A unit is an individual entity in the Age of Empires series. Representing a fundamental aspect of gameplay, units feature in all titles, ranging from domesticated animals, humans, and mythical creatures to artificial constructs.

Each unit variant possesses certain and/or unique abilities, offering a specific function and role in gameplay. The four main types of unit are: Civilian, military, hero, and animal. In the spin-off Age of Mythology, mythical units are introduced.

Most units can move, which sets them apart from buildings, the other critical entity to feature in all titles of the series.

Age of Empires Edit

Main article: Units (Age of Empires)

In Age of Empires, units display a white square outline upon selection. All types of unit possess distinct voices, although there is no visual distinction regardless of the civilization the unit is in. Each civilization has access to more or fewer upgrades for a particular unit, and all civilizations have unique bonuses. For example, the Greek's Hoplites move much faster than other civilizations. If no victory conditions are set, players must kill every last enemy unit to win.

Age of Empires II Edit

Main article: Units (Age of Empires II)

In Age of Empires II, units from different civilizations have distinct voices. Units that have been selected display a white circle beneath its feet, proportionate to the units' size. Every type has a different voice, for example, military units have a different voice from civilians. Every civilization has access to one or two unique units, and some civilizations have restricted access to a certain unit's upgrades, for example, Huns cannot build Fast Fire Ships. In order to defeat an enemy in a conquest-type game, all units must be killed.

Age of Empires III Edit

Main article: Units (Age of Empires III)

In Age of Empires III, every unit has a unique voice and units of different civilizations have distinct voices. Each civilization has access to a different set of the standard units, for example, the British lack the Skirmisher, but the Germans lack the Musketeer. Military units are now categorized into three groups: Archaic, Standard, and Royal Guard. Archaic units such as the Crossbowman and Pikeman usually can only be upgraded to Veteran status. Standard units can be upgraded to Veteran, then Guard, then Imperial.

Royal Guard units do not have a Guard or Imperial upgrade. Instead they have unique unit upgrades which make the units more powerful than ordinary Guard or Imperial equivalent units. Along with Royal Guard units, civilizations also have a number of unique units, often recruited with the standard set of units.

When scrolled over or selected, units display a circle outline shaded in the player's selected color. Heroes and Mercenaries display a five-pointed star circle, while Consulate units display a unique decorative pattern. Units under the aura of a leader such as the War Chief or the Daimyo will also indicate a different pattern. Unless an enemy player surrenders, all enemy units, including ships and Settlers, must be killed to win the game.

(Note: In the second level of the Act I: Blood campaign, one of the three starting Swiss Pikemen, always has a star and circle underneath it, regardless of selection.)

Age of Mythology Edit

Main article: Units (Age of Mythology)

In Age of Mythology, each civilization has completely unique sets of units which have one or more types and generally fall into similar categories or roles. Unit types include workers, human soldiers, siege weapons, naval units, heroes and myth units. Human units are also referred to as mortal units.

Population cap Edit

The population cap is a limit to the total number of units a player can have. It is normally determined by the number of Town Centers and Houses that the player has built. In many games, the population cap can be adjusted in the settings tab in the main menu. Except in Age of Empires III, players can go over the population cap by converting units.

Age of Empires Edit

In Age of Empires, the single player maximum population cap is 50. From The Rise of Rome onward, the multiplayer maximum cap is 200.

Age of Empires II Edit


If the current population limit is left ignored, unit production is hampered (see bottom).

In Age of Empires II, the maximum population cap is 200. In The Forgotten, however, the population cap can be set up to 500. The Goths can gain +10 population in the Imperial Age due to their civilization bonus.

Buildings providing population room to all civilizations:

Buildings providing additional population room to the Slavs and their allies:

If any of these buildings is destroyed, the provided population room is lost, with the exception of the Mongols, who retain the population room (just of Houses, though) once Nomads is researched. The Huns start the game with their population cap at the maximum without the need to build Houses.

Age of Mythology Edit

In Age of Mythology, the total population cap is 300. In similar fashion to Age of Empires III, military, mythical and naval units also take up greater amounts of population space. Typically, economic units such as Fishing Ships and Villagers (except Atlantean Citizens) take one population slot. Most foot military units (such as infantry or archers) take two population slots. Most mounted units such as cavalry take 3. Siege weapons also take 3 to 5 population slots. Atlantean Citizens take 3 slots (4 for the Hero version). Atlantean units converted to Heroes take an additional population slot. Myth unit population slots ranges from 2 to 5. Titans take 20 population slots.

It is possible to exceed the population limit by gaining neutral units or Gaia units in campaign scenarios and custom scenario. Another instance on where the player can exceed the population limit is in the campaign—when a campaign hero faints, then the player reaches the population limit by creating regular units; after the player manages to revive the said Hero, the population limit would be exceeded. Same concept applies with Automata—when the player has reached the population limit, then some of the player's fallen Automata have been fully repaired, population limit is also exceeded.

Unit conversion, however, will not be possible if there is not enough room population slot. Instead, the Priest will just keep converting the subject until enough population slot corresponding to that unit being converted has been vacated (i.e. when the player loses some units), that's the only time the subject could be possibly converted.

Buildings which provide population to the player are as follows:

Atlanteans can build a maximum of 5 Manors, while other cultures can build a maximum of 10 Houses, which will equivalent to 100 population slots. Assuming the player has the starting Town Center (without the Fortified Town Center upgrade), the initial population limit should be 115. The population limit can be increased by capturing more Settlement, until enough has been built to reach the game population limit of 300.

The Relic Eye of Horus increases population limit by 3 per Town Center.

Age of Empires III Edit

In Age of Empires III, the population cap is 200. Additionally, the Chinese civilization's population cap is 220 and the Iroquois can reach 225 (if a maximum amount of villagers commit the population dance in the Fire Pit). In Age of Empires I and II, one unit takes up one population slot, the only exception being Sheep and Turkeys. However, in Age of Empires III, powerful units, such as most cavalry, Mercenaries, and artillery take up more population slots. Ships and native (Trading Post) units have their own separate population cap, with the exception of Fishing Ships and native Villagers. In contrast to previous titles, multiple selected units are represented by a single unit icon on the interface.