1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Spies discussion

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

  1. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    11,343
    I'm on a role now I have lots of spies and promotions... My Spy Marcel is currently taking a great work off greece every 4 turns... and he is only level 2
    Marcel
    Cat burgler Steal great works as 2 levels higher
    Lingust - Operations take 25% less (and I have a 25% card)
    I also have a quatermaster so once sources are gained he acts as if level 7... if thats possible

    upload_2017-6-8_21-50-20.png

    The thing is once I take the 2 works the rest of the choices are also so good ... If I can getthe +4 levels for excape this will be one scary spy primarily based on the speed of stealing

    upload_2017-6-8_21-57-1.png

    It seems you fail a lot at the start, not because of the captured or killed but because of the mission failure

    Yes, I am seriously enjoying a jolly good spy game
    upload_2017-6-8_22-19-51.png
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2017
  2. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Messages:
    3,548
    And this is something nations actually do? Send spies to steal paintings from other nations' museums, and then proudly exhibit them in their own?

    "WTF, British Museum? Gimme my Mona Lisa back, or it's on. Not that I get a casus beli for this blatant thievery, mind you."

    Does Greece even know you're doing this?

    And can you steal works of writing or music? If so, WTF squared.

    "Sorry, citizens, we can no longer call "The William Tell Overture" our own. It was stolen fair-and-square by England. Yes, you have to fly over there now if you want to enjoy it"
     
    ZubieMaster likes this.
  3. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    11,343
    Lol, it's fun, so what if the game does not match reality... and having the Mona Lisa stolen by an Italian is what made it so famous.

    Does Greece know? Well they are asking 100GPT to return another spy so I am a spy down because I am not paying that... I am -8 for espionage with them currently and denounced.

    So no, it's not all roses... but any great work removes some of the thorns, although you get no choice. Next one I am forced into taking this damn fine book... Oh and Marcel is now a master spy with +4 levels when excaping .. "ace Driver"

    upload_2017-6-8_22-44-29.png

    Poor Pericles did not stand a chance, its the speed Marcel was working that was the real crippler. Linguist is an underrated promotion I have often ignored

    upload_2017-6-9_0-52-1.png
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2017
    agonistes and steveg700 like this.
  4. unpossible251

    unpossible251 Warlord

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2016
    Messages:
    241
    go marcel!

    even with +1000 hours under my belt, i got to say i have never really played a spy heavy game. im starting to think ive actually been missing out. i tend to just shrug off "xxx stole a tech boost". maybe time to have another go
     
    Victoria likes this.
  5. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    11,343
    @unpossible251 I had a great game last night, so good I even finished it. The spies thing was not the main reason why, things just clicked into place well but Frances flying squad helped me a little at the start and I had lots of wonders but mainly because I finally got the resort strategy right after all this time. What I mean is that when I got Eiffel I already had all my resort sites in place and builders sleeping ready to go. France does help with all of this.
    The trouble is you have to pushscience a lot and culture a fair bit too.

    But on the spies, at the end I had 3 captured they would not give back and a lot of people disliked me.... I guess I must be playing France historically. Marcel was wonderful but I was aiming for a gold expert, some games just do not work that way. I'll try siphoning to death again another time.

    Some Spy advice having had one concentrated run through... Spy experts please correct me if you disagree.

    Losses
    You will loose a lot of spies at the start and the chances of this happening seem greater than expected but once up and running with a good spy it just rarely gets caught. My advice is keep trying, do not give up... all you need is one great spy to have fun but if you get 3... well you are going to seriously damage an opponent if you concentrate on them.

    Target
    A target that concentrates elsewhere like Pericles will always use CS cards rather than spy cards so is an easier target while Catherine is unlikely to be worth spying on safely... I found this in other games, my spies often get killed with her.
    Target your victory condition competitor, yes we damage spaceports and that's great but last night Pericles was looking dangerous at one stage
    but taking a great work off him roughly every 6 turns just made him useless.
    For a city target - try not to go for capitals with loads of money if you suspect they have a defensive spy there. The pain of loss is bad enough.

    Defense
    have one spy on defense duties with the quartermaster promo ASAP. This is your foundation. You can always get a second with seduction but I would either give this to the quartermaster or just leave it. While they often target your capital I now know they do not always and do not always target the highest earner. You cannot cover all your cities so the best bet is to cover your capital and if you get attacked in another place, move your counterspy there. 2 just seem pointless but keeping your cap covered or your spaceport is important so I guess it depends on how important spy defense is.

    Promotions
    Experience is gained VERY fast for spies and a few successes will lead to master spy quite quickly. the key is the distance to the target city, gathering sources

    The documentation states the max spy level is 4 and I can confirm this likely effects your spy ability too. If you look at my master spy choices they all level out at 90% and so the best promotions are not the ones that increase your chances of doing things. They are

    Quartermaster for +1 for all spying
    Linguist for 25% less time for operations (shaves 2-6 turns off operations allowing you to do much more with a good spy) Combined with the 25% card is powerful.
    Ace Driver +4 levels during escape (this +4 levels still confuses me if I can only be level 4)

    So get a quartermaster at home ASAP and give your best spy Linguist and ace driver and you are racing.

    upload_2017-6-9_9-22-58.png

    Expense
    Spies are expensive and it is quite an investment but they can be powerful and the damage they will wreak if you do not have them can be quite bad fast. One game I myself lost lots of great works to the point of rage quit. In reality my rage is based on my own stupidity

    Fun
    Having a good master spy is fun but not enough to engross you as you have to wait for them to finish each task. At best spies are a necessity for a lot of games but mainly not domination. They are a great tool but frustrating because the district list is not accurate and you have to try each city to find what is best and they do not take up much of a game.

    Key point
    Spies are expensive and using them causes a lot of hate. I will probably only use them defensively in most games initially... so only getting 1 or 2 ... I can always change their use later in the game as needs be.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2017
  6. craney1987

    craney1987 Warlord

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Messages:
    232
    Gender:
    Male
    thanks for the effort @Victoria.
    I think the role of spies will be greatly expanded in what I expect to be a diplo expansion. With that I also think they will reduce cost. I've been working on my domination game for my first real crack at deity, but these threads have made me want to detour for a game or two and see just how much damage can be done
     
  7. VTMatt

    VTMatt Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2016
    Messages:
    39
    Gender:
    Male
    Great feedback Victoria and all, thanks!

    Regarding the earlier discussion of counterspy mechanics, I agree that I'm not huge on the current 'defend one district in one city, and maybe another which happens to be adjacent to it'. There are so many other important factors determining district location placement, so I don't think it's a stretch to say most of us aren't even factoring in spy coverage when we build them, so it seems a little limiting to say a given spy covers districts based on adjacency. With the limited number of spies available, I just don't feel as though I can properly use them defensively, too many districts, not enough spies!

    That being said, that's a pretty minor nitpick, and this thread has given me some good direction towards using spies in future games. I think the biggie for me will be getting as many spies out as I can, as they become available (like traders!). Rather than rushing into the most rewarding mission right off the bat, I'll try to level them up with high % missions, and actually develop them, rather than taking a shot in the dark at a low % mission as soon as possible. Basically, recognizing that experience/level ups are crucial for long term espionage efficiency.
     
    craney1987 likes this.
  8. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    11,343
    See, we differ here... I like the idea of adjacent districts... it means there is not one simple choice... you have to make choices and this is how a game should be... not "this is the formula I follow and works every time" that's really dull to me.

    I will typically have a triangle/diamond of districts but a lot depends on if it makes sense and if there is a 4 adjacency mountain nearby I will make an exception. If I then loose science in that city I will have to place a spy in the campus but to be fair it does seem like they are targeting the campus rather than the adjacent districts. We can agree to differ though.

    i think you would be crazy to go straight into a low chance mission but saying that I have done so in the past and succeeded. Still not wise IMO.
     
  9. VeronicaCardican

    VeronicaCardican Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    60
    Gender:
    Female
    If nothing else, your excess levels should at least counter an enemy's Cryptography policy card.

    Some wild guesses:
    1. The escape methods' danger is represented by a level penalty (escape by air means that you escape like a spy of -3 level). So an ace driver could escape by air better than a novice spy escapes by car.

    2. The level cap only limits what you can get via experience. A level 4 Cat Burglar operates as a level 6 spy though. If you don't notice any improvement from (effective) level 4 onward e.g. between a Cat Burglar of level 2 and one of level 4, this is because the displayed probabilities only take into account what you know. Your level 6 spy however has a much higher chance to evade a hidden counterspy than your level 4 spy.
     
    Victoria likes this.
  10. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Messages:
    3,548
    Heh. To me it just came across as quite cheesy and put me even further off the espionage system. Heisting great works of art in particular is a dumb mechanic that feels like it has no place in a civ-building game. It doesn't look satisfying in any strategic sense. It's just fun as an experiment, finding yet another AI blindspot to land sucker punches in. That kind of schadenfreude would quickly become cloying for me.

    Essentially, the only thing that keeps spies in check is the heavy initial investment in production. Promoting spies is just a matter of patiently incubating them in an RNG, and you mitigate the probabilities by throwing in a whole bunch. Those that make it out get some highly abusable abilities that the AI doesn't have a good means to cope with, other to have yet another source of largely-meaningless negative diplo modifiers.
     
    ZubieMaster likes this.
  11. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    11,343
    Spies are the only way to stop runaways on the other side of the world. Just because Pericles has been programmed to use CS rather than spies does not make all AI as vulnerable.I disagree its more ab usable than knights with a battering ram.
     
  12. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Messages:
    3,548
    On the one hand you're asserting that sending a spy to pilfer a great work every four turns is comparable to assaulting cities directly with an army, yet on the other hand the very reason you're touting how sending the spy bypasses all the efforts and checks and consequences involved with embarking on a war to capture paintings. What tactical decisions did you make? What risk did you expose yourself to?

    Saying that it will stop a runaway on the other side of the world just equates it to a blue shell. I'm winning a cultural victory, and suddenly every four turns a great vacuum cleaner hose descends from the clouds and sucks up a great work and deposits them in your museum. Now I've been sharply checked, and you're the runaway on the other side of the world. You have better spies than me, so what do I do now to get them back? And more to the point, what is the AI supposed to do? Lose to a blue shell, I suspect. Heck, the victim doesn't even get a casus belli.

    And it's obvious the AI doesn't counter with similar tactics, because if the AI were in the habit of spamming spies to steal another player's works ad infinitum, the forum would be aflame. Rightly so, really.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
    ZubieMaster likes this.
  13. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    11,343
    If you do not use spies defensively you deserve to be sucked dry.

    ...I have lost plenty of great works before in a single game. In 1300 hours of playtime I have caught an awful lot of spies. I have also lost a lot of spies. I take it you have not played long then? I take it you have not been reading the forum lots where people say spies are an expensive waste of time?

    Yes the victim does, if she asks me to stop spying and I do not, she gets a casus.

    All I was saying was it's as much of an exploit as a knight with a battering ram, please do not twist the discussion and treat me like an idiot. I was just voicing my opinion... and I feel it's fair and well thought out while you just seem to be.... well, inexperienced.
     
  14. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Messages:
    3,548
    Oho, prickly, prickly. Your goat has gotten away from you. We're all just voicing our opinions, and sometimes they will conflict. That doesn't amount to denigration, or ignorance for that matter (but thanks for pointing out the bit about the casus belli). Maybe some tea is in order.

    I've suffered plenty of espionage, just not the theft of great works. Often as not by allies, who seem to be counting on my good will to turn a blind eye to my funds being siphoned and intellectual properties violated. Odd thing is, stealing art would be something even the snowball leader would be interested in going after. Can't steal techs when you're in the lead, but if you got room for another painting, steal away.

    As to folks asserting spies are an expensive waste of time--well, people complain about a lot of stuff, and then other people say other stuff to be contrary. Claiming that spies require too much input may seem incompatible with the notion that spies allow for easy-button cheap shots, but not necessarily. Not in a situation where you're dumping massive effort into a RNG, and then only after some thinning of the herd receiving their Great Art Hose. People have different thresholds on how much they want to grind for a ROI.

    Consider when people think of balance that they imagine a two-sided scale whose arms are, for the most part, steady and aligned. Now, what often creeps into assertions of game balance is the notion that lopsided utility is a form of balance, as long as the scale is sometimes lopsided on the other side. Technically, that is balance, but it ignores an important goal of balance, which is to achieve a sense of consistency.

    Well then, if we are to follow such a train of thought, then the AI should always resort to counterspies, not just sometimes. We seem in agreement that Pericles left himself wide open to pursue other assets. In all likelihood, by the time your spy engine was in full gear, it was too late for Pericles to pivot. He was a plucked pigeon.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
    ZubieMaster likes this.
  15. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    11,343
    It might make for a duller game if they all played the same way, perhaps Pericles does use spies, it's only a guess by me.
    There should be more intelligence there yes, but there should be in many places.
    Even better, if there was more things for spies to do it would make for a better mechanic.
     
    craney1987 likes this.
  16. Art Morte

    Art Morte Prince

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2017
    Messages:
    494
    Gender:
    Male
    BUMP

    The AI's valuation of spies, has it changed after the autumn patch or is my memory poor? I can trade my captured spy back from a neutral civ for only one luxury resource which I have several copies of. That seems bonkers, spies should be much more valuable than that.
     
  17. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    11,343
    I cannot comment until I have tried it but it would be nice of the value of the spy was based on its level. A Master spy should be worth a lot, a noob spy value seems roughly correct and 1 lux, yes they can take a bit of building so maybe a touch cheaper than it should be.

    I'll try and give Catherine another go on this she is easy to play this with, the trouble is my spies do not get caught that easily.... theirs? well I'll happily sell it back to them as they will happily put it where my quatermaster is again and I'll get another lux from them in a few turns. This is maybe why they have been devalued.
     
  18. Karpius

    Karpius King

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Messages:
    623
    Is it possible, through FireTuner, to see what, if any, modifiers might exist in the target city that have a hidden affect on the % reported in the mission screen concerning the spy's chance of success? Might it show a hidden defensive spy in that city? I am just curious because I have had extremely great success with spies in some games, and less so in others. (Which seems quite appropriate to me.)

    Also, there seemed to be a trend where weaker civs did seem more vulnerable, but accordingly had less to steal or sabotage.
     
  19. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    11,343
    Firetuner will show what spies are on the board and their grid location, that is it by default. I doubt we can get the % out via FT.
    I am not sure there is any modifiers beyond the level and ability of the spies involved.
    I am sure the windows randomizer can be fickle day to day.
     
  20. jozef57

    jozef57 Warlord

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Messages:
    210
    Location:
    netherlands/deventer
    LOL yes i did this too few times but had second thoughts when the partisan barbarian started raiding my own emipre too, that was a bit of a setback
     

Share This Page