Age of Empires Series Wiki
Info icon
This article is about the unit in Age of Empires. For the unit in Age of Empires II, see Trade Cog.

Used to trade with Docks of other civilizations to exchange resources for gold.
—In-game description in the Definitive Edition

The Trade Boat is the basic trading vessel in Age of Empires. It is a civilian ship available to all civilizations at the Dock starting in the Bronze Age*. They can also be upgraded to Merchant Ships which provide greater speed and durability.


Like all civilian ships, Trade Boats are unarmed and unarmored and as such need protecting. Boats are twice as resistant to conversions as regular units.


AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

They can trade between the player's with any other player's Docks, generating resources on each trip upon returning to the player's Dock, similar to Trade Cog in Age of Empires II.

Before Return of Rome[]

Its function is for early trade to develop, generating gold in exchange for any of the other three resources, by forming trade routes between two players' Docks. A player will trade 20 of their selected resource for 20 goods (depicted as clay pots in the selected Dock or Trade Boat's UI panel) at any allied, neutral or enemy Dock.

The default traded/sold resource is wood, which can also be set to food or stone. The targeted Dock has an inventory which starts at 0 and slowly increases to a limit of 100. The assigned trade boat will take 20 goods from the targeted Dock's inventory. If the Dock has less than 20 goods, the Trade Boat will wait at the Dock while it produces more, and then return to the player's Dock when it obtains 20. When the Trade Boat returns to its home Dock it will deposit the goods, and the player will receive an amount of gold based on the distance between the two Docks. This amount can also be noted at the target Dock (which can be selected even when it is outside the player's Line of Sight i.e. in the Fog of War), where it is mentioned to the left of 20, below the goods meter; this amount ranges from 7 to 75.

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Greeks AoE Greeks: Trade Boats have +20% speed.
  • Macedonians AoE Macedonians: Trade Boats have +2 Line of Sight and are four times more resistant to conversion.
  • Minoans AoE Minoans: Trade Boats cost -25%/-30% in the Bronze/Iron Age.
  • Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans: Trade Boats provide +20% gold per trip.
  • Yamato AoE Yamato: Trade Boats have +20%/+25% hit points in the Bronze/Iron Age.

Team bonuses[]

  • Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans: Upgrading Trade Boats to Merchant Ships is 30% faster.


ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of Empires[]

  • Trade Boats can be trained in the Stone Age and cost 100 wood.
  • Trade Boats have 200 hit points and take 60 seconds to upgrade.
  • Minoans AoE Minoans: Trade Boats cost -30%.
  • Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans: Trade Boats provide twice as much gold per trip.
  • Yamato AoE Yamato: Trade Boats have +30% hit points.

Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition[]

  • Trade Boats have 120 hit points and take 102 seconds to upgrade.
  • Yamato AoE Yamato: Upon release, Trade Boats have +25% hit points. With update 38862, they have +20% hit points.

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

  • Trade Boats now do not require goods and resources to generate gold.
  • Trade Boats can be trained in the Bronze Age and cost 75 wood, 60 gold.
  • Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans: Trade Boats provide 20% more gold per trip.
  • Palmyrans (team bonus): Technologies benefiting Trade Boats are researched 30% faster.
  • Minoans AoE Minoans: With update 99311, Trade Boats cost -25%/-30% in the Bronze/Iron Age.
  • Yamato AoE Yamato: With update 99311, Trade Boats have +20%/+25% hit points in the Bronze/Iron Age.


Small boats were used by Stone Age peoples for trading across rivers, lakes, and oceans. We know, for example, that tool stone found on Aegean Islands was brought to the mainland and other islands by traders long before large seagoing boats existed. Primitive trading boats were usually dugout canoes, papyrus bundles, or hide boats with a limited cargo capacity. They probably carried only limited quantities of valuable trade goods, such as carvings, ivory, furs, tool stone, decorative minerals, and amber. Large bulk cargoes could not be carried profitably in small trading boats.
—The Age of Empires manual


Tech tree[]

Stone Age Icon (DE)
Tool Age Icon (DE)
Bronze Age Icon (DE)
Iron Age Icon (DE)
Fishing Boat
Fishing Ship
Aoede light transport available
Aoede heavy transport available
Scout Ship
War Galley
Aoede trade boat available
Aoede merchant ship available
Aoede catapult trireme available
Catapult Trireme technology Catapult Trireme
Fire Galley
AoE War Galley upgrade War Galley

Units in Age of Empires
CivilianReturnofrome female villager icon Villager · Returnofrome trade cart icon Trade Cart
OtherAoE2 DE priest icon Priest · Slinger-0 Slinger · Returnofrome artifact icon Artifact
Civilian ship1 Fishing Boat Fishing Boat · 2 Fishing Ship Fishing Ship
3 Trade Boat Trade Boat · 4 Merchant Ship Merchant Ship
InfantryClubman Clubman · AxemanAoEDE Axeman
Short Swordsman Short Swordsman · Broad Swordsman Broad Swordsman · AoE nuRoR Long Swordsman icon Long Swordsmen · Returnofrome legionary icon Legionary
HopliteDE Hoplite · AoE nuRoR Phalangite icon Phalangite · Returnofrome centurion icon Centurion
ArcherBowman aoe1de Bowman
Improved Bowman22 Improved Bowman · Composite Bowman Composite Bowman
Chariot Archer111 Chariot Archer
Horse Archer Horse Archer · Returnofrome heavy horse archer icon Heavy Horse Archer
EAICON DE Elephant Archer
CavalryScout-0 Scout
ChariotDE Chariot · ScytheDE Scythe Chariot
Cavalry111 Cavalry · Returnofrome heavy cavalry icon Heavy Cavalry · Returnofrome cataphract icon Cataphract
War ElephantDE War Elephant · Returnofrome armored elephant icon Armored Elephant
Camel RiderDE Camel Rider
SiegeStone ThrowerDE Stone Thrower · CatapultDE Catapult · Returnofrome heavy catapult icon Heavy Catapult
BallistaDE Ballista · Returnofrome helepolis icon Helepolis
War Ship7 Scout Ship Scout Ship · 8 War Galley War Galley · 9 Trireme Trireme
Catapult Trireme Catapult Trireme · Returnofrome juggernaut icon Juggernaut
10 Fire Galley Fire Galley
5 Light Transport Light Transport · 6 Heavy Transport Heavy Transport
Scenario Editor-only units
Short Swordsman Chieftain · Donkey caravan aoe2DE Donkey · Clubman Explorer · Returnofrome heavy cavalry icon General · AoE2 DE priest icon High Priest · Returnofrome horse icon Horse · HeavyCavalryDE Mercenary (removed) · Penguin aoe2DE Penguin · AoE2 DE priest icon Pharaoh · 5 Light Transport Raft · Returnofrome artifact icon War Chest