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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ageofempire_ii_6810.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Cue the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRtlWfi6jiM opening theme]]...]]
-> ''Is the will of one man enough to forge an empire?''

The second game in the ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpires'' series, '''''Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings''''' was released in 1999 and lauded as a very improved sequel. With 13 civilizations (Britons, Byzantines, Celts, Chinese, Franks, Goths, Japanese, Mongols, Persians, Saracens, Teutons, Turks and Vikings) it was set during TheMiddleAges, from DarkAgeEurope to TheRenaissance, and has campaigns based on William Wallace, Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan, Saladin and Barbarossa.

The expansion, '''''Age of Empires II: The Conquerors''''', has the arrival on America, and includes five new civilizations (Spanish, Huns, Koreans, Aztecs and Mayans), three new campaigns (AttilaTheHun, El Cid, and Montezuma) and a campaign made of various historic battles (including the HornyVikings and MedievalJapan).

A [[FanSequel Fan Expansion]] named ''[[http://www.forgottenempires.net/ Forgotten Empires]]'' features another five new civilizations (Italians, Magyars, Slavs, Indians and Incas) as well as new AI, upgrades and balance fixes. With the release of the HD edition of the original game, it was announced that ''Forgotten Empires'' would be turned into a semi-official expansion, entitled ''The Forgotten''.

An UpdatedRerelease titled '''''Age of Empires II: HD Edition''''' was released exclusively on Steam on April 9, 2013. Developed by Hidden Path Entertainment, it includes ''The Conquerors'' and enhanced visuals. ''The Forgotten'' was released on November 7, 2013.
----
!!''Age of Empires II'' and its expansions give examples of:
* AdiposeRex: The King of the Regicide mode. Surprisingly, the king [[{{Acrofatic}} runs extraordinarily fast]], being able to outrun some mounted units.
* AllThereInTheManual: Each building, technology and unit in the game gets a detailed historical description.
* AnAxeToGrind: Throwing Axemen (Franks), Berserkers (Vikings) and Woad Raiders (Celts). Only the first get a minor bonus attack against buildings, however.
* AnachronismStew:
** In the Spanish campaign in ''The Conquerors'', El Cid, in the 11th century, enlists the help of Conquistadors... Who in the game take the form of a cavalry unit firing shotguns from horseback.
** At one point in the Attila the Hun campaign taking place in the 5th century, you destroy a Roman city guarded by bombard [cannon] towers.
** The Aztecs can find Korean Turtle Ships, or at least a weapon that is best represented by them, to ease the onslaught of the Spanish Navy.
** The Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas have sword infantry and crossbows. This anachronism is excusable in the fact that they aren't allowed to have Cavalry.
* AnnoyingArrows: The Goth Huskarl is a very effective anti-archer unit due to its high pierce armor.
* AntiCavalry: Spearmen and Camels both get a damage bonus against enemy cavalry, making the former two highly effective counters to the latter.
* ArchEnemy: Count Berenguer and Yusuf for El Cid, CortÚs and Tlaxcala for Montezuma, Edward Longshanks for William Wallace.
* ArrowsOnFire: The Chemistry technology sets most of the conventional projectiles on fire, giving them a slight damage bonus.
* ArtificialStupidity
** AI players will often send their armies to attack in the form of long columns of unit single-mindedly marching towards one spot, totally oblivious to any enemy armies they encounter along the way. Players can abuse this to decimate AI armies before they reach their target.
** AI players will instantly demolish any building in progress if the villager building it is attacked. This was a hacky solution to the issue of AI players sending their entire population of villagers one by one to finish an incomplete building in territory that had been taken by the enemy. However, it caused at least as many problems as it solved.
** The AI will never attack gates, so building your entire fortress out of gates will make it effectively AI-proof.
** It will also never delete its own units, so it will do things such as wall off its own resources, causing them to be inaccessible to it for the entire rest of the game.
** If you exploit the above two issues, you can trap an AI in its walled-off town forever by placing your gates in front of its'.
** More generally, the AI doesn't have any understanding of the concepts of "map control" or "micromanagement", making it very vulnerable to hit-and-run tactics by fast ranged units such as cavalry archers or Viking Longboats.
** Pathing Issues can render Trading Carts easy prey since they wander into enemy positions more often than not. Even if you clear a shortcut through thick forest, they'll insist on taking an inefficient route until you force them to save time by walling off the options that add time to their route.
** What's the best visual indicator of an enemy empire at its height? Lots and '''LOTS''' of USELESS Mine Camps ''everywhere''. Not just Mine Camps but pointless Mills as well.
* ArtisticLicense: Yes, the Scottish lost the Battle of Falkirk, the Mongols were unsuccessful in Europe, and the Barbarossa campaign ends with a group of crusaders smuggling their dead emperor's body to Jerusalem - an attempt which failed miserably in real life as they didn't manage to preserve the body. But the campaigns [[ShaggyDogStory wouldn't work with failures]]. [[ShownTheirWork It's clear that the developers know that many aspects are inaccurate.]]
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Genghis Khan, Henry V, William The Conquerer, Harold Hardraade, El Cid Campeador, Atilla, Erik the Red, and numerous others. Averted with the King in Regicide mode, who has absolutely no attack whatsoever.
* AutomaticCrossbows: The Chinese special unit is the Chu-Ko-Nu, a type of crossbowman that uses a crossbow of the same name that, in-game, fires three sequential bolts for each shot.
* AwesomeButImpractical:
** The Trebuchets, when used against units. While immensely powerful, they are tragically inaccurate, fire slowly, and have to be manually unpacked and repacked to fire and move, respectively.
** Petards in ''The Conquerors'', at least most of the time. Available in the Castle Age, and capable of dealing out huge anti-building damage quickly and easily. However, if you're using them around towers or castles, you're gonna lose two or three before they get there, and it's easy to run out of gold before you breach fortifications.
** The Spies research. Getting the enemy line of sight is a massive advantage, but at 200 gold ''per enemy villager'', it tends to end up being several thousand gold per opposing player, more than enough to raise a sizable army. With the exception of some special scenarios and the Huns (who have a research that halves the cost), it's generally just better to fight conventionally.
* BadassNormal:
** The Spanish villagers become outright dangerous once you research their unique technology, Supremacy.
** Any civilization with the "sappers" technology can do this as well, as sappers gives villagers +15 damage against buildings; AI players tend to ignore villagers attacking walls thus making a small group of villagers very effective at tearing down walls with this technology.
** The Unique Technology ''Druzhina'' allows Slavic Infantry to cause area-of-effect damage when attacking. This gives them a good fighting chance against enemy melee units even if they're outnumbered.
* BaselessMission: The first scenarios for Joan of Arc and Saladin are baseless all the way through, and several other scenarios start you off with only units and give you a base in the middle.
* BerserkButton: The computer will react if you attack its villagers or buildings.
* TheBerserker: One of the unique units of the Vikings is the Berserker, a powerful infantry unit that can regenerate health over time.
* {{BFS}}: Two-Handed Swordsmen and Champions come armed with these, as well as a number of {{Hero Unit}}s. William Wallace's sword is stated to be a "five and a half foot beast".
* BittersweetEnding: Most campaigns have one: Many of them (e.g. Joan, Barbarossa and El Cid) end with the title character dead, others make the player know that the final battle was only a PyrrhicVictory.
* BoringButPractical:
** Battering Rams and their upgrades. Until you get trebuchets, they're the best way to deal with fortifications, and still useful even afterwards.
** Massed groups of high end archers (especially horse archers) in close formation on the 'Stand Ground' setting. Because of the physics engine, melee troops can only attack the outermost units, which means they'll do very little damage while all your archers are free to [[RainOfArrows attack back]]. About the only effective counter are high end Onagers, War Elephants, or [[TakesOneToKillOne opposing masses of archers.]]
* ButtMonkey: The Tayichi'uds in the Genghis Khan campaign. They [[GuiltByAssociationGag aren't even your enemies]], but you'll find every time that attacking them is the best way to accomplish your goals.
* CashGate: Some scenarios or bonus objectives work like this. Sometimes collecting resources is enough, sometimes one will actually have to deliver them to gain the benefits. Units are also used as "currency" on similar occasions.
* ChekhovsGun: In the fourth Aztec mission, ''La Noche Triste'', your soldiers talk about an island covered with gold on Lake Texcoco. Given as how the island you're currently on is absolutely lousy with gold, you'll probably leave the gold island alone. In ''Broken Spears'', however, you find yourself defending Tenochtitlan from a three-way siege, and suddenly an island of gold in the middle of the lake becomes a ''very'' valuable asset.
* ChessMotifs: ''Age of Kings'''s [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow4cC-Cz5l8 intro]], specially the "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rS_n3JVTPE long version]]".
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder:
** Henry the Lion betrays the player twice in the Barbarossa campaign.
** King Alfonso in ''The Conquerors'': [[spoiler:he has his brother Sancho assassinated, exiles El Cid out of jealousy, calls El Cid back to help with dealing with the Black Guards... and exiles him again]].
** There is the mission in the Aztec campaign where your objective is to defeat an enemy with the help of two allied civs -- which will turn on you without warning (though not entirely without foreshadowing) once you have defeated your common enemy, forcing you to defeat them, too, in order to win the scenario.
** Amusingly, ''The Conquerors'' introduced the new game variant "last man standing" where players that had been allies during the game instantly turn against each other after defeating their common foes and fight until there is only one player left. The installation screen claims that this was already a popular way to end internet games before the 'instant' part was introduced with the x-pack.
* CitadelCity: The games AI will eventually attempt to set something like this up in longer games. However, Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors means there are a number of tricks to break through.
* ColorCodedCharacters: Each player has a color that marks their units and buildings. An option introduced in ''The Conquerors'' allows the colors to be changed to reflect the player's diplomatic stances with each nation. The game allows multiple players to share the same color - this is used in the official campaigns to create "subfactions" that have the same color but behave differently.
* CommandAndConquerEconomy: As in many other real-time strategy games.
* ComputersAreFast: Particularly important with scout units. Expect the computer to have explored most of the map before the Castle Age.
* TheComputerShallTauntYou: In Joan of Arc 3, you must destroy 3 of the 4 English Castles to achieve victory. Given the fact that you still can't advance to the Imperial Age, you have no practical way of completing the task, hard enough as it already is, other than by massing lots of Battering Rams and sacrificing them to breach the outer walls first and then to destroy the Castles. Sir John Falstoff, being the usual English jerk that he needs to be, will mock your ability to mount an effective siege.
--> '''Sir John Falstoff:''' ''"An army of Rams? ''How quaint.''"''
* ConspicuouslyPublicAssassination: In the Genghis Khan campaign, killing the Persian Shah is the most advantageous way to get the war started.
* ConstructAdditionalPylons: Houses, except for the Huns.
* CripplingOverspecialization: Every unit has only one attack.
* CriticalExistenceFailure: Every unit. Defensive buildings lose their ability to hold troops shortly before being destroyed, but otherwise fit into this trope as well.
* DeathOfAThousandCuts: Archers deal extremely little damage against buildings, but with enough arrows, even a castle will come down. Most likely to occur with British longbowmen, who are the only archers that can hit a castle outside its range.
* DeusExMachina: The penultimate mission in Barbarossa's campaign has Barbarossa's army marching across enemy territory to join the Crusade. After a long trek, their advancement appears to be blocked by an enemy wall. [[spoiler:Then the earthquake kicks in.]]
* DigitizedSprites: Every unit and building sprite was rendered from CGI models.
* DrivenToSuicide: The Samurai unique unit has a death animation where he stabs himself with his katana.
* EasyCommunication: Par for the RealTimeStrategy genre, unit commands are carried out instantly, and the player can always see what the individual units can see.
* EasyLevelTrick:
** An unintentional example: in the fourth mission in the Attila the Hun campaign, you have to fight off the Roman Army's counterattack after you destroy all three cities. However, if you can find a placeholder unit hidden on the map, you can kill him, which breaks the script and allows you to skip the fight with the army.
** In the Noche Triste mission of the Aztec campaign you have to retake Tenochtitlan, which is now occupied by the Spanish army, and destroy the Spanish wonder being built inside it before the time runs out. The script expects you to [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption fail]] in your first attempt, make it to the docks with what is left of your original, small army, hijack some ships, cross the lake, find an allied town and rebuild your forces in time to march against Tenochtitlan again. However, to reach the docks you have to pass near the wonder building site with only a simple wall separating you from it, so a player in easy mode can simply tear down the wall then and destroy the wonder before it is finished.
** In latter half of the fifth Joan of Arc mission, you need to escape to an allied town to win, but there are Burgundy ambush troops in front of the gates and you can't go around them because the rest of the way are blocked by [[InsurmountableWaistHeightFence forests]]...unless you managed to save your Trebuchets, which can force-fire on the trees to clear you a way, slip pass to the back of the Burgundy forces, [[SequenceBreaking who wouldn't attack you because the script expected you to enter from the road]], then proceed to [[CherryTapping stone them to death for a safe distance]].
** In the second Barbarossa mission, ''Henry the Lion'', [[TheStarscream Henry the Lion's army]] is allied with everyone, including the Polish army...but the Polish army isn't allied with him. Sometimes, a small Polish force will push past your base and attack him. If you don't disturb them, this leads to a rather amusing scene where Henry declares supremacy over Barbarossa, when all he has to his name are a couple of wrecked houses and a handful of badly wounded soldiers.
** A similar incident happens in the first Hun mission; if you ally with the Scythians, then they will probably attack the Persian fortress before you get the chance. Since the Persians are still marked as being allied with the Scythians, then the Persian AI apparently bugs out and just twitches spasmodically as the Scythian archers cut them to shreds.
* EdutainmentGame: The first purpose of the game is entertainment, but there's plenty of historical information available:\\
\\
The campaigns in ''Age of Kings'' covered historical wars, such as William Wallace's war against England (as the tutorial), Joan of Arc fighting in the Hundred Years' War, Saladin fighting against the Crusaders, Barbarossa forging the Holy Roman Empire, and Genghis Khan's conquest of Asia.\\
\\
''The Conquerors'' contained campaigns about El Cid, Attila the Hun, and Montezuma, the last one ending before the Aztecs are actually defeated, plus a series of nonsequential missions covering various historical battles like Agincourt, Hastings, Saechon, the Viking colonization of the Americas, and [[UsefulNotes/OdaNobunaga Hon]][[UsefulNotes/AkechiMitsuhide noji]]-[[UsefulNotes/ToyotomiHideyoshi Yamazaki]].
* ElCidPloy: The final mission the in El Cid campaign has the player carrying out the famous ploy; El Cid's corpse is strapped to a horse, and the player must keep him alive until a Wonder is completed to ensure the ruse is successful.
* EnemyCivilWar: Happens in some scenarios. On the other hand, many scenarios have the enemies allied with everyone but the player -- even with the player's allies who are [[GameplayAndStorySegregation supposed to be fighting the enemy as well]].
* EnemyExchangeProgram: The priests can convert your enemies' units. And their priests can convert yours too! Averted with the Unique Technology ''Heresy'', which causes your own units that are converted to die instead of switching sides.
* EscortMission: Quite a few. The escortees are typically under the player's control and possess adequate combat skills, though.
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler: [[{{EvilAllAlong}} Texcoco and Tlacopan]] will turn on the player in the second Aztec level upon the defeat of Tlaxcala. Upon defeating them, [[{{BigBad}} CortÚs]] will show up...]]
* FanSequel: "Forgotten Empires" stands out against other mods because the authors cracked how to add 5 new civilizations to the 18 present in ''The Conquerors'', rather than replacing the existing ones. A second reason for it standing out is that it ended up becoming an ''official'' expansion for the HD version, known as "The Forgotten".
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: Historical accuracy demands it in a few occasions:
** The penultimate scenario in El Cid campaign features El Cid defending a small friendly town of Denia from Count Berenguer's massive army. The player is intended to forfeit the town and retreat further towards Valencia.
** The 5th scenario of the Joan of Arc campaign is even worse. You're invading Paris, but it's clear you're pretty much outnumbered from the start and will never survive on your own. So you have to wait for the King's reinforcements which...[[DirtyCoward number only two men.]] The rest of the mission is pretty much an EscapeSequence, oh, and [[CutsceneIncompetence Joan is captured in the ending cutscene and]] [[ForegoneConclusion burned at the stake.]]
** In the third Aztec mission, ''Quetzalcoatl'', you're tasked with defending the weakly defended allied town of Tabasco from the Spanish. However, this happens so early in the mission that there's effectively no way to defend them. Even if you manage to get troops up to Tabasco, it's still scripted to be destroyed.
** The stand alone Japanese scenario begins as a mission to rescue OdaNobunaga, but he is excecuted before your troops can arrive. (The rest of the mission is a RoaringRampageOfRevenge)
* FinalDeath: Some unique units trigger your defeat when destroyed.
* FirewoodResources: Wood and Stone.
* FrenchJerk: Reynald in Saladin's campaign.
* FriendlyFireproof: Played straight for the most part, but averted with onagers. They essentially have to be micromanaged to avoid killing off melee units en masse.
* FullBoarAction: Wild boar are entirely passive unless provoked, but they are sufficiently tough that hunting them for food requires multiple villagers (a lone villager hunting a boar ''will'' be killed). There's also the [[MeaningfulName Iron Boar]] in ''Conquerors'', which cannot be harvested by villagers.
* GameplayAutomation: Farms need to be reseeded regularly to continue producing food, which is a bit of a chore on its own; to alleviate this, the player can queue up new farms at mills, but this also needs to be done manually.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: In the El Cid campaign, King Sancho is bearded and King Alfonso clean-shaven. In the cutscenes, it's the opposite.
* GenderIsNoObject: The only differences between the male villagers and the female villagers are the spriteset and the voicepack.
* GetBackHereBoss: Kushluk in the Genghis Khan campaign. He is visiting a weakly defended village - but as soon as the player attacks the village, he will retreat towards his own fort.
* GlassCannon: Siege weapons are capable of dealing great damage to both sides, but they are practically helpless without support..
* GradualRegeneration: All Hero units and Viking berserkers. Also anyone garrisoned inside a building.
* GrimyWater: The Sea of Worms in the Vindlandsaga is simply the ocean area south of Greenland covered in a huge tile trigger that will destroy your ships if they wander in for too long.
* GullibleLemmings: An effective strategy against Computer opponents is to provoke their units into pursuing your own units right into a large group or archers.
* HerdHittingAttack: Persian War Elephants can inflict trample damage on adjacent enemies, as can Byzantine Cataphracts (after researching Logistica) and Slavic infantry units (after researching Druzhina).
* HereThereBeDragons: Why the aforementioned Sea of Worms has that name. Not knowing what exactly was killing their ships, Norsemen would be likely to attribute it to dragons. The Norse word for dragon is orm or worm.
* TheHeroDies: Most campaigns feature the death of their namesakes. Joan of Arc, Barbarossa, Genghis Khan, Montezuma and El Cid die during their respective campaigns while Attila the Hun's death is announced during the campaign's ending cutscene. William Wallace and Saladin survive their campaigns, though.
* HeroMustSurvive: Featured in most campaigns.
* HitAndRunTactics: Used correctly, the horse archers in ''Age of Kings'' could whittle down entire armies without taking a scratch, shooting any melee units to death before tackling the now outnumbered archers. Combined with siege weapons and monks or missionaries, this took a FragileSpeedster force and made it into a LightningBruiser army from hell. Interestingly, there was an upgrade called Parthian Tactics in that game, though all it did was improve the armour of your horse archers. Naturally, the Mongols excel at this, and have a horse archer special unit, and it was [[TruthInTelevision one of the reasons of why they were such efficient conquerors]]. Hit-and-run horse archers were just ''unfair'' back then. This strategy works even better with spanish Conquistadores.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: The Persians tend to suffer from this with regards to their War Elephants. They are one of the most devastatingly powerful unique units, but the Persians can't research Heresy, meaning it's cake for enemy Monks to convert the elephants and turn them against the Persians.
* HorseArcher: The preferred tactic of a few Asian civilizations.
* HuntingAccident: The first mission in the Attila campaign in ''The Conquerors'' is to use this to off his brother Bleda to achieve leadership over the Huns. If you don't, it will be [[DysfunctionalFamily Bleda who tries to finish Attila]], albeit with the possibility of escape.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: Every melee unit, when attacking, will miss on occasion and fail to do any damage. In one-on-one fights, this is a plausible way to simulate dodging but... how does one ''miss hitting an immobile building''? Especially if you're a Battering Ram?
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Most ranged units have no difficulty hitting targets behind walls and buildings.
* InsurmountableWaistHeightFence: Almost all forests in the game are impassable until chopped down.
* InterfaceSpoiler: The Diplomacy menu will list every civilization in the current match, even ones in the campaigns you aren't supposed to have met yet.
* IronicEcho: In the Joan of Arc campaign:
--> '''Sir John Fastolf:''' We'll see how your knights fare against British longbows!\\
''Three scenarios later...''\\
'''French Soldier:''' We'll see how British longbows fare against French cannon!
* IsometricProjection: As with every other game in the series, the player's view is roughly isometric -- the map is diamond-shaped and the elevation of the camera is close to 35.3 degrees.
* JustAStupidAccent:
** Practically all of the dialogue in the game is written and spoken in the installation language, and pronounced with exaggerated accents fit for each character. At least they are, for the most part, fairly accurate.
** Averted by the human units when you click on them or order something to do, whose responses are in the grammatically correct language of their civilization, which is often ''[[ShownTheirWork the Medieval dialect]]'' of said language to boot. This is not the case for the Chinese, whose human units all speak unmarred Chinese... [[AnachronismStew of the modern-day Mandarin variant]], with a flat, bored newcaster-tone, no less.
** Harald Hardrada, the King of Norway, speaks with a ''Swedish accent''.
* KatanasAreJustBetter: Samurai are stronger against buildings and other unique units. Averted when going up against archers, though.
* KeystoneArmy: Barbarossa's Crusader Army [[spoiler:disintegrates upon his death]].
* KnightlyLance: Several unique Heroes on horseback wield lances.
* LargeHam:
** The narrator of the William Wallace tutorial in ''Age of Kings'':
--> ''"Build ten more... ''woooooaaaaad rrrraiderrrs!''"''
** The Genghis Khan narrator:
--> ''"The great Khaaan. ''GENGHIS KHAN!''."''
** La Hire from the Joan of Arc campaign speaks in [[ThirdPersonPerson third person]] and demands a fight constantly.
** The Egyptians in the Saladin campaign really overreact:
--> ''"YOU WILL NOT ENTER CAIRO!"''
* LeaveNoSurvivors: This is often necessary. Even if the player manages to destroy the entire enemy fortress, a lone villager working at a remote mining camp can use the resources stored in HammerSpace to restart the entire civilization. An annoying multiplayer tactic is for the people who've clearly lost the game to send villagers to all four corners of the map, thus delaying the inevitable. The technology "Spies" counteracts this by making them visible.
* LevelEditor: Perhaps famously, one of the most extensive, yet easy to use. They could literally be used to make a [[ShowWithinAShow game within a game]], thanks to the complex trigger system.
* LightningBruiser:
** Knights, in general. Their high cost mitigates their possible GameBreaker potential.
** A Mongol Siege Ram with Drill researched and loaded with 6 infantry units can move as fast as the fastest cavalry units, giving you a powerful anti-building unit that can be used for HitAndRunTactics.
* MacGuffin: The Relics. Everybody wants them, because they produce gold and can even win the game for the player who collects them all.
* {{Mayincatec}}: The game features only Mayans and Aztecs as separate civilizations. In the Montezuma campaigns, different states such as Tlacopan and Tlaxcala exist as enemies or allies, but each one of them obeys either the Aztec or Mayan technology tree. "The Forgotten" expansion completes this with the addition of the Incas as a new playable civilization.
* MercyRewarded: Happens in El Cid's campaign - the Black Guards, despite being enemies with El Cid, reward him with religious technologies if El Cid spares their mosque. Since the mosque is a practically useless decorative building, there is no reason not to spare it. Another example of rewarded mercy would be to spare an enemy player's docks or markets for trading.
* MightyGlacier:
** War Elephants are effectively moving battering rams. Deadly at a close range against both units and buildings, their slowness renders them especially vulnerable to conversion by monks. This is in contrast to real elephants, who can easily outrun a human when going in a straight line. While intelligent, they are also not known to hold any particular religious belief.
** Teutonic Knights are depicted in this game as heavily armoured infantry. They are slow moving, but hard to kill and will make mincemeat of other infantry units. God help them if they run into archers as they simply cannot close the distance or get away from them.
** Siege Weapons are generally slow moving, but adept at destroying buildings (and, in some cases, military personnel). They are very vulnerable when attacked at a close range.
* MisplacedWildlife: Averted, in contrast to the previous game, by using wide ranged Eurasian animals such as hawks, deer, wolves, sheep and wild boars that would be familiar to all civilizations in the game. ''The Conquerors'' introduces Mesoamerican maps with parrots, jaguars, turkeys and javelinas as substitutes of hawks, wolves, sheep and wild boars respectively.
* MoneyForNothing: Gold can be acquired indefinitely in two ways: using a monk to deposit a relic in a monastery or trading with friendly (or hostile) markets and docks.
* MoreDakka: Garrisoning towers and Castles will increase the number of arrows that they fire. The catch is that the Garrisoning Units can only be Villagers or Archers. The Teutons can fix this with Crenellations which allows garrisoned infantry to fire arrows.
* MythologyGag:
** There's a taunt with a pun on the phrase "beat them back to the stone age". It's a reference to the first game:
-->''"I'll beat you back to ''VideoGame/{{Age of Empires|I}}''."''
** Another taunt re-uses the sound effect used to represent a priest converting a unit.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: La Hire, French for "The Wrath".
** The Tower of Agony in the final Mission of El Cid has 47 Attack and 16 Range which allows it to wreck any naval unit with frightening efficiency. It's almost the sole reason why you need to have Cannon Galleons in the first place.
* NarratorAllAlong: The guy in the tavern narrating the Barbarossa campaign was [[spoiler:[[TheStarscream Henry The Lion]]]].
* {{Nerf}}:
** In the first game, catapults and ballistas were the main siege weapons. In the sequel, they're renamed (Mangonel/Onager and Scorpion, respectively) and demoted to decent (but ''very'' situational) units, while Rams and Trebuchets replace them.
** In ''Age of Kings'', Teutons had a civilization bonus that significantly increased the range of their Town Centers. This allowed a Teuton player to immediately destroy their original Town Center, build another one just out of range of the enemy Town Center and use it to destroy the enemy base. This was perceived as a Game Breaker, and was later nerfed so the Teuton town center bonus only increases line-of-sight distance, not range.
** Averted with Koreans, where the cannon towers still has ridiculously long range after research, making a line of Korean cannon towers nigh invulnerable too almost all attacks, even the often out of range British longbow.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: You'll occasionally hear an NPC in the Saladin campaign who sounds suspiciously like the narrator of the William Wallace campaign.
* OrganizationWithUnlimitedFunding: When all of the gold deposits are exhausted, the trading carts/cogs and markets/docks become even more important weak points that need constant protection. Because of this, the outcome of a long multiplayer game can boil down to whichever team loses their trade first.
* PainfullySlowProjectile:
** Bombard Cannons, Bombard Towers, and Cannon Galleons all fire a highly damaging cannonball that is laughably easy to dodge with micromanagement. However, the Spanish don't suffer from this as their cannonballs are fast to the point of being almost unavoidable.
** Trebuchets sling a large stone that can kill almost every unit of the game in one hit. Granted that you can find a unit that is holding still long enough for the stone to reach it.
* PercussiveMaintenance: Villagers will repair buildings, ships, and siege weapons by hammering them.
* ProtectionMission: Plentiful in campaigns - most campaigns feature at least one protection mission. Appears in multiplayer as well - constructing a Wonder or collecting all relics essentially makes the rest of the game a protection mission. This is the entire point of Defend the Wonder - multiplayer mode.
* PurelyAestheticGender: From this game onwards, a town center told to produce a villager will randomly make either a male or a female. Males and females do exactly the same work. All regular military units are male, however.
* RainOfArrows: [[AutomaticCrossbows Chu Ko Nus]], Dragon Ships and castles. Town centers, towers and castles again can also shoot more arrows than usual if there is a number of villagers or archers hidden inside; this is taken to insane levels when Chinese players combine both and put Chu Ko Nus in castles. ''Forgotten Empires'' adds the Siege Tower, though it is only available in the editor.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: The Korean Turtle Ships in real life were actually much more powerful and faster than they're represented in this game. The unit designers intentionally gave them lower stats to give the other civs a competitive chance in naval battles as the Turtle Ships would've been the most broken unit in the whole game.
* ReinventingTheWheel: Technologies are not saved between the scenarios - not even the ages. Society may easily devolve from "Imperial age" to "Feudal age" between scenarios.
* ReligionIsMagic: Monks can convert enemy warriors and heal their own forces very fast. Montezuma's campaign takes this a bit further - in one mission, a mysterious, unidentified voice grants the player's jaguar warriors tenfold hitpoints if a large enough group is delivered to a certain ruined temple.
* RidiculouslyFastConstruction: Par for the course for RealTimeStrategy. For example, A villager can fill a gap in a town wall by starting construction on a new segment (read: hammering on the ground) for a few seconds, at which point the new wall will be strong enough to seriously impede regular enemy units. Even if it is only partially built, enemies will either have to spend a long time tearing the wall down (taking much more time than it took to construct) or rely on siege engines (only available from the Castle Age) to clear the way for them. A Feudal Age army can be effectively stopped by having villagers half-build a wall along its entire length before the enemies can get around it.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge:
** The final French Mission has you taking the role of Joan's successor and making the English pay dearly for killing their messiah.
** The fourth Aztec mission is based around gathering enough of the scattered Aztec army to force the Spanish and Tlaxcala out of Tenochtitlan. The mission immediately afterwards continues the rampage, focusing on destroying a Spanish and Tlaxcalan fortress to the north.
* RuleOfFun:
** Crossbows in the game are a strict upgrade to normal bows, dealing more damage and having more range. In real life, crossbows would be much slower to fire but could penetrate knights' armor well.
** In the second last scenario of the Montezuma campaign, the Aztecs can gain the ability to use cavalry and cannons by capturing Spanish horses and gunpowder respectively. The scenario notes flat out state that this would never have happened in RealLife and was included simply to provide a fun gameplay gimmick.
* SavageWolves: During the first mission of the GenghisKhan campaign, the player must buy one tribe's loyalty by dispatching a monstrous wolf named Ornlu, who has been killing sheep and people. Ornlu is a unique {{hero unit}} with stats far beyond those of regular wolves, and can be added to custom maps. He reappears again as the King Wolf of Norway in the Vindlandsaga.
* ScriptedEvent: Lots of them in campaign scenarios. Mission failures when heroes die, enemy ambushes in abandoned houses, an enemy offering to join the player in exchange of money, the tournament in El Cid campaign...
* ShameIfSomethingHappened: the very point of a scenario in Attila the Hun's campaign against Constantinople.
* ShootTheMedicFirst: Priests and missionaries.
* ShootTheMessenger: Happens to Barbarossa's Italian enemies in the Barbarossa campaign. Instead of shooting, he has all but one of them blinded - [[CruelMercy the last one only has his nose cut off so he can lead the rest of his party back]].
* ShoutOut:
** There's a Saladin mission in which you get to kill the master of the Knights Templar. When you do, he says this:
--> ''"[[Film/ANewHope If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.]]"''
** One of the taunts is, "[[Film/HistoryOfTheWorldPartI It is good to be the king!]]"
** In some of the Scenarios, you can find what appears to be the old ruins of a [[VideoGame/AgeOfEmpiresI Roman Barracks]].
* TheSiege: Many scenarios will have you on one of the two sides of a siege, including the Siege of Paris, Samarkand, China and Milan and Cairo (as the assaulter) and Acre and the last scenarios of El Cid and Montezuma's campaigns (as the defender).
* SiegeEngines: Catapults, ballistas, battering rams, and trebuchets.
* SilentProtagonist: William Wallace and Joan of Arc are not given any dialogue in ''Age of Kings'', nor are Attila the Hun and El Cid Campeador in ''The Conquerors''.
* SlaveMooks: Mamelukes and Janissaries, according to History. The Black Guard in the El Cid campaign.
* SmugSnake:
** In the third Attila the Hun scenario, you fight against the ruler of Constantinople, whose voiceovers all have a sneering, condescending tone. Destroying the right buildings will push him into a VillainousBreakdown.
** The Persian Shah in the first scenario will threaten you if you trespass into his territory and vow to have you destroyed when you attack him. It's pretty much all talk and no show if you already allied with the Scythians.
* SpeakingSimlish: This series gaves a nod to this by having two preset voice chat commands taken from the first game, one of which is the sound made when [[MostAnnoyingSound a priest tries to convert one of your units]]. Most units have soundbites of their native languages, though.
* TheStarscream: Henry the Lion tries to betray Barbarossa ''twice''. [[spoiler:He stops later, though, and is telling the player about Barbarossa's story.]]
* StormingTheCastle: It is unwise, but entirely possible for a large army without siege weapons to [[DeathOfAThousandCuts destroy a castle]] in game, especially if the opponent player has not researched Murder Holes yet which eliminates the minimum range of the castles' RainOfArrows.
* StraightForTheCommander: * Killing the opponent's king unit in [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Regicide mode]] gives you instant victory, regardless of how many other units and resources the other player still has. Of course, losing your king will do the same to you. In several campaign scenarios the objective is killing one particular enemy commander or destroying one enemy building too.
* StuffBlowingUp: The [[SuicideAttack Petards]] and Bombard Cannons.
* SuicideAttack: You CAN kill other units with the Petard, it's just not efficient enough to be practical. The same can be said for the Demolition Ship.
* SuspiciousVideogameGenerosity:
** Joan of Arc Scenario 5: "The Siege of Paris" starts you with a massive army of elite units. [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption You'll probably lose them all before the first part of the scenario is over.]]
** Barbarossa Scenario 5: You must get 10 units of your 70-strong army (14 cavalry, 38 infantry, 10 archers, 5 siege engines, 3 monks) across the Saracen-infested Sea of Marmara to the Hospitaller Camp in Turk-infested Anatolia. ''Easier said than done''.
* SympatheticPOV: Saladin is the Muslim fighting the crusaders; Barbarossa at a certain point enters the Crusades and fights Saladin.
* TacticalRockPaperScissors: Infantry > Cavalry > Archers > Infantry.
* TechnologyLevels: There are four technological ages: each civilization starts in the Dark Age at the beginning of a game, then progresses through the Feudal Age and Castle Age before reaching the Imperial Age. Each Age requires a significant resource investment to reach, and opens up powerful new technologies and upgrades that outclass what came before.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard:
** The AI will [[NotPlayingFairWithResources not play fair with resources]] on the hardest difficulty.
** Its units will '''always''' dodge (regardless of difficulty) the attacks from your onagers, trebs and bombard cannons.
** Also inverted: if you play on any difficulty below "Hard", the AI is handicapped. On "Standard" and "Easiest" difficulties, the AI won't attack villagers, making it practically impossible for the player to lose.
* TheComputerShallTauntYou: In addition to the taunts available in multiplayer, some campaigns feature specific taunts used by the enemies.
--> ''"What do a people who sleep in tents know about the word 'culture'?"''
* TheTeutonicKnights: Provide the special unit for (who else?) the Teutons. Unhistorically, they serve as foot-soldiers and are ''very'' slow, but extremely tough.
* ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks: The attack animation for the Saracens' unique unit is them throwing a scimitar at their target. (Although saying it ''always'' works is an overstatement; they don't have high accuracy.) Despite their inaccuracy and short range, the swords are frighteningly good at killing villagers and destroying buildings. They're also incredibly good against cavalry and an army of them can turn the War Elephants into target practice.
* TimedMission: None of the campaign scenarios feature a hard time limit. However, there are many time-scripted events that force the player to act fast, such as the AI triggers for building Wonders. Some optional objectives, such as the assassination of the Persian Shah, are also time-limited.
* TwentyBearAsses: While not as annoying as some examples, one of the tribes in the Genghis Khan campaign will join you if you bring them 20 sheep. They're fairly easy to find, hence "not as annoying."
* UnitsNotToScale:
** When putting people inside Transport Ships. One of the most {{egregious}} examples is to be the Persians and load your War Elephants onto transport ships. They do not look ''at all'' like they should fit.
** Also, units don't have separate sizes. This was lampshaded by an image of the Age of Empires king with the text "10 Elephants Fit in a Boat. 11 Archers Don't."
** Lampshaded in this [[AwkwardZombie Awkward Zombie]] [[http://www.awkwardzombie.com/index.php?page=0&comic=041513 strip]].
* VideogameCrueltyPotential:
** Not enough forces to attack the enemy's army and fortifications? Ignore them! Raid its base and kill its unarmed villagers and traders, crippling its economy! Come back before it recovers and level up everything!
** An enemy army coming? Go for [[ShootTheMedicFirst the unarmed religious leaders first]]!
* ViolationOfCommonSense:
** Sheep are very useful in multiplayer for scouting.
** A Jaguar Warrior can defeat a Teutonic Knight. (A Wooden Club studded with Volcanic Glass can cut through Plate Armor and Chainmail)
** Battering Rams are effective against Ships. And Catapults.
** The Saracens (and in The Forgotten, the Mayans after researching "obsidian arrows") have archer attack bonus [[DeathOfAThousandCuts against buildings]]. The Aztecs and Incas in The Forgotten have technologies ("atlatl" and "Andean sling") that make [[RedShirt skirmishers]] actually threatening to non-archers.
** Experiments with enemy ships trapped on one tile of shallow water have shown that all melee units, including the lowly villager, can damage and destroy naval units. What's also surprising about this is that spearmen (anti-cavalry) get bonus damage against fishing ships, galleys, and fire ships.
* WeHaveReserves:
** Tends to be a fairly common mindset for the CPU and occasionally the player with less expensive units. Overlaps with ZergRush, as seen below.
** Gothic tactics heartily endorse this mindset since their infantry are both inexpensive and created with blazing speed once in the Imperial Age. Losing an army of Gothic infantry will still be costly but there will be another group ready to take their place in no time flat.
** Also occurs when your onagers or bombard cannons blast enemy units even when your own melee units are attacking them. Though most of the time this is due to ArtificialStupidity.
* WhamEpisode: Nearly every campaign has one.
** [[MeaningfulName La Noche Triste]] in the Aztec campaign. The Spanish have completley taken over Tenochtitlan, and are building a freaking Wonder, ([[TimedMission which will cause you to lose if completed]]) while you're reduced to a scattered bunch of ragtag warriors. And even when you retake the city, Montezuma dies. Pretty much sets the town for the DownerEnding that follows, though the next mission is a HopeSpot.
** "The Siege of Paris" in the Joan of Arc campaign, where FailureIsTheOnlyOption and Joan is captured at the end and burned at the stake in the epilogue. Older players [[LateArrivalSpoiler would know this already]], but it can be devastating for an early teen who is not as familiar with medieval history.
** "Barbarossa's March": You've made it to Anatolia after all the hell that the Saracens and Turks have given you and help yourself to the cool water of a river to slake your thirst and wash away the dirt and sweat. [[spoiler:Oops. Barbarossa accidentally drowns himself and his Crusader Army evaporates to a tiny fraction of its original size.]]
* WithUsOrAgainstUs: The "Neutral" diplomacy setting is basically the same as "Enemy" with a few adjustments to automatic targeting of civilian units.
* YouHaveResearchedBreathing:
** LeadTheTarget: The "Ballistics" upgrade.
** The Huns in ''The Conquerors'' can research ''atheism''. Everyone else needs to research ''faith''.
* YouRequireMoreVespeneGas: Gold, Stone, Wood and Food are the resources of the game. Food, Wood and Gold are the most commonly used resources, with Stone mostly being reserved for heavy fortifications, such as walls and castles.
* ZergRush:
** One of the most common tactics in multiplayer is to attack during the feudal age with large numbers of spearmen and skirmishers to prevent your opponent from being able to develop his economy. Most rounds are effectively decided '''within twenty minutes''' this way. Archers are an alternative, because of their greater attack and the fact they cost no food, so they don't compete for resources with creating villagers. Scouts are also good feudal age units, due to their speed allowing them to harass the enemy's economy effectively. However, they are vulnerable to defensive spearmen. It's even possible to win a match [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCqPGKtPKho with Skirmishers as the only primary unit]].
** If you progress to the Imperial Age and are running out of gold, you can try spamming a large number of units that cost no gold, i.e. hussars, halberdiers and elite skirmishers (or whatever your civilisation is capable of producing).
** A frequent online tactic is to play as the Huns, remain in the Dark Ages, and take advantage of the Huns' unique ability, to endlessly spam hordes of Militia before your opponent can get their defenses up.
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