remake based on the Steel Panthers III engine (but limited to the timespan of World War II), Steel Panthers: World at War!
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.
Panzer General is a computer wargame published by Strategic Simulations in 1994 and set in World War II.
Steel Beasts is the name for a family of tank simulators created by eSim Games for Microsoft Windows.
The Charles S. Roberts Awards was an annual award for excellence in the historical wargaming hobby. It was named in honor of Charles S. Roberts the "Father of Wargaming" who founded Avalon Hill. The award was informally called a "Charlie" and officially called a "Charles S. Roberts Award". The Wargamer magazine called it "very prestigious".
Gary Grigsby is a computer wargame designer and programmer. In 1997, he was described as "one of the founding fathers of strategy war games for the PC."
Pacific General is a computer wargame depicting famous battles of the World War II Pacific campaigns. It was published by Strategic Simulations in 1997 using the same game engine of the earlier and successful Panzer General for Windows 95. It was re-released on GOG.com in May 2015.
A man-to-man wargame is a wargame in which units generally represent single individuals or weapons systems, and are rated not only on weaponry but may also be rated on such facets as morale, perception, skill-at-arms, etc. The game is designed so that a knowledge of military tactics, especially at the small unit or squad level, will facilitate successful gameplay. Man-to-man wargames offer an extreme challenge to the designer, as fewer variables or characteristics inherent in the units being simulated are directly quantifiable. Modern commercial board wargaming stayed away from man-to-man subjects for many years, though once the initial attempts were made to address the subject, it has evolved into a popular topic among wargamers.
Turn-based tactics (TBT), or tactical turn-based (TTB), is a computer and video game genre of strategy video games that through stop-action simulates the considerations and circumstances of operational warfare and military tactics in generally small-scale confrontations as opposed to more strategic considerations of turn-based strategy (TBS) games.
Battles of Napoleon is a 1988 computer wargame by Chuck Kroegel and David Landrey published by Strategic Simulations. It was released for the Apple II, Commodore 64, and MS-DOS.
Close Combat III: The Russian Front is the third game of the Close Combat universe. It was highly acclaimed by many organizations, such as GameSpot, IGN, and Computer Games Magazine. It revolves around the Eastern Front during World War II, and takes players from the invasion of the Soviet Union to the final battle for Berlin in 1945.
Close Combat is a 1996 real-time computer wargame developed by Atomic Games and published by Microsoft. Set during World War II, it simulates the conflict between the United States' 29th Infantry Division and Germany's 352nd Infantry Division after the Invasion of Normandy. The player controls an artificially intelligent army whose behavior is dictated by psychological models: each soldier makes decisions based on the circumstances of the battlefield and can disobey the player's orders.
Wargames are a subgenre of strategy video games that emphasize strategic or tactical warfare on a map, as well as historical accuracy.
Great Naval Battles is a series of computer games by Strategic Simulations which simulate combat between naval vessels. It consist of five separate games, four of which depict various phases of World War II. Each game combines a wider view of the action on a fleet scale, as well as controls for individual ships. SSI covered similar themes in another naval game, Fighting Steel, which was released afterwards, in 1999.
Wargame Construction Set III: Age of Rifles 1846-1905 is a turn-based strategy game for MS-DOS, written by Norm Koger. It was published in 1996 by Strategic Simulations.
Panther Games Pty Ltd is an Australian games developer, best known for the WWII Airborne Assault and Command Ops PC video game series. Panther Games specialises in developing operational level wargames for the PC Wargame market.
Fire-Brigade: The Battle for Kiev - 1943 is a Computer Wargame developed and published by Panther Games in Australia in 1988. The game is set around the historical WWII Eastern Front battle for Kiev in 1943.
Command Ops: Battle from the Bulge is a strategic command level computer wargame developed and by Panther Games in Australia and published by Matrix Games in 2010. The game is set around the historical WWII Western Front German offensive and Allied counter-offensive of 1944-45 launched through the Ardennes mountain region of Belgium, France and Luxembourg.
World at War: Stalingrad is a 1995 computer wargame developed by Atomic Games and published by Avalon Hill.