The Explorer is a special hero unit available for all European civilizations in Age of Empires III.

Overview Edit

The Explorer is a tough infantry unit that explores the uncharted areas of the map and also provides economical and military benefits for the colony. The explorer usually is available only once in the beginning of a game and has some special abilities to help himself.

Armed with a powerful rifle, the explorer can use his Sharpshooter ability to pick off one Treasure Guardian in one shot. Upon reaching the Industrial Age, he learns the Crackshot, which is similar to the Sharpshooter but can also be used against cavalry or infantry units. Neither rifle attack works on ships, artillery pieces, or Villager-type units.

He can also regenerate health. His regeneration increases as the player Ages up.

Collapsing Edit

Unlike other units who simply die when they reach 0 health, he will collapse in excruciating pain. The player can either pay 100 coins as Ransom to whoever dealt the final blow (including Mother Nature). They may also help him back up on his feet with an allied unit or building (this also includes projectiles fired from friendly units). In order to get back on his feet, he must have at least 100 health.

Tactics Edit

The explorer can also build Town Centers and Trading Post. This allows the player a second attempt at rebuilding if their original colony was destroyed, provided that they have enough resources to build one and train settlers (except for the Ottomans, who get free Settlers). He builds a Trading Post faster then regular Settlers, nearing that of a Coureur des Bois or a Settler Wagon.

The explorer can explore and fight longer if he has a few units accompanying him. Explorers are very ineffective at raiding enemy settlements early in the game, as they only deal 25% damage against Settlers and Villagers. They are also very weak against Spies and Ninjas.

Their health and regeneration increases as the player Ages up, with 100 additional health with every Age. The Aztecs provide the Explorer with the Aztec Initiation research which greatly boosts his health and attack. Several "El Pollo Guapo" treasures, found on specific North American maps, can provide additional stats such as a 20% movement boost or 20-100% health boost, with this health boost stacking with other treasures and researches.

Explorers and civilizations Edit

The Portuguese have an Industrial Age Home City card, Bandeirantes, that ships two additional explorers. Their explorer also has access to the Spyglass ability, which allows them to see a section of the map for a few seconds (for balancing reasons, all of them share it).

The Spanish explorer can train up to five War Dogs to help fight Treasure Guardians. If the Hot Air Balloon card is active, players can send Hot Air Balloons, aerial mobile units which can explore areas of the map for several seconds.

Every European civilization has its own Home City card improvement for their explorer, which improves his fighting ability and sends him a powerful Explorer Dog that also collapses instead of dying if it loses all its hit points. The explorer's dog is highly effective against treasure guardians. The Spanish explorer, already having war dogs of his own, does not get an Explorer Dog; instead, it boosts the health and attack of his war dogs.

Buildings Edit

The Explorer can build Trading Posts and Town Centers. More Town Centers can be built after reaching Fortress Age.

Upgrades Edit

Cost Effect Building Age
Town Watch Town Watch 200 food Increases Line of Sight by +2 Church Icon2 Ages colonial
Knighthood Knighthood 1,500 food Increases Explorer hit points by 1,000 Capitol Icon2 Ages imperial
Peerage Peerage 1,000 food Increases Explorer hit points by 1,000 and attack by 100%
- Requires Knighthood
Capitol Icon2 Ages imperial

Shipment cards Edit

  • Can boost the Explorer to an effective infantry unit with 60 damage, 75 siege damage and 3020 hit points in the late game if all other cards have been sent. - Only available to the Spanish


History Edit

"Explorers set out for the New World with a variety of backgrounds and missions. Some were nobles seeking fame and wealth; others were slaves forced to accompany their masters. Some wanted to claim new lands for the nations that sponsored their voyages; others wanted to explore the lands, their peoples, and the flora and fauna.

Estevanico was a slave from Morocco, sold to the Spaniard Andres de Dorantes. Dorantes joined an expedition to explore the Gulf Coast from Florida to Mexico. The ill-fated venture ended with only eighty of the original crew floating on makeshift rafts, only two of which landed on the shores of Texas near Galveston with neither food, nor water. Dorantes and Estevanico set out on their own, traveling west and south. They were captives for five years, faith healers, and legends amongst the Native Americans of the area. They eventually reached Mexico City where the viceroy refused to allow Dorantes to search Texas for the Seven Cities of Gold. Dorantes sold Estevanico to the viceroy and left for Spain.

Estevanico accompanied a missionary, Father Marcos de Niza, north ranging ahead and speaking to the Native Americans he encountered about the white men following in his wake. Estevanico had runners carry crosses back to Father Niza, their size indicating the promise of the region. Each new cross that Father Niza received was larger than the previous cross, and then he received one that was massive. Estevanico had discovered a Zuni pueblo; it is unknown whether he thought this pueblo was one of the Cities of Gold, but he spent an evening camped outside the town. In the morning, the Zuni attacked and killed him, fearing his presence was a bad omen.

Trivia Edit

  • No in-game Explorer model resembles the Explorer's unit portrait. However, the images on each unique Home City Explorer card resemble each respective civilizations' Explorers.
  • An Explorer belonging to a civilization outside of the eight European civilizations, receives a random hero name from Age of Mythology.

Gallery Edit

See also Edit

  • War Chief - fulfills the same role for Native American civilizations.
  • Monk - fulfills the same role for Asian civilizations.