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Spies discussion

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by VTMatt, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. VTMatt

    VTMatt Chieftain

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    How do you all prefer to use spies? It's obviously situational, but I have a few things I waver on with them.

    I'll obviously use them for the necessary tasks (sabatoge spaceports and such), and always do the +2 levels mission before a real mission, but the things I'm not sure on are:

    1) To use them vs friendly (or neutral/friendly leaning) civs who I might gain more from, vs only using them against enemy or denounced civs. The negative modifier for using spies and getting caught isn't very high to begin (only -6 iirc), seems like if I've got a very solid relationship with someone, and could steal a great work or nice tech from them, it's worth it, but I tend to avoid this. Thoughts?

    2) How often do you all like to use them defensively? I think I under utilize this, but unless I'm after a space victory with one obvious target to defend, it seems like kind of a waste. Sure, I'll defend this theater district or commercial hub in city A. Whoops, cities B through G also have both of those districts also, I feel like I'm still very close to as likely to get funds/works stolen as I was without my defensive spy!

    So, do you guys use them very aggressively, vs whoever has the shiniest loot, or more strategically and defensively?
     
  2. Amrunril

    Amrunril Emperor

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    I don't think there's a single "correct" answer to the first question. It's a case by case matter of how much more you can gain from spying on a friend than on an enemy and how much you value your relationship with that friend. It's not always an easy question, but it isn't inherently different from, say, whether to comply with requests not to settle nearby or convert cities.

    As for defensive placement, I find that that the AI is often predictable with its spy placement (capital city industrial zones seem like common targets), and catching an enemy spies is valuable not only defensively but also as a source of promotions that can then be but to offensive use,
     
  3. empresskiova

    empresskiova Warlord

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    I use spies offensively if I'm playing defensively. I may also use them to begin crippling an opponent I will soon war with. Friends don't mind you spying on them so much that they'll denounce you for it. And if your spy is never caught, none's the wiser.

    Sometimes I don't even build the first spy. I've learned that usually a bad idea. Spies may cost a boatload of production, but protecting my gold stash is important. For the most part, I don't mind the industrial buildings getting blown up. They usually get rebuilt within 4 turns or whatever. But losing 800+ Gold? Crap. >.<
     
  4. craney1987

    craney1987 Warlord

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    this.
    always defensive to get the promotion. Once promoted they get sent out into the world to do their thing.
     
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  5. Arms Longfellow

    Arms Longfellow Warlord

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    It seems to me like the % chance that your spy has of being captured or killed is a lie. It happens far too often for the number to be accurate. Is that % chance assuming that the enemy has no counter-spy in his city, and it doesn't tell you if it has a counter-spy (obviously)? Because that would explain a lot.
     
  6. empresskiova

    empresskiova Warlord

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    It may. I'm sure the AI can use the Counter-Spy option too.
     
  7. stormerne

    stormerne is just a Retired Moderator

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    Situational:
    1. If I'm far behind, I may risk them on spaceport sabotage, though industrial zone sabotage is safer and often as effective.
    2. If I'm not behind and I'm going for a science victory but haven't started space project builds yet, I'll use at least one in the capital as counterspy and the rest just listening in other capitals.
    3. If I'm not behind and I'm building spaceports or space projects, everyone comes back home to counterspy. One or two go in the best district around the capital to protect as many districts as possible, one will go at each of my three spaceports. If I can overlap with industrial zones powering the spaceport cities, so much the better.
    4. If I'm going for a domination victory, same as option 2. This isn't purely passive as spies give visibility for conventional bombing runs.
    5. If I'm going for a cultural victory, it's option 2 at first and I'll withdraw the listeners to cover major tourist districts as the race heats up.
    Thus they are mostly passive or defensive, except when I'm desperate.

    And I never trade back any spies I've captured. :D
     
  8. juanpavo

    juanpavo Warlord

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    I went crazy with recruit partisans in my last game with the properly promoted spy. Lots of mech infantry barbarians can do some real damage! :ar15:
     
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  9. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    As Catherine you get that early spy. It's a bit stupid to use it defensively so you use it for gold to get it promoted.

    Now considering that spies are not cheap it typically for me pulls in about 25-30 GPT overall including travels but not deaths. Compared to triangular trade that's 7 trade routes worth so I guess it's OK.

    So you then move up the centre of the civic tree where the spies are which allows for stronger diplomacy. Often the value of this is earlier alliances. So who Do I attack? Well I tend to attack someone who is not adjacent to me... this has an effect of a joint war with a neighbour against me sometimes but that's not really an issue at all.

    By the time I have 3 spies I will sometimes have lost a few, probably too many for the odds. I also now have some nice specialists but it's which one has the escape promotion that I tend to care about most. At 5 spies some games I am really doing well, other games there is just not enough targets. There is enough spies to annoy you like trade routes.

    Do you have a defensive one, well yes, quartermaster and seduction are defensive promotions I will use on the same spy. Covering all your home bases nets you little but is some sort of insurance policy, you do get good deals from selling spies back which I will happily do. Offensive spies do surprisingly well after a while but do annoy civs.... not that I tend to care that much.

    Consider that one of the benefits of having an ally is they do not get annoyed at you so quickly but also be aware that breaking a promise is a reason for casus.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
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  10. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    So I ran 4 level 3 siphons today and 3 spies got killed... thats just wrong unless they are using counter espionage which is likely the case.

    Its annoying the hell out of civs and was enough for my old ally Gandhi to joint war me.
     
  11. stormerne

    stormerne is just a Retired Moderator

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    I find siphoning funds is the most reliable way to get a spy promoted. Chances are the amount of gold you get won't be significant, though maybe enough to buy a builder or two, but the odds of success are always the best, often 80% or more. On the other hand, you don't have to send them to a capital to gain promotions, as capitals are usually better guarded. Sadly though, like apostles, the promotion choices you get are a random selection of three from the (I think) eleven possible, and none may be what you want at the time or meld with your playing style.

    Does anyone ever trade for spies, either foreign ones that you've captured, or your own that languish in some foreign jail?
     
  12. VTMatt

    VTMatt Chieftain

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    I'm usually happy to trade back spies I've captured, as the AI seems to be willing to pay well for them. As for my own, I'd always like to get them back, but find that the AI often wants my firstborn for them. I had a game last night where I was pushing all of my spies at an opponent I was locked in a space race with, trying to disable his spaceports. We each captured the other's spy, and did a straight up swap back for them. Price was likely even because we were allied, though he was annoyed as he'd caught me spying a few times.
     
  13. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Always
     
  14. stormerne

    stormerne is just a Retired Moderator

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    Interesting. I'll always try and get back one of mine that someone captured. But I'll never trade back one that I captured.

    To me, capturing an enemy spy is far more useful than killing one. Substitute spies can be built to replace dead spies. They can't be built to replace captured ones. I'd rather an enemy work at a permanent disadvantage from now on. And captured spies don't seem to cost me any upkeep in my jails. That's why I don't trade spies I've captured.
     
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  15. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Now THIS really annoys me. I always suspected it but now am looking into it more I am sickened by continuous Firaxis blunders
    Here are my target greek cities
    upload_2017-6-8_18-50-42.png

    Ohh look Corinth and Rhodes have theaters
    upload_2017-6-8_18-51-53.png

    He has to be putting them somewhere, I put on reaveal all and the only wonders they have are Oracle and Apadana... Looks like a bug to me,
    upload_2017-6-8_18-53-25.png

    And sure enough if I send a spy to Corinth, there is a great work for me to steal... The first screen is bugged

    upload_2017-6-8_19-16-52.png
     
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  16. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    Well, it isn't that grave of a disadvantage. There are plenty of spies made available as the game progresses. Enough that if the AI actually built and leveraged them all aggressively I would have to buy a physical copy of Civ VI just to unwrap it and hurl the disk into oncoming traffic.

    That is to say, I don't care much for the Civ VI implementation of espionage. Spend a ton of hammers on building a spy, and then send it off on some long-ass mission that has no great chance of succeeding, but if it does the spy gets some random promotion that may or may not increase its value? Yeah, that's engaging.

    Better yet, if the mission fails, I might get a pop-up window asking me to choose how the spy will attempt to escape. I'm told that escaping on foot is the safest, but takes longer, so I select it. Upon which doing so, the spy is captured immediately. Every. Single. Time. Seriously, has anyone actually had a spy successfully escape?

    Espionage should include subsystems that allow you to tailor the spy to the mission you want to send him on, improving chance of success at the cost of gold, time to completion, risk of exposure and sacrifice, etc. Basing success on probabilities that a player can't mitigate is the equivalent of playing roshambo or "war". Gimme me some kind of slider, some stakes I get to set. Otherwise, even when it's successful, espionage is not satisfying.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
  17. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    Isn't that because the Acropolis is a unique district and the overview don't include these? I think there's a mod that fixes it. But yeah, annoying bug.

    I liked how in the earlier builds, AI used spies more offensively - perhaps it was too much back then, but I feel now the pendulum has swung too far the other way. I occasionally use spies defensively still, particularly if I get the quartermaster promotion, but I can't remember when I actually caught an AI spy last time. They do occasionally steal gold or technology, but it's less predictable where they strike (which is good, I guess), but for the same reason makes counterespionage a bit of a shot in the dark.

    On a sidenote, I think the fact that a counter-spy only covers adjacent districts is taking things a bit too far. A spy on counterespionage should cover every district in the city to make it more meaningful to actually use them defensively.
     
  18. stormerne

    stormerne is just a Retired Moderator

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    Yes, on foot, and on average maybe slightly better than 50% of the time (a subjective assessment as I don't keep a record of these things).

    Districts are new, so this is a new mechanic. (I'm gratified that it covers at least adjacent districts.) How would you feel about a mechanic where, every time you placed a counterspy, you could choose between covering adjacent districts at full strength or all districts anywhere in the city at, say, half strength?
     
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  19. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    FWIW, I have had a defensive spy promoted as an enemy spy was killed while failing to sabotage industry in an IZ that was not adjacent to any district (it was ensconced in mines, natch).
     
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  20. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    Or there could be a promotion that increased coverage radius when on countermission. I hope when (if) expansion comes, they'll rework the promotions a bit to be more like trees where are spy can specialize in a certain area. The current system is kind of annoying when you have a spy with an offense promotion and then gets offered only defense promotions or vice versa.
     

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