A spy in every city?

Joined
Apr 2, 2013
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Hello Civ4 S&T community,

Just some small reflection on one aspect of my play that I seldom deviate from in every game, and would like to know whether or not it tends to be a good gambit.

Basically, I put a high priority on placing a spy in every one of my cities for the espionage defense, and often have this done in each city shortly after settling/conquering it. I realize that it's a lot of hammers and fairly expensive in terms of opportunity cost early in the game, but after doing so, that it is rare for an AI to be successful in an espionage mission against me after the fact, and espionage "attrition" if you will, can end up being costly. (Of course, I also use the counterespionage mission when under pressure of attacks and pay attention to relative outputs and weight accordingly.)

As with most aspects of this game, the viability is likely more situational than not, and so I hesitate to ask in such a cookie-cutter way, but insofar as speaking generally about it is meaningful, I'd like to know how this approach is regarded among high level players. Is this generally a waste of hammers so early in the game, just overkill, or something else entirely? How high of a priority do you give putting spies in your cities?
 

AcaMetis

Emperor
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May 21, 2018
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Defending yourself against AI spies, either actively or passively, can be useful when you're in a Space Race and are worried about rocket parts being sabotaged. Outside of that, though, AI espionage missions are rarely impactful enough to make them worth investing hammers or commerce into defences.
 

Plains-Cow

Best Resource; Always Wins
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In Your Capital's Starting Ring
Hello Civ4 S&T community,

Just some small reflection on one aspect of my play that I seldom deviate from in every game, and would like to know whether or not it tends to be a good gambit.

Basically, I put a high priority on placing a spy in every one of my cities for the espionage defense, and often have this done in each city shortly after settling/conquering it. I realize that it's a lot of hammers and fairly expensive in terms of opportunity cost early in the game, but after doing so, that it is rare for an AI to be successful in an espionage mission against me after the fact, and espionage "attrition" if you will, can end up being costly. (Of course, I also use the counterespionage mission when under pressure of attacks and pay attention to relative outputs and weight accordingly.)

As with most aspects of this game, the viability is likely more situational than not, and so I hesitate to ask in such a cookie-cutter way, but insofar as speaking generally about it is meaningful, I'd like to know how this approach is regarded among high level players. Is this generally a waste of hammers so early in the game, just overkill, or something else entirely? How high of a priority do you give putting spies in your cities?

I literally never do this, nor have I seen anyone else do this. What difficulty level do you play?
 

sampsa

Ghost
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Yup, absolute waste of precious :hammers:.
 

Drakarska

Epic Dadness
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Non-Modded games, hardly ever. Modded, especially those mods with the Adv Espi mod-comp added in, oh yeah, definitely. Especially if Sitting Bull is in the game, as he REALLY loves using Espi.
 
Joined
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Oklahoma City
I literally never do this, nor have I seen anyone else do this. What difficulty level do you play?

Reasonably comfortable on vanilla Monarch, but I often play RI, which perhaps isn't apples to apples for the sake of this question.

So, even tech steals aren't a worry for any of you, then? I suppose it's a matter of an opportunity cost loss for the AI relative to research, but losing your lead on an expensive tech which no one will trade seems problematic enough to warrant safeguarding. Because buildings are only selectively important in vanilla, having them destroyed by enemy spies is probably seldom a concern, and improvements (with the exception of towns) are easily replaced if you have enough workers, but consistently getting fomented unhappiness, for instance, is no issue great enough to merit a single additional unit in each important city?
 

sampsa

Ghost
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So, even tech steals aren't a worry for any of you, then?
Not in the slightest. I'm not saying it can't be annoying, but the cure (40:hammers: per city for a spy) is worse than the disease.
 
Joined
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Not in the slightest. I'm not saying it can't be annoying, but the cure (40:hammers: per city for a spy) is worse than the disease.

Do you think it's worthwhile to keep any city garrisoned with a spy, perhaps the capital? I'm not sure how the AI prioritizes target cities with espionage, or if there's any kind of predictable logic there, but notwithstanding that, I guess there's also the passive espionage defense one might have from an overall advantage in commerce output, too.
 

sampsa

Ghost
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Jan 1, 2006
Messages
3,639
Location
Finland
Do you think it's worthwhile to keep any city garrisoned with a spy, perhaps the capital?
No.
Do you think it's worthwhile to keep any city garrisoned with a spy, perhaps the capital? I'm not sure how the AI prioritizes target cities with espionage, or if there's any kind of predictable logic there, but notwithstanding that, I guess there's also the passive espionage defense one might have from an overall advantage in commerce output, too.
Probably they steal from where it's the cheapest. Border cities, cities that have a religion they founded.
 
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