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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For the unit in other games of the series, see Longbowman.

British unique archer with very long range.
Age of Empires II description

The Longbowman is the unique unit of the Britons in Age of Empires II. It is a foot archer with extra attack.

Longbowmen can be upgraded to Elite Longbowmen in the Imperial Age.


Longbowmen and Briton Arbalesters function very similarly. As such, the tactics apply to both of them unless stated otherwise.

Like all archer units, Longbowmen work best in a group. While a single Longbowman does not present much of a threat, a group can be a deadly force as they can mow down opposing forces from long range before they can even attack. Longbowmen firing from behind walls can prove valuable for base defense.

With the protection of infantry or cavalry, Briton foot archers can hold their ground against most units, taking a fearful toll of enemy troops while supporting the frontliners. A group of them can also perform hit-and-run techniques, killing the closest enemy while backing up constantly. Of course, they cannot do that as effectively as Cavalry Archers, and will struggle especially against cavalry.

Since the Britons lack Thumb Ring, they fire slower than other civilizations' archers and lack the 100% accuracy, which can be a considerable disadvantage. On the other hand, when focus-firing individual targets as a group, lacking Thumb Ring can prevent overkilling a target. Most arrows will strike their target, while stray arrows may damage nearby enemies. This inaccuracy can grant Briton foot archers a weak Area of Effect-like attack.

When facing massed heavy siege weapons like Siege Onagers or Heavy Scorpions, archers' long range can be used to destroy one siege weapon at a time, instead of letting them fire at will. Otherwise, once the siege engines come into firing range, they will quickly flatten the archers with a few shots.

A group of Briton foot archers can be used as a siege option if the player is teamed with a Saracen, as the archers get additional attack bonus against standard buildings and can take them down more quickly while also outranging them. Teutonic Castles, Korean Keeps, and Turkish Bombard Towers are the only defensive structures capable of returning fire. Still, Trebuchets should always be brought to sieges, especially since Warwolf was introduced in The Forgotten.

Regular Longbowmen have the same range as Crossbowmen, but their Elite counterpart comes with +1 attack, range, and pierce armor in comparison to the Arbalester. Furthering their range with Blacksmith upgrades, Yeomen, and the Briton civilization bonus (+1 range in the Castle Age and another +1 in the Imperial Age for +2 in total), Elite Longbowmen can get as much as 12 range, an unprecedented value among archer units. It enables them to outrange Castles, towers, Onagers, Galleons, as well as all other archer units. The extra attack and range advantage is nice to have, but due to needing Castles and the Britons having faster-working Archery Ranges, the Longbowmen are harder to mass and are used only in the very late game, when the players have sufficient Castles.


As archers, Longbowmen have the typical weaknesses. Without protection, they are easily overpowered by mass cavalry, Huskarls, Ghulams, and Eagle Warrior charges.

Rattan Archers, Elite Skirmishers, and Genitours are of course an issue as well, despite the fact that the Longbowmen can by far outrange them.

And, of course, siege weapons are a heavy threat, but the Longbowmen fare far better against them than all other archers, especially when massed, because they can take them out (apart from Bombard Cannons) from a safe distance without coming under fire.

Rams are also effective against Longbowmen, as the player can put them between their own Skirmishers/archers and the enemy, thereby soaking up the damage (as units auto attack the nearest foe). This is most useful in late-game combat with large armies on both sides; players generally will not order their archers to focus-fire individual targets at this point, since there will be too much overkill.

Coustilliers are a great threat to Longbowmen because of their charge attack. While Coustilliers cannot strike Longbowmen down in one hit, they will greatly wound them.

Comparison with similar units[]

LongbowmanIcon-DE Longbowman line Archer aoe2DE Archer line
Training cost 35 wood, 40 gold 25 wood, 45 gold
Training time 18 seconds 24.55 seconds
Attack Delay 0.5 0.35
Attack bonus +2 vs Spearman +3 vs Spearman
CastleageDE Castle Age LongbowmanIcon-DE Longbowman Crossbowman aoe2DE Crossbowman
Attack 6 5
Range 6 6
Accuracy 70% 85%
Armor 0/0 0/0
Upgrade Cost
and Time
850 food, 850 gold
60 seconds
450 food, 400 gold
45.45 seconds
ImperialageDE Imperial Age LongbowmanIcon-DE Elite Longbowman Arbalester aoe2DE Arbalester
Attack 7 6
Range 8 7
Accuracy 80% 90%
Armor 0/1 0/0
  • Rate of fire - 2
  • Movement speed - 0.96
  • Hit points - CastleageDE 35, ImperialageDE 40
  • Total attack vs Spearmen - CastleageDE 8, ImperialageDE 9

Further statistics[]

As Longbowmen are unique to the Britons, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Infantry, archers
Weak vs. Elite Skirmishers, siege weapons, Coustilliers, Huskarls, Eagle Warriors, Genitours, Rattan Archers, Ghulams
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)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Yeomen (+1)
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)
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 Longbowman

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Britons AoE2 Britons: Longbowmen have +1/+2 range in the Castle/Imperial Age.

Team bonuses[]


AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of Kings[]

  • Longbowmen train in 19 seconds.

AoE2-DLCicon-1 The Conquerors[]

  • Longbowmen gain an attack bonus of +2 against Spearmen.
  • Yeomen introduced. It is available in the Imperial Age.

AoE2-DLCicon-2 The Forgotten[]

  • Longbowmen train in 18 seconds.
  • Yeomen moved to the Castle Age.


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


  • Medieval English longbows took a lot of strength to draw due to their very high draw weights: ranging from 100-200 lbs, with the average bow between 120-160 lbs. These draw weights accounted for the longbow's incredible power in battle.
  • The Longbowmen in Age of Empires II are erroneously depicted wearing quivers on their backs, when in fact historical English Longbowmen placed their arrow bags behind their waists or simply stuffed arrows in their belts (but never wore them on their backs).
  • The Longbowman was the only unique archer whose civilization did not have access to Thumb Ring until the introduction of the Composite Bowman in The Mountain Royals.
  • Longbowmen were the archers of England and Wales, boasting powerful damage and a very long range. These soldiers were often instrumental for their victory.


The longbow was very tall, 5 or 6 feet long, and crafted from a single piece of wood, commonly yew. It fired 3-foot-long arrows at a great range and, in the hands of an expert, could be extremely accurate. Edward I (Longshanks) of England grasped the value of this weapon and the English thereafter employed large contingents of longbowmen in their Middle Age armies. All sports other than archery were banned on Sundays in Britain to ensure that archers practiced. The long bow was used effectively in long-range barrages against massed troops, firing thin pointed arrows called bodkins that could pierce armor. Arrows were fired simultaneously by thousands of archers and aimed at a distant area rather than a specific target. Enemy troops within the area were forced to receive the barrage with no cover but their armor and shields. The barrage caused casualties and reduced enemy morale. The most famous examples of this tactic were the great English victories at Crécy, Poitiers, and Agincourt during the Hundred Years War. French knights recalled with horror the awful sound of thousands of arrows in flight and the sky turning dark from their shafts.
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings manual


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