Inspired by the recent Policy Elimination thread, are spies actually useful? I'll admit that while I get the Intelligence Agency more often than not, I don't usually build more than one or two additional spies unit I need to guard my Spaceports in a science victory. The gold they can get isn't a lot until later eras, it's highly hit or miss and, while good for the occasional spending spree, doesn't provide a steady source of income. The steal tech mission can be nice to get a decent tech here or there in a culture victory and the Fabricate Scandal is sometimes really nice if you get the correct promotion and are competing for a specific city-state but all of the other mission seem like good ideas that don't actually have any use against the AI. Honestly, the only real, consistent use I have for them to capture enemy spies by setting up a Reyna city with a +4/5 Harbor and Commercial Hub. The recent change to how alliances work also seems to have really reduced their value as well.