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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires III. For other uses of the term, see Spy.

Sneaky assassin. Highly effective against mercenaries, Explorers, War Chiefs, and Monks.
—In-game description

The Spy is a melee infantry unit in Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs that can be trained at the Church/Mosque by European civilizations and at the Meeting House by the United States. It is a fast stealthy unit that excels against mercenaries and heroes.

Spies are available to European civilizations except the Knights of St. John (Act I: Blood campaign).


The Spy moves very quickly, and has the stealth ability, although it can be seen at all times by enemy Explorers, Town Centers, Forts, and some other units and buildings. When in stealth mode, spies move twice as slow as normal. They are also highly resistant to special abilities, taking much less damage than non-Spies do.

The Spy is very good at scouting the enemy without them knowing, giving advance notice on what they are building and when they will attack. The Spy has a very low base damage, but huge multipliers against Mercenaries, and especially against Heroes. The Spy can easily change the tide of a battle by coming in stealthed, and unstealthing and taking out enemy Mercenaries (including Li'l Bombards). With all speed improvement upgrades (including the Quechuan Mountaineering), the German Spy is the melee infantry with the highest speed, 9.375.


The Spy is automatically upgraded in every Age starting from the Fortress Age.

Fortress age up.png +25% hit points
Industrial age up.png +25% hit points
Imperial age up.png +50% hit points

Civilization changes[]

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Heroes, mercenaries, native warriors
Weak vs. Everything else
Hit points Infantry Breastplate.png Infantry Breastplate (+10%)
Thin Red Line.png Thin Red Line (+20%, British only)
Cree Tanning.png Cree Tanning (+5%)
Maya Cotton Armor.png Maya Cotton Armor (+20%)
Navajo Weaving.png Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Attack Carib Kasiri Beer.png Carib Kasiri Beer (+10%)
Mapuche Tactics.png Mapuche Tactics (+50% siege attack)
Zapotec Cult of the Dead.png Zapotec Cult of the Dead (+20%)
Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Master Lessons.png Master Lessons (+10%)
Speed Military Drummers.png Military Drummers (+10%)
Tillys Discipline.png Tilly's Discipline (+20%, Germans only)
Inca Road-building.png Quechuan Mountaineering (+20%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Sight Town Watch.png Town Watch (+2)
Creation speed Standing Army.png Standing Army (-25%)
Inca Chaquis Messengers.png Quechuan Diet (-25%)
Train cost Mapuche Ad-mapu.png Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10% coin cost)
Penalties Thin Red Line.png Thin Red Line (-25% speed, British only)
Coffee Trade.png Coffee Trade (-10% speed, Dutch only)
Tillys Discipline.png Tilly's Discipline (+10% cost, Germans only)

Home City Cards[]


The WarChiefs[]

Definitive Edition[]

  • Spies now use up 1 population.
  • Spies now no longer have a 4.0x multiplier against native warriors.
  • Spies are now upgraded in the Fortress Age, giving +25% hit points.


  • The Spy is something of a favorite of the Ottoman AI in Random Map games.
  • Even though the Spy's icon shows a revolver, it always uses a dagger instead.
    • The aforementioned revolver is fully modeled and animated in the game files, and can be enabled via modding. The reason for making the Spy a melee unit is unknown.


For as long as there have been presidents and kings, governments have enlisted the aid of individuals for espionage. During the turbulent seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, spies were used by various governments to uncover secrets and identify opportunities for attack. Spies were known to use a variety of tools and technologies, such as invisible ink and secret codes. The fledgling government of the United States of America found itself embroiled in multiple assaults by loyalist spies - including secret messages sent to agents of the crown by William Franklin, Benjamin Franklin's own son!