Newbie Question

BJ Joey

Chieftain
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Oct 6, 2022
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Could somebody please explain in real easily understood language how to use Espionage, literally what to click and what it does?

This sounds completely mad as everyone seems to say it's very easy.

Please make it basic and easy to get. I open my Espionage screen and......


By the way, I am knowledgeable of the other aspects of the game.

Thanks.

P.S. If this is the wrong place for this thread, whoops, my bad. I didn't/don't know.

BJ
 

sampsa

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Espionage basics:
  • don't touch the :espionage: slider i.e. have it always at 0%
  • direct your :espionage: points towards one civ. Preferably one you will be trading with, because then you get the maximum benefit of seeing their research
The latter can be done in the :espionage:-screen. You can do some pretty cool stuff with :espionage:, but that is much beyond the basics and you can beat any difficulty level without knowing nothing more about :espionage:.
 

BJ Joey

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How many Espionage points do I have in total to use without negatively affecting Research of Commerce?
 

Nick723

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How many Espionage points do I have in total to use without negatively affecting Research of Commerce?
The palace generates 4 per turn. Courthouses generate 2 each. Those are the most common sources of ‘passive’ espionage.

One fairly easy use of ‘active’ espionage I’ve come across recently is using the slider to bring up ‘can see research’. This can be helpful if in the race with a single AI for a key milestone (e.g. Liberalism). Invest 20-40% for one turn can often give you enough to see their research, which can help you then optimise your choices.
 

BJ Joey

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And as you increase the Espionage points, how do you know if you are using points that you have available or if you're diverting away from Research or Commerce?
 

need my speed

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And as you increase the Espionage points, how do you know if you are using points that you have available or if you're diverting away from Research or Commerce?
This is completely dictated by the slider in the top-left corner, where you allocate your commerce to Gold, Science, Culture, or Espionage.

You state that you are familiar with the other aspects of the game, but the fact that you write here 'Research or Commerce' makes me doubt this?
You gain Commerce from (amongst others) terrain yields; the circular golden coin you see on a tile.
Commerce is divided into Gold (the stack of coins), Science, Culture, and Espionage.
You are presumably familiar with e.g. putting the slider at 100% Science or 0% Science (which usually means, 100% Gold), to get more Science or Gold. Similarly, you can get more Culture or Espionage. Commerce is used for all four of these.
 

BJ Joey

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Yes, I'm sorry, I just meant away from/into other things.

What I meant was, if I have an automatic 4 from the Palace and 2 from a Courthouse (plus others from other buildings. When playing C2C this is especially true) then I can allocate SOME Espionage points to a civilization even with the Espionage slider at 0% (presumably). So, as I increase the Espionage points dedicated toward another civilization, will it just not allow anymore points to be allocated when I have run out?
 

need my speed

Rex Omnium Imperarium
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Yes, I'm sorry, I just meant away from/into other things.

What I meant was, if I have an automatic 4 from the Palace and 2 from a Courthouse (plus others from other buildings. When playing C2C this is especially true) then I can allocate SOME Espionage points to a civilization even with the Espionage slider at 0% (presumably). So, as I increase the Espionage points dedicated toward another civilization, will it just not allow anymore points to be allocated when I have run out?
Do you mean the mechanism within the espionage menu where you can give weights to civilisations? If you leave everyone at 0, your espionage points are evenly divided over every civilisation. If you put everyone at 100, the exact same thing happens. If you leave everyone at 0, and one civilisation at 1, all your espionage points are spent on that one civilisation. If you leave everyone at 0, and one civilisation at 999, the exact same thing happens. If you put two civilisations at 2 (or 842), and all the others at 1 (or 421), then all your espionage points are divided over all civilisations, but those two specific civilisations get double the amount of espionage points assigned to them.

All of this has no relation to your Science/Gold/Culture, beyond that the total pool of espionage points you have/get can be influenced by spending more Commerce on Espionage and thus less on Science/Gold/Culture, in the slider on the main screen (not in the espionage menu).

I do not know what happens if you do not have enough espionage points to evenly cover all of them (does the game assign 0.05 or somesuch espionage points?).

I could also be wrong! But to my knowledge, the above - i.e. espionage points divided fractally like that - is true. But I could be wrong. :)
 

BJ Joey

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Ok. So, what you're saying is that the option to assign more/less Espionage to a particular civilization (the +/- buttons) is not "How many" points are assigned, but rather a multiplier (of sorts), to show how much Espionage is put into one civilization in comparison to another. Ok. So, increasing them all by 1 point is pointless. And, it is always based on the amount that you have available at the time. I hope this is the same for C2C. Thanks.
 

need my speed

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Ok. So, what you're saying is that the option to assign more/less Espionage to a particular civilization (the +/- buttons) is not "How many" points are assigned, but rather a multiplier (of sorts), to show how much Espionage is put into one civilization in comparison to another. Ok. So, increasing them all by 1 point is pointless. And, it is always based on the amount that you have available at the time. I hope this is the same for C2C. Thanks.
Exactly! :)
 

BJ Joey

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At the moment, generally quite low as I'm new to C2C. In general, not very high as I'm playing more for the winder and enjoyment at the moment, Esther than the intense challenge.
 

Plains-Cow

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Would suggest watching some of the YouTubers play a spy economy. Would teach you all the ins-and-outs of it quickly from experience. I never use spies unless I'm going for a spy-related teching strat.
 

lymond

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Yep, consider the "point" assigned in the espionage screen as a "weight" of espionage assigned to a leader or multiple leaders. As sampsa mentioned, I usually use espionage passively and set weight of 1 to a target leader. I might play a bit with the espionage slider briefly ..like 10% for a bit..if I want to see demos faster or catch up again, as some AIs tend to emphasize eps more than other and most of all of them will build ep buildings at some point.

Please note that a large mod like C2C may have some different mechanics than the base game, so I would refer to their forum for additional questions that you may have on how that works.
 

Plains-Cow

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And why do the cost of certain Espionage related activities increase?

It scales like tech prices increase as the game goes on for balance as cities develop. Otherwise nobody would bother using the tech slider and just spy the AI to death constantly with cheap missions that remain stagnant in price.
 

ArchGhost

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Ok. So, what you're saying is that the option to assign more/less Espionage to a particular civilization (the +/- buttons) is not "How many" points are assigned, but rather a multiplier (of sorts), to show how much Espionage is put into one civilization in comparison to another. Ok. So, increasing them all by 1 point is pointless.
The toggle buttons in the Espionage menu are simply weights. No matter how much or how little EP you are generating, it gets split between your rivals based on the relative weights you set in this menu. If they are all at 0, everyone is evenly weighted, and your EP is evenly distributed if there is enough to do so. If you set weight on one rival to 3 and all the others are at 0, only the 3 gets any EP at all. If you assign weight of 2 to a rival, and 1 to all the others, your EP gets split into half, which one half immediately goes to the 2 weight and the other half is even distributed amongst all the 1 weights. Etc Etc.

This is mostly useful when you are capable of generating a lot EP passively in late game turns (lots of cities w/all the EP buildings) as you can adjust how much EP each rival gets depending on which ones you actually want to accumulate EP on at all, and then weight by how hard they are pumping EPs back on you. For example, you don't really want to waste splitting EPs onto a small or crappy teching AI, as it's not worth seeing what they are teching when they are too slow to matter or worth revolting their cities because you can push them over easily. Likewise there is often little point in EP focusing a vassal, as they often give their tech to their master anyway. That can occasionally work out if it's one of the small good teching guys (Pacal, Huayna, Ghandi, etc) who got capped and hates his master a lot, as the vassals don't actually HAVE to trade their tech compared to how Masters often just gift it away to their vassals regardless.

EP distribution always use integers and is applied in the order in the list of rivals in the Espionage screen, so if you only have +4EP a turn and 6 rivals with even weighting between all of them, that four EP gets split into +1EP for the first 4 rivals listed, and nothing to the last two. This is why they tell you to assign a weight to "target" your EP at a single rival, because as you meet them and you leave the weights on default 0, it splits up and becomes useless as it's not enough to do anything with.

The most typical use of passive EP is to see the tech they are working on, which requires you to be close in EP ratio to maintain in the long term. You'll never keep up with just +4EP passively if you split it up, as almost any AI is likely to devote some EPs back on you as well, and they start to generate more EPs than you with buildings and running their EP slider. Honestly, I don't even really do that anymore, as it's largely only useful before Alphabet (you can always figure out their exact tech standing if you are close enough to them in tech using the trade info) and because of known tendencies of the AI tech preferences in this stage -- as an example, yeah, you know on Immortal they pretty much ALL are gonna go Iron Working, Math, HBR and maybe Currency or CoL with a lot of likelihood by the time you get around to being able to make a tech trade for Alpha, but much less likely to Aesthetics, Compass or Metal Casting by then even though they are right around the same time in the tech tree.

Later on in the game, when you are generating more EP or get a lot of it quickly (Great Spy or running the slider) you can use Espionage Missions to revolt cities during attacks, steal techs, or do other cheekier things like force a civic/religion swap. It isn't very practical or effective to do much else unless you are doing something very specific (such as Spread Culture to help flips, or sabotaging a Wonder you know is nearing completion in a specific city)>
And why do the cost of certain Espionage related activities increase?
Rising costs of techs in beakers, rising cost of builds in hammers, modifiers imposed by things like different/same religion, and most significantly, because the AIs accumulate EPs back on you, which makes everything more expensive the worse your ratio of EPs on them is to their EP on you. And AIs start to generate A LOT of EP when big or in the late game.
 
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Jivilov

Prince
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Nov 16, 2011
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387
Been playing this game (Vanilla, then Warlords, now BTS) for over a dozen years now. Won on Emperor three times (once with Warlords, twice BTS) yet never made much use of Espionage. Now---after realizing bennies associated with Environmentalism and the Culture slider---I'm curious. This question concerning the Espionage slider is another of those imponderables which I've never quite "got." My main problem is being able to see a rival's graph after neglecting to "weight" the points until it's too late. So are you saying there's some way to accumulate enough EPs in a short amount of time to see it? Even when I weight ALL points to the target Civ its graph is never revealed, no matter how many turns elapse. Thanks.
 

ArchGhost

Prince
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My main problem is being able to see a rival's graph after neglecting to "weight" the points until it's too late. So are you saying there's some way to accumulate enough EPs in a short amount of time to see it? Even when I weight ALL points to the target Civ its graph is never revealed, no matter how many turns elapse. Thanks.
You have to accumulate EPs for the weighting to do anything meaningful. If you are generating few overall EP per turn, even weighting toward only one AI will only put those few EP toward a single target and if the total amount you have built up doesn't meet the threshold for any certain espionage feature, it doesn't do anything.

You have to accumulate enough EPs on a target to unlock seeing demographics for that target (which is when the line graphs show up). The total needed depends on how many the target is accumulating back on you. As they rack up more, you need to as well in order to beat the threshold.

You can see the required EP amounts in the Espionage Screen (note this is the Improved Espionage Screen included in BUG mod):
Civ4ScreenShot0023.JPG

Here you can see I need 77 EPs accumulated on Hatty in order to see her demographics. Since I have 94 EP accumulated on her, I meet that threshold and unlock demographic viewing, which means I can see her line in the line graphs. 77 for the threshold is determined with a formula based on the amount of EPs she has accumulated on me, which also factors how much EP she is spending per turn out of her total generated and probably some other things involved like how much per turn I am spending back on her. The info is probably on these forums somewhere, Kaitzilla's work maybe.

If you want to generate more EPs on a single target, you have to generate more EP per turn as well as make sure you are including them in the targets being accumulated against through the weights. Weighting only divides up what EP you generate per turn as a ratio based on how you apply the weights.

The easiest way to generate more total EP is the Espionage slider after you tech Alphabet. It converts your commerce into EP, and applies all the appropriate modifiers from buildings you may have emplaced in various cities like Scotland Yard or Jails etc.

You can generate more EP passively per turn as well by settling Great Spies, running Spy specialists, or building EP buildings like Courthouses/Jails

You can actively and instantly gain a LOT of EP by infiltrating a rival city with a Great Spy. This EP is not divided by weighting and goes ALL to the leader who owns the city.

By the way, I keep using the term "accumulate" because your EPs never go away after you generate and distribute them, unless you use a spy to undertake espionage missions. When you spend EPs with spies, your accumulated EPs on the target are adjusted accordingly and you may not meet thresholds for certain passive effects anymore.

The same is also true with AIs, who can blow their EPs they have on you by running missions all at once (usually when an Attitude shift happens) which reduces the ratio of your accumulated EP on them vs their EP on you, sometimes enough to drop the thresholds for certain passive effects like "City Visibility" to suddenly become met, giving you an odd sight of rival cities suddenly coming out of the fog when they are poisoning your water and such.

War also affects the thresholds EP effects. I don't know if this is because they immediately bump up their EP weighting on you or if being at war increases the EP costs, but it's very common to lose "City Visibility" on the turn after a DoW happens between you and an AI.
 

Jivilov

Prince
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Nov 16, 2011
Messages
387
Ahhh, so THAT'S it! Silly me, never noticed the numbers for passive Espionage change depending on which leader is selected. Don't have BUG Mod but looking at the standard screen for 1958 CE in my last game I'd have needed anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 EPs just to see graphs on my main rivals. Next game I'll try that infiltrating-a-Great-Spy trick. Thanks for the great explication. Cheers!
 
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