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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For the unit in Age of Empires, see War Galley (Age of Empires).

Stronger than Galley.
Age of Empires II description

The War Galley is a ship in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Dock once the Castle Age is reached. Instead of firing arrows like its predecessor, it fires large bolts like a Scorpion, but unlike the Scorpion (or the Caravel), their bolt only damages the single target it hits.


In naval battles, quickly advancing to Castle Age and researching War Galley is considered imperative as the upgrade significantly reduces the training time of Galleys. Since it is a relatively weak unit, it is strongly advised to upgrade it to the Galleon as soon as possible.

The Galley line units are the backbone of any naval army, War Galleys and Galleons are a very cost effective way to deal with Cannon Galleons and Demolition Ships if they are micromanaged properly. They are also useful in shoreline combats against enemy units and shoreline buildings with the exception of towers, Castles, and siege units. War Galleys work a lot better in large numbers, and they must be paired with Fire Ships in most cases, and are excellent escorts for Transport Ships.

The War Galley's main counter unit is the Fire Ship, but Demolition Ships may also be a problem in many circumstances. Longboats and Turtle Ships are also a threat, and siege units like Trebuchets, Onagers, and Bombard Cannons can be devastating against an army of War Galleys in shoreline combats. Also, Monks can be dangerous, especially without Faith researched.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Transport Ships, Fishing Ships, buildings in the shoreline, melee units in the shoreline
Weak vs. Fire Ships, Turtle Ships, Longboats, towers, Castles, ranged siege units on the shoreline
Attack FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
ChemistryDE.png Chemistry (+1)
Range FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
Accuracy BallisticsDE.png Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Armor CareeningDE.png Careening (+0/+1)
CastleAgeUnique.png Carrack (+1/+1, Portuguese only)
Speed DryDockDE.png Dry Dock (+15%)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy
Creation speed ShipwrightDE.png Shipwright (+54%)
Train cost ShipwrightDE.png Shipwright (-20% wood)
Upgrades GalleonUpgDE.png Galleon

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonuses[]


The Age of Kings[]

The Conquerors[]

  • With patch 1.0b, Shipwright also decreases train time by 35%.
  • Heresy introduced.

The Forgotten[]

  • Italians: Upgrading to Galleon is 50% cheaper.
  • Vikings: War Galleys are 15%/20% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.

Definitive Edition[]

Lords of the West[]

Dynasties of India[]

  • With update 61321, siege units and ships are now resistant to armor-ignoring attacks similarly to buildings.


  • The War Galley is one of only four upgraded forms of military units (the other three being the Man-at-Arms, the Long Swordsman, and the Capped Ram) to be available to all civilizations.
  • War Galleys deal bonus damage against the cheat unit Saboteur (since The Conquerors) because it is in the same unit class as ships.


The war galley was a larger and improved fighting ship. It carried a larger contingent of marines and archers. When necessary, the equivalent of a war galley was created by putting fighting towers at the stern and bow of trading ship. These provided better protection and a height advantage for archers when closed with an enemy ship.