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Castle drop is a tactic that is popular with players on the Arena map in Age of Empires II, where booming is at its finest, and sling strategies are the norm in team games. It involves focusing the player's Villagers at gathering enough stone for a Castle, then advancing to the Castle Age and using said Villagers to construct a Castle, either for offensive or defensive purposes.

In general, this tactic can also be applied to other maps and Age of Empires games, but mainly in maps with many choke points (such as Black Forest) that often benefit such tactics. For example, a "Fort drop" can be executed in Age of Empires III on maps such as the Himalayas and in Age of Mythology, Castle Drops are ideal for maps with close quarters of fighting and/or restricted movement, such as Jotunheim, Marsh, and Vinlandsaga.

Concerning specific game modes, Castle Drop is excellent for the Sudden Death (Offensive Castle Drop) and King of the Hill (Defensive Castle) game modes.

Forward Castle (offensive Castle drop)[]

Fort Drop

Not limited to Age of Empires II: a Fort drop in the Upper Himalayas

Burmese Castle Drop

An offensive Castle drop

On the Arena map, executing this tactic usually involves the player ordering Villagers to construct a Castle close to the enemy's base (preferably just outside the enemies' Walls), in order to put a dent to the enemy's economy by harassing enemy Villagers or to put a civilization's unique units into good use.

It is often preferable to have a good unit for ranged warfare, such as Longbowmen. An offensive Castle drop involves taking the fight to the enemy and keeping the pressure on their economy, and often has to be combined with a Siege Workshop, to rush enemies with rams (similarly, Monasteries can be used in order to rush with Monks and convert enemy Villagers).

It is an often advised tactic if a player has a lowly developed base, or if their civilization offers distinctive advantages to Castles and other fortifications.

Civilizations that often excel at this tactic include:

Defensive Castle[]

A defensive Castle drop usually involves the construction of a Castle to strategic points (mainly inside the player's base) in order to limit the enemy's offensive maneuvers, especially useful if the enemy has executed an offensive Castle drop.

  1. Often, a defensive Castle is constructed by a player that acts as a "spring" in sling tactics, as they usually have a weaker early game military, and need to boom up to the Imperial Age in order to use their elite units, often including gunpowder units.
  2. However, such a tactic can also be used by a sling player too, if their Castles do not offer distinctive advantages or if they want to focus on booming (for most of them however, it is usually more advisable to try a forward Castle drop rather than constructing a defensive one).

Examples of the first category include:

Examples of the second category include:


Encroaching enemy positions with fortifications, was an invaluable military tactic that often allowed standing armies to constrict enemies that fought in their own lands, where indirect approach tactics, such as Guerilla warfare often allowed them to wear them down and prevent them from fighting a pitched battle. Apart from offering an often uncapturable position, fortresses, especially castles, also provided a steady base of operations and a warehouse for armies' supplies.

For example, the Plantagnet King Edward I (1272-1307), also known as Edward Longshanks, decided on a strategy of building elaborate fortresses and castles in Wales in order to suppress the Welsh rebellion under Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, last sovereign Prince of Wales and ruler of Gwynedd in Northern Wales.

These castles, more sizable than other Norman castles in England, were built as a network spanning across the northwest coast of Wales and were intended to intimidate the local Welsh Population into being subservient to the new English rule, while providing a power base against further rebellions. Eventually, the rebellion was crushed, with Llywelyn's head being displayed in London, as a punishment for traitors at medieval times.

But most important of all, the Welsh spirit had been crushed, with English castles guarding the territory, and until the rising of Owain Glyndwr in 1400, Wales was completely subdued to England.

Information taken from: Ancient Fortresses

Strategy pages in the Age of Empires series
Blitzkrieg · Boom · Build order · Castle drop · Containment · Deathball · Indirect approach · Map control · Micromanagement · Rush · Sling/Springboard · Support · Tower control · Trash pile · Turtle
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Age of Empires II
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AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African Kingdoms Berbers AoE2 Berbers · Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians · Malians AoE2 Malians · Portuguese AoE2 Portuguese
AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the Rajas Burmese AoE2 Burmese · Khmer AoE2 Khmer · Malay AoE2 Malay · Vietnamese AoE2 Vietnamese
AoE2-DLCicon-5 The Last Khans Bulgarians AoE2 Bulgarians · Cumans AoE2 Cumans · Lithuanians AoE2 Lithuanians · Tatars AoE2 Tatars
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Age of Mythology
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Age of Empires III
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Age3DE Icon Definitive Edition* Flag SwedishDE Swedes · Flag IncanDE Inca · Flag American act3 aoe3de United States · Flag MexicanDE Mexicans
The African Royals Flag Ethiopian aoe3de Ethiopians · Flag Hausa Hausa
Knights of the Mediterranean Flag ItalianDE Italians · Flag MalteseDE Maltese