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Video Game / Cossacks

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Cossacks (Козаки in Ukrainian) is a series of historical Real-Time Strategy PC video games for Windows created by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World (which later made the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series). The series covers the major European conflicts from the early 17th century to The Napoleonic Wars (including conflicts in Eastern Europe involving, well, Cossacks) and, so far, consists of:

  • Cossacks: European Wars (2000) and its two expansion packs:
    • Cossacks: The Art of War (2001)
    • Cossacks: Back to War (standalone, 2002)
  • Cossacks II: Napoleonic Wars (2005) and its expansion pack:
    • Cossacks II: Battle for Europe (2006)
  • Cossacks 3 (2016). Has some Downloadable Content:
    • Days of Brilliance (2016), Rise to Glory (2017), Guardians of the Highlands (2017), Path to Grandeur (2017), The Golden Age (2017)

GSC Game World also released American Conquest in 2003, which is basically Cossacks in the Americas.

Tropes present across the franchise:

  • Baseless Mission: Some of the hardest missions in the campaigns give the player a limited number of units to manage without any base to bring reinforcements or farm resources.
  • Call That a Formation?: Troops begin without being in a formation, although they can form basic shapes. Sufficient numbers can form a regiment, that can assume a formation. Not all units can form regiments even if they have the numbers and a officer, and are usually easily killed by units that are in formation, as formations provide strong offensive and defensive bonus.
  • Cannon Fodder: The player's units on the battlefield, naturally. Especially when they are not fully upgraded and going against upgraded enemies.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Most ranged units can not fight in melee (save for 18th century musketeers and grenadiers, who have bayonets) and try to escape when the enemy is too close.
  • Million Mook March: The huge number of units available to the players is the series' best-known trademark. The latest installment, Cossacks 3, has a global population cap of 16000.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Implied: when your units capture enemy buildings, they have a chance of automatically catching fire. It's not unusual for entire settlements to be destroyed this way.
  • Spiteful A.I.: The CPU makes extensive use of it's frame-prefect reflexes to suicide every capturable unit it can before they fall into enemy hands.
  • We Have Reserves: The aforementioned high population cap (in fact, theoretically infinite in Back to War) and the fact that some units can be trained in literally less than a second means that this is a perfectly viable tactic.
  • Video Game Remake: Cossacks 3 is not a sequel or a remaster. Cossacks 3 IS Cossacks: European Wars, right down to the game mechanics, just with some graphical overhaul.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: There are six resources for player to collect and keep track of.
    • Food. Used to keep your people fed and do research. Food is constantly consumed, so players need strong economy or store food before creating their armies.
    • Wood and Stone: Used to build buildings. Fortifications, whether they're made of wood or stone, constantly consume wood and stone too, and a strong production of both is needed as a result.
    • Gold: Used to pay upgrades, or hire merceneries. Mercenaries use gold like normal troops use food, and if you run out of gold they will rebel against you. Artillery also uses gold to fire.
    • Iron and coal: Used by gunpowder units to fire and to produce units. If you do not have iron or coal, your gunpowder units can not fire.

Alternative Title(s): Cossacks II Napoleonic Wars, Cossacks 3