Article written by Aro
Published on 12-30-2016; updated on 12-30-2016

One of the innovations of Age of Empires II was the addition of formations to
the Age series, allowing the player to shift the position of their units at will, and group
them together so all units go at the speed of the slowest unit (in the original
Age of Empires, the units all went at their own speed; the chaos, of course,
made it difficult to properly manage units).

Line Formation

The default line formation places melee units at the front of the
group, ranged units behind the melee, and siege weapons / monks / heroes at the back
of the line. This formation provides the weaker units protection from a frontal attack,
with the melee units acting
as a shield while the ranged units assist them. The units are arranged
according to their battle specialty. A crafty enemy can send quick mounted
units around the melee line and attack the vulnerable ranged units/siege weapons,
so be warned.

Staggered Formation

The staggered formation allows you to
have your units distance themselves away from eachother, as a sort of spaced-out line formation. Doing this will
lessen the chance of units falling because of a Siege weapon firing into the
group (i.e. the Mangonel-line, Scorpions). Because the units are very spread out,
it also allows you to cover more area when marching. It still has the line formation’s
weaknesses, however, and often you might want your units close together when
attacking an enemy.

Box Formation

The box formation places the melee units in a box around the weaker ranged units,
thereby surrounding the group’s important
siege / monk / hero units, protecting them from all sides and eliminating the
threat of an exposed flank. However, siege weapons and ranged units can easily
penetrate the box formation by firing into the center. This is a decent defense formation
against cavalry and melee units, but be wary around rangers and siege weapons.

Flank Formation

The flank formation is an attack formation. This formation is
very much like the line formation, except that it divides your units equally into
two sub-groups. Your units attempt to surround the enemy force that attacks them,
attacking from all (if not all, then most) sides. This formation does little to
protect valuable or weaker units, however, so it’s best used with groups of
stronger, faster and more expendable units.


Line Formation
Staggered Formation

Box Formation
Flank Formation