A little bit weird, a little bit political with a lot of humor.
SPcamo has done a great job! I applaud this great user-produced game.
Published on September 30, 2004 By historyishere In Strategy

I've been playing a totally free war game for the past week called Steel Panthers: Main Battle Tank (SPMBT), and it sure has a lot to recommend it. Based on the Steel Panthers II: Modern Battles engine, this widely expanded version allows players to set up a wide variety of battle types throughout the 1946-2020 period. 

Personally, I like to fight defensively, so I usually try to hold off an assault, but each player can set up the conditions they want to fight under. With so many options available, it makes choosing the right conditions for your battle seem almost limitless. Say you wanted to create a hypothetical battle between Iran and Iraq in the summer of 1975 or even 2005... well, you can make it happen. SPMBT features 90 national armies, including the major warring powers of the time period like the US, USSR, Vietnam(North, VC and South armies), China, the two Koreas and the often forgotten nations in Cold War/Vietnam-era gaming like Angola, Ethiopia, Argentina, Cuba, and a whole score of other nations. An interesting feature is the fact that as you advance through the years, flags change and new countries are formed or are removed from the choices menu, so going through a couple of decades while watching, say, the Afghanistan flag is a treat to see it take on so many different forms. Its also interesting  to see Rhodesia cease to exist as an independent entity, the Soviet Union become Russia and Germany reunite as Yugoslavia disintergrates. Of course, if you are feeling a bit international, you could always play as the United Nations as well.

Thinking back to some of the battles I've fought over the last few days, I have to say I was most struck by a fabulous long defensive battle I create in September 2007 between American/Russian forces (who I played) and Chechen rebels... and though I fought to a technical draw in that contest, I had a lot of fun trying to hold back the human wave of Chechen forces with a series of ill-placed defensive works and a surprising lack of air support (ok, I got cocky and didn't put the points into having air support before the battle, and it cost me the northern flank of my army, but the centre and south held out beautifully). Depending on how much work you want to put into the battle before you start, you can let the computer choose your forces and deploy them on the map for you, or you can do these tasks for yourself. 

.

Speaking of set-up battles. do you think you could do better in Iraq/Afghanistan today? Test your mettle in a pre-designed scenario, or a randomly generated battle or download new scenarios from Games Depot. The possibilities are endless. I think my favorite scenario would have to be "Rhodesian SAS: Op Dingo" which involves a Rhodesian raid "which targeted the Chimoio camp in Mozambique. This raid involved bombing raids by Hunters and Canberras, followed by a ground assault supported by Alouettes, and proved a complete success." When those bombers start hitting the camp, my reaction was a simple, awed "damn"... and then the battle began in earnest....

***

I think one of the largest selling points of this title is the vast and changing arsenal of weapons you can command on the battlefield... and each weapon has an encyclopedia entry in the game, so you can weigh the benefits of competing pieces of hardware, troop types and other various attributes... and you can check out unit by country and find out how long certain equipment was actually in use by the armies that developed and deployed them. Its both educational and informative.

Now, I admit that the download is a bit long for dialup users(77.9 meg for the game and 6.5 meg  for the patch), but it was well worth the wait. The gang at SPCamo have produced an excellent strategic game, and I couldn't recommend it more. I think anyone who is even moderately interested in wargaming would love this game.

I have to admit, I was generally not a fan of "hex-based" war games, but this one has made a believer out of me. Thank you SPCamo for all your hard work.

Here's where to get it:


Comments (Page 1)
on Sep 30, 2004
Awesomely done article. SPMBT is a ton of fun, though I haven't played it as much as i have played Steel Panthers World at War, a more windows friendly version of Steel panthers. SPMBT is a labor of love and it shows. And it's very easy to get into even if one has never played wargames before. If you haven't yet, join their yahoo group, which is a community of helpful people, in case you get into trouble running it on newer computers. And check out their SPWW2 if you like to play World War II scenarios.
on Sep 30, 2004
Of course SP:WAW is a HUGE chunk of download too.... 425 meg.... and while it is fun and all, I really enjoy the more modern battles that you can make with SPMBT... I just put together a hypothetical Israeli intervention against the Turkish government on the island of Cyprus in 1981.... let's hope I can pull it out....
on Oct 01, 2004
BTW, Ravenblack, what's your favorite SPWaW scenario?
on Oct 01, 2004
No clear favorites. I like anything with a lot of armor.

I like the Band of Brothers scenarios, they have an rpg feel to them.

Scenario 277 - The Berserker was also quite memorable, it's suppose to be medieval. You play as Vikings going on an assault on a British Dungeon to rescue the hostages. The Vikings are armed with bows, IIRC, the British have cannons or something.
on Oct 01, 2004
See, I was always partial to "The Maus that roared" because those are some freaky-ass tanks....
on Oct 01, 2004
I haven't played that one. My, the Maus has some wicked stats. Would be fun to see how one fares playing against the Germans.
on Oct 02, 2004
>> do you think you could do better in Iraq/Afghanistan today?

apparently not. After getting my ass handed to me in the Kabul 2001 assault scenario, I remembered that I often suck at modern battles.

After playing SPWAW The Maus that Roared and doing quite well playing from both sides (and thoroughly enjoying it), I went on to play some SPMBT. It could be that I'm rusty but I was awful. Tactics that apply well in WWII scenarios do not apply well in modern battles. Attacks from the air matters a lot and I need to learn how to use my air power. I don't know what to do with attacks coming out of a cave. All guns seem to have longer ranges, I was getting bombarded just coming down the road. Lost two tanks within the first three turns.
on Oct 02, 2004
If its any consolation, as Israel, Turkey whipped my ass in 1975.... maybe we can PBEM someday RB
on Oct 02, 2004
I'm afraid you would have to wait a long time for that someday to PBEM with me. I've done that in the past and have a bad habit of not following through. You should try registering with wargamer.com, they have a pbem opponents listing.


on Oct 02, 2004
And those people are excellent, experience players usually too.... that's a bit of a problem.... hehehe
on Oct 03, 2004
I D/Led it but haven't installed yet due to work, and building a computer for my eldest son's birthday, but hope to soon.
on Oct 03, 2004
Just be careful.... if you have XP, you have to do things in a specific order(like you do your audio config after video)
on Oct 03, 2004
Yes, read the manual included: after installation, the manual/help file should be on your desktop.
on Oct 04, 2004
Along with a few other files....
on Oct 06, 2004
Coming in the Spring 2005.... SP:MBT and SP:WW2 will both be Windows based rather than relying on DOS.... which should solve some problems....

http://www.wargamer.com/news/news.asp?nid=1346
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