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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires III. For the unit in Age of Empires II, see Longbowman (Age of Empires II).

Archaic long-ranged archer. Good against infantry.
—In-game description

The Longbowman is an archer in Age of Empires III that is unique to the British, which replaces the Crossbowman, and can be trained at Barracks, Fort, and Galleon.


British Longbowmen possess a powerful long range attack and fast rate of fire. Longbowmen can be useful raiding units in the early game due to their range, which is one of the highest in the game, and high damage output. Archaic yet effective, these skilled archers are more expensive than Crossbowmen but shoot twice as fast.

However, most bow units such as the Longbows have to set up and draw for 0.98 seconds before firing, as compared to the 0.45-0.49 of most ranged units. This makes it more difficult for these British units to maneuver and fire at the same time. Another drawback is that they are an archaic unit like the Crossbowmen and Pikemen, so they cannot be upgraded beyond Veteran level unless the "Yeomen" Home City Card is sent, which will unlock the Guard and Imperial upgrades; in the Definitive Edition, the upgrades are always available. This option can be a alternative comparable to rifle-wielding Skirmishers in the midgame, although there are sizeable downsides because Longbowmen are less durable and do not benefit from anti-infantry multipliers or rifle upgrades from the Arsenal (Counter Infantry Rifling, Flint Lock, or Paper Cartridge).

There are two more civilization-based considerations that affect their strategy. Their wood cost can interfere with spending the same resource on a Manor boom strategy, particularly as wood is usually a slow resource to gather. Additionally, Longbowmen lack the 15% Damage, Hitpoint and Combat upgrade cards available to the Musketeer. Especially in the Imperial Age, it may be better to simply outnumber the enemy with Musketeers rather than rely on these bow units.

Longbowmen are effective against enemy infantry units such as Musketeers and melee infantry, but actually most capable against Ranged Cavalry. They generally lose to melee cavalry and artillery units. Properly guarded by Redcoat Musketeers from cavalry, the bowmen can inflict major damage on enemy troops from afar. They have a range of 22 (26 with the Yeomen card), giving them the second longest range of any infantry in the game (For comparison, Musketeers have half the range at 12 units, and only the Aztec Arrow Knight has a longer range at 30). This allows them to strike Settlers from afar.


Age Upgrade Cost Effect
Age III tech tree aoe3.png
Veteran archer.png Veteran Longbowmen 200 wood,
200 coin
Upgrade Longbowmen to Veteran (+20% hit points and attack)
Age IV tech tree aoe 3.png
Guard archer.png Guard Longbowmen 600 wood,
600 coin
Upgrade Longbowmen to Guard (+30% hit points and attack); requires the "Yeomen" Home City Card and Veteran Longbowmen
Imperial Age
Imperial archer.png Imperial Longbowmen 1,500 wood,
1,500 coin
Upgrade Longbowmen to Imperial (+50% hit points and attack, +0.25× multiplier vs. heavy infantry); requires the "Yeomen" Home City Card and Guard Longbowmen

Further statistics[]

As Longbowmen are unique to the British, only technologies that they have access to are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Heavy infantry, light cavalry, Eagle Runner Knights
Weak vs. Heavy cavalry, Coyote Runners, artillery
Hit points Infantry Breastplate.png Infantry Breastplate (+10%)
Thin Red Line.png Thin Red Line (+20%)
Cree Tanning.png Cree Tanning (+5%)
Navajo Weaving.png Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Attack Carib Kasiri Beer.png Carib Kasiri Beer (+10%)
Carib Garifuna Drums.png Carib Garifuna Drums (+1.0x multiplier vs. villagers)
Iroquois lacrosse.png Iroquois Lacrosse (+10%, vanilla Age of Empires III only)
Seminole Bowyer.png Seminole Bowyer (+25%)
Tupi Poison Arrow Frogs.png Tupi Poison Arrow Frogs (+10%)
Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Clenched Fist.png Clenched Fist (+30% melee attack)
Somali jile daggers.png Somali Jile Daggers (-35% melee attack ROF)
Armor Somali oryx shields.png Somali Oryx Hide Shields (additional 10% melee/ranged resistance)
Speed Military Drummers.png Military Drummers (+10%)
Inca Road-building.png Quechuan Mountaineering (+20%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Akan Drums.png Akan Fontomfrom (+5%)
Sight Town Watch.png Town Watch (+2)
Creation speed Standing Army.png Standing Army (-25%)
Inca Chaquis Messengers.png Quechuan Diet (-25%)
Akan Drums.png Akan Fontomfrom (-20%)
Other Merritocracy.png Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)
Penalties Thin Red Line.png Thin Red Line (-25% speed)

Home City Cards[]

As Longbowmen are unique to the British, only their cards and other civilizations' TEAM cards are shown in the following tables:


Age of Empires III[]

  • Guard and Imperial Longbowmen upgrades require the "Yeomen" Home City Card.
  • Longbowmen have 24 LOS.

Definitive Edition[]

  • Guard and Imperial Longbowmen upgrades no longer require the "Yeomen" Home City Card.
  • With update 20322, the Imperial Longbowmen upgrade grants +0.25x multiplier vs Heavy Infantry.
  • With update 43871, Longbowmen have 26 LOS.


Used from the Neolithic Age up to middle of the seventeenth century, the bow fell out of use as early firearms and crossbows eclipsed them. Even though a good longbowman could fire an arrow every five seconds and volleys of arrows darkened the sky, eventually the savings in speed and time to manufacture firearms and train soldiers in their use outweighed the superior range and rate of fire of longbows. Add to this that rulers wanted to be on the cutting edge of warfare technologies so their armies would seem relevant and fashionable, and the longbow's days were numbered.

The Welsh longbow, which the English longbow is based on, was a yew staff of about six feet with a string of plant fibers or silk. It could take between two and four years to make a proper longbow, and a lifetime of practice to train a longbowman.