The Fire Galley is a short-range warship in Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome that is used by civilizations lacking the Catapult Trireme (except Choson), as well as the Greeks. It can be built at the Dock once the Iron Age is reached and can be constructed without an upgrade of any kind. The Fire Galley is not recognized as a unit in the tech tree; therefore, it is not available when players opt to play with the Full Tech Tree, also being because every civilization gets Catapult Triremes. In the Definitive Edition, the player can get access to the Catapult Trireme and Fire Galley due to the fact that they do not share the same shortcut.
They are the very first Fire ship to appear in Age of Empires series and are the predecessor of the same unit in Age of Empires II.
Since Fire Galleys have 24 attack (30 with Alchemy researched) and a very fast rate of fire, they can easily defeat Trireme and other warships in one-on-one combat. However, they take additional damage from siege weapons and catapult-mounted ships so it is advised to keep them away from the coast near an enemy settlement as far as possible. Since Fire Galleys can only attack within 2 range points, they are best suited in open water where they avoid challenges from siege weapons and towers located inland. Fire Galleys are also best used in small groups since only one of them is needed to take out a Trireme. Other than that, Fire Galleys dominate the sea. Carthaginian Fire Galleys possess the highest attack on sea since they have 30 attack (36 with Alchemy researched), making them stronger even to a PhoenicianJuggernaught due to its faster firing rate.
The Fire Galley is based on the Byzantine Dromon galleys and their Greek fire weapon. However, this is anachronistic as Dromons were developed after the 5th century AD and the Greek fire after the 7th century AD.
The Fire Galley was originally available only to civilizations that lack access to the Catapult Trireme (excluding the Choson). In the Definitive Edition, that's no longer the case because the user interface has more slots than in the original version. In update 38862, the Greeks now have access to the Fire Galley, making them the only civilization with access to all warships in the game.
Because ships were built primarily of combustible materials (wood, cloth, hemp, and pitch), fire was a devastating weapon against them. Ancient mariners devised several ways to set enemy ships on fire. The simplest was to fire flaming arrows or ballista bolts on an enemy ship. Next most useful were flaming grenades, something like modern Molotov cocktails, filled with a combustible liquid like oil. Most intricate were flaming firepots suspended from the bow of a ship by a pole. When the pole was positioned over the deck of an enemy ship, the pot was dropped, shattering it and spreading burning liquid over the deck.