|“||Stronger than Guard Tower. Fires farther and is better armored.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
The Keep is a tower in Age of Empires II that becomes available once the Imperial Age is reached. Keeps are useful against infantry and archers, but are not effective against siege weapons and most cavalry.
The * indicates that the civilization can fully upgrade their Keeps, i.e. gets Bracer, Arrowslits, Architecture, and Heated Shot. Faith and Heresy are not taken into account because they only contribute to their combat strength in a very situational manner.
Tactics and placement
Towers are an essential part of any kind of fortification. Keeps are very useful and valuable for defending the player's settlement against enemy raiding parties. Turtling strategies usually require the use of several Keeps among the use of walls and Castles in order to create a strong fortification. Keeps should be placed in choke points to make them more effective or behind cliffs or forests. Keeps 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. 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 Keeps 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, Keeps 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.
Keeps 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 Keeps placed near the shore.
Garrisoned foot archers and Villagers increase the number of arrows Keeps 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 Keep. Garrisoned units slowly regenerate lost hit points.
If running for a Relic or Wonder victory, Keeps become a helpful tool to defend the Wonder or the Monasteries holding Relics, but the player will also require the support of several Castles, walls, and other military structures. Also, the player must have sufficient numbers of troops (especially cavalry) for countering enemy siege units.
|Building strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Ships, archers, weak melee units|
|Weak vs.||Siege weapons, Tarkans, Huskarls, War Elephants, Cannon Galleons|
|Hit points|| Masonry (+10%)|
Great Wall (+30%, Chinese only)
|Attack|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
Arrowslits ( )
Heated Shot (+125% attack against ships)
Yeomen (+2, Britons only)
Yasama (adds extra arrows, Japanese only)
|Range|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
Murder Holes (eliminates minimum range)
Eupseong (+2, Koreans only)
|Firing rate||Stronghold (+25%, Celts only)|
|Accuracy||Ballistics (hit moving targets)|
|Armor|| Masonry (+1/+1, +3 building armor)|
Architecture (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
|Line of Sight|| Town Watch (+4)|
Town Patrol (+4)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
|Construction speed||Treadmill Crane (+20%)|
|Other|| Herbal Medicine (garrisoned units heal faster)|
Crenellations (enables garrisoned infantry to shoot arrows, Teutons only)
- Burmese: Researching Faith and Herbal Medicine is 50% cheaper.
- Byzantines: Keeps have +40% HP. Town Watch is free.
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit Keeps are 20% cheaper.
- Incas: Keeps cost 15% less stone.
- Italians: The Keep upgrade is 33% cheaper.
- Koreans: The Keep upgrade is free.
- Malians: Keeps cost 15% less wood.
- Portuguese: Technologies that benefit Keeps are researched 30% faster.
- Spanish: Keeps are built 30% faster.
- Teutons: Keeps can garrison up to 10 units. Murder Holes and Herbal Medicine are free.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Keeps are researched faster.
- A team containing Ethiopians: Keeps have +3 Line of Sight.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Faith and Heresy are researched 20% faster.
- A team containing Malians: University technologies that benefit Keeps are researched 80% faster.
The Age of Kings
- Keeps cost 25W/125S.
- Keeps have 7 attack.
- Keeps have an attack bonus of +10 against camels because they share an armor class with ships.
- Keeps gain an attack bonus of +2 against Spearmen.
- Herbal Medicine introduced.
- Heresy introduced.
- Britons: Yeomen introduced.
- Teutons: Crenellations introduced.
- Keeps now have 8 attack.
- Celts: Stronghold introduced.
- Incas: Cannot build Keeps.
- Japanese: Yasama introduced. It gives Keeps three additional arrows.
- Koreans: Keeps are now built 33% faster.
The African Kingdoms
- Camels are moved out of the ship armor class, and Keeps lose their attack bonus against them. They now have +1 attack against them.
- Arrowslits introduced. Initially, it gives Keeps +6 attack. With patch 4.8, Arrowslits now gives +3 attack.
- Incas: Keep added to the technology tree.
- Japanese: With patch 4.8, Yasama now gives Keeps two additional arrows.
Rise of the Rajas
- Keeps now cost 50W/125S.
- Koreans: With patch 5.8, Keeps are now built 5% faster.
- Koreans: Keeps are no longer built faster.
- The Keep model of the Native American civilizations is inspired by the Palace Observation Tower in Palenque.
- The description of the Keep states it fires farther than its predecessors. However, that is wrong, all towers of the Watch Tower line have the same range.
- All Keeps have a square base except the Western European version, which is octagonal, the Mediterranean version which is also octagonal, and the Central Asian version, which is round.
- Because Indians, Cumans, and Tatars lack access to the Keep, the South Asian and Central Asian Keeps appear only in Full Tech Tree games and campaigns.
|“||The central and strongest building inside a castle was called the keep. This was the last bastion of defense inside if the walls and outside towers were taken. The remaining defenders withdrew into the keep for the final defense. The keep was a mini-castle often constructed in place of a castle to cut expenses. Although much smaller than castles, keeps could perform the same function on a smaller scale. They were very difficult to capture except by a large and well-equipped army.||”|
|Buildings in Age of Empires II|
|House · Monastery · Wonder|
|Economic||Town Center · Dock · Fish Trap · Mill · Farm · Market · Lumber Camp · Mining Camp · Feitoria|
|Research||Blacksmith · University|
|Barracks · Archery Range · Stable · Siege Workshop · Castle · Harbor · Krepost · Donjon|
|Tower||Outpost · Watch Tower · Guard Tower · Keep · Bombard Tower|
|Wall||Palisade Wall · Stone Wall · Fortified Wall · Palisade Gate · Gate|