Yeah this "no spying" thing on allies is a no-go for me. I appreciate what Firaxis wants to do, but rather than lock spies out completely they should have a set of more diplomatic missions that spies can use on allies.
- Study Technology (Campus): works like steal tech boost, but maybe with a lower chance of success. Causes grievances on failure.
- Recruit Partisans and Breach dam are axed for allies entirely. Instead at the Diplomatic Quarter: Consult with Allies - generates envoys on success. Slows envoy generation for X turns on failure.
- Learn Local Traditions (Theater Square): Removes Loyalty Pressure on your cities from this city for X turns and generates GWAM points. On failure, slightly increases the Loyalty pressure from this city.
- Steal Spaceship Plans (Spaceport): Provides a production boost to any spaceport projects you are currently running on success. Failure generates grievances.
- Gain Sources and Listening Post remain the same.
- Foment unrest and neutralize governor also disabled.
- i;m not sure of a good alternative for the Industrial Zone mission.
- International Commercial Talks (Commercial Hub): Provides you with gold on success but the other power with gold on failure.
It just seems like there needs to be a better fix than just disallowing any sort of agent activity. Yes spies are pretty exploitable currently, but that doesn't mean we should cut the whole feature out for allies.