Formations offer new strategic and tactical advantages to Cossacks. They take a large group of men, organize them, and make them act as one. Because these men act as one, they gain significant defense and attack bonuses because of their organization. This powerful fighting force, acting as one can destroy unorganized forces that 2 times outnumber them.
Rank formations place your men in a row with the drummer and officer standing behind their men. These formations are good for defense, they spread out as many men as possible while maintaining a defensive line. It will take a large concentrated enemy force to break this line, as when attacked the line simply stays strong and encloses on the enemy not allowing them to push forward or escape. Effective use of these formations in strategic spots can be used to kill enemy units twice and three times their size. The attack and defense bonuses come to great use here. The bonuses themselves are often times over looked and ignored because of the time it takes to organize a formation. However, these bonuses are well worth the effort it takes to organize a formation, as they are unstoppable unless the enemy significantly outnumbers you in men and cannon. Combining two rank formations of pikemen to form an arrow shape is a highly effective tactic that can destroy enemy lines very easily. When the point of the arrow hits the enemy the enemy will have to form around the rest of the arrow formation allowing the point to push through, and the ends of the arrow to outflank the rest of the enemy. A good tactic is placing rank formations in rows is a good tactic when you want to send waves and waves of attackers at your enemy. These waves will overwhelm an enemy forcing him to move troops guarding other areas to defend against your men. Another good tactic is using rank formations for attacking or defending against cold steel Calvary, as with a rank formation, they will not be able to easily outflank you. Mounted units usually have to play off of their ability to outflank you and hit you from behind. Rank formations are best used with more than 72 men. This formation is good for all types of infantry, especially archers, cannon, 17th and18th century musketeers as they can create a wall of fire killing everything in its way.
Square formations are excellent for area saturation and attack. Square formations are the most efficient for putting as many men as possible in an area. Area saturation is best used when attacking troops without cannon. Simply saturating an area will easily have your enemy overwhelmed. However, if the enemy has cannon, he can simply grapeshot you to your death. Using grapeshot against square formations is like bowling with a large boulder, whatever you hit is a pancake. When deployed in rows, square formations will work much like rank formations, only increasing the amount of men you have in an area. Square formations are good with any number or type of men, small or large, as the effectiveness is basically the same with any number of men.
Box formations are the best type of formation to use when encountering heavy cannon and grapeshot fire. When hit with grapeshot, most of the unit is still alive, along with the officer and drummer. The cannons will have to reload, and even though you have lost men, the rest can still achieve their attack objective of overwhelming and capturing the cannon. This formation is also good for defending against cannon, as the cannon cannot hit many of your men at one time, and may even miss completely and hit the area in the middle of the formation. When using this formation for attacking, point one of the tips of the box at the enemy and march, double quick. The formation will work just like two rank formations forming an arrow, only on a smaller scale. Calvary too will have problems with attacking and flanking this formation simply because so many of your men cover such a large area. This formation is especially good for 18th century grenadiers and musketeers because the front line men can use cold steel while the rear men can pour on the lead. However, this formation is exceptionally poor with 17th century musketeers because they lack cold steel. This formation is best used with more than 72 men on attack or defense.