Being the foundation of a civilization, they are the most important units in the game as the primary collectors of resources. Villager units are able to construct and repair buildings, in addition to boats and siege weapons in some games of the series. Their combat ability, especially against military units, is very limited.
One of the most effective ways to disrupt an enemy's strategic objectives is to kill their villager units, especially using fast units such as cavalry in hit-and-run tactics. This often costs the opponent significant resources in addition to wasted gathering and production time.
Age of Empires
- Main article: Villager (Age of Empires)
Age of Empires II
- Main article: Villager (Age of Empires II)
Age of Mythology
- The Greeks train Villagers.
- The Egyptians train Laborers.
- The Norse train Gatherers and Dwarves.
- The Atlanteans train Citizens.
- The Chinese train Peasants.
All Villagers are able to gather resources and build some buildings, but they are still all different:
- Greek Villagers gather resources and build buildings at an average speed. They can also be tasked to pray at Temples to generate favor.
- Egyptian Laborers gather and build buildings at a lower speed. This can be offset by making the Pharaoh empower the building they are working on. This makes their gather rates above average, though some buildings are still built more slowly.
- Norse Gatherers and Dwarves cannot build buildings except Farms.
- Atlantean Citizens are more than twice as fast as Villagers and Gatherers at gathering and building. As they have pack mules, they do not need to walk to resource drop-off points. Like other human Atlantean units, Citizens can be turned into heroes, which improves their gathering and building rates. On the other hand, Citizens cost three times as many resources and population slots and walk more slowly. They are also less proficient in combat relative to their resource and population cost than the other Worker types.
- Chinese Peasants are essentially the same as Greek Villagers in all but one domain: upgrades. Whereas Villagers are affected by certain myth technologies that can be researched in the Heroic Age, Peasants are affected by myth technologies from the Archaic Age, with all three Chinese major gods providing a special upgrade that affects exclusively Peasants.
- Originally Villagers had the ability to fish, this feature was however cut.
- Laborers and Gatherers were originally simply called "Villagers", before being changed to their current names so their cultures could be unique.
Age of Empires III
In Age of Empires III, European and American villagers are known as Settlers; while their Native American, Asian, and African civilization counterparts are called Villagers. Villager units work in the same way as in previous games, but no longer require drop sites to deposit resources.
As with Age of Mythology, all villager-type units are categorized under the
AbstractVillager tag in the game files.
The French civilization have stronger settlers called Coureur des Bois which can collect resources faster and can also double as treasure gatherer if the Home City card Northwest Passage is sent. The German civilization also has a stronger settler unit called the Settler Wagon.
As combat units
Most settlers and villagers deal much more damage in melee than at range, multipliers may allow them to do more at range only after the Blunderbuss Market upgrade has been purchased and only against Artillery, pets, and Treasure Guardians. Great Coat can also help to boost their hit points.
The Coureur is an exception to this, having 8 ranged attack instead of 3 but a ×0.25 multiplier against Settlers and villagers. All villagers only inflict 2 damage against each other at range, 3 following the Market upgrade and around 5 for Unction boosted Spanish Settlers.
Against early raids
With melee attacks (lacking any negative/positive multipliers) they are easily capable of killing one another, Explorers and non-upgraded infantry units granted they gang up on it and can catch it. Sometimes this may be a better option than fleeing with them, depending on the size and type of the enemy force harassing them and the number of settlers or villagers.
- Note: Settlers of any type cannot use ranged attacks if the target is too close to them, they will automatically use melee attacks. This is mostly a problem only for the French and Cree Coureur des Bois.
They are especially useful against enemy pets (the Coureur against guardians with a card shipment), as all pets have a negative ×0.1 multiplier against villagers with exception to Fluffy, the Explorer Dog (no negative/positive multipliers), War Dogs (negative multiplier of ×0.3), and Tigers (negative multiplier of ×0.2). Only the cheat unit Fluffy or Unction enhanced pets pose any type of real threat to Villagers.
List of villagers
- Settler (Europeans): Villager that constructs buildings and gathers resources.
- Coureur des Bois (French): Expensive but powerful villager who gathers fast.
- Settler Wagon (Germans): A German villager that is more expensive but gathers faster than a Settler.
- Villager (Native Americans and Chinese): Villager that gathers resources.
- Villager (Indians): An Indian villager that does not eat livestock. Gathers all other resources.
- Villager (Japanese): A Japanese villager that does not eat meat. Gathers all other resources.
- Fishing Boat: Gathers food from fish or coin from whales.