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The Merchant Ship is a trade vessel in Age of Empires available in the Bronze Age. It is the upgrade of the Trade Boat.


The Merchant Ship allows players to trade other resources for gold at another player’s Dock in exchange for any of the other three resources.

Boats are more resistant to conversions than regular units. Minoan naval units cost -30% and Yamato get +20% HP while Palmyran trade vessels get more gold per ship. The upgrade requires 200 food and 75 wood and increases the HP by 50 and the speed from 2.0 to 2.5.

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Greeks: Merchant Ships move 20% faster.
  • Macedonians: Merchant Ships are four times more resistant against conversion.
  • Minoans: Merchant Ships are 30% cheaper.
  • Palmyrans: Merchant Ships provide twice as much gold per trip.
  • Yamato: Merchant Ships have +20% hit points.


As civilization spread around the Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean, and China Sea, larger trading ships came into use to carry bulk cargoes such as olive oil from Greece, cedar wood from Lebanon, grain from Egypt, and rice from China. Typical ancient Merchant Ships had keels and were built of planks, but did not have interior framing. They carried a single mast for a mainsail and were steered with a large paddle. Their broad beam allowed for cargoes far beyond those of dugout canoes. Recent underwater discoveries of ancient merchant ships indicate they had good sailing qualities and required only a small crew.
—the Age of Empires manual