|Hot Air Balloon|
If using both the basic and advanced versions of the balloon it is possible to have two out at once.
|First Appearance||Age of Empires III|
|Cost||Home City Card|
|Age Available||Colonial Age|
|Base Hit Points||240|
The Hot Air Balloon is a unique unit in Age of Empires III.
Through the use of the "Hot Air Balloons" and "Advanced Balloon" cards available to many nations, a player's Explorer gains the ability to release hot air balloons. The Colonial Age balloons will remain active for 20 seconds but may be called out an unlimited number of times, while the Industrial Age balloon remains active permanently.
The hot air balloon is an exploration unit that hovers above the ground and shares the same line of sight as a Monitor (38). Its line of sight can be increased to 50 through use of Town Watch and the card TEAM Inquisition. The Hot Air Balloon may only be sent from the Home City and then dropped on an area by the Explorer.
- It cannot attack and it cannot be shot down except through direct targeting of it, this means AI opponents or those units left idle by a flesh and blood player will never shoot it down. There is no effective counter for the use of balloons with the exception of killing the enemy explorer as early as possible (before most enemies can afford the ransom) or by manually targeting the balloon.
- Hot air balloons can be dropped on any area of the map instantly; it does not have to be a location near the Explorer. This means it does not have to fly over enemy walls; it can appear behind them and then begin scouting.
- Placing the permanent balloon over terrain that is inaccessible to enemy ground troops (they can't get within range to see or shoot it), but still allows the line of sight range of the unit to cover possible enemy attack paths is ideal. Example locations are large copses of trees, canyons, a plateau or puddles of water near narrow pathways or land bridges.
- Hot Air Balloons are very similar to the Vision god power in Age of Mythology, even staying active for the same length of time.
"Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier are to hot air balloons what Orville and Wilbur Wright are to airplanes. They believed that their balloons were held aloft by smoke, burning hay and even shoes to keep early balloons up. Within just a few years, balloons appeared on the battlefield to scout and observe enemy movements and deployments."
|Age of Empires III Civilian Units|
|Common European Units||Settler · Factory Wagon · Fort Wagon · Covered Wagon · Hot Air Balloon · Fishing Boat · Priest · Surgeon|
|Dutch||Envoy · Bank Wagon|
|French||Coureur des Bois|
|Native American Units|
|Common Native American Units||Cree Coureur des Bois · Native Villager · Fishing Boat · Medicine Man · Travois · Native Scout|
|Common Asian Units||Asian Villager · Fishing Boat · Rickshaw · Mongol Scout|