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This article is about the building in Age of Empires II. For the building in other games of the series, see Guard Tower.

Stronger than Watch Tower, with greater fighting ability.
Age of Empires II description

The Guard Tower is a tower in Age of Empires II that becomes available once the Castle Age is reached. Guard Towers are good against infantry and archers, but are quickly overpowered by siege weapons and cavalry charges.

Guard Towers are available to all civilizations except for the CumansGoths, Huns, and Sicilians.

Tactics and placement[]

This upgrade is well worth it over the Watch Tower. It increases hit points by 480, which makes it much more durable, as well as increasing melee armour by +1 and attack by +2. It does not cost any Stone that would otherwise detract from building more towers, although this does require a sizeable amount of wood, partially because of the requirement for a University. Consider also researching Masonry at the same building for further increased armor and hit points.

Towers are an essential part of any kind of fortification. Guard Towers are very useful and valuable for defending the player's settlement against enemy raiding parties. Turtling strategies usually require the use of several Guard Towers among the use of walls and Castles in order to create a strong fortification. Guard Towers should be placed in choke points to make them more effective or behind cliffs or forests. Guard Towers also work better if placed within the range of each other or within the range of a friendly Castle since both buildings will provide cover fire for each other. Also using walls and Gates will protect them to some extent from rams. In maps like Archipelago or Islands it is a wise idea to have several Guard Towers near the shoreline in order to take down potentially dangerous enemy fleets and give some support to the player's own fleet near the coast.

Offensively, Guard Towers can also be used for front line support as in a retreat they can hold troops that can be healed once garrisoned and they also provide cover fire for offensively placed military buildings if they are placed near an enemy location. In this regard they are better than a Castle since they are cheaper and are built quicker.

Guard Towers are highly vulnerable to long range siege units and rams, so to protect them the player should have melee cavalry near to their fortifications, or some Fire Ships that can deal with the Cannon Galleons in case of towers placed near the shore. Garrisoned foot archers and Villagers increase the number of arrows Guard Towers fire, thus increasing the damage. Up to five (10 for the Teutons) foot-soldiers (infantry and archers, although infantry do not increase the firepower) may be garrisoned in a Guard Tower. Garrisoned units slowly regenerate lost hit points.

Further statistics[]

Building strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Ships, archers, weak melee units
Weak vs. Siege weapons, Tarkans, Huskarls, War Elephants, Cannon Galleons
Hit points Masonry aoe2de.png Masonry (+10%)
ArchitectureDE.png Architecture (+10%)
CastleAgeUnique.png Great Wall (+30%, Chinese only)
Attack FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
ChemistryDE.png Chemistry (+1)
ArrowSlitsDE.png Arrowslits (+2)
HeatedShotDE.png Heated Shot (+125% attack against ships)
CastleAgeUnique.png Yeomen (+2, Britons only)
CastleAgeUnique.png Yasama (adds two extra arrows, Japanese only)
Range FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
CastleAgeUnique.png Eupseong (+2, Koreans only)
MurderHolesDE.png Murder Holes (eliminates minimum range)
Firing rate CastleAgeUnique.png Stronghold (+25%, Celts only)
Accuracy BallisticsDE.png Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Armor Masonry aoe2de.png Masonry (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
ArchitectureDE.png Architecture (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
Line of Sight TownWatchDE.png Town Watch (+4)
TownPatrolDE.png Town Patrol (+4)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy
Construction speed TreadmillCraneDE.png Treadmill Crane (+20%)
Other HerbalDE.png Herbal Medicine (garrisoned units heal faster),
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Crenellations (enables garrisoned infantry to shoot arrows, Teutons only)
Upgrades Tower aoe2de.png Keep

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonuses[]


The Age of Kings[]

  • Guard Towers have 6 attack.
  • The upgrade to the Keep costs 500F/350S.
  • Guard Towers cost 25W/125S.
  • Guard Towers have an attack bonus of +9 against camels because they share an armor class with ships.

The Conquerors[]

The Forgotten[]

The African Kingdoms[]

  • Camels are moved out of the ship armor class, and Guard Towers lose their attack bonus against them. They now have +1 attack against them.
  • Arrowslits introduced. Initially, it becomes available in the Castle Age and gives Guard Towers +4 attack. With patch 4.8, Arrowslits moved to the Imperial Age and now gives +2 attack.
  • Japanese: With patch 4.8, Yasama now gives Guard Towers two additional arrows.

Rise of the Rajas[]

  • Guard Towers now cost 50W/125S.
  • Koreans: With patch 5.8, Guard Towers are now built 5% faster.

Definitive Edition[]


  • The Guard Tower model of the Native American civilizations is inspired by the Palace Observation Tower in Palenque.
  • All Guard Towers have a square base except the Western European version, which is octogonal, and the Central Asian version, which is round.
  • The Central European Guard Tower doesn't have a snow variant.


The defensive tower continued to evolve during the Middle Ages by getting stronger, taller, and better designed for fighting defense. Whereas some earlier watch towers had been square, guard towers were usually round to eliminate a sharp corner that could be knocked off. Fighting positions at the top of a guard tower were improved to protect defenders. Hoardings extended out from the top, allowing defenders to reach the bottom of the guard tower with missiles. Entrances to guard towers were made more elaborate and more easily defendable.
Age of Empires II manual