Transport Ships are a unit type in Rise of Nations. They are considered 'meta units', as they cannot be built directly, but instead are created automatically when needed. However, a nation needs to develop Science 1 (Written Word) and own at least one Dock before land units are allowed to embark on transport ships.
As a nation progresses through the ages, transport vessels are upgraded automatically to newer models, thereby slightly increasing their hit points. There are three different transport ships:
- Transport Barge
- Transport Galleon (from Gunpowder Age on)
- Transport Freighter (from Industrial Age on)
Transport Ships in general are extremely vulnerable to attacks, especially from Light Ships, Submarines, Fighter Aircraft and land-based defense structures like Cities, Towers, and Forts. Therefore, landing operations should be well prepared (by clearing the coast line from defense structures) and protected.
Transport vessels benefit from a connected Copper rare resource (+20% hit points) and from Whales (+20% speed for sailing ships), but not from Citrus (heals ships at sea). However, they can be healed/repaired by a Supply Wagon, if the nation is French or owns the Versailles wonder. Transport vessels move at the same speed regardless of how fast or slow the enclosed land unit moves; however, certain units such as the unique American Marine units have a movement bonus, as well as a hit point bonus.
A land unit can be prevented from automatically embarking on a transport vessel by turning off the option Auto Transport (see left) in the unit's command box.
- Civilization V, released in 2010, employs a similar concept on sea transports, with land units moving into a sea tile automatically embarking on a transport ship. In all previous Civilization games the player was required to build transport ships and manually load/unload units.