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Has any one had any success with Spys?


Dec 20, 2001
Bannockburn, fighting the English
Even with backward countries, I am totally unsuccessful in planting a spy. These are with countries that have not developed espionage yet, but kill my spies every time. Last night I tried to plant a spy in Moscow so that I could use propaganda against Grozny which for some reason is a native Russian city in the heart of my empire, which is all native German. I tried like 10 times and each time my spy was killed, and then finally ol' Cathy declared war on me, which ended up serving my purposes just as well. Do spies work at all? Thanks.
Once you fail to plant a spy in a turn, your chances of being successful that same turn are basically zero. You need to wait until the next turn. The main reason to plant spies is to be able to look at your opponents military makeup. This can be very useful if you are trying to choose someone to pick a fight with.
My take on spies is: If I can actually afford the cost in gold for these missions, I've already got an empire strong enough to win the game.
Actually, if you fail to plant a spy in a turn, your chances of being successful in planting a spy in that same civ that same turn are basically zero.

Spies work decently. In addition to what eyrei said, they're also necessary to check out the competition in the space race. There's a pretty low success rate for most of their missions though, probably on average lower than succesfully planting a spy. For better or worse, they're one part of the game that the save-reload cheat work well on. Try your mission / planting a spy one turn, if you fail "cheat" and try again the next turn.
Yea, I am trying for a cultural or diplomatic victory, never done that. I almost always end up going to war, tried to avoid it, but failed. I have over 15k in gold, but no cultural victory yet, hoping to build the UN, if I fail the vote, well I still have my panzers!:mwaha:
Loopy's got it right. Dirty little sneaky trick. Save game, plant spy. If you fail, reload and play your turn, try again next turn. If you succeed, save game, plant spy on next victim. Lather, rinse, repeat. (Intentionally failing to plant spies can be a great way to get someone to declare war on you, also, if you're trying to achieve that, although it's a bit pricey of a way to attempt it.)

Here is a story of spy success. To me, the Hoover Dam is a must-have wonder. In a recent game, Russia beat me to the Theory of Evolution by a turn or two, and apparently the advances they gained from that wonder were Atomic Theory and Electronics, because they immediately began constructing Hoover Dam. I went into a panic, because due to my military situation I had needed to detour from the Hoover Dam path to go for Replaceable Parts, and still needed Atomic Theory and Electronics! I put my spy in motion and investigated the city where Hoover Dam was being constructed. I had a time window of about 30 turns to research all of these technologies and construct the wonder before the Russians built it. I had a city with more than double the shield production of their constructing city, so I knew I could do this, but I had to get cracking.

First thing was to try sweet-talking the required advances from Russia. After managing to buy Atomic Theory from them for a ridiculous amount of g/pt and resources, she was, needless to say, unwilling to part with Electronics for anything. So I immediately turned around and sold Atmoic Theory to the world at large to help defray the expense of this project. And so, I called upon my spies again to steal the secret of Electronics. I was able to afford the medium-risk/success theft, so I chose it, and crossed my fingers.

Hurray, my spies were successful a turn or two later and the way was open for me to build Hoover Dam, which I did, and beat the Russians to it by approximately 8 turns. Once I had Electronics in hand and the wonder under construction, I sold off Electronics to the world, and aside from the resources/lux I had given Russia for Atomic Theory, overall this espionage adventure cost me about 1200gp out of my own pocket, which I considered money well spent. I got a wonder for not much more than what it costs to rush some improvements, and it was SO much more satisfying! :D

Espionage isn't for every situation, nor even for every game, but it DOES work, and if used wisely, the cost is not too great.
It's also pretty affordable to investigate cities, which can come in handy during a war, if you don't want to try to spend the money/risk the spy by revealing their troop positions.

I don't think I've ever had an "Investigate City" mission fail, so maybe it's not probabilitied like the other missions. Or, I'm just lucky so far.
Spies are very nice if you're trying to plan an invasion strategy and want to know how well your enemy has defended his cities.

The save/reload thing works absolutely. Just reload until you get the spy with the first try. Once its planted, you're set. I've also never had a spy fail with investigate city, so if you plant them early with your major competition they can provide a huge tactical advantage.
The best use for Espionage is getting someone to declare war on you!

Since the AI cheats shamelessly, I have no problem with Psycholone's save and reload strategy of cheating.


I long ago greatly lowered every cost for spying in the Editor: the civ advance, the Small Wonder, and every spying function. It still is hardly worth trying.
As several others have already noted, the toughest thing about espionage in Civ 3 is the successful planting of a spy. Once you achieve that, conducting espionage missions, though rather expensive when done safely, is as easy as pie and can be quite useful.

The first time you're able to steal an enemies plans, and thus better coordinate an attack on that civ, you'll see what I mean. It's also useful to occasionally sabotage the production of friendly civs as well. I for one find the prospect of any other civ, save mine, possessing an intelligence agency extremely disturbing. If you can manage to block the production of the agency until the next time that civ goes to war, there's a good chance that they will abandon the intelligence agency altogether in favor of more immediate concerns.
Loopy's got it right. Dirty little sneaky trick. Save game, plant spy. If you fail, reload and play your turn, try again next turn. If you succeed, save game, plant spy on next victim. Lather, rinse, repeat. (Intentionally failing to plant spies can be a great way to get someone to declare war on you, also, if you're trying to achieve that, although it's a bit pricey of a way to attempt it.)

Completely pointless, how can the game be fun for you knowing the outcome, or through saving/reloading, insuring victory.

For me, the juice is having the chance to really blow it and lose.

As for AI cheating, that's pretty lame. I've yet to see it CHEAT, and that's not counting built in advantages it gets, it's a 2001 era AI, it ain't too bright.
They also discovered cheating is fun.

I wouldn't do it, but the spy system is, in my humble opinion, very badly implamented and WAAAAY overpriced. I don't have a clue how to fix it within my idea of how spies should work, so I just cheat.
Originally posted by LaRo
WOW! Some people here just discovered the greatest strategie of all time! Cheating! :rolleyes:

It should go without saying. Ever since the days of Civ I some ten years ago, it's been the most important weapon in my arsenal. I suspect that everyone, to some extent, does this.

Playing any strategy game, whether it's computer Chess or Civ III, "Iron man" style requires a level of fortitude and discipline that I, and most others, simply will never have. After all, who would want to play a video game knowing beforehand that they will be as powerless to control it as they are most other areas of their lives?
well frankly i like spies for two reasons.

I use them to take a look at the plans of someone i'm going to go at war with, but i use the cheapest option, that way if i'm caught well i know that those i wanna attack are even more po'd at me, not a bad spot :king:. And they are pretty cheap to get someone in a war with you. Just keep planting them, about 200 a pop usualy if someone is angry with you it wont take too much to get them to declare war.
Overall, the spy action cost too much, i rather spent them to hurry production. Just use Embassy - Investigate City is enough to know other cities improvement.
I used the "propaganda" option once, with succes... And it was great. I had a neightbour civ, who had plantet a city just outside my borders and right on a strategic resource that I was going for, so i made some spying, and "plim!" the city flips to me...
Ofcause I think that it sucks that democracy is totally imune... they shouldn't be!
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