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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. For the unit in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - Knights of the Mediterranean, see Pavisier.

Italian unique archer.
Age of Empires II description

The Genoese Crossbowman is the first unique unit of the Italians in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. It is a foot archer unit with an attack bonus against cavalry.

Genoese Crossbowmen can be upgraded to Elite Genoese Crossbowmen in the Imperial Age.


The Genoese Crossbowman is a crossbow-armed unit that has an attack bonus against cavalry and as such can prove to be a great defense against enemy Knights. Even mighty elephant units (such as War Elephants and Battle Elephants) can be slaughtered very easily when faced with large mobs of Genoese Crossbowmen. Even the resistant Bengali Elephant Archers can be defeated by Genoese Crossbowmen cost-effectively.

The Genoese Crossbowman is a well-rounded unit as it counters cavalry. While most archer units are able to handle themselves against cavalry, the Genoese Crossbowman is a genuine counter. When massed, they are good against cavalry and infantry alike. Despite their anti-cavalry attack bonus, cavalry units can still defeat them on one to one combat if they are able to get in melee. This especially holds true for the Shrivamsha Rider, as it can outright dodge a Genoese Crossbowman's shots and are very fast. Despite all its strength, the unit can be considered an Arbalester with -1 range against non-mounted units, though they are not as effective against Spear-line units as the regular Archer line due to a lack of bonus damage. They are still vulnerable to Mangonels, although to a lesser extent than other archers due to having enough HP to survive a single Mangonel shot, and Scorpions. Other anti-archer units such as Elite Skirmishers and Huskarls, which have good pierce armor and an attack bonus against them, are especially effective. The speed and armor of faster infantry such as the Eagle Warriors and Ghulams can pose a problem as well. They can be paired up with the cheap Italian Hand Cannoneers whose attack bonus against infantry can prove very useful against civilizations with archer threatening infantry. Hussars and Bombard Cannons also pair up well for dealing with siege, and the former has a low cost and fast speed while the latter helps against buildings.

The Genoese Crossbowman also has an attack bonus against all kinds of ships. In fact, it only takes two Elite Genoese Crossbowmen to take out a fully upgraded Galleon, while it takes about ten Arbalesters for the same.

Despite the official description stating that the unit is weak to archers, the only disadvantage it has against foot archers is its 1 less range. To compensate, it has +1 attack in the Castle Age as well as +10 hit points. The description is also wrong considering archers includes mounted archers, against which the unit has a massive attack bonus and no range disadvantage. Moreover, the Italian unique technology grants +1/+1 armor, making it more resistant to archer fire compared to the archer lines of other civilizations.

Comparison in the Castle Age with similar units[]

GenoeseCrossbowmanIcon-DE Genoese Crossbowman Crossbowman aoe2DE Crossbowman
Cost 45 wood, 40 gold 25 wood, 45 gold
Training time 14 seconds 27 seconds
Hit Points 45 35
Pierce Attack 6 5
Attack Bonus +4 vs Camels and Ships
+5 vs Cavalry and Elephants
+3 vs Spearman
Range 4 5
Accuracy 100% 85%
Line of Sight Range + 4 Range + 2
Rate of Fire 2 2
Armor 1/0 0/0
Movement Speed 0.96 0.96
Upgrade Cost 900 food, 750 gold 450 food, 400 gold
Upgrade Time 60 seconds 50 seconds

Comparison in the Imperial Age with similar units[]

GenoeseCrossbowmanIcon-DE Elite Genoese Crossbowman Arbalester aoe2DE Arbalester
Cost 45 wood, 40 gold 25 wood, 45 gold
Training time 14 seconds 27 seconds
Hit Points 50 40
Pierce Attack 6 6
Attack Bonus +5 vs Ships
+6 vs Camels
+7 vs Cavalry and Elephants
+3 vs Spearman
Range 4 5
Accuracy 100% 90%
Line of Sight Range + 4 Range + 2
Rate of Fire 2 2
Armor 1/0 0/0
Movement Speed 0.96 0.96

Further statistics[]

As Genoese Crossbowmen are unique to the Italians, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Most Cavalry, mounted archers, infantry
Weak vs. Elite Skirmishers, siege weapons, Huskarls, Eagle Warriors, Rattan Archers, Ghulams, Shrivamsha Riders
Attack FletchingDE Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE Bracer (+1)
ChemistryDE Chemistry (+1)
Range FletchingDE Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE Bracer (+1)
Firing rate ThumbRingDE Thumb Ring (+18%)
Accuracy BallisticsDE Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Armor PaddedArcherArmorDE Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)
LeatherArcherArmorDE Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
RingArcherArmorDE Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Pavise (+1/+1)
Conversion defense Devotion icon AoE2DE Devotion (+1 min, +1 max)
FaithDE Faith (+4 min, +4 max)
Creation speed ConscriptionDE Conscription (+33%)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Kasbah (+25%, with a Berber ally only)
Upgrades EliteUniqueUnitDE Elite Genoese Crossbowman

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonuses[]


AoE2-DLCicon-2 The Forgotten[]

  • Genoese Crossbowmen cost 50 wood, 50 gold.
  • Standard Genoese Crossbowmen have a reload time of 3.
  • Genoese Crossbowmen have a training time of 22 (standard) and 19 (elite).

AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African Kingdoms[]

  • Elite Genoese Crossbowmen have +5 attack against camel units.

AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the Rajas[]

  • Genoese Crossbowmen cost 45 wood, 45 gold.
  • With patch 5.7, Elite Genoese Crossbowmen have +6 attack against camel units.

AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition[]

  • Genoese Crossbowmen have a reload time of 2.
  • Genoese Crossbowmen have a training time of 18 (standard) and 14 (elite).

AoE2Icon-LordsWest Lords of the West[]

Aoe2 hb Victors and Vanquished[]

  • With update 107882, Genoese Crossbowmen training time decreased from 18 seconds to 14 seconds.


There is one hero in the game with the appearance of a Genoese Crossbowman:


  • In the mod version of Forgotten Empires, the Genoese Crossbowmen use a modified Hand Cannoneer unit model and texture. In the retail version however, they receive a new model as a crossbowman carrying a shield.
  • Genoese Crossbowmen first appeared in the series via the Nintendo DS spinoff Age of Empires: The Age of Kings, released in 2006.
  • Genoese Crossbowmen carry a shield whose appearance much resembles the Pavise (from which the unique technology's name comes), which is a type of tall convex shield used by Medieval European bowmen as a sort of mobile cover for them to duck behind while not firing, though the unit never seems to duck behind it while engaging an enemy, thus somewhat defeating the shield's purpose when faced with ranged adversaries. Also in reality, the pavise is much taller than the bowmen whereas in the game, this is much shorter. However, they do carry the pavise on their back when they move, which is historically accurate.
  • Genoese Crossbowman's bonus damage against cavalry probably refers to the weapon's ban by the Pope in 1096. The ban was applied because a mounted knight who spent years in military training could be killed easily by a peasant with little to no training who used a crossbow. As a result, the crossbow was considered as a threat against ruling elites and they lobbied the Roman Catholic Church to ban the weapon.[1]
    • Historically, all archers and crossbowmen countered cavalry effectively because horses were easier to hit, owing to their large size, with arrows; for example, English longbowmen killed and wounded very many unarmored horses of their French foes at Crécy.
  • The Genoese Crossbowman is the only foot archer unit in the game that does not have any bonus damage against the Spearman armor class.


Genoese march

The Genoese crossbowmen were mercenaries from Genoa that assisted in defending it and other Italian and European cities. They carried daggers, crossbows, a chain mail shirt, and large shields called pavises. After firing, the crossbowmen would hide behind their pavises while reloading. This protected them from other ranged attacks. What makes the Genoese crossbowmen so special is they operated in teams of three. One would set up and maintain the pavise while one shoots and another reloads a second crossbow handing him to the shooter when reloaded. This effectively doubled the fire rate of the skilled crossbowmen. The Genoese crossbowmen participated in the Crusades.




Units in Age of Empires II
CivilianMaleVillDE Villager · Tradecart aoe2DE Trade Cart · FishingShipDE Fishing Ship · Trade cog aoe2DE Trade Cog · King eu aoe2DE King
ReligiousMonk aoe2DE Monk
InfantryMilitiaDE Militia · Manatarms aoe2DE Man-at-Arms · Longswordsman aoe2DE Long Swordsman · Twohanded aoe2DE Two-Handed Swordsman · Champion aoe2DE Champion
Spearman aoe2DE Spearman · Aoe2-infantry-2-pikeman Pikeman · Halberdier aoe2DE Halberdier
Eaglescout aoe2DE Eagle Scout · Eaglewarrior aoe2DE Eagle Warrior · EliteEaglewarrior aoe2DE Elite Eagle Warrior
ArcherArcher aoe2DE Archer · Crossbowman aoe2DE Crossbowman · Arbalester aoe2DE Arbalester
Skirmisher aoe2DE Skirmisher · Elite skirmisher aoe2DE Elite Skirmisher
Hand cannoneer aoe2DE Hand Cannoneer
Cavalryarcher aoe2DE Cavalry Archer · Heavycavalryarcher aoe2de Heavy Cavalry Archer
Aoe2de DOI elephant archer icon Elephant Archer · ElephantArcherIcon-DE Elite Elephant Archer
CavalryScoutcavalry aoe2DE Scout Cavalry · Lightcavalry aoe2DE Light Cavalry · Hussar aoe2DE Hussar
Knight aoe2DE Knight · Cavalier aoe2DE Cavalier · Paladin aoe2DE Paladin
Camelrider aoe2DE Camel Rider · Aoe2 heavycamelriderDE Heavy Camel Rider
Battle elephant aoe2DE Battle Elephant · Elite battle elephant aoe2DE Elite Battle Elephant
Steppelancericon Steppe Lancer · Elitesteppelancericon Elite Steppe Lancer
Xolotlicon Xolotl Warrior
AoE2DE Armored Elephant icon Armored Elephant · AoE2DE Siege Elephant icon Siege Elephant
SiegeBattering ram aoe2DE Battering Ram · Capped ram aoe2DE Capped Ram · Siege ram aoe2DE Siege Ram
Mangonel aoe2DE Mangonel · Onager aoe2DE Onager · Siege onager aoe2DE Siege Onager
Scorpion aoe2DE Scorpion · Heavyscorpion aoe2DE Heavy Scorpion
Bombard cannon aoe2DE Bombard Cannon
Trebuchet aoe2DE Trebuchet
Petard aoe2DE Petard
Siegetower aoe2DE Siege Tower
War shipTransportship aoe2DE Transport Ship
Galley aoe2DE Galley · War galley aoe2DE War Galley · Galleon aoe2DE Galleon
Fire galley aoe2DE Fire Galley · Fireship aoe2DE Fire Ship · Fastfireship aoe2DE Fast Fire Ship
Demoraft aoe2DE Demolition Raft · Demoship aoe2DE Demolition Ship · Heavydemoship aoe2de Heavy Demolition Ship
Cannon galleon aoe2DE Cannon Galleon · Elite cannon galleon aoe2de Elite Cannon Galleon
AoE2 Dromon Dromon
ReligiousMissionaryIcon-DE Missionary · AoE2 WarriorPriest Warrior Priest
InfantryBerserkIcon-DE Berserk · Aoe2de Chakram Chakram Thrower · CondottieroIcon-DE Condottiero · Aoe2-icon-flemish-militia Flemish Militia · GbetoIcon-DE Gbeto · Aoe2de Ghulam Ghulam · HuskarlIcon-DE Huskarl · JaguarWarriorIcon-DE Jaguar Warrior · KamayukIcon-DE Kamayuk · Karambitwarrioricon-DE Karambit Warrior · AoE2 DE Legionary new icon Legionary · Aoe2-icon--obuch Obuch · SamuraiIcon-DE Samurai · Aoe2-icon-serjeant Serjeant · Shotelwarrioricon-DE Shotel Warrior · TeutonicKnightIcon-DE Teutonic Knight · ThrowingAxemanIcon-DE Throwing Axeman · Aoe2de Urumi Urumi Swordsman · AoE2 WarriorPriest Warrior Priest · WoadRaiderIcon-DE Woad Raider
ArcherArambaiicon-DE Arambai · CamelArcherIcon-DE Camel Archer · ChukoNuIcon-DE Chu Ko Nu · AoE2 CompositeBowman Composite Bowman · ConquistadorIcon-DE Conquistador · GenitourIcon-DE Genitour · GenoeseCrossbowmanIcon-DE Genoese Crossbowman · Imperialskirmishericon-DE Imperial Skirmisher · JanissaryIcon-DE Janissary · Kipchakicon Kipchak · LongbowmanIcon-DE Longbowman · MangudaiIcon-DE Mangudai · PlumedArcherIcon-DE Plumed Archer · Aoe2de ratha ranged Ranged Ratha · Rattanarchericon-DE Rattan Archer · SlingerIcon-DE Slinger · WarWagonIcon-DE War Wagon
CavalryBallistaelephanticon-DE Ballista Elephant · BoyarIcon-DE Boyar · Aoe2de camel scout Camel Scout · CataphractIcon-DE Cataphract · Aoe2de roman unique centurion icon Centurion · Aoe2-icon-coustillier Coustillier · Flaming camel icon Flaming Camel · ImperialCamelRiderIcon-DE Imperial Camel Rider · Keshikicon Keshik · Konnikicon Konnik · Leitisicon Leitis · MagyarHuszarIcon-DE Magyar Huszar · MamelukeIcon-DE Mameluke · AoE2 Monaspa Monaspa · Aoe2de ratha melee Melee Ratha · AoE2 Savar Savar · Aoe2de shrivamsha rider Shrivamsha Rider · TarkanIcon-DE Tarkan · WarElephantIcon-DE War Elephant · Aoe2-icon-winged-hussar Winged Hussar
SiegeAoe2-icon--houfnice Houfnice · Aoe2-icon-hussite-wagon Hussite Wagon · OrganGunIcon-DE Organ Gun
War shipCaravelIcon-DE Caravel · LongboatIcon-DE Longboat · Aoe2de Thirisadai Thirisadai · TurtleShipIcon-DE Turtle Ship