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The Power of Settled Great Spies

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by madscientist, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

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    OK, this is my first ever strategy article and I hope it helps. I look for any advice on how to improve it as I know it's pretty raw right now.

    The power of espionage in the BTS game, marathon speed.

    We all love the idea of espionage in BTS. Spy specialists, Great Spies, eps, plus the ability to adjust the slider! But how do we utilize this into a game? Do we adjust the slider, beeline constitution/democracy/communism, or run spy specialists in all our cities. And how best to use a Great Spy?

    Well, here is an article on my view on how to use espionage to support mostly weaker teching leaders. You do not need to be industrious, financial, or philosophical although philosophical certainly helps. I works very well for Imperialistic, spiritual and Protective leaders although the war-monger traits work well also. This plan assumes there will be at least one tech leader even if you have a well established CE going. A SE is not compatible here because that produces A LOT of scientists which is NOT what we want.

    The basic idea here is to force out an early Great Spy with the Great Wall wonder and play a normal teching game with an emphasis on early diplomacy. Diplomacy may be tossed aside once you “Get over the hump” and access jails and intelligane Agencies.

    So let’s start

    Buildings we want

    Palace (+4 eps): For the reason, your capital will be your espionage city.
    Courthouse (+2 eps, opens up 1 spy specialists) Opens with Code of Laws so we want to target this tech
    Jail (+4 eps, +50% espionage, allows 2 spy specialists) opens with constitution, so if you can manage to get nationalism before being the first to liberalism, take constitution as the free tech. Be warned, this is not easy.
    Intelligence agency (+8 eps, +50% ep, opens up 2 spy specialists) Opens with Communism which also get’s us a free Great Spy! So beeline communism if possible
    Security Bureau (+8ep, 50% defense against enemy spy missions, helps the twart spy missions, open 2 spy specialists) Open with democracy.
    Scottland Yard: (100% ep bonus) must be founded with a GSpy.
    Castle: (+25% ep) obsolete with economics, so we want to delay this tech as long as possible.

    Wonders we want:
    Great Wall: of prime importance for the GSpy points, keeping the barbs out, and getting GGs from defensive wars. Basically if you miss this wonder, adjust you game and try a different strategy.
    Kremlin: allows 2 additional spy specialists, so you want this in the capital if possible.
    National Epic: To speed up GSpy production

    Another point to mention here, there is a randon event called "Best Defense Quest" where if you build enough castles in the required time you get a +25ep bonus to the city with the Great Wall. A very valuable event in this game, be on the look out for it.

    That’s it, I would not recommend any others except the Parthenon IF you can build it in a different city.

    Best Civics
    Nationhood (Mandatory here)
    Pacificism (providing it does not kill the economy)
    Any other is fine

    Great Spies: give you three options, infiltrate which gives you a certain number of eps but only against one AI, Scotland yard which is great (but you need eps to actually use it), and settling which get’s you +3 beakers and +12 eps. Later in the game you can use some Gspies for Golden Ages.

    So this technique requires patience and diplomacy. Warring is fine as long as you have 1 or 2 buddies who are technologically advanced. Feel free to kill off the others at your will. Adopt a state religion that the other AIs have, especially AIs with cities close to your borders and the nearest city has that religion. If the religion is not there, spread it there. You will save on eps to make up for the small hammer cost.

    Finally before discussing the nuts and bolts of the play, a few comment on what techs you need to prioritize. Understand that you should NOT be neglecting military, nor useful beaker producing techs especially education (you should optimally try to get one Great Scientist to bulb most of education).

    Alphabet: opens up the ability to build a spy
    Code of Laws: opens courthouses
    Philosphy: Pascifism
    Engineering: opens castles
    Nationalism: opens nationhood civic
    Constitution: opens jails
    Democracy: opens security beurea
    Communism: opens Intelligence Agency.

    Now with all of those civics, techs and building are not what get’s you an advantage. What get’s you the edge is

    Settled Great Spies!

    1) After building the Great Wall, wait patiently for your first GP. If you can avoid the urge to run a scientist, it should be a Gspy. SETTLE Him. Do NOT build Scotland yard. That settle GSpy is enough to get you some techs.
    2) Once you unlock CoL, build a courthouse in the capital and run a spy specialist. That get’s you +3 GSpy points to go wit the 2 from the GW. Now you may add a scientists or two to speed up GP production. Hopefully the second GP is a GSpy which you can use to build scottland yard.
    3) As simples as that. Once you have the frame work of a settle GSpy and Scotland yard, you are on the way to stealing yourself to a win!!!
    4) Future Great Spies should be settled in the capital, but if you are ambitious and know you can get the Free GSpy with communism, you may want to build a second espionage city with a settle Gspy and scottland yard!
    5) Once you have gotten 4 Gspies, you should be up to constitution/democracy/communism so those buildings will start to take the bulk of the espionage work. Now use those extra GSpies to infiltrate specific AIs or burn them for GAs!!

    Where you want to send the spies? Look at the espionage screen and check out the AI cities. It is a simple matter to find which cities are cheaper, send the spies there! Also remember to get those cities to your state religion, and make sure you have open borders as that improves the ep cost of the mission. But most important, let your spy sit in that city 5 turns, each turn is a 10% reduction in ep cost.

    This technique also allows you to have a steady stream of stolen techs, not just one region of history like an early infiltration would do. Follow the links to my RPC game and look at “Chairman Mao’s RVISED Plan” (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=268640)for an excellent game illustrating the power of this espionage game. In that game I was able to steal, in order

    Horseback Riding
    Meditation
    Polytheism
    calender
    Compass
    Optics
    Music
    Banking
    Military Tradition
    Steel
    Physics
    Steam Power
    Corporation
    Military Science
    Railroad
    Assembly Line
    Radio
    Biology
    Rocketry
    Fission
    Fascism
    Ecology

    All from essentially 6 Great People. 4 settle Gspies, 1 scottland yard, a great Scientist which we used to bulb education.

    This also work veru nicely with Ghengis Khan of all people. Get the Great Wall at all costs, he has enough starting techs to get some sort of military, use imperialistic to get a few good military producing cities. Target horseback riding for the UU/UB and fight defensive war with the agile UU to get several GGs. War-monger you most hated civilizations while you play nice and spy on your friends. It is a very powerful and interesting way to get Ghengis Khan to win a space race!!

    Here is a walkthrough for using this strategy for ghengis khan http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?p=6683061#post6683061

    EDIT:

    I have in the past said using the espionage slider is a poor idea as you end up playing from a position of weakness, always behind in tech. In light of another RPC of mine "Return of the Russian Spy" http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=306844 I retract that statement since I played a very powerful game with the espionage slider (No science slider AFTER Code of Law) and got a Space Race victory. The point of this article is still using settled spies to supplement the traditional research path so I will leave it as it is.
     
  2. VirusMonster

    VirusMonster Quechua General

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    I wished you renamed this article, because not everyone will agree on settling the GreatSpies. Given the 100% :espionage: bonus of ScotlandYards, it makes only sense to settle the very first spy and only if you got him early in the game through the GreatWall.
     
  3. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

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    Maybe the title could have been better. Still, I think I am pretty clear that the article is about settled GSpies with emphasis on getting the Great Wall.
     
  4. VirusMonster

    VirusMonster Quechua General

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    I have just got my article name changed by Methos :) You could ask him for a change, but make sure to make up your mind first.

    I love spy economy articles btw... I'll look at your Chairman Mao game now.
     
  5. qwertz

    qwertz Prince

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    doesn't the castle give you +25% ep?
    otherwise, nice article :goodjob:
     
  6. VirusMonster

    VirusMonster Quechua General

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    Hey MadScientist, don't forget the Best Defense Quest. If you control the GreatWall while completing the quest, you get +25 :espionage: per turn on your GreatWall city. With a Scotland Yard, you would get +50 :espionage: per turn.
     
  7. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

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    Thanks, added it to the OP.
     
  8. Bandobras Took

    Bandobras Took Emperor

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    A little nitpick -- you mention Philoshopy as a vital Civic when it should be Pacifism.

    Also, settling a Great Spy in a Scotland Yard place will give +24 EPs. Will creating a Scotland Yard in a different city work out to that amount without a settled Great Spy?
     
  9. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

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    Thanks, I'll change teh philosophy/pacficism thing.


    By the time you get the thrid great spy you will probably be closing in on either constitution or communism depending on the tech path. So Scottland yard in a second city get's the benefit of the jails/bureaus/Agencies/courthouses. That will help with the jump to the higher beaker techs. That said, in teh Mao RPC I settled all the Great Spies in Bejing which was more of an RPC thing rather than an ideal "supplemental" espionage strategy.

    SO

    First GSpy settled in capital
    Second GSpy Scotland yard in capital
    Third GSpy depends on status of your teching and whether you popped a Great Scientist for education. But Generally I would settle him in the capital.
    Fourth would be scotland yard in the most production heavy city outside of the military city.

    Also consider if there are any exisiting scotland yards in captured AI cities, they love to build those things.
     
  10. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    A city with courthouse, Jail and Inteligence agency hiring 3 spies will produce 28 :espionage: points per turn..... it is not exactly top of the pop.
     
  11. Bandobras Took

    Bandobras Took Emperor

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    It still might be more efficient to simply settle the Great Spy in one Scotland Yard city and allow those three population points to do something else, I think
     
  12. Refar

    Refar Deity

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    Nice article. I usually go SY->SY->.... for my espionage games (which is known to work nicely). Nice to see a settling strategy works as well.

    A few minor notes:
    I think it's +4 esp/turn

    This is not 100% true - sure the esp points came from those spy's - but the strat also influences your choice of civics, your foreighn policy, your tech and economy (delaying Economics for example) - those are "costs" that have to be concidered.

    This is only a minor nitpick however - we have seen from your RPG that the strat works, and in the end that is all that matters.

    Making a SY in a city does give you +22 EPs just from buildings. Add a specialist or two, and a second (and third, ...) SY starts to look better.
     
  13. VirusMonster

    VirusMonster Quechua General

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    The good thing about settling the GreatSpy is that you don't have to turn on your :espionage: slider. Sure you can build another ScotlandYard in another city, but then to make use of that particular ScotlandYard, you either:

    • have to settle future GreatSpies there (makes no sense, since you already had another ScotlandYard city)
    • increase the :espionage: slider rate, reducing your overall manual research speed

    I can definitely see the point in settling the Great Spies. Settling is good if you are running a hybrid economy with espionage and manual research.

    On the other hand, if you are running a pure espionage economy, then the Scotland Yards would be much better than settling, because your espionage slider rate through the game would be very high already.

    Infiltration is best when you are running mainly a manual research economy with almost no tech stealing. Infiltration would enable to steal a couple of techs to turn your research advantage into military conquest quickly.

    -------------------------------

    How much more effective :espionage: does a single settled GreatSpy generate compared to an additional Scotland Yard?

    A settled GreatSpy in a Scotland Yard city with Jail and Intelligence Agency would create +36 :espionage: per turn. Assume after you settle the Great Spy, game lasts 500 more turns on Marathon speed. (Max number of turns in BTS on Marathon speed is 1500.)

    500*36=18000 :espionage:

    Now, let's compare this big number to what would have happened if you created an additional Scotland Yard.

    Creating an additional Scotland Yard would mean that you will turn the espionage slider higher than 0%, actually much higher if you want to utilize the new Scotland Yard. Assume during the course of the 500 turns in the above scenario, you ended up going at 40% :espionage: slider rate. 30% for expenses, and 30% left for manual research.

    How much commerce would a strong cottage city produce with roughly 18 population? Assuming 14 towns with 7 commerce each (conflict of Free Speech +2 town commerce vs. +25% espionage rate of Nationhood), each turn 98 :commerce: would be generated. 40% of 98 would make roughly 39 :espionage: per turn. Adding the espionage multipliers and free espionage from the Courthouse, Jail, and Intelligence Agency, total espionage generated per turn would be (39+14)*2=106

    Now let's compare how much total :espionage: would be generated in 500 turns.

    500*106=50300 :espionage:

    Well, this value is more than double as what would have happened if the GreatSpy was settled at the original ScotlandYard city. Looks like you should not settle the GreatSpies, but let's not forget the hidden cost.

    Remember that to utilize this extra Scotland Yard in this example, we reduced the research slider from 70% to 30%. This 40% slider rate reduction does not mean that the total :science: generated is also reduced by 40%, because Scientist specialists could still be producing beakers. Nevertheless, still the loss in overall manual research rate is significant and probably around 35%.

    In 500 turns, with roughly 14 towns at the 2nd Scotland Yard city and a further 75% :science: multipliers from buildings (Libary+University+Observatory), total science reduciton would be:

    500*14*7*%175*%35= 30000 :science:

    Adding the prerequisite modifier of 1.2, and another research multiplier of living AIs already knowing this tech (let's assume a realistic 1.06 if you are going for a tech lead), total science loss becomes:

    30000 * 1.2 * 1.06 = 38160

    Conclusion:

    Assuming more 500 turns will pass until one of the victory conditions are satisfied,

    Settling would give: +18000 :espionage:

    Creating an additional Scotland Yard and keeping your espionage slider rate at 40% throughout the rest of the game would give:

    +50300 :espionage:, but -38000 :science:

    Are +32k :espionage: worth -38k :science:?

    Well they are, because a single :espionage: point translates usually between 2-3 :science: during a tech stealing mission.

    So, creating a 2nd ScotlandYard is more economical than settling.

    But if you don't want to drop your research slider rate for a long time for various reasons, ie researching a tech first for the GP bonus or for better tech trading potential, then you are probably better of with settling. But I feel for such techs, you can still discover them first through temporary manual research.
     
  14. Oni of Chaos

    Oni of Chaos The Barrel Roll Guy

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    "you should optimally try to get one Great Scientist to bulb most of education)."

    Wouldn't you want to not get a scientist so you could get another spy, especially if you want a second EP city? :) Running scientist specialists wouldn't get you EP either :(

    Another idea, what about stealing Education?
     
  15. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    That puts a little stress on yourself though... you need to predict who gets Education, and then research Liberalism under immense time pressure.


    Also, if you want a mix of espionage and science, I would forget the slider as spies provide the same output as fully developed towns. By the time you have grown a cottage into a town, you will be behind a full 100 commerce-lyke units... per cottage.
    After Biology and all available cottage boosts, farms are equal to towns again for a 50/50 split.

    At the time cottages start to look attractive, there are also some very sweet buildings that probably generate all the EP you need. I would forget the slider, unless there are no espionage buildings or spy slots left and you want more. If that ever happens, I suppose it would be an interesting game.
     
  16. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

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    The problem with stealing education is that you have littel chance of getting liberlaism since the assumption of this strategy is that you are always somewhat behind in tech. IF you not get or do not want a Great Scientists, that's fine just tech off education manually or forget being first to education.

    Regarding cottages, we do need commerce since we are limiting any sort of SE game. A trade route economy is intriguing except the two key wonders produce GMPs. So limited cottaging seams the best route, perhaps followed by watermills/workshops/State Property for stronge production while you use the established espionage to keep up in tech. There is alot of versatility here, except for polluting the GP farm.
     
  17. slaze

    slaze Deity

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    I'm still not convinced that settling is always the way to go. Surely there must be situations where infiltrating is superior. I understand you're talking marathon, but i'll use normal numbers to make my point, as i understand the speed only affects the scaling.

    As I understand it the modifier for espionage spending is

    ((2 * their spending) + your spending)/((2 * your spending) + their spending)

    In a game I recently played (granted it was a multiplayer game, where my opponent directed only his palace espionage at me - I'm sure the AI is willing to spend much more) at the time of my first infiltration I had about ten times his spending, about 3000 to 300. Using the above formula, this works out to 3600/6300, a 0.57 modifier, which is about equivilant to a +75% multiplier. By the way, this is relatively close to the max this formula will allow (if you had infinty ep's to their 1) is a modifier of 0.50, which is effectively a multiplier of +100% for all cities.

    To be clear with my math, a 0.57 modifier takes a tech that would be 1000 down to 570, making 570 worth the 1000, or 570x=1000, where x=1.75, or +75%.

    True, this is with ten times the spending, and if the margin is whittled down to only double the spending, the multiplier effectively becomes only +25%.



    But unlike the scotland yard which only involves one city, this effectively multiplies all cities. Even at only double spending, four cities (although they would have to be equal in commerce to the capitol) would make infiltration and scotland yard equal in value (in regards to multipliers). More cities make infiltarion the better option. And if you take the ten times the espionage situation, the second city makes infiltration the better option (still only regarding multipliers).

    But the above still doesn't account for the fact that with infiltarion, you have the ep's. With Scotland, you still have to make the ep's.

    And to turn settling into an effective multiplier, you would compare it to the total commerce your empire makes. If you bring in 48 commerce, then settling is like an effective +25% for all cities (but only at that point in time, as increasing your commerce would decrease his effective multiplier value). It's true, a castle/jail would increase the settled value of 12, but it takes a while to get to that point. And again, with infiltrating you have the ep's and settling you still have to accumulate them.

    Now, there's the point that settling them benefits you for the whole game; at some point it will overtake the infiltraion in raw ep's. But look at the numbers, I'll argue the 3000 ep's is so much, it takes too long to catch up. 12 ep's without multipliers takes 250 turns to get to 3000. a Normal speed game is 500 turns. How fast can you get the great spy? Say you build the Wall on turn 50 and 50 turns later you get the spy, 250 turns later is 1900. I know you'll have castles/jails to speed this up, but when will it catch up, 1700? 1500? I'd much rather press the advantage earlier.

    Now, i know there's a couple other things to account for like the Rep bonus and Philo would mess a little bit with the above, but if you can get to the point where you infiltrate two of these guys, things get pretty out of control. The 3000 points is just too much, much more than a scientist lightbulb.

    I do understand that the type of EE that I'm proposing is a little different that what you're saying, as i'm completely abandoning research. You mentioned that infiltrating only gets you techs from one region of history, why can't you run the slider in espionage and push the espionage spending modifier even further? Even if you infiltrate just one person the spending modifier still applies to everybody. Just divert ep's toward someone else. Espionage is set up to be most efficient when you go all out.

    Just infiltrate while teching to engineering, and go all espionage. The spending modifier will beat out a settled GSpy or Scotland Yard any day.
     
  18. mystyfly

    mystyfly Knight of Cydonia

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    Nice article. I usually settle an early GSpy if I accidentally build the GW :rolleyes: or start a GA. Khan for space via stealing - nice idea ;)

    Just one little thing:
    To me this is a list of warmonger traits.
     
  19. obsolete

    obsolete Deity

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    I'm curious, the Kremlin allows you to add 2 extra spies. But when this wonder becomes obsolete, do you lose those two extra spy-slots?
     
  20. mystyfly

    mystyfly Knight of Cydonia

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    Do you lose the AWats prirest slots after Computers?
     

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