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This article is about the building in Age of Empires II. For the building in other games on the series, see Watch Tower.

Basic stone tower. Automatically attacks enemy units and buildings within range.
Age of Empires II description

The Watch Tower is a tower in Age of Empires II that becomes available once the Feudal Age is reached. Watch Towers have a missile attack and provide a good defense in the early game, but falter against larger armies, such as in the late Castle Age.

Watch Towers are available to all civilizations except for the Sicilians, which were replaced by their unique building, Donjons.

Tactics and placement[]

Towers deal strong damage to nearby enemies while also having fair armor and the ability to garrison a few foot troops. These functions are an essential part of any kind of fortification. Towers are also notable for costing stone, and they compete for this resource with additional Town Centers and Castles.

The Watch Tower is the first type of tower capable of attacking to become available and provides early protection to the player's village against raiding parties and rushes. Its missile attack deals twice the damage of an Archer with twice the range, and the building itself has much more hit points and armor.

Additionally, up to 5 units may be garrisoned to protect them from being damaged, and Villagers and foot archers will increase the number of arrows Watch Towers fire, thus increasing the damage, and potentially allowing the garrisoned unit to deal more damage to armored enemies or fortifications. As usual, garrisoned units slowly regenerate lost hit points, though at half the rate of Castles.

Ideally, Watch Towers should be placed near valuable resources or choke points to make them more effective. Also, their base should be protected with walls since in the Feudal Age players cannot research Murder Holes, making Watch Towers highly vulnerable to melee attacks. If towers continue to be required, it is a good idea to upgrade them to Guard Towers at the University where possible.


Watch Towers can also be used offensively; most civilizations can perform a tactic commonly known as the "trush" (tower rush). The idea is not generally to fight the enemy outright but to deny them access to resources. The strategy is based on building several Watch Towers around an enemy settlement, preferably close to valuable resources (usually gold, but Lumber Camps can also be a good target). To employ this tactic, the player must first accumulate some stone for the towers in the Dark and Feudal Ages, build a Blacksmith to improve the Watch Tower attack and range, and then send at least five Villagers to the enemy settlement with some supporting troops (preferably Men-at-Arms). Once the Villagers approach the enemy settlement, they should then build a supporting Watch Tower that must be at a certain distance to not be noticed by the enemy. Then, the first disrupting tower must be placed within the range of the supporting tower, and then the third one, and all subsequent ones must be placed within range of each other and surround the enemy's Town Center. It is also effective to place towers near the main gold, stone, and wood sources for the enemy. If the enemy attacks the Villagers, garrison them in the closest tower to protect them. Placing Palisade Walls around the towers is also helpful in a trush, as it protects them from melee attacks since Murder Holes is not available until Castle Age.

Compared to other Feudal Age rushes, a tower rush is very hard to stop once it has gained momentum, as towers have a lot of hit points. However, they are also vulnerable to enemy military units, especially if unprotected, as Villagers are weak in combat, and having a tower's construction denied is a major setback. For this reason, tower rushing is primarily seen as a counter to a strategy that leaves its user vulnerable, such as a Fast Castle.

Further statistics[]

Building strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Ships, archers, weak melee units
Weak vs. Siege weapons, Tarkans, Huskarls, War Elephants, Cannon Galleons
Hit points Masonry aoe2de Masonry (+10%)
ArchitectureDE Architecture (+10%)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Great Wall (+30%, Chinese only)
Attack FletchingDE Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE Bracer (+1)
ChemistryDE Chemistry (+1)
ArrowSlitsDE Arrowslits (+1)
HeatedShotDE Heated Shot (+125% attack against ships)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Yeomen (+2, Britons only)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Yasama (adds two extra arrows, Japanese only)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Svan Towers (+2, enables pass-through damage, Georgians only)
Range FletchingDE Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE Bracer (+1)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Eupseong (+2, Koreans only)
MurderHolesDE Murder Holes (eliminates minimum range)
Firing rate UniqueTechCastle-DE Stronghold (+33%, Celts only)
Accuracy BallisticsDE Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Armor Masonry aoe2de Masonry (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
ArchitectureDE Architecture (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
Line of Sight TownWatchDE Town Watch (+4)
TownPatrolDE Town Patrol (+4)
Conversion defense Devotion icon AoE2DE Devotion (+1 min, +1 max)
FaithDE Faith (+4 min, +4 max)
HeresyDE Heresy (die upon getting converted)
Construction speed TreadmillCraneDE Treadmill Crane (+20%)
Other HerbalDE Herbal Medicine (garrisoned units heal faster),
UniqueTechCastle-DE Detinets (Replaces 40% stone cost with wood, Slavs only)
UniqueTechImperialDE Crenellations (Garrisoned infantry fire arrows, Teutons only)
Upgrades GuardTowerDE Guard Tower

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonuses[]


AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of Kings[]

  • Watch Towers have 1,020 hit points regardless of the Age.
  • The upgrade to the Guard Tower costs 100 food, 250 stone.
  • Watch Towers cost 25 wood, 125 stone.
  • Watch Towers have an attack bonus of +7 against camels because they share an armor class with ships.

AoE2-DLCicon-1 The Conquerors[]

AoE2-DLCicon-2 The Forgotten[]

AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African Kingdoms[]

  • Camels are moved out of the ship armor class, and the Watch Towers lose their attack bonus against them. They now have +1 attack against them.
  • Arrowslits introduced. Initially, it becomes available in the Castle Age and gives Watch Towers +2 attack. With patch 4.8, Arrowslits moved to the Imperial Age and now gives +1 attack.
  • Japanese AoE2 Japanese: With patch 4.8, Yasama now gives Watch Towers two additional arrows.

AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the Rajas[]

  • Watch Towers now cost 50 wood, 125 stone.
  • Koreans AoE2 Koreans: With patch 5.8, Watch Towers are now built 5% faster.

AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition[]

  • Watch Towers now have 700 hit points before the Castle Age.
  • If the player started with a Watch Tower in the Dark Age (e.g. on Fortress maps), then they could build additional Watch Towers in the Dark Age too. This was removed in a patch. This was only true for Watch towers, not the upgrades.
  • Koreans AoE2 Koreans: Watch Towers are no longer built faster.

AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of India[]

  • With update 61321, Watch Towers have 850 hit points in the Feudal Age.
  • Celts AoE2 Celts: With update 81058, Stronghold effect is 33% attack speed to Watch Towers.

AoE2Icon-MountainRoyals The Mountain Royals[]

  • With update 99311, the Watch Tower has a new unique icon. Before this, it had the same icon as the Keep.
  • With update 99311, Devotion was introduced.

Aoe2 hb Victors and Vanquished[]


Some of the earliest fortified stone structures were simple watch towers. From the watch tower a local lord could keep a large area in view. The stone structure made it impregnable to assault except by a major force. The lord could withdraw into the tower, putting his animals on the bottom, stores and treasure on a second floor, living on upper floors, and fighting from the top. The Normans were famous for building stone watch towers across their lands in Normandy and England to provide military and political control.
Age of Empires II manual


  • When playing the Fortress map, every player receives several Watch Towers at the beginning of the game, all randomly placed along the walls surrounding the settlement. The towers serve as a useful early defense system while the players develop.
  • The Watch Tower model of the Native American civilizations is inspired by the Palace Observation Tower in Palenque.
  • The Mediterranean Watch Tower in the Definitive Edition is based on ancient Roman observation towers.
  • Central Asian Watch Towers are the only ones whose base is round instead of square. Western European towers are the only ones with hexagonal bases.


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