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[GS] How do people feel about Spies?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by acluewithout, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. tedhebert

    tedhebert King

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    it does

    but one spaceport does allow that too... so the only gain is the speed at which you can make new ones... not useless, but useful really only if it's a very very tight race
     
    acluewithout likes this.
  2. bengalryan9

    bengalryan9 Prince

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    There used to be a reason to have multiple spaceports back before they changed the science victory (back when you had to build multiple ship parts at once)... maybe the AI is still playing with the old victory pathway in mind?
     
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  3. darkace77450

    darkace77450 Emperor

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    I hope you'll pardon me for bumping a week-old topic, but I wanted to weigh in.

    Overall, I enjoy the system in place now. I do miss Civ5's ability to use spies as diplomats, and the spy management system in that game did have a nice feel to it (as opposed to spies being just another unit on the map). I never played CivBE, but its espionage system looks like a lot of fun. Though I'm happy with espionage in Civ6, there are a few changes I'd like to see.

    I would like to see missions streamlined a bit, and I'd like to see a tiered success system. Here are a few examples.

    Steal Technology
    • Standard Success: Trigger the eureka for a random technology.
    • Critical Success: Gain a random free technology.
    Foment Unrest (combined with Recruit Partisans)
    • Standard Success: Reduce the city's loyalty.
    • Critical Success: Also cause rebel units to spawn next to the city.
    Fabricate Scandal
    • Standard Success: Removes the top-ranked Civilization's envoys from the city-state.
    • Critical Success: Removed envoys are added to your own.

    I would also welcome an espionage district. My idea of such a district would a Security Compound (limited to one per Civ). The district would increase your spy capacity by 1. Its first two buildings (Constabulary and Police Station) would decrease the level of enemy spies operating within the city by 1, and it's Tier 3 building (Intelligence Agency) would extend this bonus to all cities within your empire. When worked, each building's citizen slot would increase the level your spies operate at by 1. Obviously my suggestion would necessitate a new Tier 2 building for the Government Plaza, but I humbly posit that the current Intelligence Agency is so much better (in most cases) than its counterparts that replacing it would be a good thing.


    Some other tweaks I'd like to see:
    • We need a mission for Holy Sites. Something in the spirit of Civ5's Underground Sect seems appropriate.
    • I think loyalty should impact espionage. Missions should have a better chance of success in cities with low loyalty.
    • I'd like to see the Police State policy card return. I have no idea why it was removed in the first place.
    • The Non-State Actors policy card comes way too late in the game to be of any real use.
    • I wish we had a mission that could turn captured spies into double agents working for us.
    • It would be nice to have a Wonder that impacts espionage in some capacity.
     
  4. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    I agree with everything you say in above post! :agree:
     
  5. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    • Yes to spies acting as ambassadors. That would give you three cool options - spy, counterspy and diplomat.
    • Yes to streamlining missions and having "critical" successes. That would make things more dynamic.
    • No to a spy district. We have a government buildings. That's plenty. But I could maybe see another "government" district that you can build in more cities that would have options like police station, security agency, other ministries, court houses, community centres etc.
    • No to spies and holy sites. Not everything has to work the same way.
    • Yes to loyalty and espionage interacting. Also, spying should be easier in cities that were conquered from someone else.
    • Yes to Police State card and an earlier non-state actors card.
    • No to double agents. That just sounds too complicated.
    • Yes to a spy Wonder. Pentagon?
     
  6. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    Can anyone really vouch for any 4x game that has a satisfying espionage system?

    In this case, espionage suffers the same problem as many 4x games, in that it feels more procedural than tactical. I would prefer that players have a slider for spies where they can hedge the time investment against the degree of success. Push your luck.

    Even more than that, though, there's no sense of cat & mouse in the espionage game. I'd like it if there were steps along the way where it's possible to detect enemy activity, at least within a certain vicinity, and take action. For this, there would need to be reason to keep spies operating in the same area over the course of multiple missions. As long as a spy remains successful in a city, the rewards for completing a mission improves. But it calls attention to the spy's actions, so again it is a matter of pressing one's luck.

    I posted something in the Ideas & Suggestions forum that I cannot seem to find. It proposed that civ's actually be able to get something out of captured spies, so that you might strategically lure them in. Basically, with each tier-2 government building you get a cell that a captive can placed in. You can assign a spy to perform an interrogation mission. The mission succeeds, and you can receive something along the lines of improved visibility, grievances against the civ, or a bonus to another spy mission. Maybe even a free spy. Fail the mission, the spy either dies or gets a chance to escape (using standard escape options).

    Yes, I know it's "complicated" in so much as it involves decisions amidst variables. So what?

    At a more facile level, I would like to see a simple change wherein a spy that is traded back is "burned" and unable to be used against that civ again. No revolving door for espionage, please.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2020
    679x likes this.
  7. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    That would be interesting if there was only some sort of Reformation in the game, and the target Civ has a reformed religion. Other than that I mentioned Desecrate, which could be just pillaging.

    Maybe not a mission, but a double agent would be interesting if the leader never acquired the spy back for a certain period of turns.

    The Lubayanka might be more appropriate for a spy wonder as the headquarter of the KGB. Pentagon would work better for a military defense wonder more.
    Or maybe Vauxhall Cross, the headquarters of MI-6.
     
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  8. darkace77450

    darkace77450 Emperor

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    Now that diplomatic vision impacts combat, simply giving us +1 dip. vision during an interrogation mission would be fine by me.

    I'm with you here.
     
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  9. japanesesamurai

    japanesesamurai Warlord

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    There should be an early type of spy who is trained to steal food. I’m not sure if I’m being serious.

    I’m not too impressed with how spoes work, though. As in civ V, I 99% of the time use them to have a clear visual on the area so my airplanes have a place to drop their bombs. By the time i can steal tech boosts, I’m way ahead in technology. Same with gold. It doesnt really matter all that much.
    Getting gold and paintings in a peace deal is quicker and more effective
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
  10. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    That’s why I use em to kill envoys.
     
  11. dagriggstar

    dagriggstar Prince

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    To be honest, this is something that I feel like just adds needless micro to the game. I don't think I have ever enjoyed playing the spy game on any version of civ. I get that it could potentially act as a catch up mechanism (in a game that severely lacks these), but even then unless Catherine is in the game the person winning the game is typically going to have the strongest espionage game simply by getting the first spy. Which allows that player to get even further ahead.

    I don't think these suggestions would be enough but anyway.....
    + Adding an "infiltration mission" (or adding this to the listening post/gain sources task, which really could be the same task anyway). You send your spy to a foreign city. If the mission is successful you learn the location of all of the target players spies (For the rest of that one turn). If target player has a spy in a district being counter spied by you, you automatically capture that spy. If target player has a spy in a district belonging to a third party, you may chose to share this information with them (And if they have a counter spy in that district, that spy is automatically captured by the third party).
    + Instead of recruiting partisans, having the spy reduce the amenities in the target city. Because if it's reduced low enough that city will spawn rebels anyway. Gives the player a better chance of defending too (Just have high amenities).
     
  12. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    Well, if you're playing a game where you generally expect to be ahead all of the time using direct means, then tools that help indirectly will tend to seem superfluous. That tracks. Like much of Civ, it boils down to what house rules you assign yourself to create the possibility of not always being in the lead with science or capable of poaching their cities. I mean, I assume your game is like everyone else's insomuch that the AI never builds planes even when it has the capability, so the fact that you do is a pretty overwhelming advantage.

    I'm partial to neutralizing guv'ners and fomenting unrest. The latter tends to have no effect without the former, so it's a double-team.

    I bristle when I hear people throw out the word micro, as it has a tendency to connote that a 4x game should just be "Rome simulation"-- i.e. a loop of building up to expand and conquer so the empire can get a little better at expanding and conquering. Civ needs depth, depth tends to entail some complexity.

    However, I think complaints about micro gain validity when it's ultimately a subsystem that doesn't feel well-integrated into the rest of the rest of the game, and is simply not exciting to use. Espionage falls into both camps, for reasons I've already mentioned in other posts. I agree that the game should trickle in espionage at an earlier level, and let capacity be tied to a level of investment, not simply advancement through a tree. That sort of gives traction to the idea of tying spies to districts and buildings, because that's how civ generally lets a player make choices that leads to them having greater capacity for one thing over another. But I really do not like that idea from a simulation POV.
     
  13. Brutus2

    Brutus2 Prince

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    I think the mechanics of how spies work and the missions available are great but as others have noted the problem is often being so far ahead of the AI in everything it's hard to find targets. Somehow even the culture focused civs rarely have great works to steal, I'm always ahead in techs, I even tend to have the most CS envoys. I have tried to use spies to remove Victor from a city that I want to capture if he is preventing siege but usually I manage to capture the city before the spy mission completes anyway. There is so much potential there but in the end I almost always park them in the richest cities and just steal gold over and over.
     
  14. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    I think the basics of spies work okay, i.e. just one unit type (like traders), that can play multiple function roles (currently "spy" and "counterspy"), that has a range of missions, and levels up via experience, and you can only build them based on capacity (like traders).

    I also think spies integrate well with some mechanics - particularly diplomatic visibility + combat (particularly in the hands of Catherine and Mongols) and loyalty (reduce loyalty, kick out governors).

    The main problem is that some of the missions are a bit naff / too narrow, and there are just too many missions overall.

    Spies would maybe feel a bit more focused and meaningful if FXS made the following changes:
    • Reduce and consolidate some missions (I really like the idea of less missions but with a chance of "critical success", eg reduce loyalty but critical roll produces partisans).

    • Adding an Ambassador role (so roles are "Ambassador", "Spy" and "Counterspy")

    • Having a few Wonders that give additional Spy Capacity (or maybe one of your Governors gives +1 Spy Capacity)

    • Maybe have some key Spy Missions locked behind certain Techs.

    • Maybe have some other key Spy Missions locked behind certain promotions.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
  15. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    That would be easy to do. We already have it to where we can establish an embassy with another Civ, so it could work there. Currently it's nothing more than an "upgraded" delegation, but the role can go further.

    More Spy capacity could be added to Amani's Local Informants promotion.

    Since I'd like Great Work Heist to work in other places besides the Theater Square, it would be cool if the Cat Burglar promotion allowed you to steal from the palace etc.
     
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  16. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    And what is the point of establishing an embassy currently?

    I mean, it's great for me to establish an embassy with you--I get the extra visibility--but why would you allow an embassy knowing it's to my advantage?

    Do embassies actually improve the quality of anything? Do trade routes get better? Do alliances improve?

    Seems to me that players shouldn't even be able to form an alliance without an embassy--or, at the very least, should not be able to fully realize its benefits.


    A governor's promotions directly relate to the city where they're stationed, so an increase in spy capacity is out-of-bounds. Kind of a weak promotion though, so it could use some kind of boost. Maybe improve travel or completion times for her spies.
     
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  17. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Deity

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    A lot of criticism about spies, but honestly I feel this is the best implementation of spies in the Civ series. Certainly not perfect. I thought of another possible solution to the dreaded partisans problem. AI (or human) should not be able to recruit partisans unless the city is in negative amenities. This would give incentive to keeping your cities happy. Right now recruit partisans is one of the major issues of spies. For the most part I like the different options you can use spies for. Though I think maybe a spy should automatically be able to defend all districts in a city, not just adjacent ones. I don't use many of the spy missions, but I like that the option is there. To me, a good strategy game has multiple options. It's one reason SMAC is so highly regarded. They didn't impede your ability to do things like Civ5 vanilla did. I don't like being restricted in things I can do.
     
  18. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    To paraphrase acluewithout, spies are "okay". Aggressively "okay". If you just want something facile and procedural--which seems to the bar many set for Civ--then the system is satisfactory.

    Now, to be genuinely interesting, mission types could have their success influenced by a variable. So, for Recruit Partisans, each level happiness influence the success change by +/- 5%, maybe 7.5%.

    This adds a tactical layer where civ's look for choice targets.
     
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  19. japanesesamurai

    japanesesamurai Warlord

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    What I’m saying is that I use spies to a/ “scout” = reveal unexplored territory; b/ have a vision on opponent cities; c/ counterspy.
    It is not my fault i’m ahead in tech so quickly.
    In civ 5, spies were pretty neat to track down their travelling spaceship parts or to spy on whzt they were building/had built.
    Anyway, I think spies are a bit underwhelming
     

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