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Secrets about spies

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by regeneration64, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. regeneration64

    regeneration64 Warlord

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    Calling all spies!

    I am seeking the community's guidance and knowledge about how spies work. A discussion about their benefits and any secrets would be most welcome.

    I played CiV: BNW and really enjoyed the espionage system in that but I am struggling to fathom how to really make the most of spies in Civ VI.

    How are people finding using spies in Civ VI? Has anyone found them particularly helpful?

    One specific question, please tell me how promotions work? I've noticed that spies operating in a foreign city can 'gain sources' so that all spies operating in that city get a boosted percentage change at other missions. Are there any permanent promotions like units and religious units get (or levels like in BNW)? I feel like I am missing something.

    I find the Listening Post missions useful but these appear to sometimes not increase the access level of other civs. This may, however, just be coincidence as the level may have dropped for some reason without my knowledge whilst the mission is taking place.

    How are people finding counterspying? I've yet to catch anyone spying on me or receive any notification about the good work of my counterspy.

    Thanks all.
     
  2. TheGreatSleepyOne

    TheGreatSleepyOne Chieftain

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    The usefulness of espionage varies depending on map type and difficulty level.

    Map type: Espionage happens in districts, the map type sometimes has an effect on the AIs ability to actually construct districts. For example, in my most recent Island Plates game, the AI did not have enough room to spam districts due to luxury/strategic placement.

    Difficulty level: The yields gained from certain missions are tied directly to the output of the AIs cities. You can siphon more funds from a higher performing AI. There are more opportunities towards tech boosts on high levels as well.

    Promotions are granted when successfully completing an offensive spy mission. You get to choose from 3 random promotions. You don't get promotions from listening post and gain sources.

    As for counter-spying. It is useful to use them to prevent your Industrial Zones from getting pillaged. Whenever I counterspy, it is for exactly that reason. I'll stop counter-spying if I capture several spies alive. ( I don't trade back captured spies because it prevents that player from recruiting a new one.)
     
    Swissy and callan like this.
  3. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Deity

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    I mostly play defensive with spies. I like to cover both my commercial district and industrial zone in my capital. Sometimes I might get my #2 city as well if it's a large population city (I know they don't have Civ5's spy mechanics, but I figure a high population city is still more vulnerable).

    I've been protecting spaceports during science victories, but this seems to be a waste of time. Has anyone ever had the AI go after a spaceport? In my games they usually go after commercial and industrial zones.

    If I get around to building a third spy, I will use them to infiltrate. Stealing funds is my most common goal. Money is always good. Can be used to buy military or other things. I keep going until I'm caught, then I promise not to do it again.

    I'm not sure if I'm using spies the best way, so I look forward to hearing how other people use them.

    P.S. Yes spies get promoted, and most often you get promotions from defensive missions. Often the promotions aren't advantageous for counterspying, but there are 2 useful promotions useful for counterspying.
     
    ELRACj likes this.
  4. CBE Player

    CBE Player Warlord

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    Unfortunately, every time I place a spy into "ANY" city the AI goes for another one, at least on deity, not sure about other levels of play. There are just to few spies and too many places to cover, so It depends mostly on the things most important for your style of play at the moment.
     
  5. ELRACj

    ELRACj Warlord

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    In games where I am leading, I start using my spies for counterspy. I hate it when the opposing civs are spying on me. Don't get me wrong, I love it as a game mechanic it and I find my frustration entertaining. The game becomes a little more nerve racking when I am attempting to build a spaceport or the mars mission when my industrial zone keeps on getting destroyed. I had another game where I was suppose to be producing 200+ gold per turn but I absolutely nothing in my bank for 10+ turns. I was so confused because my navy was slowly being disbanded.

    My general rules of thumb (as of right now).
    1. Only build spies to protect industrial zones and commercial hubs. I could care less if an opponent steals a tech.
    2. NEVER give up enemy spies at any cost because it not worth it.
    3. Destroy France as soon as possible.
     
  6. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    They go for your capital; counterspy there.

    You can afford to have some of your peripheral cities sabotaged, and can always bring a 2nd spy home to counterspy a 2nd important city. But there's no need to keep all of them at home.
     
  7. The_Notorious_P

    The_Notorious_P Chieftain

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    The harder the difficulty level, the more valuable spies are. Use them to assist whatever end game plan you have in mind. And they're fun if used correctly. With my first freshly trained spy, I find the enemy city with the juiciest commercial hub and plant them there. First gain sources, then attempt to siphon funds. It has the highest rate of success of any mission which will boost your spy to the next level, and more gold is never a bad thing.
    Each level the spy gains, the better their success chances at ANY type of mission they do, and they rank up after each successful mission. This seems more important than the 3 random promotion choices that you also get after completing a mission. But the promotions can dictate if you can move on to another mission besides siphoning, for example cat burgler to give +2 to great work heists, which is great for cultural victories. I've just finished a deity cultural victory, stole all but a handful of artifacts to cement it
     
  8. regeneration64

    regeneration64 Warlord

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    Thank you all for your helpful replies. I think I am being too conservative with my spies and not utilising them to their full potential. I've worked out myself why the access level of a civ drops after a Listening Post mission. It's a temporary boost! :wallbash:

    I agree with @CBE Player that there are a limited number of spies and with the new district system it means that we have dozens and dozens of places to choose where to spy or counterspy at. I guess it is all about prioritising.

    That's interesting. I've been trying to work out which missions are more difficult and which are worth going for first. I'll probably try gain sources and then pop that spy in the commercial hub and hope for the best as a starting point.


    So am I right in thinking that spies can level up and have promotions, just like units it that regard? Has anyone determined if spies have a maximum level? Is the below list of promotions conclusive (courtesy of well-of-souls)?
    • Ace Driver: If caught on a mission, have a much higher chance of escape (+4 levels)
    • Cat Burglar: Steal Great Works as if 2 levels more experienced
    • Con Artist: Siphon Funds as if 2 levels more experienced
    • Demolitions: Sabotage Production as if 2 levels more experienced
    • Disguise: Takes no time to establish presence in an enemy city
    • Guerilla Leader: Recruit Partisans as if 2 levels more experienced
    • Linguist: Time to complete all missions reduced by 25%
    • Quartermaster: If this Spy is in home territory, all your Spies operate at +1 level
    • Rocket Scientist: Disrupt Rocketry as if 2 levels more experienced
    • Seduction: Counterspy as if 2 levels more experienced
    • Technologist: Steal Technology as if 2 levels more experienced
     
  9. Timothy001

    Timothy001 Prince

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    It appears spies can gain 3 promotions. Had a game, where I gained sources. Stole Money (1st Promotion: Ace Driver), Stole Money (2nd Promotion: Demolitions), Sabotaged IZ (3rd Promotion: Con Artist), Stole Money (No Promotion). Also, if the spy completes the mission, but is detected, they do not get a promotion, if they escape, get caught or killed. Only a successful, undetected mission gets the promotion. Spies in your cities that defend a District, that help catch another spy, also gain promotions.
     
  10. beorn

    beorn Prince

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    Okay... I've been using spies a whole lot (and with pretty good luck) but I see no mechanic for promoting them. I assumed it was just a generic level up when you get a message about gaining a level.

    Where/how do you promote? I see nothing like it is on a military unit.
     
  11. regeneration64

    regeneration64 Warlord

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    Thank you. I just had this happen. That is, I successfully completed a siphoning funds mission, was detected and escaped to my capital but no promotion. Oddly, I swear that the in-game text said that I had been promoted to a recruit (which is the lowest level?!)
     
  12. CBE Player

    CBE Player Warlord

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    I disagree with the idea they go for you capitol. This might be the first city of choice but if you have something important in another city they can knock out they will.
     
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  13. CBE Player

    CBE Player Warlord

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    It shows up in the same location as normal unit level-ups. watch for it there with all your spies before deciding to take another mission with each, when it is available you'll know with a button to click. If they don't have it available then the unit cannot level up. You can only level up in between missions before placing them I believe.
     
  14. weregamer

    weregamer Gandhi of the Mongols

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    1) The counterspy protects the district you pick and the 6 adjacent hexes. This one of the three big reasons to clump your industrial zones in triplets in the center of a 3-city group and put commercial zones next to them. (The others are because you get all 3 cities getting all 3 production bonuses, and because the industrial zones get adjacency bonuses from each other and the commercials, and vice-versa.)

    2) The AIs seem to target the city with the highest industrial output that they have scouted; I'm not sure how much they cheat to pick that, but since your capital is often/usually the highest producer, and most AIs have traded capital locations with you in the early game, you see them hitting your capital.

    3) My most common mistake with spies is to forget to promote them after a successful mission. I have to either remember to look for the promotion tab/button even though the mission selection list comes up by default, or use the "you have units to promote" alert button religiously at the start of my turn.

    4) I've found that leveling from counterspying is not very reliable; your counterspy may or may not get credit for helping kill a spy. I *think* that they are more likely to be credited with a capture. But offensive missions *always* promote on success (up to the 3 promotions/spy limit).
     
  15. Kougar7

    Kougar7 Warlord

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    Weregamer has some good points. I've had entire games where my counter-spy never promoted once (probably a bug) despite multiple captures & kills on enemy spies.You have to use them on offensive missions to promote them reliably, and you WILL want all your spies promoted.
    • An AI can't send a spy to your city if it's never scouted it. Keep this in mind when you first meet AI and invite them to the nearest city because they will gain vision of it it for spies later in the game.
    • Same for embassies and your capital, though you can use this to your advantage. If you give all the AI an embassy most will divert their spies to your capital making it easy to counter-spy, useful for when you have a large sprawling empire and can't station spies in all of your own cities.
    • Diplomatic policies that benefit your spies stack with each other, and stack again with the spy's own promotions.
    • Always stop and promote your spies. The right mix of policy cards and spy promotions can give you 93% success chances on the hardest mission types.
    • The spy escape menu is bugged for siphon gold missions, claims no loot but the spy often will deliver the gold if he successfully escapes.
    • Always use the Gain Sources option, the 25% mission time reduction policy makes this a no brainer. Will benefit all spies active in the area.
    • All promotions, bonuses and policy cards changes immediately affect the odds of spy success So for example if you lose the Gain Sources buff two turns before a spy completes a mission (or anything else) the % chances of success will drop.
    • You can "shop around" various cities to see how much Gold the spy can siphon from each before committing the spy to a city. Also useful to figure out if the the AI's museums are empty or not, as spies cannot steal great works from the palace or wonders
    • Districts are required for each mission type, for example neighborhoods are required in a city before the recruiting partisans mission is displayed.
    For escape options a harbor is needed for a boat, aerodrome for aircraft. But a Commercial hub is needed for a car escape! I may be wrong but it seems like the more escape options available in a city the higher the odds of foot escape being successful. Cities that only have "by foot" as the escape option always seem to capture my spies the most. Would be interesting to confirm.
     

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