|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.
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.
|Building strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Ships, archers, weak melee units|
|Weak vs.||Siege weapons, Tarkans, Huskarls, War Elephants, Cannon Galleons|
|Hit points|| Masonry (+10%)|
Great Wall (+30%, Chinese only)
|Attack|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
Arrowslits ( )
Heated Shot (+125% attack against ships)
Yeomen (+2, Britons only)
Yasama (adds extra arrows, Japanese only)
|Range|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
Eupseong (+2, Koreans only)
Murder Holes (eliminates minimum range)
|Firing rate||Stronghold (+25%, Celts only)|
|Accuracy||Ballistics (hit moving targets)|
|Armor|| Masonry (+1/+1, +3 building armor)|
Architecture (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
|Line of Sight|| Town Watch (+4)|
Town Patrol (+4)
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
|Construction speed||Treadmill Crane (+20%)|
|Other|| Herbal Medicine (garrisoned units heal faster),|
Crenellations (enables garrisoned infantry to shoot arrows, Teutons only)
- Bohemians: Chemistry is available in the Castle Age.
- Bulgarians: Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, and Bracer cost -50% food.
- Burmese: Researching Faith and Herbal Medicine is 50% cheaper.
- Byzantines: Watch Towers have +10%/+20%/+30%/+40% HP in the Dark/Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age. Town Watch and Town Patrol are free.
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit Watch Towers are 10%/15%/20% cheaper in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
- Incas: Watch Towers cost 15% less stone.
- Italians: University technologies that benefit Watch Towers are 33% cheaper.
- Koreans: The upgrade to the Guard Tower is free.
- Malians: Watch Towers cost 15% less wood.
- Persians: Researching Town Watch and Town Patrol is 10%/15%/20% faster in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
- Portuguese: Technologies that benefit Watch Towers are researched 30% faster.
- Spanish: Watch Towers are built 30% faster. Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, and Bracer cost no gold.
- Teutons: Watch Towers can garrison up to 10 units. Murder Holes and Herbal Medicine are free.
- Turks: Chemistry is free.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, and Bracer are researched faster.
- A team containing Ethiopians: Watch Towers have +3 Line of Sight.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Faith, Herbal Medicine, and Heresy are researched 20% faster.
- A team containing Malians: University technologies that benefit Watch Towers are researched 80% faster.
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 upgrade to the Guard Tower now costs 100F/250W.
- Watch Towers gain an attack bonus of +2 against Spearmen.
- Herbal Medicine introduced.
- Heresy introduced.
- Britons: Yeomen introduced. It is only available in the Imperial Age.
- Teutons: Crenellations introduced.
- Britons: Yeomen moved to the Castle Age.
- Celts: Stronghold introduced.
- Japanese: Yasama introduced. It gives Watch Towers three additional arrows.
- Koreans: Watch Towers are now built 33% faster.
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.
- 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.
- 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.||”|
|Buildings in Age of Empires II|
|House · Monastery · Wonder|
|Economic||Town Center · Dock · Fish Trap · Mill · Farm · Market · Lumber Camp · Mining Camp · Feitoria · Folwark|
|Research||Blacksmith · University|
|Barracks · Archery Range · Stable · Siege Workshop · Castle · Harbor · Krepost · Donjon|
|Tower||Outpost · Watch Tower · Guard Tower · Keep · Bombard Tower|
|Wall||Palisade Wall · Stone Wall · Fortified Wall · Palisade Gate · Gate|