Villagers seeking shelter in the Town Center after the Town Bell was rung

The Town Bell is a function of the Town Center in Age of Empires II, Age of Mythology, and Age of Empires III. Once rung, it causes all Villagers to run for shelter and garrison inside the closest available building: Town Center, tower, or other defensive structures. Once the danger is over, the Bell may be rung again to release all Villagers and send them back to work.

If no close-by building has room left to garrison any more units, the Villagers will just keep working.

The Town Bell is a very useful function (especially in earlier stages of a game) to prevent the loss of Villagers and to rout the attackers when the town is under attack. However, using it can be very costly, as it halts all resource gathering therefore setting back progress, which also depends on how long the Villagers are sheltered.

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