Gold is one of the four primary resources the player must collect in Age of Empires, Age of Empires II, and Age of Mythology. In Age of Empires III, it is replaced by the coin resource. Gold is used for creating most units and upgrades and is a precious resource which becomes more important as the game progresses.
In all the games in the series that have gold as a resource, a small number of Gold Mines (or Jade Mines in Tale of the Dragon) are usually found around the map. These can be mined by Villagers for gold.
There are also alternative ways to collect gold, depending on each game's gameplay elements.
Age of Empires
Age of Empires II
Trade Carts travel between markets to generate gold. The farther the distance between the two markets, the more gold is generated.
Trade Cogs travel between docks to generate gold. The farther the distance between the two docks, the more gold is generated.
Unlike in Age of Empires, trade does not require resources to be spent aside from the initial cost of the Trade Cart or Trade Cog.
The Spanish team bonus increases the amount of gold returned by trade units by 33% (Now 25%), and also in The Forgotten, the Indian unique technology, Sultans, allows Trade Carts to produce 10% more gold.
The Market allows the player to sell food, wood, or stone for gold. However, this includes a 30% fee and each time a resource is sold, the price of that resource will be lowered for all players. For many civilizations, the 30% fee can be reduced to 15% by researching Guilds. The Saracens have a reduction of the trading fee to 5% as one of their civilization bonuses.
Relics can be picked up by Monks and put into a player's Monastery, where they will slowly generate gold. The Aztec team bonus increases relic gold generation by 33%. Also the Indians unique technology, Sultans, allows Relics to generate 10% more gold.
Several civilizations have unique technologies that give a one-time payment of gold upon researching them. The Vietnamese Imperial Age technology Paper Money grants a payment of 500 gold for the researcher and their teammates, the Sicilian Imperial Age technology Scutage grants them and their team 15 gold per military unit in their possession, while the Burgundians' Castle Age technology Burgundian Vineyards converts half of the food in their stockpile to gold at a 2/1 ratio, and as an added bonus, Villagers working on Farms produce a small trickle of gold.
Unique units for Tatars that generate gold when attacking enemy units (but not buildings).
Unique buildings for Portuguese that generate resources (including gold).
Age of Mythology
Caravans can be built at the market and sent to any allied Town Center. When they return they supply gold; the further away the town center, the more gold they obtain.
The Ring of Nibelung relic provides a trickle of gold if brought to one of your temples by a hero unit.
The same resource-trading system from Age of Empires II exists here as well.
- Dwarven Mine (Thor) can create a mine in a location specified by the player.
- Plenty (Hephaestus) gives a trickle of all resources (except favor).
- Prosperity (Isis) accelerates the gold production for a period.
Age of Empires
The only way to effectively obtain gold is by mining it, as merchant ships will only exchange some amount of one resource for gold. Gold is the most valuable resource in the game since most of the heavy military units require it with the following exceptions: Axeman, Scythe Chariot, Chariot Archer, Bowman, Scout, Trireme and Slinger. Since the gold will inevitably run out before food, wood, and even stone, civilizations with bonuses that benefit units that require gold must try to end the game early since in the late game the only way to obtain gold is by trading and this implies resource interchange.
Age of Empires II
Gold is scarce and it is a common competitive tactic to raid the enemy Mining Camps to disrupt the opponent's gold mining and prevent them from making gold-heavy units. This makes scouting gold deposits early in the game important so they can be easily found later on.
Unless allied players have set up trade, gold will inevitably run out before food or wood. Gold is required to create the game's most powerful units, such as Paladins, siege weapons, and unique units, so a player with gold available to them will have a huge advantage over a player without. Of the units that require gold, infantry units tend to cost the least per unit.
The three unit lines which cost no gold are known as "trash units". When fully upgraded, these are the Halberdier, the Hussar, and the Elite Skirmisher. They form the bulk of players' armies when gold is scarce late game.
Whether gold is available in the late game can have a huge impact on the viability of certain civilizations: for example, the Turks have very weak trash units, and so are extremely dependent on gold in order to be strong in the late game. The Byzantines, however, excel at trash wars due to their cheaper trash.
Cheats to obtain gold
- Age of Empires: Coinage + 1,000 gold
- Age of Empires II: Robin Hood + 1,000 gold (10,000 in the Definitive Edition)
- Age of Mythology: ATM OF EREBUS + 1,000 gold