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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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    I added an EDIT into the original post addressing my changed position on using the espionage slider. For those who do not follow my RPCs but read this I won a space race as Peter using the espionage slider only after Code of Laws. Thus my view of using an EE via the slider is different now. I did not change the article itself as I think the settled Great Spy is still a great way to supplement traditional research for weaker leaders (Such as Ghengis and Mao which I illustrated).
     
  2. Yesod

    Yesod Warlord

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    Hey, I tried settled great spies in one game and ended up with 36 research till I got castles everywhere (I think). Now my first mistake was that I didn't put 100% on one guy, but I'm wondering whether you always use philosophical leaders, and how much you expect per turn after courthouses/castles.

    By the end of the game, I had 1800 :espionage:/turn, all with no slider (Moscow had 10 settled spies, which wasn't even optimal), and missions were -30% due to spending to start with, so I could have stolen techs twice as fast as I could research :eek:. Fission in just 7 turns. Crazy. Thanks for the info, I might use this one a a general rule, not exception, but only if I can get the thing to work in early game. :goodjob:
     
  3. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

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    No, actually the example games of Mao and Ghengis in the OP are not philosophical leaders. The number of eps/turn depends on the number of cities and how fast you can expand (each courthouse give 2 ep and opens up 1 spy for another 4 ep).
     
  4. noto2

    noto2 Emperor

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    I find espionage to be very tricky to use. The thing about it is it is compounding...meaning, the more EPs you generate, the more valuable they become. Of course we all know this, and when you pump up the EPs you can appear to research faster than with just your own beakers, but I find the fact that you cannot choose your own techs and instead must steal whatever the AI decides to research to be an insurmountable flaw. Thus I only find espionage useful in very particular circumstances. For example, if I am a large, hammer heavy empire and my main rival is a small, commercial heavy one, I will build all the espionage buildings and pump up the EPs to allow me to catch up in tech. Other than that, I use it sometimes to see the enemy cities so I can see where their main stack is, etc. I find espionage useful to use in limited amounts most of the time.
     
  5. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Deity

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    This is true until you've stolen the last tech they have and then you slow down to their tech rate if you rely only on espionage. With a large empire it is easy to catch up with the tech leaders after a war of conquest and to stockpile some EPs for future techs but I find I have to resort to normal research after that. So in the late game EE is a lot less useful for stealing techs (because there aren't many) but you can use it for other things like switching civics and blowing up buildings or critical resources (oil or aluminum).
     
  6. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

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    This is ture. AT the end of the Peter RPC I was essentially using half the eps to send Kublai third legondary city into continual revolt to prevent his culture win.
     
  7. schwanger

    schwanger Chieftain

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    I just stumbled on this article the other day, and it is very interesting. But might you be able to add some comments on what kind of start is conducive to using this type of strategy. I know, for instance, that a cottage economy is a good choice on maps with a lot of rivers and floodplains, while a specialist economy is a good choice on maps with a lot of food resources. Obviously having stone and/or being Industrious helps you get the Great Wall, but is there a particular type of map or setup that signifies that this might be a good strategy to try?
     
  8. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

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    Any map type really works as long as you have several AIs nearby to steal techs from and they are decent techers. In the Mao game I had Sury and Willem for most of the game. As you said Industrious is important, but Philosphical is probably alot stronger as shown in the Peter III RPC. Generally I use settled Spies for leaders who are weaker in the economy. Mao is definitely one. Genghis, Boudica, Tokugawa are war-mongers who can benefit from it.
     
  9. Nicol.Bolas

    Nicol.Bolas Prince

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    i dont get it.........spy missions are so extremely costly........ie 10.000 spy points to steal a 3500 beaker tech? i mean wtf, why not just spend the same points on researching 3 techs
     
  10. Ataxerxes

    Ataxerxes Deity

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    It's an option. The thing to avoid is going 50% Espionage and 50% research. When you are running an EE, you are devoting the slider, GP's, buildings to espionage you build up tremendous Espionage that can be used. You might generate well over 1000 Expionage points per turn.

    Difficulty level plays a lot on this, as does war skills. You have to know how to wage war at tech parity. On lower levels, you can research a lot faster using traditional methods. However, city revolts using Spies are great for wars of conquests. This especially works with fast units where ordinary siege couldn't keep up.
     
  11. Nicol.Bolas

    Nicol.Bolas Prince

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    thats interesting. i play on noble, will be trying prince soon (again)
    how do city revolts help in conquests?

    about devotion to spying, that seems interesting but extremely risky, its just too hard for me to imagine, I would have to try it on some low difficulty test setting
     
  12. mystyfly

    mystyfly Knight of Cydonia

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    City revolts reduce the whole cultural defences in one turn (and just for one turn) and unlike revolts coming from cultural influence of another civ, don't damage any defenders. Spy-induced revolts are especially effective in fast-paced wars with 2-MP units like cuirassiers or cavs. You should focus all your EPs against your most likely target as soon as possible to have enough EPs for revolts in the core cities of your future target.

    Espionage is vital in tight space races as well, if one AI comes close to launching you should sabotage as many parts as you can to slow them down.
     
  13. Gwynnja

    Gwynnja Deity

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    Is there a cap on the demerits you can get for spies causing trouble?
     
  14. mtr12

    mtr12 Prince

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    Offhand I think it's -4, but not sure. That's about as bad as it's ever got for me.


    Lategame Espionage is pretty strong. Just remember to destroy Security Bureaus before doing your missions!

    If you have a large empire, EE is the best economy since all you need to do is make buildings and you're easily generating Espionage in every city (Kremlin Rushbuy works very well with this!) You can't do that with manual research.

    And if you're in Representation, then your Spy specialists, of whom you can get 7 in a city, are still generating Research, you're just teching a bit slower than you ordinarily would be doing. Which you make up for by stealing.
     
  15. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    AFAIK there is no limit to the caught spies demerit... but the relation does not seem linear. I can assure you that I got -19 from it once ( the last completed SG of mine ) and I don't think that was the upper limit
     
  16. OneLeggedRhino

    OneLeggedRhino King

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    When a spy gets caught, there seems to be a random chance whether it impacts your relations or not.

    You know how sometimes when you catch an AI spy, it just says "A spy was caught near Delhi" and sometimes it says "A Korean spy was caught near Delhi"? I think it's the same for the AI: If they know it was you, you get the penalty, but they don't always know it's you. But that's just my guess from playing, I haven't read the code.

    Also, only spies performing missions affect relations. I've never seen it happen from a spy caught in transit.
     
  17. Civ4_boi

    Civ4_boi Chieftain

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    I use this method and have a lot of success.

    I play at Noble level, I can steal all the techs I need. As the game matures I'm able to research strongly, and stole a couple of techs leading up to Liberalism, and researched it myself. Took Printing Press for my free tech, as I was going to race to Communism and Facism, then Mass Media. Had saved a Great Merchant, and founded Sushi Corp. Built the Kremlin, Pentagon and West Point in the capital.

    In my new cities, I build a Courthouse before Library, and when the city is growing well, I +1 the Great Spy specialist. I have had a lot of Great Spies from doing this.

    I choose one team that is doing well with techs, and focus 100% of the points on them. Slide research to 0%, and Espionage as high as you can. When have waited until they have the tech you want, you will probably have accumulated enough points to steal it.

    One question: build courthouse in the capital?
     
  18. Izuul

    Izuul Level 86

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    Absolutely not. Courthouses are pretty overrated to be honest.
     
  19. Tatran

    Tatran Deity

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    If you plan to move your palace or play with corporations. Otherwise no.
     
  20. BornInCantaloup

    BornInCantaloup Agent of Chaos

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    Izuul and Tatran are mostly considering the :gold: discount from the Courthouse, I believe.

    If you have Scotland Yard in your capital and/or want to unlock a Spy specialist slot,
    Then I would think the Courthouse is worth it.

    Courthouse : +2 :espionage:
    Spy specialist : +4 :espionage:
    Scotland Yard : +6 :espionage:

    --> Courthouse can get you 12ep per turn and some :gp: on top.
    Seems very decent to me,
    I'd probably go for it.

    Absence of Scotland Yard changes things a lot, as you go down to 6ep per turn, which is questionable.
    If you can't hire a specialist for food reasons, then the 2ep per turn from the Courthouse are clearly not worth it.
    However, if you can, the Courthouse could be justified for the :gp: points alone.
    If you wanna pop Great Spies early, you need Courthouses (otherwise, Jails would obviously be a better choice).
     

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