How to Defeat a War Wagon in Age of Empires

By Contributing Writer

Updated September 22, 2017

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Microsoft’s Age of Empires series of real-time strategy games is among the most popular ever created. The war wagon was introduced as a unique unit of the Korean civilization in "Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion." It drew heated reactions from gamers who believed that it was too powerful. Indeed, in a game with more than 100 different units, the war wagon might be the most difficult to defeat. Based upon the historic Korean Hwacha, the war wagon shoots a devastating bolt from long range behind the protection of a heavily armored horse-drawn carriage.

Identify your opponents. If facing the Koreans, you must tailor your strategy early. Send out your scout cavalry to find opposing civilizations. On a water map, build a fishing ship to start exploring as early as possible.

Attack early. The war wagon cannot be built until the Castle Age. The easiest way to beat a war wagon is by not facing one. Most Korean advantages don’t come until late in the game. The earlier you attack the Koreans, the easier it will be.

Confuse the Koreans. Koreans can build most any military unit, but you can turn this strength into a disadvantage. Attacking early with skirmishers, for instance, might influence the Koreans to build barracks units instead of war wagons.

Understand the war wagon’s weaknesses. Like all cavalry units, it is susceptible to pikemen, skirmishers and camels. Since it is also slow, cavalry can close the distance fast, nullify its ranged attack and take it out.

Build military units based upon your own advantages. Each civilization comes with certain units, upgrades and bonuses. Infantry-based civilizations should build pikemen and skirmishers. Civilizations with multiple upgrades at the stable, or with camels, should counter war wagons with cavalry.

Task villagers to maximize production in materials required. Building cavalry, for instance, requires plenty of gold. Skirmishes, however, need food and wood. The map might influence your strategy, as some maps are low in some supplies.

Micro-manage battles personally. War wagons wreak havoc upon most units and against any units attacking haphazardly. Always make sure your forces are targeting war wagons specifically. Otherwise, the wagons might stay a safe distance away and decimate your military.


Get in close to nullify the war wagon’s range attack advantage.

Always have several paths for your units to attack from. Walls help defend against war wagons, but you can’t take them out unless you build multiple doors through which to get to them. Koreans can fortify limited doorways, preventing you from ever reaching their wagons.

Sometimes you can find out your opponent’s civilization simply by clicking on the diplomacy icon in the upper right hand corner of the game display. This saves time on exploring.


Most civilizations cannot build camels, and many cannot sufficiently upgrade their cavalry to be effective against war wagons. Know your civilization’s limitations.