Cossacks: European Wars

This first-time offering by Ukrainian game company GSC Game World delves into 17th and 18th century warfare, an era when Cossacks were around fighting in Eastern Europe. The game doesn’t limit itself to those troops, as Cossacks covers a wide range of European nations, areas and historical conflicts. In most games, you start with a handful of peasants and some resources on a mostly unknown map. It’s up to you to establish a viable economy, explore the map and ultimately defeat your foes in battle.

9The wars of this era helped shape the world as it is today, but few games of any type have covered them, and this is where Cossacks really shines. True to the 17th Century, pike and shot is the order of the day, supplemented by cavalry and artillery. On entering the 18th Century, musketeers become the dominant infantry and cuirassiers replace the heavily armored cavalry of the previous century. With a drummer and an officer, infantry can be organized into units that can assume various formations that enhance their battlefield performance.

The game comes with 16 nations, each well differentiated by its own unique artwork and special advantages and disadvantages. Buildings come in a variety of flavors, and some must be built before others become available. All this takes time, research, and resources (there are five), which in turn require their own buildings. The game is very long—in addition to the five campaigns (about 10 missions each), it also offers several historic battles boasting thousands of troops. These can only be played in the online mode, however.

There’s plenty here for the history fan who has always wanted to command Janissaries, Hetmen, or Xebecs, and the manual plus digital encyclopedia gives a great deal of historical background.

System Requirements: Pentium II 200 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win95

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