The mangonel is an anti-personnel weapon that is placed atop of a tower and is operated by two engineers: one of them for reloading and the other to pull, then release the hurler. That is a disadvantage. Catapulted rocks can incapacitate and knock out units with only one hit, regardless of health. Siege engines take more hits to destroy. These rocks can also damage buildings, but not to a great extent.
Mangonels can be ordered to attack a specific target or circular area within range, but they fire with great inaccuracy. They can only be sited on towers that have stable foundation, such as square and round towers.
Mangonels are a frequent sighting, being one of the most reliable (and cheap) defenses. They can effectively stop a seemingly devastating attack, as the attacker has his army in one big clump, offering many kills to one mangonel. They can also cause significant damage to siege engines, to a lesser extent. When they are protected by shields, they are almost invulnerable to projectiles.
Mangonels are best used in conjuction with ballistae: mangonels can provide area damage, while ballistae snipe enemy siege engines and potential targets. In big numbers, a wall of these two machines is virtually impenetrable.
Their "area target" attack can prove very useful. Operating the mangonel at their peak of range actually sends rocks farther than the target range, outclassing the fire ballista's and the trebuchet's range. Mangonel groups can create death zones and cover a huge area in the perimeter when set on area attacks. They can also harass the enemy if they placed buildings close to the mangonels.
Mangonels are a threat to friend and foe both. The rocks can hurt either player's properties and units, meaning that a badly targeted mangonel can cause severe losses if one does not pay attention.
Other threat comes from its immobility and limited placement. Mangonels pretty much depend on their tower, since a severely damaged tower may cripple in no time, sending its engine and staff into destruction. Also, when a mangonel's health is in the red, it needs to be disbanded and replaced in order to "regain" its health.
The mangonel is so inaccurate that it has problems hitting targets being close. Archers and other missile units may shoot without much problem at the device, provided they are not in a big group. Melee units scaling the tower means doomsday for the mangonel without proper defense.
- A very offensive (albeit somewhat cost-ineffective) use of the mangonel is to build a large tower as close as possible to the enemy in the early game and place one on it. Proxy mangonels supported by archers and crossbowmen are lethal if used correctly. With repairs, the tower can remain strong enough to withstand catapult/trebuchet attacks. Two or three towers can cause severe damage in enemy ranks, but they should be guarded well, as fast units in numbers can quickly overwhelm and destroy these forward outposts.