Cossacks II: Napoleonic Wars is the fourth computer game in the Cossacks series of real-time strategy games, released in Spring 2005 to mixed reviews. This game focuses exclusively on the Napoleonic era, meaning it has a much shorter time span than others in this series, which spanned several centuries. Therefore, fewer technologies can be researched than in other Cossacks games, and there aren't as many different unit types for each country as before. On the other hand, Cossacks II allows a large number of units to be trained and it has many tactical options and an updated graphical engine.
The Cossacks series has always been noted for having a large number of units on screen simultaneously, and that all are controllable at the same time; this game is no exception. The limit of soldiers that can be used at the same time is 64,000, a large number, compared to other real-time strategy video games. Only The Total War series can come close to this number, with ten thousand being the maximum number of soldiers usable at a time.
In the game, there are two different modes, single-player, and multi-player. In single player, three different modes may be played: campaign (tutorial), Battle for Europe (turn-based, much like Risk), and Skirmish/Historical Battles. In multi-player, players can play a game over the internet.
In Battle for Europe mode, 6 nations are playable: France, Russia, Prussia, Austria, Egypt, and Great Britain; with one of these, players attempt to conquer Europe. The 2006 expansion, Cossacks 2: Battle for Europe, also includes Spain, the Duchy of Warsaw and the Confederation of the Rhine. Players have a single army to command, which can be ordered across Europe on a turn-based scale. Battles are fought in real time. Over time, player experience improves, depending on the number of battles fought. As promotions are earned, more units become available, and better ones may be unlocked. At first, only infantry can be used, then cavalry is allowed, and finally artillery.
In Skirmish mode, a map is chosen, and a fight begins in a Real-Time environment, reminiscent of Age of Empires II. The human player begins by choosing a country with which to play, and then attempts to defeat the computer player's nation, by trying to capture all of the villages on the map, or by destroying all of the enemy's town centers. To capture a village, one, sometimes two, group(s) of thirty militiamen must be destroyed. Then, in order to capture it, a group of men must be moved near the center of the village. Each village can collect one of the four resources: coal, iron, gold, and food. Peasants, or serfs, can collect wood and stone, which are stored in storehouses. Two extra map packs, one with three extra maps for skirmish mode, and one for historical battles, have been released for free download at the Cossacks II official website.
In the historical battles mode, a variety of historical battles may be fought. It is predesigned, which means no new units may be trained. A couple of the battles playable are the Battle of Austerlitz, and the Battle of Ulm.
There is also a map editor by holding 'Ctrl' and clicking on the main menu, there players can create and edit their own maps.
In multi-player mode, players can play a skirmish battle over the internet.
The Cossacks 2: Battle for Europe expansion pack was released in June 2006. It is a stand alone game, eliminating the need for the original version. Major changes to the game are to the Battle for Europe mode. At least 7 new provinces have been added to expand the map, in order to allow greater playability as well as to accommodate 3 new nations: Spain, the Duchy of Warsaw and the Confederation of the Rhine. A number of new historical battles were also added: Borodino, Leipzig and Waterloo, as well as campaigns played from the perspective of some of the great powers of the day.