Age of Empires Series Wiki
Info icon.png
This article is about the French version. For the Cree version, see Cree Coureur des Bois.

Expensive but powerful villager who gathers fast.
—In-game description

The Coureur des Bois (plural Coureurs des Bois) is an economic unit in Age of Empires III replacing the Settler that is unique to the French. It is stronger and gathers resources faster, but is more expensive and has a lower train limit.

In standard random map games, French players starts with five Coureurs des Bois.


Coureurs des Bois cost 20% more food (120 instead of 100), train 16% slower than Settlers (29 seconds instead of 25), and have 19 less train limit (80 instead of 99), but gather resources 25% faster; 80 Coureurs gather at the speed of 100 Settlers, leaving more population for military units.

Although they possess higher hit points and a greater attack than ordinary villagers, Coureurs des Bois do not make effective fighters. Their fighting skills can be improved by Home City Cards that can make them effective in exploring the map and fighting off treasure guardians. They have ranged resistance (instead of melee resistance), which make early Ranged Infantry rushes less effective (unless using Carib Garifuna Drums), but increases the danger of melee attacks from Hussars and Rodeleros. However, due to the negative modifiers versus Villagers on early attack buildings (e.g. Outposts) and their high ranged resistance, they can continue gathering resources even if the enemy tries to lock down their resources with outposts (especially if the Great Coat improvement is purchased).

Like Settlers, Coureurs cannot use ranged attacks if the enemy is too close to them. Because they lack any melee resistance and multipliers on their melee attacks this can make gathering treasures guarded by melee units very inefficient.

The French lack the Medicine card, which means they cannot lower the training time of the Coureurs by themselves. They require an ally with the TEAM Medicine card, or a map featuring a Jesuit Mission (with Christian Schools).

In the Definitive Edition, revolting to Canada as French increases the ranged attack of Coureurs by 17 and aesthetically turns them into Métis Voyageurs. Revolting to South Africa also allows the player to train up to 30 Coureurs by sending the "Huguenots" card.

Further statistics[]

As Coureurs des Bois are unique to the French, only technologies that they have access to are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Pets, villagers, weak infantry and cavalry (when massed), Treasure Guardians (with the Northwest Passage Home City Card)
Weak vs. Everything, especially Oprichniks and artillery
Gathering speed Code Napoleon.png Code Napoleon (+10%)
Klamath Work Ethos.png Klamath Work Ethos (+5%)
Fasting.png Fasting (+10%)
Punjabi New Year.png Punjabi New Year (+10% from Mills/Farms/Estates/Rice Paddies/Fields)
Hit points Great Coat.png Great Coat (+35%)
Nootka Bark Clothing.png Nootka Bark Clothing (+50%)
Apache Cactus Use.png Apache Cactus Use (+15%)
Berber desert kings.png Berber Kings of the Desert (+35%)
Attack Blunderbuss.png Blunderbuss (+3)
Range Blunderbuss.png Blunderbuss (+4)
Sight Blunderbuss.png Blunderbuss (+4)
Town Watch.png Town Watch (+2)
Speed Apache Cactus Use.png Apache Cactus Use (+15%)
Creation speed Christian Schools.png Christian Schools (-15%)
Other Sharia.png Sharia (+10% train limit)
Yoruba herbalism.png Yoruba Herbalism (regenerate hit points when close to a tree or Berry Bush)
Penalties Fasting.png Fasting (-40% hit points)

Home City Cards[]

As Coureurs des Bois are unique to the French, only their cards and other civilizations' TEAM cards are shown in the following tables:


Definitive Edition[]

  • Originally, the Canadian Revolution improves the rife attacks of Coureurs des Bois and Cree Coureurs des Bois by +13 damage. With update 5208, it improves them by +17 damage.


  • Historically, the King of France had a monopoly on the fur trade until the Hudson Bay Company claimed land in Canada. The official fur traders were called Voyageurs, while Coureurs des Bois were not commissioned by the King of France, and therefore were illegal.
  • Canadian Coureurs' name is a reference to the Métis people, descended from both the Native Americans and European settlers.
  • South Africa being able to have Coureurs through the "Huguenots" Home City Card is a reference to the presence of Huguenots in South Africa.
  • In the game, there are unused "Select", "Move" and "Attack" dialogue files, different from those of a French male Settler which the Coureur des Bois ended up using. Since update 23511, these unused files are used by the Zouave.


Coureur des Bois is French for "runner in the woods," the name given to a group of French fur traders. They came from all walks of French and colonial French life to hunt and trap animals for their pelts in North America. One of the first native-born Canadian explorers was Louis Joliet, who at a young age determined that he would become a Coureur des Bois. He and a handful of other Coureurs des Bois paddled down the Mississippi river in canoes, determining that it would empty into the Gulf of Mexico, but feared to travel as far as the mouth into the hands of the Spanish. They noted rivers to the west as they went, hoping that one would flow into the seas of China or Japan. He became well-established in the fur trade and had several land holdings that he traveled between. It was on a trip to one of these that he died in 1700.