The Crossbowman is an Archery unit available in the Medieval Era.


The crossbow first appeared in Europe in the 10th century. Although slower than a standard bow, a crossbow requires less training and strength than a regular bow, and over time it came to be the dominant weapon on the battlefield. A crossbow consists of a fairly short but heavy bow mounted to a stock. The firer pulls back the string - often with mechanical assistance - to "cock" the bow, then lays a "bolt" (arrow) on a groove in the stock. The firer aims, then pulls a trigger to release the string, which launches the bolt at the target. Among other advantages, a crossbow can be fired from a kneeling or prone position, something which is impossible with a standard bow.


Advances in technology produce a new type of ranged weapon, sufficiently strong to punch through medieval armor. At the same time, the Crossbowmen are equipped with mail shirts for protection, allowing them to withstand quite more damage than earlier ranged units; still, it is advisable to use them with caution, and protect them from enemy cavalry. Again, the best use for a Crossbowman is to put it on high ground in a well-defended position, where it can rain death upon approaching enemies without suffering counterattacks.

Unique Unit Replacements

Icon Unit Civilization Abilities
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The Fatimids (al-Mu'izz)
  • Generates FaithIcon.png Faith from kills
  • +3 Combat Strength when at war with civs of other religions
Genoa (Simone Boccanegra)
  • +2 Combat Strength
  • If it begins turn stacked with a Naval Unit, may automatically fire without using Movement
China (Wu Zetian)
Shu Han (Liu Bei)
  • May attack twice per turn
  • -25% ranged strength

With Shu Han (Liu Bei) installed:

  • -25% Ranged Strength (14 vs 18).
  • May Attack twice each turn.
  • +15% Great General Generation Rate for each level (max +85%).
Cymru Longbow Wales (Llywelyn)
  • Ignores terrain cost
  • Increased Combat Strength in rough terrain
  • +1 Movement
Daikyu Japan (Ashikaga Yoshimitsu)
  • +23% Strength.png Combat Strength (16 vs 13)
  • Earns Goldenage.png Golden Age Points from kills.
  • +1 Range when stationed on a Holy Site.
Dragon Martial Southern Zhou (Wu Zetian)
  • Has lower base Combat Strength, but +1 Movement.
  • Gains +25% Combat Strength when within 2 tiles of a friendly Spy.
  • Earns Goldenage.png Golden Age points from kills.
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Granadine Cavalry
The Moors (Abd-ar-Rahman III)
  • +2 Movement
  • May move after attacking
Guard of the Rock San Marino (Marinus)
  • Has -25% Strength.png Combat Strength.
  • May attack twice when garrisoned in a City or stationed in a defensive Improvement in friendly territory.
England (Elizabeth)

England (Henry VIII)

  • +1 Range


Schleswig-Holstein (Frederich I)
  • Deals 33% more damage against ships.
  • When garrisoned on a fort or in a city, produces Gold.png gold and gives a small chance to grant a Food.png food yield each turn.
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Paik[1] Bengal (Shuja-ud-Din Muhammad Khan)
  • It starts with the Amphibious Promotion.
  • It gains +1 Range when on rivers, and this ability is retained upon upgrade.
  • While embarked, stacked Naval Ranged units can attack at +1 Range.
Pupil Ostia (Lilina)
  • -11% ranged combat strength (16 vs. 18)
  • Gains 50% more EXP from combat.
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Saethwyr Wales (Owain Glyndwr)
  • Stronger than the Crossbowman, and treats any hill in friendly territory like a fort
  • Grants culture per turn when fortified
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Mali (Mansa Musa)
  • Starts with the Medic promotion
  • May move after attacking
  • +1 defensive Combat Strength
  • -2 ranged strength
Sultha'thi The Yokuts (Estanislao)
  • Higher Production.png Production cost. (130 vs 120)
  • Indirect Fire.
  • +15% Strength.png Ranged Strength against Gunpowder units.
Unit Types
Ancient Era
ArcherChariot ArcherScoutSpearmanTriremeWarrior
Classical Era
Composite BowmanCatapultHorsemanSwordsman
Medieval Era
Renaissance Era
Industrial Era
ArtilleryCavalryGatling GunIroncladRifleman
Modern Era
Anti-Aircraft GunBattleshipCarrierDestroyerGreat War BomberGreat War InfantryInfantryLandshipMachine GunSubmarineTriplane
Atomic Era
Anti-Tank GunAtomic BombBazookaBomberFighterHelicopter GunshipMarineMobile SAMParatrooperRocket ArtilleryTank
Information Era
Giant Death RobotGuided MissileJet FighterMechanized InfantryMissile CruiserModern ArmorNuclear MissileNuclear SubmarineStealth BomberXCOM Squad
Civilian Units
ArchaeologistCaravanCargo ShipInquisitorMissionarySettlerWork BoatWorker
Great People
Great AdmiralGreat ArtistGreat EngineerGreat GeneralGreat MerchantGreat MusicianGreat ProphetGreat ScientistGreat Writer
  1. Athar (1994). The Paik in the Army of Delhi Sultans during the 13th century. Proceedings of the Indian History Congress vol. 55
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