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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 HP 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. As usual, garrisoned units slowly regenerate lost hit points.

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 Archers). Once the Villagers approach the enemy settlement, they should then build a supporting Watch Tower that must be at a certain distance in order 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 the next ones must be placed within the 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.

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.png Masonry (+10%)
ArchitectureDE.png Architecture (+10%)
CastleAgeUnique.png Great Wall (+30%, Chinese only)
Attack FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
ChemistryDE.png Chemistry (+1)
ArrowSlitsDE.png Arrowslits (+1)
HeatedShotDE.png Heated Shot (+125% attack against ships)
CastleAgeUnique.png Yeomen (+2, Britons only)
CastleAgeUnique.png Yasama (adds two extra arrows, Japanese only)
Range FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
CastleAgeUnique.png Eupseong (+2, Koreans only)
MurderHolesDE.png Murder Holes (eliminates minimum range)
Firing rate CastleAgeUnique.png Stronghold (+25%, Celts only)
Accuracy BallisticsDE.png Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Armor Masonry aoe2de.png Masonry (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
ArchitectureDE.png Architecture (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
Line of Sight TownWatchDE.png Town Watch (+4)
TownPatrolDE.png Town Patrol (+4)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy
Construction speed TreadmillCraneDE.png Treadmill Crane (+20%)
Other HerbalDE.png Herbal Medicine (garrisoned units heal faster),
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Crenellations (enables garrisoned infantry to shoot arrows, Teutons only)
CastleAgeUnique.png Detinets (Replaces 40% stone cost with wood, Slavs only)
Upgrades Tower aoe2de.png Guard Tower

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonuses[]


The Age of Kings[]

  • Watch Towers have 1,020 HP regardless of the Age.
  • The upgrade to the Guard Tower costs 100F/250S.
  • Watch Towers cost 25W/125S.
  • Watch Towers have an attack bonus of +7 against camels because they share an armor class with ships.

The Conquerors[]

The Forgotten[]

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: With patch 4.8, Yasama now gives Watch Towers two additional arrows.

Rise of the Rajas[]

  • Watch Towers now cost 50W/125S.
  • Koreans: With patch 5.8, Watch Towers are now built 5% faster.

Definitive Edition[]

  • Watch Towers now have 700 HP 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: Watch Towers are no longer built faster.

Dynasties of India[]

  • With update 61321, Watch Towers have 850 hit points in the Feudal Age.


  • 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.
  • Western European and Central Asian Watch Towers are the only ones whose base is round instead of square.


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.