Villagers are the resource gathering and construction workers that are essential for building and maintaining your base. They are the meat of base/force/army. Without them you will eventually lose. They collect Food, Wood, Stone, and Gold.
Villagers cost 50 food to make and spawn at the town center
Make six villagers into farmers usually around a protected area like the inside of a base. Send five villagers to mine for stone or gold, then create 10-15 (based on population limit of 75) and split them into two groups and set them to collect wood in two different areas. Create 1 or 2 villagers for base repair and additional construction. If attacks are heavy, change the number of static villagers to 3-5, but if you can avoid it, don't take villagers off of resource collection to make the extra numbers. You can use 1-2 villagers as construction units on advance bases (built for offensive purposes) that are built just outside a target base. Protect them with 10 cavalry or 10 of certain special units.
If you have to build a lot of buildings at once, or a wonder, either ignore this, or build an additional 5-7 villagers for normal high speed construction, but if you're building a wonder you want 10-12, this is one of the few times it can be beneficial to take resource collectors to make your numbers, but only do so with wood or food. Gold and Stone are too rare to stop collecting when you find it.
- Loom: Available in the Dark Ages. Built in town Center. Costs 50 food. Gives Villagers 15 hit points, +1 attack/+1 Pierce
- Wheelbarrow: Available in the Feudal Age at your town center. Costs 175 food, 50 wood Villagers move 10% faster and carry 25% more resources.
- Gold Mining: Available at the Mine during the feudal ages. costs 100 wood, 75 gold. Villagers mine Gold 15% faster
- Stone Mining: Available at the Mine during the feudal ages. costs 100 wood, 75 gold. Villagers mine Stone 15% faster
- Double Bit Ax: Available at the Lumber Camp during the feudal ages Costs 100 food, 50 wood. Villagers chop wood 20% faster
- Hand Cart: Available in the Castle Ages. Built in town Center. Costs 300 Food, 200 Wood. Villagers move 10% faster and carry 50% more resources
- Bow Saw: Available in the Castle Ages. Built in Lumber Camp. Costs 150 Wood, 100 Food. Villagers chop 20% more wood
- Gold Shaft Mining: Available in the Castle Ages. Built in Mining Camps. Costs 200 Food, 150 Wood. Villagers mine 15% more gold
- Stone Shaft Mining: Available in the Castle Ages. Built in Mining Camps. Costs 200 Food, 150 Wood. Villagers mine 15% more stone.
- Treadmill crane: Available in the Castle Ages. Built in Universities. Costs 200 Wood, 300 Stone. Villagers construct buildings 10% faster
- Two Man Saw: Available in the Imperial Ages. Built in Lumber Camps. Costs 300 Wood, 200 Food. Villagers cut wood 10% faster
- Sappers: Available in the Imperial Ages. Built in Castles. Costs 400 Food, 200 Gold. Villagers have +15 attack against buildings
- Spies: Available in the Imperial Ages. Built in Castles. Doesn't directly affect your villagers, however, the number of enemy villagers are taken into account when tabulating the cost of the tech
Victory by killing enemy villagers
Generally if you can kill the villagers you can kill or cripple your enemy in the battle. In Multiplayer on lower difficulties or even higher difficulties on occasion, sometimes the enemy will surrender if you manage to kill all his villagers, sometimes he'll even do it if he still has a town center.
There are many various ways to win, one is resource war, (getting more resources than your enemy so you win) and in this strategy killing the enemy villagers is a crucial part to achieving success. The AI tends (as do some players) to put their villagers to work outside the base collecting resources. They usually put more villagers into cutting wood than they do collecting stone and gold (though not always the case) and these villagers are a good target for your units.
There are generally three ways to approach this.
- Take 10-15 projectile units (higher attack units the better) and place them at a lumber camp, put them on no attack status and just point and click at each villager, cav archers are better because the enemy usually sends units to stop you, and a lot of the times those are knights and other mounted units.
- Swarm in with melee mounted units and kill them off in a big rush, you want at least 15 because they all start running away.
- Build a castle by an active lumber camp and just watch as the villagers die in mass at the foot of your castle. Be careful not to attack anything while doing this, or the AI will be alerted to your presence and try to shut you down. This also causes a swarm from the AI where they send units to destroy you're castle, so you want some additional units on stand by to protect it from siege weapons if they make a try.
Finally, to achieve your victory over a particular faction, especially in the single campaign mode, when you destroy the town center, you want to make sure you get all the villagers, because if you don't, they'll either build a new town center somewhere else, or build up the needed resources and build a town center. Remember, all it takes to restart a destroyed base is 100 wood to build a lumber camp and from there, one villager could in time completely rebuild a base if he has access to all necessary resources.
If you kill all villagers and they ability to make villagers, sometimes the AI will launch all it's ground units at you in attempt to rush you to death.