Age of Empires Series Wiki
Strategy micro prev

Micromanagement (known as micro) is a strategy element that involves selecting specific types of units and using them carefully to execute specific maneuverings. It is a difficult but important skill to master, as it allows a player to greatly reduce their casualties and defeat their opponents with a minimally sized army. This is as opposed to macromanagement, which consists of managing units on the scale of every unit.

In all games throughout the series, it is an important skill, but particularly to civilizations that handle fast or tricky units (especially if they are fragile or easily countered, e.g. by spear/pike/bayonet units), such as cavalry, and to ones that possess unconventional traits.

Villager micromanagement is another vital element to consider, as it, if executed properly, greatly reduces Villager idle time which increases the overall resource generation rate. The less time Villagers walk or idle the more time they spend gathering/building. Therefore, it is important to always check for idle Villagers (best done with the assigned shortcut) and make sure that drop-off points are not far from the gathered resource. Furthermore, it should be made sure that Villagers do not clutter and slow themselves down. It can be more effective to work a Gold Mine with 10 Villagers than with 20.

Buildings are another element to consider here, as they, too, want to be busy, especially Town Centers. In the early stages of the game, it is crucial to keep the Town Center working at all times.


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By focus firing, ranged units can quickly eliminate enemy units. It is better to eliminate units one-by-one, as a dead enemy is unable to deal any damage. Ranged units should ideally be moving between shots, especially against melee units, where they can fire while taking little damage. Attack delay is a big factor in the effectiveness of ranged units in this context.

When facing ranged units, using the flank formation makes it possible to quickly avoid projectiles, especially slow projectiles like the Mangonel's.

Micromanagement greatly favors not only ranged units, but also fast units. This is because faster units can both force fights and avoid fights against slower units.

AoE2-DLCicon-0 Age of Empires II[]

Cavalry archers

Heavy Cavalry Archers, an example of micro-intensive units

Several units greatly benefit from micromanagement.

  • Crossbowmen and other archers, as they will otherwise be countered by enemy cavalry, particularly Knights.
  • Cavalry units and mounted archers, which need to be able to maneuver around enemy Spearmen-line units.
  • Monks, with their very powerful ability to convert enemy units from range, but have low durability and a high cost.
  • Coustilliers, as they have a high charge attack but a low damage output when engaged in combat for an extended duration.
  • Rathas, with their ability to change between melee and ranged mode, allows them to adapt to the enemy.

In addition, some civilizations have "double-edged sword" civilization bonuses that require good micromanagement to use to the fullest effect and can backfire on the player if used improperly.

  • Chinese AoE2 Chinese : Start with -200 food, -50 wood, and three extra Villagers.
  • Cumans AoE2 Cumans: Can build a second Town Center in the Feudal Age.
  • Khmer AoE2 Khmer: Can build any building or advance to the next Age without the prerequisite.
  • Saracens AoE2 Saracens: Can use their Market to exchange resources with minimal cost.

3Icon48px Age of Empires III[]


An example of micro-intensive civilization: Sioux warband and Teepees

  • Flag OttomanDE Ottomans: They are considered by many people the most difficult civilization to properly play, due to their longer, automatic "spawning" of Settlers, their limited if powerful selection of units, their population limits on Settlers and their dependence on artillery (making them highly vulnerable to Culverins). Sipahis are sent from their Home City, artillery are available earlier and Mosques are mandatory to exploit their quirks, meaning micro is imperative.
  • Flag PortugueseDE Portuguese: A lack of Settler cards plus free Covered Wagons means that while they have a harder start, once they reach the Fortress Age, they can potentially use many tricks up their sleeve, such as placing Town Centers close to waterways (gunning down thus Fishing Boats and other unlucky ships) or strike enemies with Organ Guns and early Dragoon rushes. They also require micromanagement for other reasons: a Portuguese Explorer (mind, 3 can be brought from the Home City) should abuse his Spyglass ability correctly to spy accurately an enemy, whereas Cassadores are really strong offensively (and tough at range), but also frail at melee and easily dispatched by artillery.
  • Flag SiouxDE Lakota: Not needing to build Houses (as they start with 200 population) may make the Lakota seem simple to play, but their lack of walls, high dependence on natural resources and their cavalry-oriented (if still balanced) forces, as well as the auras their War Chief and Teepees provide, mean they are one of the most difficult to play civilizations in the entire game. On top of that, certain of their units, namely the Tashunke Prowler and Rifle Rider, have certain quirks that require much mirco; Rifle Riders have the best ROF of all ranged units, but struggle against light ranged cavalry, whereas Prowlers need to be in groups and sneaky in order to be effective.

GameIcon-AoE4 Age of Empires IV[]

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Strategy pages in the Age of Empires series
Blitzkrieg · Boom · Build order · Castle drop · Containment · Deathball · Indirect approach · Map control · Micromanagement · Rush · Sling/Springboard · Support · Tower control · Trash pile · Turtle
Age of Empires
ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of Empires Assyrians AoE Assyrians · Babylonians AoE Babylonians · Choson AoE Choson · Egyptians AoE Egyptians · Greeks AoE Greeks · Hittites AoE Hittites · Minoans AoE Minoans · Persians AoE Persians · Phoenicians AoE Phoenicians · Shang AoE Shang · Sumerians AoE Sumerians · Yamato AoE Yamato
RomeIcon The Rise of Rome Carthaginians AoE Carthaginians · Macedonians AoE Macedonians · Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans · Romans AoE Romans
AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome Lac Viet AoE Lac Viet
Age of Empires II
AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of Kings Britons AoE2 Britons · Byzantines AoE2 Byzantines · Celts AoE2 Celts · Chinese AoE2 Chinese · Franks AoE2 Franks · Goths AoE2 Goths · Japanese AoE2 Japanese · Mongols AoE2 Mongols · Persians AoE2 Persians · Saracens AoE2 Saracens · Teutons AoE2 Teutons · Turks AoE2 Turks · Vikings AoE2 Vikings
AoE2-DLCicon-1 The Conquerors Aztecs AoE2 Aztecs · Huns AoE2 Huns · Koreans AoE2 Koreans · Mayans AoE2 Mayans · Spanish AoE2 Spanish
AoE2-DLCicon-2 The Forgotten Incas AoE2 Incas · Indians AoE2 Indians (legacy) · Italians AoE2 Italians · Magyars AoE2 Magyars · Slavs AoE2 Slavs
AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African Kingdoms Berbers AoE2 Berbers · Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians · Malians AoE2 Malians · Portuguese AoE2 Portuguese
AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the Rajas Burmese AoE2 Burmese · Khmer AoE2 Khmer · Malay AoE2 Malay · Vietnamese AoE2 Vietnamese
AoE2-DLCicon-5 The Last Khans Bulgarians AoE2 Bulgarians · Cumans AoE2 Cumans · Lithuanians AoE2 Lithuanians · Tatars AoE2 Tatars
AoE2Icon-LordsWest Lords of the West Burgundians AoE2 Burgundians · Sicilians AoE2 Sicilians
Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the Dukes Bohemians AoE2 Bohemians · Poles AoE2 Poles
AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of India Bengalis AoE2 Bengalis · Dravidians AoE2 Dravidians · Gurjaras AoE2 Gurjaras · Hindustanis AoE2 Hindustanis
AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome Romans AoE2 Romans
AoE2Icon-MountainRoyals The Mountain Royals Armenians AoE2 Armenians · Georgians AoE2 Georgians
Age of Mythology
Greeks Greeks HadesIcon Hades · PoseidonIcon Poseidon · ZeusIcon Zeus
Egyptians Egyptians IsisIcon Isis · RaIcon Ra · SetIcon Set
NorsePortrait Norse LokiIcon Loki · OdinIcon Odin · ThorIcon Thor
AtlanteanPortrait Atlanteans GaiaIcon Gaia · KronosIcon Kronos · OranosIcon Oranos
Chinese Chinese FuXiIcon Fu Xi · NuWaIcon Nü Wa · ShennongIcon Shennong
Age of Empires III
3Icon48px Age of Empires III Flag BritishDE British · Flag DutchDE Dutch · Flag FrenchDE French · Flag GermanDE Germans · Flag OttomanDE Ottomans · Flag PortugueseDE Portuguese · Flag RussianDE Russians · Flag SpanishDE Spanish
3WCIcon48px The Warchiefs Flag AztecDE Aztecs · Flag IroquoisDE Haudenosaunee · Flag SiouxDE Lakota
3ADIcon48px The Asian Dynasties Flag ChineseDE Chinese · Flag IndianDE Indians · Flag JapaneseDE Japanese
Age3DE Icon Definitive Edition* Flag SwedishDE Swedes · Flag IncanDE Inca · Flag American act3 aoe3de United States · Flag MexicanDE Mexicans
The African Royals Flag Ethiopian aoe3de Ethiopians · Flag Hausa Hausa
Knights of the Mediterranean Flag ItalianDE Italians · Flag MalteseDE Maltese