But every civ getting one tech is still everybody getting a nice gift, while there's nothing equivalent that I can get in return. Espionage seems a barely-disguised mechanism for levelling up the lower civs, not a tool that each civ might use in potentially an equally beneficial way. If you lead in tech there is really no substantial benefit to spies, nothing even remotely equivalent to gaining free techs (oh and if only they could steal just one). Well, diplomacy mechanics are a whole thread in itself, no? I think if you tell someone not to spy on you, and they agree to stop, being labelled a warmonger for attacking them when they don't stop is unreasonable (but par for the 'suck it up' philosophy of Civ relations... I'm used to it, like when I'm denounced for being 'untrustworthy' purely for keeping my word.) The red 'you asked them to stop spying' lasts FOREVER. Sorry, why is that so bad? 'Please take my techs' is the default? Reduce the tech stealing success rate, and/or have some sacrifice that you can make to allow defensive spies to block stealing 100% earlier... add stealing social policies or culture points, units, population, workers, happiness points.... I don't know, anything. Right now espionage seems entirely about evening-up techs, which is great if you are behind in techs and not if you aren't. Oh, the vast majority of 'plots' were baseless... which didn't stop them being diplo boosts with the civ you informed about them. I stopped caring whether they were ridiculous or not and just used them to score points. It seemed weak and artificial. Out of about two dozen messages that Civ (pick one) was on their way to attack Civ (pick another one) I saw exactly one that actually happened. I have no idea whether the civs planned something and changed their minds or whether intel was randomly generated, but the accuracy failure made it all a bit ********.. And Dido plotting against a civ she had barely any contact with when she was about to have her last city extinguished by someone else was just completely silly.