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Old Dec 03, 2015, 05:50 PM   #1
docbud
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Logic of AI Stealing Techs?

Yup--what the title says.

I am currently playing as the Shoshone--and it's only turn 140 and I'm in dead last place in science. Not a big deal--I know I can catch up once I get all my universities up.

And Songhai then got to Renaissance first.

But that's not the issue. It seems everyone is stealing from ME. Yes--me in dead last place. I just had construction stolen and two turns masonry got stolen. Another turn later optics got stolen.

Of course, I had my spy in the leader's capital, but what's the point? I was expecting to steal from the leader, not have to take him (instead) and put him in my capital to stop stealing.

It doesn't make sense to me. It would be like the U.S. stealing technology from someone like North Korea or Nigeria?

I mean, who in their right mind even consider stealing technology from those countries?

Is it because I have researched smaller techs first and they have gone bigger or something like that? I'm guessing so as the World Wonders are going like crazy and I've yet to build one (and I play on Emperor).

Anyway--I'm not whining--I'm just curious as to why the AIs would be stealing from the last place science person (which is me).
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Old Dec 03, 2015, 08:04 PM   #2
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Well, have you explored more than other civilizations? It could be that some of the civilizations you've met haven't met each other, so they aren't placing their spies in other countries. If your science generation is particularly big in one city, that could be an easy target to steal some techs, especially if you got smaller techs first.

The best advice I have is to continue to place your spy in the tech leader's capital, and ignore the fact you're getting stolen from until you've gotten the tech lead. If the tech leader is stealing your tech, they might save one turn of tech producing. If you're stealing the tech leader's tech, you probably save 5 or 6 turns of tech producing. It's still beneficial for you to steal if you're down on tech, even if you're getting some smaller techs stolen.

Remember, it pays in this game to benefit yourself over crippling one other player for no benefit, because if you cripple one player, six other players can still advance, and you get nothing. Also, the amount of benefit AIs get to stealing your techs is very small compared to everything else in the game, and you don't even lose anything from it. So don't worry about it, just continue playing aggressively with your own spies until you get a lead, and enjoy.
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Old Dec 03, 2015, 08:12 PM   #3
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^^All the civs have been met. At least I have. I don't know about the others.

And I was playing OCC (by choice--and not in the officially per the setup).

It just seems to stupid that tech leaders would steal from the guy in last place.

And unfair that their spies level up from stealing.

And seriously--turn 140 and they are stealing the tech for comp bowmen?

Thanks for your advice and input. It is much appreciated.
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Old Dec 03, 2015, 09:57 PM   #4
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By the same logic, I'm often the tech leader by industrial era and some games my spy never levels up even when he's in my capital, because nobody bothers stealing from me. I've noticed that AI's usually don't steal from whom they like, so maybe they like the other AI more than you, which would mean they might start plotting against you.
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Old Dec 04, 2015, 06:10 AM   #5
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^^I'm always stolen from.

But, yeah--the ones stealing me from me this game might be plotting, but you'd think even if they were, they would have at least researched for composite bowmen by now.
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Old Dec 04, 2015, 06:34 AM   #6
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When playing OCC, it is a good idea to put the first spy in your capital for defense. That is the only counterintelligence you will need. He will also level up quickly and you can move him to espionage missions when you reach a new era and put the green recruit in your capital.
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Old Dec 04, 2015, 07:00 AM   #7
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I always get spied on, and it doesn't seem to matter whether the other civ is friendly with me or not.
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Old Dec 04, 2015, 08:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docbud View Post
It just seems to stupid that tech leaders would steal from the guy in last place.
There are a number of game mechanics centered around the player. I have no evidence for it, but I think this one of them. So rather than use spies to (1) the most competitive advantage, so the player would rarely be picked; or (2) totally randomly, so the player would be picked about a quarter of the time; instead the situation is (3) with the player being picked half the time by half the AIs, so in net effect, almost all of the time!

If you think about it, there are goodly number of dialog boxes that make perfect sense for a game that you are going to play through just one time. Many of those design decisions quickly become tedious! Still, the good outweighs the bad.
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Old Dec 04, 2015, 09:33 AM   #9
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^^I guess so. But then it becomes the point of why even bothering to try to steal from the AI tech leader? I may get a tech (or be killed). But meanwhile, the other AIs are leveling up their spies by stealing techs from me.

I'd be better off just keeping my spy in my capital (as Mesix said).
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Old Dec 04, 2015, 09:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docbud View Post
I'd be better off just keeping my spy in my capital (as Mesix said).
There are things you do because they are strong play, and things you do because otherwise the game makes you a little crazy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by redwings1340 View Post
Remember, it pays in this game to benefit yourself over crippling one other player for no benefit, because if you cripple one player, six other players can still advance, and you get nothing. Also, the amount of benefit AIs get to stealing your techs is very small compared to everything else in the game, and you don't even lose anything from it. So don't worry about it, just continue playing aggressively with your own spies until you get a lead, and enjoy.
IMHO, Mesix’s advise is okay, and your spies will quickly level up that way, but Redwing’s advise is stronger play. Your spies will level up almost as fast, but with the additional benefit of getting techs. But following Mesix’s advise might let you enjoy the game more!
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Old Dec 04, 2015, 10:30 AM   #11
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^^It's a tough decision. I want better play but I hate playing when frustrated.

Don't even get me going on the frustration of seeing World Wonders going so fast

I do think that I get frustrated too quickly and end up quitting many games instead of sticking it out. Early gold and happiness problems annoy me to no end, and there have been a lot of games where I just quit out of frustration.

I've got to get over that.
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Old Dec 05, 2015, 06:06 PM   #12
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Keep him in your cap until you get a new one, just as Mesix said. It's the quickest way to level your spies risk free.

There's a few mechanics here that cause this situation. First, the lower the tech, the quicker it is to steal. So, if Songhai made a beeline to Renaissance but doesn't have composite bows then he's missing the majority of the bottom half of the tree. The techs you have that he doesn't are cheap, so it won't take but a few turns to steal them.

You already have all the cheap techs, you would be stealing the techs one era below Renaissance from him. So it'll take your spy longer to steal. You also said you lost Construction, immediately lost Masonry and then Optics shortly thereafter. It actually sounds like multiple AIs are stealing from you.

Had your spy been in your cap at that time, he would have had 3 opportunities to level up by killing spies. In that same amount of time, if your spy was in Songhai's Cap, he would have only gotten 1 tech at max (maybe not even completed 1 steal by then). PLUS, you get the added benefit that Songhai has to wait several turns before getting another spy as his will be KIA until next era (I think that's when spy's respawn, need double check on that).

So, you could have a level 3 Spy protecting your cap and ready to move to Songhai's Cap by next era, or you could steal 1 maybe 2 techs and possibly get your own spy killed which is the worst possible outcome of all the scenarios available. Your spy probably won't get killed during Renaissance era since Songhai's spy is in your Capital, but you still have a higher chance due to more opportunities to level your spy.

Then there's the diplomacy of the whole thing. If your spy gets caught (killed or even just recognized) then Songhai is gonna be mad. You can tell him to Ef Off, which will make him even more upset. Or you can agree not to spy on him anymore which leads to A. keep doing it and really ticking him off or B. moving your spy somewhere else.

With that being said, a level 3 spy is less likely to get caught so you're less likely to damage your relations by waiting for the next Era. You move the spy you've been leveling to now go steal techs, and put the new level 1 spy in your cap to gain levels. Level 3 spies also steal quicker so this will offset a little (but not completely make up for) the fact that you didn't steal any techs during Renaissance.

If you catch Songhai's spy then you can either tell him to stop, which will upset him, or excuse him of any wrong doing which will make him happy with you, and also cause him to continue to send spys to your Capital which will help you level future spies even faster. It also has the side effect of getting most of Songhai's spies KIA.

Last edited by sixty4half; Dec 05, 2015 at 06:11 PM.
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Old Dec 06, 2015, 09:45 AM   #13
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^^^THanks. That's what I normally do when playing. I level up my first spy in the capital, and then when I get the second--I level him up instead and send my first spy elsewhere. If I am the tech leader, then I will send that spy to a citystate to maintain influence.

But--in this game, I had not expected the AIs to be stealing from me as I was in last place science-wise.

And yes--I'm sure that it was several AIs that were stealing from me. But like I had asked--why would they steal from the low-science guy?

This was one of the rare games where I was lagging in science, and one of only a few games where the leaders were stealing from me (being last or near last).

Anyway--I did move my spy back to my capital after those early techs were stolen, and I was able to level up quickly. And, about a dozen turns later I was the tech leader.
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Old Dec 07, 2015, 01:30 PM   #14
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And yes--I'm sure that it was several AIs that were stealing from me. But like I had asked--why would they steal from the low-science guy?
Because they took a tech path that led them straight to Renaissance Era which means they bypassed several early techs (hence why they stole things like Masonry, Optics and Construction). Those early techs have low beaker costs and, as such, are easier to steal. Since multiple AI Civs were stealing from you, I am assuming that several of them skipped the same techs so they couldn't likely steal from each other.

You said in the OP that you had "researched smaller techs first" which I'm assuming to mean that you filled out the two early eras in favor of beelining towards a specific tech later in the tree. This is what created the right environment for this scenario to happen.

Don't worry to much about it though because even if you had, let's say, beelined to Crossbows, you still would have had Masonry and Construction when the AI didn't, so they still would have stolen from you.

That being said, it's still a better play to beeline to a certain Renaissance tech that's going to help you get to your victory condition quicker. Like beelining to Civil Service to get population increases through better farms, or beelining to Xbows for a domination victory or beelining to guilds for a Tourism victory. An added bonus (side effect) of this is that those techs in the early eras that start off costing 10 turns worth of beakers end up only taking 1 or 2 turns later because you're making more BeakersPerTurn by the time you get around to researching them. (of course this is AFTER you've gotten the techs you need for Library's and any Lux Resources you have nearby)

Last edited by sixty4half; Dec 07, 2015 at 01:34 PM.
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Old Dec 07, 2015, 02:49 PM   #15
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^^Normally I do beeline Civil Service. But in this game, I wanted to upgrade my archers to comps and I had stone and marble, and thought it was important to get masonry.

But I see your point about them taking a different path.

So because they reached Renaissance first, that means they knew that I had lower techs they could steal?

Like I said--if I was in first place, I would never even consider stealing from the AI with the lowest science.
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Old Dec 07, 2015, 10:07 PM   #16
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I did NOT know that time to steal depended on the cost of the tech and beaker output of the target city. I thought it was all pop size, happiness and spy-defensive buildings like police station. It's alllllllll coming together now... I kept putting my spies in high pop puppetted AI cities (high pop, low happiness) and then I'd see that it would take 65 turns to steal agriculture.
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Old Dec 08, 2015, 02:42 PM   #17
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So because they reached Renaissance first, that means they knew that I had lower techs they could steal?

Like I said--if I was in first place, I would never even consider stealing from the AI with the lowest science.
It's not "because they reached Renaissance first" that they "knew" of your lesser techs. The AI has to put a spy in a city and have it do it's normal reconnaissance first before it really knows that it can steal from you but it probably makes an educated guess like any human player would. However, they do have access to the same info you do. Like the Demographics Screen which will tell you who the tech leaders are. Its possible, that because you had lower techs, you had more of them. So even though you didn't have the most advanced tech, you could have been the tech leader or at least, close to the top.

In the spy UI there is a system for rating each city called Potential. It displays 5 stars and rates the city by 1/2 stars based on the possibility that your spy would be able to steal a tech from that city. This rating is based on a lot of things. As Primacide assumed it does take into account Pop Size (because BeakerPerTurn is so closely tied to the population), Science Buildings and anti-Spy buildings (Libraries, Observatories, Police Stations ect.), and happiness (an unhappy nation produces less BeakerPerTurn).

Also a major factor in the Potential rating is the Beaker cost of the techs that are available to Civ to research. That means that if the targeted Civ has a bunch of low cost techs that they HAVEN'T researched yet, but the COULD, then their Potential is increased. (This is where I contradict my previous advice) This factor means it's more beneficial to spy on Civs immediately AFTER they advance to a new Era. This is because of how certain techs are beelined in order to reach the next Era. When a Civ beelines through one era into the next they often leave several techs 1 or even 2 eras back that aren't research because they're not on the path that the Civ beelined. Those left over techs are often cheaper now due to bonus' from getting to the next era, and new Science buildings/population increasing techs (civil cervice ect.).

The star rating doesn't guarantee you'll get a tech from them. I've had AI cities with a 4.5 star rating because that was their highest pop, highest BPT city, but they didn't have any techs that I didn't already have.

So, if you have a spy in a city for a couple of turns, and you notice the rating is only 1 or 2, you might want to try a different city because that one's not making many beakers.


Sorry for the long post. Sometimes I get into something and I tend to go off on a tangent and explore every facet and then I have trouble editing to make the reply more concise.
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Old Dec 08, 2015, 03:30 PM   #18
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Thanks for the post and no apology necessary. I play civ at a high level (or try to!) and this is an aspect of the game that I'm pretty bad at. I have never gotten a good feel for where to send my spies (going to the tech leaders capital is not really strategy, it's desperation). Thanks for outlining some of the mechanics behind a fast time to steal techs.
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Old Dec 08, 2015, 03:56 PM   #19
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^^^THanks. That's what I normally do when playing. I level up my first spy in the capital, and then when I get the second--I level him up instead and send my first spy elsewhere. If I am the tech leader, then I will send that spy to a citystate to maintain influence.

But--in this game, I had not expected the AIs to be stealing from me as I was in last place science-wise.

And yes--I'm sure that it was several AIs that were stealing from me. But like I had asked--why would they steal from the low-science guy?

This was one of the rare games where I was lagging in science, and one of only a few games where the leaders were stealing from me (being last or near last).

Anyway--I did move my spy back to my capital after those early techs were stolen, and I was able to level up quickly. And, about a dozen turns later I was the tech leader.
It's probably not multiple AI's stealing from you.

Here's how I know.

My buddies and I tend to play a lot of MP games. In some games, the 2 of us are neck and neck on tech, and the AI starts falling behind (probably due to a lot of "bullying" by the superpowers). We occasionally decide to steal from each other.

On one particular map, I was in a landlocked pangaea location. I did not research sailing. Buddy A had a prime coastal area near several CS's and many trade routes available. He obviously did research sailing. I send my spy to his capital, he sends his to mine.

Because he has researched almost all of the techs I know, it takes him 25 turns to steal acoustics from me. Because I haven't researched the entire sailing line, I steal sailing in 2 turns. Then I steal optics a turn later. Then I steal compass in 2 turns. Then I steal astronomy -- right around the time he takes Acoustics from me.

Low tech cost techs are FAST to steal. If the AI has ignored a certain part of the tree, they can absolutely drop a spy in your city and rattle off 4-5 techs in under 10 turns. I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it myself, but that's absolutely the way it works.
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Old Dec 08, 2015, 04:51 PM   #20
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Thanks, @sixty4half--that explained a lot.

Thanks, too, chum. That sounded like an interesting game.
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