|This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For the unit in Age of Empires III, see Crossbowman (Age of Empires III).|
|“||Stronger than Archer. Quick and light.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
The Crossbowman is an archer unit in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Archery Range once the Castle Age is reached. It is good against infantry and Villagers, but struggles against cavalry, Skirmishers, and siege weapons.
Upgrading to Crossbowman reduces the training time of Archers from 35 seconds to 27 seconds, making this a critical upgrade if the chosen strategy is/involves massing Archers. Archers get considerably stronger in larger numbers by getting the capability of killing enemy melee units before they can close the gap and attack. Creating Crossbowmen is a good choice as they are cheap to produce and provide good covering fire. They work especially well with infantry in this regard. On the offense, it is better to put Crossbowmen in a group of melee infantry as ranged attacks are weak against buildings. The Spearman line is an excellent deterrent for cavalry, while friendly cavalry can counter siege units and Skirmishers.
If the player already invested in a Feudal Age Archer rush, upgrading to Crossbowman should be a top priority. In the Castle Age, the main counters to archers become available: Knights and Mangonels. Knights have high pierce armor, high HP, and fast speed, allowing them to decimate archers if both are in small numbers. When the archers reach a critical mass however (and preferably are entrenched in a tight space), they can kill Knights in one volley, evening the odds, or even overcoming them. Mixing in a few Spearmen, or their upgrade, the Pikeman, can also help fending off Knights, but this is taxing on the economy. Mangonels are an effective pair to crossbowmen. They have a high Area of Effect attack, allowing them to quickly and cost effectively mow down large groups of archers. A fight between archers and Mangonels comes down to which player has better micromanagement. A good supplement to archers against Mangonels are Light Cavalry or Knights, but again, this is rather taxing on the economy.
Another counter to Crossbowmen are Elite Skirmishers, who cost no gold, but their drawback is that their only use is against archers, as they are woefully ineffective at fighting other units, and they are also poor raiding units.
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Infantry, Villagers|
|Weak vs.||Skirmishers, Scorpions, Mangonels, Battering Rams, cavalry, Huskarls, Eagle Warriors, Rattan Archers|
|Attack|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
|Range|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
Yeomen (+1, Britons only)
|Firing rate||Thumb Ring (+18%)|
|Accuracy|| Thumb Ring (increases accuracy to 100%)|
Ballistics (hit moving targets)
|Armor|| Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)|
Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
Pavise (+1/+1, Italians only since The African Kingdoms)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
|Creation speed||Conscription (+33%)|
|Other||Kamandaran (changes the gold cost into wood cost, for total 60 wood, Persians only)|
- Aztecs: Crossbowmen are created 11% faster.
- Britons: Crossbowmen have +1/+2 range in the Castle/Imperial Age.
- Burmese: Researching Faith is 50% cheaper.
- Celts: Crossbowmen can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit Crossbowmen are 15%/20% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.
- Ethiopians: Crossbowmen fire 18% faster.
- Italians: Researching Ballistics and Chemistry is 33% cheaper.
- Koreans: Crossbowmen cost less wood. Armor upgrades are free.
- Mayans: Crossbowmen are 20%/30% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.
- Portuguese: Crossbowmen cost less gold. Upgrades that benefit Crossbowmen are researched 30% faster.
- Tatars: Crossbowmen deal +25% bonus damage from a cliff or an elevation. Thumb Ring is free.
- Turks: Chemistry is free.
- Vietnamese: Crossbowmen have hit points. Conscription is free.
- A team containing Berbers: With Kasbah researched, researching Conscription, Yeomen, Pavise, and Kamandaran is 25% faster.
- A team containing Britons: Crossbowmen are created and upgraded 20% faster. Researching Thumb Ring is 20% faster.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Researching archer armor and attack upgrades at the Blacksmith is faster.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Faith and Heresy is 20% faster.
- A team containing Magyars: Crossbowmen have +2 Line of Sight.
- A team containing Malians: Researching Chemistry and Ballistics is 80% faster.
- A team containing Saracens: Crossbowmen have attack against standard buildings.
- A team containing Teutons: Crossbowmen are more resistant to conversion.
The Age of Kings
- Crossbowmen receive an attack bonus of +3 against Spearmen.
- Heresy introduced.
- Thumb Ring introduced.
- Britons: Yeomen introduced. It is only available in the Imperial Age.
- Britons: Yeomen moved to the Castle Age.
- Mayans: Obsidian Arrows introduced. It gives Crossbowmen +4 attack against standard buildings.
The African Kingdoms
- Italians: Pavise now affects Crossbowmen.
- Mayans: Obsidian Arrows now gives Crossbowmen +6 attack against standard buildings. With patch 4.8, Crossbowmen also gain +6 attack against stone defense.
Rise of the Rajas
- Vietnamese: Initially, Crossbowmen had +15%/+20% HP in the Castle/Imperial Age. With patch 5.8, they now have +20% HP.
- Bulgarians: Initially, the Team Bonus gave the Blacksmith a 50% work rate boost. With update 42848, this was changed to a 80% work rate boost.
- Persians: Kamandaran technology introduced in replacement for Boiling Oil.
- Koreans: Initially Crossbowmen cost 15% less wood. With update 39284, they cost 20% less wood.
- Koreans: With update 42848, Archer armor upgrades are free.
- Portuguese: With update 42848, technologies are researched 30% faster.
- Saracens: Initially, Crossbowmen have +3 attack bonus against standard buildings. With update 34055, Crossbowmen have +2/+3 attack bonus against standard buildings in the Castle/Imperial Age.
Lords of the West
- Mayans: Obsidian Arrows removed.
- Saracens: With update 44725, Crossbowmen no longer deal bonus damage against standard buildings as civilization bonus. Their team bonus increases from .
- "Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow; decision, to the releasing of the trigger." - Sun Tzu's The Art of War.
- The Crossbowman is called Fantassin à arc in French, although he wields a crossbow (arbalète) and not a bow (arc) like the Archer. The term Arbalétrier (crossbowman) is already used for Arbalesters, though.
- In terms of wood, the units from the Archer line are the cheapest archers in the game.
- The Archer line units are the only common archer units that do not have any base melee armor nor pierce armor.
- Together with the Bulgarians, the Spanish are the only civilization not to have access to the Crossbowman upgrade.
- The Crossbowman's absence is made for gameplay consideration; historically, the Castilian and Aragonese armies did deploy crossbowmen.
- Inconsistently, the Age of Empires III equivalent of this unit is available to the Spanish.
- In pre-release versions of Age of Empires II, Archers and Crossbowmen were two separate lines. Archers were trash units that were cheap, fast firing, inaccurate, and weak, and consisted of the Archer itself, and the Composite Archer. Crossbowmen were expensive, costed wood and gold, slower firing, more accurate, and gave a high damage output.
- In real life, an archer's training consumes more time and resources than crossbowman's.
|“||The crossbow was a missile weapon consisting of a bow on its side attached to the end of a wood stock. The stock was held against the shoulder like a modern rifle and a trigger fired the weapon. The crossbow had been invented in ancient China but was not used widely in Europe until the Middle Ages. It fired short quarrels, stones, or metal balls rather than arrows. It was a powerful weapon but limited to a shorter range than the best bows. It was simple to use, relatively cheap to make, and deadly. A peasant with only a few hours of crossbow practice could easily kill an elite knight encased in armor worth a fortune who had trained for war throughout his life. The knights in Europe at one point attempted to get the Church to ban the weapon. Richard the Lionhearted, King of England, died from a crossbow quarrel wound received during a siege.||”|