Basically, in Cossacks, players particiapte in campaigns or battles that took place any time from the end of the 16th Century through to the end of the 18th Century – so the early stages of what was to become the Thirty Years War, through the War of the Spanish Succession, the Silesian Wars, the Seven Years War and the early stages of what became the Napoleonic Wars.
It’s particular gratifying to see the efforts which have gone into making the different nations armies historically accurate – so you won’t find the English using Polish Winged Hussars, for example. Granted, many of the unit types are the same across national boundaries – but then they were in real life: nations frequently based uniform designs on those of famous units belonging to larger states, with only trimmings and detailings being different.
There are 16 nations to choose from, ranging from some obvious ones (the English, the French, the Swedes, the Russians) to one or two rather less obvious ones, such as the Algerians. If you know your history, though, you’ll know that North African corsairs were a significant threat to trade in the Western Mediterranean and even in the Atlantic for much of the period the game covers, and that there were numerous battles between various Western powers and the pirates.
The fact that the game developers are based in Kiev in the Ukraine means that we get a slightly different viewpoint on European history. In Britain, you’d have to be a military history buff to know anything about the campaigns between the Swedes, the Danes, the Russians, the Prussians and the Poles in the 18th Century; but for the Ukrainians, they’re as immediate as the English Civil War or the Napoleonic Wars are to us.
Cossacks has already been launched in Germany and Russia, and you’ll find that there are already heavily-used forums in German, Russian and English showing the high levels of interest which the game has already generated, even before its English release. It looks like GSC is already working on an expansion pack, and suggestions for new states to add to the game have been pouring in – although some aren’t particularly sensible. Let’s face it, it might be politically correct to suggest adding in Native American tribes, but in historical terms it would be completely ludicrous (as the game developers themselves point out). Native Americans would be fine as auxiliary troops so you could recreate some of the North American campaigns between the French and the English during the Seven Years War, but there’s no way – in a game such as this, with its concentration on historical accuracy – they should appear as playable states.
Take a look at any ships as they move across water – the graphic artists have mirrored them, so as they glide across lakes, seas and rivers, they are reflected beautifully
The graphics are excellent – just take a look at the edge of any body of water in the game, and you’ll see how the waves lap against the shoreline. Then there is the huge variety of different trees in the game (what is it with Eastern Bloc developers, German publishers and trees? We had endless press releases about how many different trees you’d find in Sudden Strike…). But the real demonstration of the graphics is the units themselves. Take a look at any ships as they move across water – the graphic artists have mirrored them, so as they glide across lakes, seas and rivers, they are reflected beautifully…
We’re hoping for great things from Cossacks, but the real test of a game like this is twofold — the AI and the multiplayer. It sounds from the discussion on the German version as if there have been some relatively minor problems with these, which the developer has been addressing; so, by the time the English version appears, we Anglophone wargame nuts should have had the benefits of a thorough playtesting by our German and Russian counterparts…
INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CONTENT:
Date of publish: 03.01.2001
Language of publish: english