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

Used to create villagers, deposit resources (food, wood, stone, gold), advance to next age, and improve buildings, villagers. Units can garrison inside for protection.
Age of Empires II description

The Town Center is a key economic building in Age of Empires II that becomes freely available for construction once the Castle Age is reached, before which it is limited to one. It trains and improves Villagers, advances through Ages, and serves as a drop off point for all resources. Each Town Center also provides five population.

In regular random map games, every player starts the game with a Town Center. Until the Castle Age is reached, no more Town Centers can be built unless the only Town Center is destroyed, in which case the player may build one new Town Center. If the player has no starting Town Center (e.g. on Nomad), one Town Center can be built (and rebuilt if destroyed) before the Castle Age.

Up to 15 Villagers can garrison in Town Centers for shelter from attacks. By doing so, they can drop off the resources they are holding and give the Town Center an attack (arrow fire). This way, players can survive and fend off early attacks. Archers can also garrison in Town Centers to give it an attack. Any non-mounted unit can heal its HP if garrisoned. This is especially useful before the Castle Age when there are no Monasteries and Monks. Town Centers also have a Town Bell function that causes all Villagers within 23 tiles to garrison in the nearest shelter.

Town Centers cannot be converted.

Tactics and placement[]

The Town Center is the most frequently used building in the game, and it starts as the nucleus of every player's settlement and the only way to produce Villagers that will become the backbone of every player's empire. The Town Center is also a strong defensive building and through garrisoning, it also serves as a way to protect a player from some enemy attacks. Losing Town Centers hinder the economy of the player, even in the late-game, so they are often the target of attacks.

Unlike all other buildings that can fire arrows, Town Centers can fire at units right next to them without the need to research Murder Holes. However, they do not receive extra range from the Blacksmith ranged attack upgrades, so they are unable to retaliate against units with moderate range.

Once the Castle Age is reached, building more Town Centers is critical. These allow the player to increase Villager production and accelerate their entire economy. With the 200 stone from the default starting resources and no expenditure of Stone up to that point, two extra Town Centers can be built before having to mine more. Villagers building the Town Center drop off any resource they are holding once it is built. Town Centers should be built close to freely available resources to allow Villagers to be quickly garrisoned. Preferable locations would be near gold or stone, because these resources are scarce and Miners are often target of harassment attacks.

Town Centers have to be built on 4x4 tile terrain which has the same height. It is the only regular building in the game which requires flat terrain for construction. Town Centers have a lot of building armor, but it is not impossible to destroy one with a large mass of strong units such as Knights. Town Centers benefit a lot from University technologies, especially Treadmill Crane, as well as the increased damage per arrow from the Fletching line of upgrades at the Blacksmith.

There is a game mode called Sudden Death in which the players are limited to their starting Town Center. If the player loses it they are automatically defeated, so when playing Sudden Death, players must defend their Town Center at all cost.

Town Center rush[]

The strategy of deleting the player's own Town Center in the early game and rebuilding it close to the enemy's is called Town Center rush. The Town Center garrisoned with Villagers functions as a tower and drastically hampers the targeted player's economy early on, while the player's own Villagers which stayed back can build an economy safely. This is specially deadly when the opponent has clicked up to the Feudal Age and does not have Loom. The opponent is trapped, since they do not have resources, nor can they research Loom, and if the Town Center falls, all the Age-up progress is lost.

Current state

Civilizations which can employ Town Center rush are now very limited:

  • Persians AoE2 Persians: With extra starting food and wood to help the early economy, faster work rate, and double the hit points on Town Centers, Persians are the best civilization for Town Center rushes.
  • Teutons AoE2 Teutons: Since their Town Centers can fire +5 arrows (in addition to garrisoning +10 units), they are also a contender for a Town Center rushing civilization. They are not broken like in The Age of Kings, since they receive damage in the process, unlike back then.
  • Byzantines AoE2 Byzantines: They are an underrated pick for this tactic. They have +10% hit points in the Dark Age, which helps them win Town Center battles against generic civilizations. In the Feudal Age, their hit point bonus is increased to +20%, and they get free Town Watch, which is an important technology for strategies like this.
  • Cumans AoE2 Cumans: Cumans cannot execute the orthodox Town Center rush. However, when they reach the Feudal Age, and they have the option to build an extra Town Center, they can build it in the vicinity of the opponent's crucial resources. Since the extra Town Center is constructed much slower, it can be shot down if built in range of the opponent's Town Center. Another factor helping them is the availability of the Battering Ram with which they can threaten opponent buildings.
  • Lithuanians AoE2 Lithuanians: While not a meaningful option for most players, certain pro players use their economy bonus for the strategy. Every time Lithuanian Town Centers are rebuilt (after being destroyed), they generate 100 food, which is a a highly unorthodox way to expand the economy.
Counter

The best counter to a Town Center rush is to ignore it. Researching Loom and keeping Villagers away from enemy Town Centers is a necessity. Repairing Town Centers would cost more wood than the opponent invested, especially if they are playing as the Persians. Instead, making Villagers is beneficial, since the opponent's economy is slower. When the Town Center falls, build a new one in a key area, like near a Gold Mine which is also near trees. Click up to the next Age. If in the Feudal Age, make Scouts or Archers to kill the opponent's Villagers at the starting base. If in the Castle Age, make Mangonels and fast units (preferably Knights) to destroy the Town Center and fleeing Villagers.

The Age of Kings

The Town Center rush strategy was very popular in the earliest times of Age of Empires II. Town Centers were built in only 100 seconds, had no stone cost and their range could be upgraded with Fletching-line upgrades. The Teutons' Town Centers got +5 range and +2 attack. With that bonus, the Town Center could be placed so that it could attack the enemy's Town Center without being in their range to be attacked itself. That led to many hosts adding 'No Teutons' in the lobby description, and kicking players choosing the Teutons. That was very unfortunate for those favoring the Teutons for other of their qualities.

Nerfs in The Conquerors
  • Town Centers took 50% longer to build.
  • With the stone cost being introduced, Town Centers were made limited to 3 (including the starting one) on standard settings without collecting stone.
  • Town Centers did not gain the range advantage of Fletching-line upgrades. These upgrades only increased the Line of Sight of Town Centers.
  • The Teutons lost +5 range and were instead given +5 Line of Sight, which was useful but not overpowered.

Town Center drop[]

There are some civilizations which can employ an unorthodox Town Center drop strategy. This is a late game strategy, usually in an attempt to take map control. Civilizations which can employ this strategy are:

  • Malians AoE2 Malians: With their unique technology Tigui, their Town Centers fire +8 arrows always. This is a better boost than Teutons, because they fire 8 arrows even when empty, while reaching the cap of 18 arrows (compared to 15 for Teutons). The wood discount is an additional bonus.
  • Lithuanians AoE2 Lithuanians: With their unique technology Hill Forts, their Town Centers have +3 range, which helps them outrange most Castle Age units, most notably Mangonels. They have the exact same range as fully upgraded Castle Age Longbowmen.

Repairing[]

Repairing a Town Center does not cost any stone but twice the wood building a new one requires. So repairing an almost destroyed Town Center costs 550 wood compared to 275 wood, 100 stone for building a new one. That is very different from usual repairing cost which is simply half the building cost. Note that prior to update 61321, repairing will not initiate if the player does not have any stone.

Trainable units and technologies[]

Clicking on the icon links to the corresponding page.

Blue: Units
Green: Technologies
Purple: Unique Units
Town Center Town Center
Additional
Dark Age
Feudal Age
Castle Age
Imperial Age
Villager Town Watch
Townpatrolavailable
Feudal Age
Castle Age
Imperial Age
LoomavailableWheelbarrow
Handcartavailable

Further statistics[]

Strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Short-ranged weak units (with garrison or Tigui only)
Weak vs. Long-ranged units, Tarkans, Huskarls, War Elephants, rams, Armored Elephants
Conditional matchups Archers at longer range
Technologies
Hit points Masonry aoe2de Masonry (+10%)
ArchitectureDE Architecture (+10%)
Attack FletchingDE Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE Bracer (+1)
ChemistryDE Chemistry (+1)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Svan Towers (+2, Georgians only)
Range UniqueTechCastle-DE Hill Forts (+3, Lithuanians only)
Accuracy BallisticsDE Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Additional projectiles UniqueTechImperialDE Crenellations (garrisoned infantry fire arrows, Teutons only)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Tigui (+8 always, Malians only)
Armor Masonry aoe2de Masonry (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
ArchitectureDE Architecture (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
Line of Sight FletchingDE Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE Bracer (+1)
TownWatchDE Town Watch (+4)
TownPatrolDE Town Patrol (+4)
Build speed TreadmillCraneDE Treadmill Crane (+20%)
Healing HerbalDE Herbal Medicine (garrisoned units heal 500% faster)
Other UniqueTechCastle-DE First Crusade (up to 5 Town Centers spawn 5 Serjeants each, Sicilians only)
Civilization bonuses
Hit points Byzantines AoE2 Byzantines (+10%/+20%/+30%/+40% in the Dark/Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age)
Persians AoE2 Persians (+100%)
Additional projectiles Teutons AoE2 Teutons (+5 capacity)
Damage resistance Georgians AoE2 Georgians (-20% {-40% instead of -25%} on higher elevations)
Line of Sight Chinese AoE2 Chinese (+7)
Resource cost Britons AoE2 Britons (-50% wood starting in the Castle Age)
Bulgarians AoE2 Bulgarians (-50% stone (except starting Town Center))
Incas AoE2 Incas (-15% stone (except starting Town Center))
Malians AoE2 Malians (-15% wood (except starting Town Center))
Build speed Romans AoE2 Romans (+5%)
Sicilians AoE2 Sicilians (+100% (except starting Town Center))
Spanish AoE2 Spanish (+30% (except starting Town Center))
Work rate Persians AoE2 Persians (+5%/+10%/+15%/+20% in the Dark/Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age)
Other Bengalis AoE2 Bengalis (spawn 2 Villagers when the next Age is reached)
Chinese AoE2 Chinese (+10 population; first Town Center spawns 3 Villagers)
Cumans AoE2 Cumans (a second Town Center is available in the Feudal Age, which takes 270 seconds to build)
Gurjaras AoE2 Gurjaras (first Town Center spawns 2 Forage Bushes)
Huns AoE2 Huns (first Town Center spawns a Hunnic Horse on Nomadic maps)
Lithuanians AoE2 Lithuanians (provides 100 food)
Mayans AoE2 Mayans (first Town Center spawns 1 Villager)
Romans AoE2 Romans (+5% repair speed)
Tatars AoE2 Tatars (new Town Centers spawn 2 Sheep starting in the Castle Age)
Teutons AoE2 Teutons (+10 garrison capacity)
Team bonuses
Other Georgians AoE2 Georgians (cost -25% to repair)
Incas AoE2 Incas (first Town Center spawns 1 Llama)

Statistics comparison[]

The following statistics are based on Town Centers with all available upgrades in the Post-Imperial Age. Statistics in bold represent those boosted by civilization bonuses/unique technologies.

Generic Britons Bulgarians Byzantines Chinese Georgians Incas Lithuanians Malians Persians Teutons
Aoe2de wood Wood 275 138 275 234 275
Aoe2de stone Stone 100 50 100 85 100
Population 5 15 5
Hit points 2,904 3,360 2,904 2640 2,904 5,808 2640
Garrison 15 25
Attack 9 11 9 8
Armor
Melee/Pierce/Building
8/10/6 6/8/0 8/10/6 7/9/3 8/10/6 7/9/3
Range 6 9 6
Line of Sight 19 20 19 20 18

Supplementary civilization bonuses[]

Supplementary team bonuses[]

Changelog[]

AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of Kings[]

  • Town Centers cost 275 wood.
  • Repairing Town Centers costs four times the normal repair cost (repairing from 1 hit point costs 550 wood).
  • Town Centers are built in 100 seconds.
  • Town Centers do not benefit from Chemistry.
  • Town Centers gain attack, range, and Line of Sight with Fletching-line of upgrades - 1 each for each technology.
  • Town Centers do not deal bonus damage to camels.
  • Britons AoE2 Britons: Town Centers cost -50% (wood) to build in all Ages.
  • Chinese AoE2 Chinese: Town Centers have +5 population.
  • Persians AoE2 Persians: Town Centers work 10%/15%/20% faster in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Teutons AoE2 Teutons: Town Centers have +2 attack and +5 range.

AoE2-DLCicon-1 The Conquerors[]

  • Town Centers cost 275 wood, 100 stone.
  • Repairing Town Centers still costs four times the normal repair cost, but will not initiate unless the player has stone.
  • Town Centers are built in 150 seconds.
  • Town Centers only gain attack and Line of Sight with the Fletching-line of upgrades. The range boost was removed.
    • However, the description of the said technologies was not updated.
  • Town Centers deal bonus damage to camels as they deal to ships, since they share the armor class with ships.
  • Herbal Medicine is introduced; costing 350 gold and increasing the healing speed of Town Centers by +300%.
  • Britons AoE2 Britons: The discount only applies to the wood cost (stone cost did not exist before). Town Centers are cheaper to build starting in the Castle Age only.
  • Teutons AoE2 Teutons: Town Centers have +2 attack and +5 Line of Sight. Crenellations is introduced.

AoE2-DLCicon-2 The Forgotten[]

  • Town Centers benefit from Chemistry.
  • Chinese AoE2 Chinese: Town Centers have +5 Line of Sight (moved from Teutons).
  • Teutons AoE2 Teutons: Town Centers can garrison +10 units, and can fire +5 arrows, instead of having +2 attack and +5 Line of Sight.

AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African Kingdoms[]

AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the Rajas[]

  • Malay AoE2 Malay: On release, advancing in Age is +100% faster. With patch 5.3, bonus reduced to 66%.

AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition[]

AoE2Icon-LordsWest Lords of the West[]

Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the Dukes[]

AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of India[]

  • With update 61321, Town Centers can now be repaired even if the player does not have any stone.
  • Burgundians AoE2 Burgundians: With update 66692, Wheelbarrow and Hand Cart cost -40% food. With update 78174, they cost -33% food.
  • Portuguese AoE2 Portuguese: With update 73855, Town Center technologies are researched 25% faster as a team bonus.
  • Britons AoE2 Britons: With update 81058, an issue where the Town Center cost discount was not reducing the cost of repairing was fixed.
  • Lithuanians AoE2 Lithuanians: With update 81058, civilization bonus is changed to Town Centers provide 100 food.
  • With update 81058, nomadic starts were normalized for all civilizations with following changes:
    • Aztecs AoE2 Aztecs: 50 extra starting gold is received after completing the first Town Center.
    • Bulgarians AoE2 Bulgarians: Stone discount does not apply to starting Town Center.
    • Incas AoE2 Incas: Stone discount does not apply to starting Town Center.
    • Malians AoE2 Malians: Wood discount does not apply to starting Town Center.
    • Persians AoE2 Persians: 50 extra starting food and wood are received after completing the first Town Center.
    • Sicilians AoE2 Sicilians: 100 extra starting stone is received after completing the first Town Center.
    • Spanish AoE2 Spanish: Build speed bonus does not apply to starting Town Center.

AoE2Icon-MountainRoyals The Mountain Royals[]

  • Persians AoE2 Persians: With update 95810, Town Centers work 5%/10%/15%/20% faster in the Dark/Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Chinese AoE2 Chinese: Town Centers provide +10 population space and +7 Line of Sight.

History[]

All villages and towns had an administrative center that was the seat of governmental power and leadership. During the Dark Ages this might have been the local leader's home. Later it might have been the town hall or local lord's manor house. The town center was often the place where important supplies were stored, especially food surpluses. The destruction of the town center usually meant the loss of the town's governmental infrastructure. If this could not be restored, the town or village ceased to function.
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings manual

Trivia[]

  • The background behind the male and female villagers in the Town Center icon for the Definitive Edition is the famous Windows XP wallpaper photo Bliss.
  • Despite being a port of The Age of Kings, Town Centers cost 275 wood, 100 stone in the PS2 version, likely due to inheriting patch 2.0a.
  • Villagers immediately drop off their carried resources when garrisoned within a Town Center. This applies to garrisoning allied Town Centers as well, allowing for an alternate way of gaining resources should the player's drop off points be destroyed while not having enough resources to build new ones.
  • The Town Center is internally six different units: a connecting head unit, a logical unit (aka what the game uses as the full building), the center point, both wings, and the empty annex at the bottom quarter.
  • Town Centers are the only building whose pierce armor of the foundation is greater than the fully-constructed building.

Gallery[]

Buildings in Age of Empires II
Civilian buildings
EconomicTowncenter aoe2DE Town Center · Dock aoe2de Dock · Fish trap aoe2DE Fish Trap · Mill aoe2de Mill · FarmDE Farm · Market aoe2DE Market · Lumber camp aoe2de Lumber Camp · Mining camp aoe2de Mining Camp · Feitoria aoe2DE Feitoria · Folwark Folwark · Ao2de caravanserai icon Caravanserai · AoE2 MuleCart Mule Cart
ResearchBlacksmith aoe2de Blacksmith · University AoE2 DE University
ReligiousAoE2 FortifiedChurch Fortified Church · MonasteryAoe2DE Monastery
MiscellaneousHouse aoe2DE House · Wonder aoe2DE Wonder
Military buildings
ProductionBarracks aoe2DE Barracks · Archery range aoe2DE Archery Range · Stable aoe2DE Stable · Siege workshop aoe2DE Siege Workshop · Dock aoe2de Dock
Fortified productionCastle aoe2DE Castle · Harbor aoe2de Harbor · Krepost icon updated Krepost · Aoe2-icon-donjon Donjon
TowerTowncenter aoe2DE Town Center · AoE2 FortifiedChurch Fortified Church · Outpost aoe2de Outpost · Watch Tower icon AoE2DE Watch Tower · Guard Tower icon AoE2DE Guard Tower · Keep icon AoE2DE Keep · Bombard tower aoe2DE Bombard Tower
WallPalisade wall aoe2de Palisade Wall · Palisade gate aoe2DE Palisade Gate · Stone wall aoe2de Stone Wall · Gate aoe2de Gate · Fortified wall aoe2de Fortified Wall · Gate aoe2de Fortified Gate
Scenario Editor buildings
AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of KingsBridge · MonasteryAoe2DE Cathedral · Wonder aoe2DE Dome of the Rock · Pyramid aoe2DE Great Pyramid · MonasteryAoe2DE Mosque · Pavilion big icon AoE2DE Pavilion · Pyramid aoe2DE Pyramid · Accursed tower aoe2DE The Accursed Tower · Accursed tower aoe2DE The Tower of Flies · Market aoe2DE Trade Workshop · Yurt thatch big aoe2DE Yurt
AoE2-DLCicon-1 The ConquerorsWonder aoe2DE Monument · SeaGateDE Sea Gate · Watch Tower icon AoE2DE Sea Tower · Sea Wall icon AoE2DE Sea Wall
AoE2-DLCicon-2 The ForgottenAmphitheatre aoe2DE Amphitheatre · Aqueduct aoe2DE Aqueduct · Wonder aoe2DE Arch of Constantine · Fortified wall aoe2de City Wall · Amphitheatre aoe2DE Colosseum · Keep icon AoE2DE Fire Tower · Palisade wall aoe2de Fortified Palisade Wall · Castle aoe2DE Fortress · Castle aoe2DE Poenari Castle · Wonder aoe2DE Quimper Cathedral · MonasteryAoe2DE Temple of Heaven · Wooden Bridge
AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African KingdomsBarricade aoe2DE Barricade · Fence aoe2DE Fence · Accursed tower aoe2DE Fortified Tower · 2de granary new icon Granary · Hut small aoe2DE Hut · Wondericon Palace (removed) · Aoe2de storage icon new Storage · Tent small aoe2DE Tent
AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the RajasTent army small aoe2DE Army Tent · Wonder aoe2DE Gol Gumbaz · Wonder aoe2DE Sanchi Stupa
AoE2-DLCicon-5 The Last KhansWonder aoe2DE Aachen Cathedral · Chain aoe2DE Chain · Gate aoe2de City Gate · Wonder aoe2DE Dormition Cathedral · Wonder aoe2DE Rock Church · Wonder aoe2DE Sankore Madrasah · MonasteryAoe2DE Shrine · Wonder aoe2DE Tower of London
Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the DukesAoe2de pagan shrine icon Pagan Shrine
AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of IndiaWonder aoe2DE Minaret of Jam
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