Age Of Wonders 3 Wiki
Age Of Wonders 3 Wiki

Cities are the most valuable part of your Empire. They produce resources, allow you to train units, provide defensive military structures to protect yourself, and project domain, which allows you to harvest the income from the treasure sites.


See also:Resources


Most resources are gained as income from your Cities. Cities have an inherent amount of Gold Gold and Production Production they generate, and they will project Domain, allowing you to harvest resources from the Treasure Sites around your cities. Only explored, unoccupied treasure sites inside your domain will generate resources (hence occupation by hostile independent or faction armies will deprive the city of that resource). These can be bonuses to Gold Gold, ManaMana, Knowledge Knowledge or Production Production, or even increase the city's Happiness Happiness and Population Population. A treasure site outside your domain will never give any bonus to you.

Forts also project domain, but cannot benefit from treasure sites producing Production Production, Happiness Happiness or PopulationPopulation, since they are merely military structures, without a population. Note that Dwellings may benefit from ProductionProduction and Happiness Happiness, but not Population Population.

City Size[]

The gold income, the production and the domain are dependent on the City Size. There are five levels a city can have, from the smallest, Outpost, through Village, Town, City, and the biggest, Metropolis. For each level gained, a city will produce a higher Gold Gold income, receive higher Production Production, and it will increase it's domain radius, allowing the city to cover more treasure sites. These three factors grow in the following manner:

City Size Outpost Village Town City Metropolis
Req Population 100 3000 6000 12000 22000
Gold Income 2 10 20 30 40
Base Production 20 25 30 35 40
Domain Radius 2 3 4 5 6

Increasing Domain[]

Aside from growing your city, there are a few other methods to increase your domain. The following three buildings will each increase the Domain Radius by 1:

This will result in a maximum Domain Radius of 9, which can only be exceeded by the Warlord, with the Authority of the Sword Authority of the Sword spell, for a Domain Radius of 10.

City Income[]

Income calculations[]

All city incomes are calculated following the same model. The incomes is sub-divided in several components as follow:

  • City income
    • Base income (see below)
    • Building income
    • Racial income (e. G. Race inherent income)
    • Structure income: income from the explored structures in domain
  • Bonuses
    • Multiplier bonuses such as +10%, +20%, etc.
    • Flat bonuses such as +50, +100, etc.
  • Happiness
    • Provides a Happiness modifier, see Happiness
    • Does only apply to City Income and flat bonuses - Multiplier bonuses like Expansionism or Fertility Rites get neglected.
  • Production:
  • Enemy at the gate: see City Happiness Modifiers's Enemy At The Gate modifier
    • Gives an additional -1/6 income Enemy At The Gate malus

The calculation is made in a specific order. As a consequence, some bonus apply only to some incomes, and not to all. The calculation is as follow:
(Base income + Structure income + Flat bonuses) x (1 + Multiplier bonuses) x (1 + Happiness modifier) x (1 + Production modifier) x (1 + Enemy at the gate malus)
Multiplier bonuses like Fertility Rites Fertility Rites thus applies to the sum of the City income and the Flat bonuses.
Meanwhile, the special malus from "Enemy At The Gates" applies to the final income (with ALL bonus/malus applied before).

In general, each section (City income, Multiplier bonuses, Happiness modifiers, Production modifiers) of the income is rounded (so 4.3 = 4 and 4.5 = 5) individually. The separately rounded values are then added up to calculate the final income

Let's take the example of the Gold income of a Goblin Village with the following characteristics:

  • City income
    • Base income: +10 (Village)
    • Structure income: +20 (Gold Mines x 2) +10 (Oyster Reef x 1)
  • Bonuses
  • Happiness: Happy
    • Happiness modifier: +15%
  • Production: Merchandise
    • Production modifier: +50%
  • Ennemy at the gate: yes, enemies are present in the 7 central hexes of the city
    • Enemy At The Gate malus: -16.66%

The city has the following gold income:
Prior to Production and Enemy at the gates modifiers: (10 + 20 + 10) + 10 + 5 + 0 x (40 + 15) + 0.15 x ((40 + 15 + 0) = 40 + 15 + 0 + 8.25 = 40 + 15 + 8 = 63
With Production modifier 63 + 0.5 x 63 = 63 + 31.5 = 63 + 32 = 95
With Enemy At The Gate malus: 95 - 1/6 x 95 = 95 - 16.15 = 95 - 16 = 79

Producing Gold[]

Gold Gold is probably the hardest resource to produce faster, as it cannot be enhanced with additional buildings. Therefore, after city size, it can only be increased in the following ways:

  • Higher Happiness Happiness
  • Treasure Sites
  • by Merchandise
  • A selection of few city enchantments

Producing Mana[]

Cities do not produce Mana Mana inherently, to produce Mana Mana, you will need to build the appropriate Buildings:

Each of these will increase Mana Mana income by +10 Mana.
Mana Mana income can further be enhanced by:

  • Higher Happiness Happiness
  • Treasure Sites
  • by Generate Mana (Requires: Shrine)
  • Draconians have an innate +3 Mana Mana for each city.

Producing Knowledge[]

To produce Knowledge Knowledge, your city can build:

Each of these will increase Knowledge Knowledge income by +10 Knowledge. Knowledge Knowledge income can further be enhanced by:

Increasing Population Growth[]

Base Population Population growth is +250 Population, regardless of city size. This number can further be enhanced by the following methods:

Each of these will increase Population Population growth by +100 Population. Population Population income can further be enhanced by:

  • Higher Happiness Happiness
  • Treasure Sites
  • by Build Housing
  • Some strategic spells and empire upgrades
  • Goblins cities have an additional +20% Population Population growth.


Cities will spend their Production Production on their currently assigned goal, until it is completed. If the city generates more production than required to finish, the excess production is lost.

Production can be hurried. This will cause it to complete the following turn. The cost for this is 50 Gold per turn gained, and it gives a 100 Happiness Happiness penalty for 5 Turn Turns. Necromancer cities instead spend 50 Gold and 50 Dead Population per turn gained.

Production Production can be spent on either building units or structures. Special activities are not affected by the amount of Production your city generates.

Increasing Production[]

Production Production can be increased simply by building Production Buildings, those having the following effectiveness:

for a total of +45 Production Production.
Aside from these, the only other options are:

  • Higher Happiness Happiness
  • Treasure Sites
  • Mana Fuel Cells Mana Fuel Cells (Dreadnought Only)
  • Racial Government Options for some races
  • Human cities will generate an additional +10 Production Production


All cities can produce Merchandise, and will automatically do so if they have not been assigned production, or when you don't have the Gold or Mana to initiate their current production goal. Producing merchandise increases the city's Gold Gold income by 50%. Human cities, if the Economic option is chosen by the Deity level of Racial Governance, have doubled effectiveness and having them produce merchandise will increase the city's Gold income with 100% instead.

Generate Mana[]

Once a city has a Shrine, it can Generate Mana to increase it's Mana Mana income by 50%.

Seek Knowledge[]

Once a city has a Laboratory, it can Seek Knowledge to increase the city's Knowledge Knowledge income by 50%

Build Housing[]

All cities that are not controlled by a Necromancer can build housing to increase Population Population growth by 50%.

Forge Item[]

A city with an Arcane Item forge can Forge Items. This is unique among the special activities in that it requires Production. See Arcane Item Forge for more details.


Main Article: Buildings

All cities can construct the same upgrades with the exception of two buildings, being the defense and the highest military structure, and the class buildings. See the Buildings page for details, and the specific buildings, and the individual class pages for their specific buildings.


All cities have a Happiness Happiness level which indicated how content your citizens are. A high city happiness will enhance both income and production, while a low one will decrease those. These happiness values correspond to the following levels:

Levels of City Happiness

Happiness Rebellious Very Unhappy Unhappy Content Happy Very Happy Cheerful
Very Unhappy
Very Happy
Range -600 and less -599 to -400 -399 to -200 -199 to 199 200 to 399 400 to 599 600 and more
Modifier -50% -30% -15% - +15% +30% +50%
Additional Result Civil Unrest (except for Necromancer Players), spawning of rebels Civil Unrest (except for Necromancer Players) - - - 4% Chance of a Festival 10% Chance of a Festival

City Happiness Modifiers[]

City Happiness is affected by Empire Happiness as well as Race Happiness.

In addition, specific bonus and malus apply to cities:

Happiness Bonus Description Duration How to obtain
-300 Absorbing city While the absorption progresses Absorb a city you control
-200 Enemy in domain - At least one non-concealed hostile unit is in your domain
-200 Enemy At The Gates (leads also to an -1/6 reduced City Income) - At least one hostile unit is in in one of the 7 central hexes of your city
-100 Hurried production 5 Turn Whenever you hurry production at this city (stacks)
+50 Is the throne city - As long as this city is the throne of your empire
+50 Leader in this city - As long as your leader is in the central hex of this city
+400 Liberated from Raiders! 10 Turn Take back control of a city that was yours and got conquered by roaming independents
+400 Crushed the Rebellion! ? ?
Variable Liked, disliked and hated terrains - See table below for details
Variable Racial Governance bonus - See each race's Racial Governance for details
+100 File:Public Baths.png Public Baths - Built in the city
+100 File:Hospital.png Hospital - Built in the city
+100 File:Grand Palace.png Grand Palace - Built in the city
+100 File:Celestial Chamber.png Celestial Chamber - Built in the city controlled by a Theocrat
+100 File:Gladiator Pit.png Gladiator Pit - Built in the city controlled by a Warlord
+20 File:Flowers of Solace.png Flowers of Solace - Structure in the city's Domain
+150 Hall of the Forefathers Hall of the Forefathers - Explored structure in the city's domain
+200 Hearts ( Glades, Volcano, Blight, Tropics, Arctic) - Explored structure in the city's Domain
+100 File:Inn.png Inn - Explored structure in the city's domain
+50 File:Spring of Life.png Spring of Life - Explored structure in the city's domain
+40 Sanctified Sites Sanctified Sites - For each Treasure site (see Structures) explored in the city's domain when Sanctified Sites Sanctified Sites is cast by the city's owner (works for Vassals too).
+100 Imperial Residence - The city was the first to build a File:Grand Palace.png Grand Palace, completing the Imperial Residence Empire Quest

Terrain plays a major role in city happiness as detailed in the table below. The central hex of a city is considered to be radius = 0.

Radius Modifier/hex Total area (hex) Maximum happiness bonus
Liked Disliked Hated
2 +24 -12 -24 19 456
3 +13 -6 -13 37 481
4 +8 -4 -8 61 488
5 +6 -3 -6 91 546
6 +4 -2 -4 127 508
7 +3 -1 -3 169 507
8 +3 -1 -3 217 651
9 +2 -1 -2 271 542
10 +2 -1 -2 331 662

High Happiness[]

When having Very Happy or Cheerful city happiness, there are more benefits than just the income boosts, even if that is already a huge advantage. The inhabitant of a city may organize certain events because they appreciate their leader: the chances are 4% for Very Happy cities and 10% for Cheerful ones. The possibilities for these events are:

  • Praise the Leader Festival
    • Gives three times the cities gold income in Gold
  • Festival of Magic
    • Gives four times the cities mana income in Mana
  • Research Breakthrough
    • Gives four times the cities knowledge income in Knowledge
  • Summer of Love
    • Gives four times the cities population growth in Population
  • City Auto Completion Production
    • Automatically completes the city's current production.
    • If the city would have completed production anyway, completes the next item in queue

Low Happiness[]

When happiness goes too far down, production and incomes are lowered with the same percentages, and when dropping to Rebellious, a city will start to rebel against you. Once this happens, there is an advance warning, and after a few turns, the city will start spawning rebels in the lands around your city, who will conquer the city if you do not guard it well.


If happiness is low enough, a city can betray its owner. This means they will offer a quest to a player with a higher race relation with that city's race than the current owner, asking him to attack the city and liberate them from their current owner. Cities with Rally of the Populace Rally of the Populace on them may offer betrayal to the spell's caster even if their race happiness is not higher, but unhappiness is still required. Players attacking a city in response to a betrayal have a unique city enchantment in their offensive siege. Gates start out breached and walls damaged, and for a number of Turn Turns, a random unit will be spawned for the attacker. This is a unit that can currently be build in the city with its current owner. This includes racial units, machines and class units.

Unit Production[]

One of the most important things about cities is that they allow you to produce more units to fight with. Out of all those, there are two units which you can produce independent of any structures you may or may not have:

After building the corresponding Military Buildings, you will be able to build the other racial units, which can be seen at the pages of the individual races:

The production of machines that aren't class specific will need the Production Buildings. These are:

Note that the Builder and Settler are technically not machines, but laborers.
All Class specific units require either a summoning spell, or a class specific buildings. These are, along with the produced units, listed on the Class pages:

Independent Cities[]

At the start of the game, the largest part of the cities are independent. They can be Hostile, Neutral or Friendly towards you.

  • Hostile cities will declare war on you on sight. The only way to get them is to march in and take them by force.
  • Neutral cities neither hate nor like you; you can declare war (100 Evil Alignment) on them to fight them, or you can wait for quests, or even speed up te process with some Gold Gold. However, you are not allowed to pass their domain without an open border agreement, which can usually be bought with a modest sum of Gold. Doing a quest for a Neutral city will make them Friendly towards you.
  • Friendly cities offer a peace treaty on sight. You are at once allowed to pass their domain, and they are likely to give you quests, which will raise your relation with them. Once the relation is high enough, they may offer Vassalage.
  • Vassals are cities that almost belong to your empire: see below.


Cities captured by conquest, whether they were independent or owned by another player, will not be of use to you at once - the populace will first have to accept your rule. This can be achieved in one of two ways:


Absorbing a city will integrate the population into your empire. This process will take up any amount of turns between 1 Turn and 11 Turn, depending on alignment. The closer your alignment is towards that of the former owner, the faster a city will be absorbed.
Absorption time is cut by Voluntary Union Voluntary Union.


Migration will throw out the original population, and replace it with people already in your empire. Therefore, you can only migrate to a race that has been absorbed into your empire. Migrating a city is an act of evil (100 Evil Alignment). The minimum migration duration is 1 Turn for cities between 1 and 14 hexes away from your closest city of the desired race (Vassal cities and cites currently being Absorbed, Razed, Plundered or Migrated do no count) and it increases by 1 Turn for every additional 15 hexes. Migration negatively impacts the Race Happiness of the race being replaced and increases the Race Happiness of the race that arrives in the conquered city.
Migration time is cut by Mab's Boon Mab's Boon.

Release as Vassal[]

You can also release cities as Vassals, which will increase your Race Happiness and moves your Alignment towards Good by +50 Good Alignment (or +25 Good Alignment if an independent city was made a Vassal). Undead cities have to be purged before they can be released as Vassals. This means that Necromancer players can never release undead cities as Vassals.
See Vassal below.


See Quests.

Buying Cities[]

Sometimes, Friendly cities can be bought. They usually cost a hefty sum of Gold, increasing with city size. Once bought, they turn to your control, completely unguarded. Unless you have troops close by, it will make easy prey both for other players, as well as for wandering independents. Whenever you buy a friendly city, all current quests from that city for all players are halted (failed). Also, buying a city is an act of Good (150 Good Alignment).

To buy a city, when in the city diplomacy screen, select the "I think it's time you join my empire" option.

For a city to be able to be bought, you will need a high relation with that city. Also, it cannot be too shortly after making peace with the city.

Minimum relationship Maximum relationship Vassal Relations Cost modifier
-600 -400 Suspicious Buying Favor not possible?
-399 -200 Wary +15%
-199 199 Indifference +0%
200 399 Respectful -15%
400 599 Trusting -35%
600 Above Friendly -60%

The distance to your closest city or Dwelling increases the purchase cost with an additional modifier, which can be calculated through the following formula when the distance is higher than 20 hexes: 0.03 x [distance in number of hexes] - 0.6. When the distance is 20 or lower, it has no impact on purchase cost (the modifier cannot be negative and reduce purchase cost).

The base purchase costs (including for Dwellings) are (information to be completed):

Race Size Peace cost Vassal cost multiplier Absorb cost multiplier
Orc Outpost 70 2.1429 2.0714
Human Village 102.66 2.1429 2.4838
Giant Dwelling 135 2.4444 3.6296
Dragon Dwelling 215 2.5116 3.4419
Archon Dwelling 135 2.4444 3.6296

The Vassalship and Absorb costs are calculated through the formula: [Peace cost] x (1 + [Relationship modifer] + [Distance modifier]) x [Multiplier].


Vassals swore obedience to your empire: you receive a portion of their income, which varies according to your relationship with them (see table below). However, you cannot build anything in a vassal city, and its guard remain independent. After 4 Turn as Vassal in your empire, they can be convinced to completely join your empire for an amount of Gold Gold dependent on relation and distance (see above).

Minimum relationship Maximum relationship Vassal Relations Vassal income
-600 -400 Suspicious Break of the vassalage
-399 -200 Wary Break of the vassalage
-199 199 Indifference 20%
200 399 Respectful 40%
400 599 Trusting 60%
600 Above Friendly 80%

Vassals also have their own (city or Dwelling) happiness which influence their income just like for normal cities or Dwellings.
Vassals constantly Merchandise (+50% income). This means for instance that a Cheerful Outpost Vassal with a Trading Post in domain will have a base income of 2+20=22 Gold but a real income of 22*1.5*1.5=49.5 (Merchandise and Cheerful), i.e. of 50 Gold, of which you can get up to 40 Gold maximum if you have Friendly relationship.
Vassal cities and Dwellings are affected by strategic spells influencing income (such as Paid Absolution Paid Absolution) or happiness (such as Incite Revolt Incite Revolt). The city or Dwelling itself and its building are not affected by your Empire Upgrades. However, Empire Uprgades applying to structures inside your domain also work in the domain of your Vassals and thus increase their income (for instance Animistic Knowledge Animistic Knowledge).

Cities whose Leader died[]

Whenever a leader has been eliminated, all his cities will turn independent. They will be Hostile towards any players that had war with their previous owner, while being Neutral or Friendly with all other players. Once turned independent, there is no difference between them and other independent cities.


Cities can also be razed or plundered for a variety of reasons - because you cannot hold it while fighting your opponents, because absorbing/migrating takes too long, or because you don't like the race in question. Razing a city is an act of Evil (150 Evil Alignment), and always takes 2 Turn. If the city is captured by another player or the independents within this time, the razing is automatically cancelled. Alternatively, you can Plunder a city, which is just as evil (150 Evil Alignment), and takes 4 Turn. However, it grants some Gold and Mana. The Gold gained in plundering is 12 times the Gold income of the city per Turn, and the Mana gained in plundering is 12 times the Mana income of the city per Turn. Hasty Plunder Hasty Plunder Allows you to plunder a city at razing speed.

Once a city is razed, it leaves ruins behind on the map. Any player is able to rebuild the ruins with a Settler. Rebuilding a city will happen with 50% of the original Population Population, is an act of Good (150 Good Alignment), and will restore some, but not all of the city upgrades that were built previously.