Here's my review for Cossacks, I'll go for the negatives first which are few.
- I've recently got into the game just a while back, I can understand why it eventually became overshadowed by other RTS strategies like Age of Empire (AoE). It is not exactly a classic that can meet to todays options.
- There is a huge learning curve, the tutorials are extremely hard to understand working on a story line based script that throws you essentially into a game with some start up bonuses (note I did the one trying to understand military movements and got wrecked in the tutorial in minutes).
- Controls are more rugged than modern strategies understandably and this can be a deterrent if you're not willing to put the time into play it.
- Unlike franchises like Civilization and other games with Strategic Alliance emphasis there is no Diplomacy, its either 2v2s, 3v3s 4v4s or FFA. Don't expect the AI to give out on you if you make a blunder or get annihilated by them (don't expect if from strangers on Multi-player) they will continue to destroy you until you lose or rage *note, I did the first couple of games, which I normally don't do*.
- Understandably, Multiplayer is no where near as large as other strategy games, I haven't played multi enough to judge is characteristics of its gamers' virtues.
Now the positives of the game which to me outweigh its slight love obstacles.
- Simplistic design does not mean you have to over analysis, there is one goal, kill everyone else.
- Game runs on a simple quasi-rock/paper/scissors game mixed with a tacticians prowess and unit leadership.
- With friends you can build massive empires and role-play the ♥♥♥♥ out of this game, only with friends and Multiplayer.
- Remarkable graphics (for its time) that can arguably stand up to this day.
- Replaybility and saving in the midst of battles are nice, as well as restarting a game with the same map or different starting armies.
- You can choose between historic powers of the 1600s and 1700s, like France, Britian, Turkey, Bavaria, Prussia, Saxony, Russia, Netherlands, Venice, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Poland and others!
-Up to 8 players in a match with great challenging AI, even at Easy.
- Its a cheap affordable game which should work on any computer *note I'm running this on a Windows 8, not Win 8.1 with 4th Gen i3 and 4 GB of RAM*
-Its a game that if you are familiar with the Total War Series should remind you of an arcadey version of Empire Total War, *note without turn base, diplomacy or agents, and the fact that this game is more 2d than Empire*.
I would say this is a must buy if you have the patience, heart and tolerance to get be humbled by the good AI system or a Human player, its cheap and fun. Also I haven't tried any of the 'DLC' or Expansion Packs as they were known back then. I hope this helps you make your decision ultimately, I wish you best of luck on the battlefield if you get the game.