Steel Panthers III: Brigade Command is the sequel to Steel Panthers II, covering the battles and conflicts throughout World War 2 and after.
Steel Panthers III puts the player into the role of Brigade Commander, leader of an entire sector of battle, as you lead your forces (armor, infantry, artillery, etc.) around the hex grid battlefields to capture or defend specific objective hexes. You can call in airstrikes or artillery bombardment, and try to outmaneuver and outsmart your opponent in the third rendition of the Steel Panthers turn-based games.
Gameplay and Graphics
The in-game layout is styled to look like a real life tabletop board game played without computers, but with the added benefit of the computer takeing care of all the minute calculations and evaluations for you. The graphics are functional, but unless you change the settings to single unit marker, you won't be able to tell the various units apart. Graphically the game is similar to Steel Panthers II, but with smaller icons.
The controls are simple to figure out: Left Click selects units and gives orders while Right Click changes the direction your unit is facing, or allows you to open the unit information screen for the selected unit. Thankfully, the various buttons along the side of the screen are self-explanatory.
Steel Panthers III: Brigade Command puts the player in command of an entire brigade; hence the name. You can expect to command over one hundred different units, over a battlefield easily four times larger then the largest maps in the previous two Steel Panthers titles.
All the changes presented in Steel Panthers II also exist in this release, while the two most important changes are the ability to shift artillery without losing valuable turns, and not being required to have a unit face the center of a hexside.
Since a player is commanding such a large force, each unit is actually made up of multiple individuals. A vehicle unit can have anywhere between two and five vehicles in it, and infantry can easily have up to sixty individual soldiers. What this means is that at the expense of one attack, a unit can actually score multiple hits on a single target. Also, vehicle damage has been removed. The vehicles within a unit are either undamaged or destroyed, nothing in between. This makes it much safer to move vehicles through swamps, across rivers, and through any other hindering terrain.
Units have also gained the ability to "Dig In" when they don't move for a few turns. Digging In increases defense and morale for the unit as long as it doesn't move after doing so. Multiplayer consists of Hotseat play within the various scenarios.
Unfortunately, it can take a few hours to play even the smallest battles, and because of the sheer size of the battlefields the computer AI has been weakened/dumbed down when compared to the previous games in the series. The main letdown with the computer AI is the inability to use Engineer units. In any defensive battle, all a player has to do is line the edge hexes of their deployment zone with Mines, Barbed Wire, and Dragons Teeth to totally prevent the computer from ever attacking with anything other then artillery and airstrikes. This tactic is easily accomplished in every defensive battle because of the massive amount of Buy Points that allow you buy enough Mine Points to do just that.
Steel Panthers III: Brigade Command is an interesting attempt to put a player in the role of the main army commander, but the sheer size of the battles and maps makes the battles become boring quickly as you move the hundredth unit for the fourth time without anything happening. If you are a major fan of the Steel Panthers series, give this a shot just to say that you have.
Casual gamers should steer clear of this title, and instead try the first or second Steel Panthers titles.