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This article is about the building in Age of Empires. For the building in other games of the series, see Town Center.

Used to create villagers and advance to the next age. It is also where villagers can deposit food, wood, gold and stone. The Town Center supports 4 units.
—In-game description in the Definitive Edition

The Town Center is an economic building in Age of Empires that is available at the start of the game. As it trains Villagers, advances through Ages, and serves as a drop off point for all resources, it is the most important of all the buildings in the game. Town Centers also provide four population points.


Unlike in all the other games of the series, the Town Center in Age of Empires cannot defend itself. In Return of Rome, it can be used to garrison Villagers for protection, but the only way to drive off enemy attacks is to send soldiers or build towers. It's still critical to block enemy units from reaching economic areas.

Initially, the player only has access to a single Town Center. This can be rebuilt if it's lost, as long as the player has the requisite 200 wood stockpiled. If the base is under an attack that can't be stopped, a possible strategy is to evacuate Villagers, delete the Town Center, and build a replacement in a safer location.

In the Stone Age, with just the one Town Center, a judgement call needs to be made about whether to age up when 500 food is acquired, or keep training Villagers to expand the economy. The key advantages of the Tool Age are the ability to build a versatile military, defensive buildings, sea power, and Farms. So if the player has no shortage of naturally-occurring food, and is in a secure location (such as a heavily forested starting location that can be barricaded with buildings), it can be an effective strategy to keep training more Villagers, allowing the player to harvest additional resources while rivals' Town Centers are occupied with research.

There is less of a judgement call for when to advance from the Tool Age. The Bronze Age immediately grants access to units that are far more powerful than anything available in the Tool Age, and units from the Academy and Siege Workshop will melt through unprepared enemies with ease. The Bronze Age also greatly expands the player's economic capability, so reaching it as quickly as possible should be a priority.

Additional Town Centers can be built after the player has constructed a Government Center, which requires a Market, which itself requires a Granary. These requirements can be waived depending on the match's starting age - new Town Centers are unlocked if starting from the Iron Age. Having several Town Centers pumping out Villagers simultaneously will radically transform the state of the player's economy, so should be done as quickly as possible.

When the player can build additional Town Centers, they usually become the default choice for new resource-deposit buildings in far-flung regions. While they do cost more wood and take longer to build, their ability to produce Villagers makes them far more useful than Granaries and Storage Pits, especially after the latter's technologies are researched. It can also be used to deposit all Villager-harvested resources, whereas Granaries can only store food from Farms and Berry Bushes, and Storage Pits can only store other resource types. Unlike later games, Town Centers have no stone cost.

As in all future games (except for Age of Empires III, where the main land shipment building applies), cheat units spawn at the Town Center.

Tech tree[]

Red: Buildings
Blue: Units
Green: Technologies
Town Center Town Center
Requires Returnofrome greek iron age government center icon Government Center
Stone Age Icon (DE)
Tool Age Icon (DE)
Bronze Age Icon (DE)
Iron Age Icon (DE)
Research Tool Age
Research Bronze Age
Research Iron Age
Returnofrome city watch available


Civilization bonuses[]

  • Greeks AoE Greeks: Town Centers work 10% faster starting in the Tool Age.*
  • Romans AoE Romans: Town Centers cost -10%.

Team bonuses[]


RomeIcon The Rise of Rome[]

  • Romans AoE Romans: Town Centers cost -15%.

Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition[]

  • Romans: Town Centers cost -10%.
  • Greeks AoE Greeks: With update 38862, Town Centers produce Villagers and advance through ages 10% faster starting in the Tool Age.

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

  • Town Centers can now garrison up to 15 Villagers. It cannot garrison other units or attack.
  • Town Centers have an Alarm Bell feature (along with Return to Work) which causes nearby Villagers to seek shelter in Town Centers and Towers.
  • Team bonuses added:
    • Babylonians AoE Babylonians: Town Centers are built 10% faster.
    • Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans: Technologies benefiting Town Centers are researched 30% faster.
    • Shang AoE Shang: Town Centers provide +4 population room.
    • Sumerians AoE Sumerians: Town Centers cost -25%.
  • With update 93001, City Watch is moved from the Government Center to the Town Center.
  • Choson AoE Choson (team bonus): With update 93001, Town Centers have +2 Line of Sight.


All villages and towns had an administrative center that was the site of governmental power and leadership.  In the earliest villages this might have been the leader's home.  Later it might have been the king's palace.  The center was often the place where important supplies, especially food surpluses, were stored.  Vessels for storing grain and oil were found in the ruins of the Palace at Knossos of Crete.  Some of the earliest accounting records yet found were clay tablets left in long- forgotten storerooms in ancient Sumeria and in Hittite cities.  The destruction of the town center usually meant the destruction of the town's governmental infrastructure.
Age of Empires manual


Buildings in Age of Empires
Stone Age Icon (DE)
Stone Age
Aoede greek barracks available
Aoede greek town center available
Aoede storage pit available
Aoede house available
Aoede granary available
Aoede dock available
Tool Age Icon (DE)
Tool Age
Aoede stable available
Aoede archery range available
Aoede watch tower available
Aoede market available
Aoede small wall availableReturnofrome small gate available
Aoede farm available
Bronze Age Icon (DE)
Bronze Age
Aoede greek academy available
Aoede siege workshop available
Aoede sentry tower available
Aoede greek government center available
Aoede temple available
Aoede greek medium wall availableReturnofrome medium gate available
Aoede greek town center available
Iron Age Icon (DE)
Iron Age
Aoede greek guard tower available
Aoede greek fortified wall availableFortified Gate
Aoede greek ballista tower available
Buildings in Age of Empires
Civilian buildings
GeneralReturnofrome stone age house icon House · AOEDE Temple icon Temple · Returnofrome greek iron age government center iconReturnofrome east asian iron age government center iconReturnofrome egyptian iron age government center iconReturnofrome mesopotamian iron age government center iconReturnofrome roman iron age government center icon Government Center · Returnofrome greek wonder iconReturnofrome east asian wonder iconReturnofrome egyptian wonder iconReturnofrome mesopotamian wonder iconReturnofrome roman wonder icon Wonder
EconomicReturnofrome greek town center iconReturnofrome east asian town center iconReturnofrome egyptian town center iconReturnofrome mesopotamian town center iconReturnofrome roman town center icon Town Center · AOEDE Dock icon Dock · Storage Pit icon Storage Pit · AOEDE Granary icon Granary · Market AOEDE icon Market · AOEDE Farm icon Farm
UnconstructableAqueduct aoe2DE Aqueduct · Army Tent icon nuRoR Army Tent · Barricade aoe2DE Barricade · Chain aoe2DE Chain · Amphitheatre aoe2DE Colosseum · 2de granary new icon Granary · Pyramid aoe2DE Great Pyramid · Hut small aoe2DE Hut · Returnofrome greek wonder icon Monument · Pyramid aoe2DE Pyramid · Returnofrome ruins icon Ruins · AOEDE Trade Workshop icon Trade Workshop · Yurt thatch small aoe2DE Yurt
Military buildings
ProductionReturnofrome greek barracks iconReturnofrome east asian barracks iconReturnofrome egyptian barracks iconReturnofrome mesopotamian barracks iconReturnofrome roman barracks icon Barracks · AOEDE Archery Range icon Archery Range · AOEDE Stable icon Stable · AOEDE Siege Workshop icon Siege Workshop · Returnofrome greek academy iconReturnofrome east asian academy iconReturnofrome egyptian academy iconReturnofrome mesopotamian academy iconReturnofrome roman academy icon Academy
TowerAOEDE Watch Tower icon Watch Tower · AOEDE Sentry Tower icon Sentry Tower · Returnofrome greek guard tower iconReturnofrome east asian guard tower iconReturnofrome egyptian guard tower iconReturnofrome mesopotamian guard tower iconReturnofrome roman guard tower icon Guard Tower · Returnofrome greek guard tower iconReturnofrome east asian guard tower iconReturnofrome egyptian guard tower iconReturnofrome mesopotamian guard tower iconReturnofrome roman guard tower icon Ballista Tower
WallReturnofrome small wall icon Small Wall · Returnofrome greek medium wall iconReturnofrome east asian medium wall iconReturnofrome egyptian medium wall iconReturnofrome mesopotamian medium wall iconReturnofrome roman medium wall icon Medium Wall · Returnofrome greek fortified wall iconReturnofrome east asian fortified wall iconReturnofrome egyptian fortified wall iconReturnofrome mesopotamian fortified wall iconReturnofrome roman fortified wall icon Fortified Wall · Small Gate (AOE RoR) icon Small Gate · Medium Gate (AOE RoR) icon Medium Gate · Fortified Gate (AOE RoR) icon Fortified Gate
UnconstructableReturnofrome greek guard tower iconReturnofrome east asian guard tower iconReturnofrome egyptian guard tower iconReturnofrome mesopotamian guard tower iconReturnofrome roman guard tower icon Mirror Tower · Returnofrome greek guard tower iconReturnofrome east asian guard tower iconReturnofrome egyptian guard tower iconReturnofrome mesopotamian guard tower iconReturnofrome roman guard tower icon Zenobia's Tower