Using the Spy.

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Alisdair, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. Alisdair

    Alisdair Chieftain

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    Hey everyone,

    I was just thinking about starting a discussion on the use of the spy. I play vanilla so I have no idea about espionage or anything else in BTS.

    Anyway, I primarily use the spy to blow up space ship parts in the end game, although this is no permanent fix if there is more than one other civilization competing at the space race.

    Does anyone use them to cut railroads or blow up resources? When? How often?

    Let me know how you use the spy.
     
  2. Framesticker

    Framesticker Prince

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    I never really used the Spies back at Vanilla, but you should definitely get BTS - it's a major step up for the game.
     
  3. Tristan_C

    Tristan_C Emperor

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    Tech stealing is subject to stacked discounts that can make it increasingly more efficient than beakers in the early game under certain condtions:

    no/few :science: multipliers in your cities
    rival techer is close
    rival techer has your state religion in a city
    rival techer is one of your trade routes
    you build gwall - usually best to settle the gspy or build SY

    And then, there's momentum to consider. If you accumulate more EP than rivals, you get another discount to spending those points.
     
  4. AbsoluteZero

    AbsoluteZero Deity

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    Don't forget that if a spy has been waiting in a city for 5 turns you get a -50% discount.

    Spy points are a far more efficient way of gaining tech anytime in the game. The only drawback is you can only get what someone has already researched, so you can't really get ahead in tech, but in many situations this is just fine.

    I don't recommend settling Gspys, use them to build a scottland yard or infiltrate.
     
  5. Ghpstage

    Ghpstage Deity

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    The OP is asking about vanilla, no EP, tech stealing or Great Spies there!
    All you get there are Spy national units made after building Scotland Yard national wonder.
     
  6. Tristan_C

    Tristan_C Emperor

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    I settled one in this game here in 1850BC. If you don't mind, I'd like to know if this was an error, based on how things are shaping up. I haven't gotten to play much farther in this game, paralyzed by a certain indecisiveness about it.

    Here's the save on the turn the GSpy appears.
     

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  7. Ghpstage

    Ghpstage Deity

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    I'm used to BTS so my knowledge of Vanilla spies is a little shaky, but looking at them now,
    • Can they even cut roads? Even if they can it will prove useless most of the time as units could use roads in the tiles next to them instead!
    • Sabotaging important strategic resources, namely Aluminium, Uranium and Oil would be handy, Aluminium especially in a space race. Be aware of how many of a type of resource they have, sabotaging 1 of 5 sources of Oil isn't going to accomplish anything!
    • They look well set up for intelligence gathering, they allow you to investigate any city they start their turn in, come with Sentry and steal military plans looks great for target spotting (ICBMs!), locating naval fleets and their stack, findng weakpoints in defenses and assessing how they are doing in wars.
     
  8. AbsoluteZero

    AbsoluteZero Deity

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    Unless you're running rep or something settling a Gspy is about the worst thing you can do.

    They generate 12 EP's per turn right? If you use them to infiltrate they give something like 3500+ EP's vs one civ in one go ( normal speed mind you ). That means to get that many EP's from a settled spy you would have to play to turn 300 or so, which is waaay late in the game. So definitely settling a Gspy is a bad idea. And by that time you have things like jails which give hard spy points and instead you would want more spy point multipliers ( like from scottland yard ).

    Plus if you infiltrate you get to use all those EP's much sooner which can really be a game clincher. And lets not forget the bonus you get for having lots more spy points then the opposing civ. If you gradually get to 3500+ points the opposing civ will probably have around the same number, especially by turn 300, so no bonus there. On the other hand infiltrating on an unsuspecting AI to the tune of 3500+ points in one go, then you get a massive reduction in the cost of spying because the opposing civ has not built up enough spy points against you ( because it's so early ).

    Now for building scottland yard, that depends. If your running a bureaucracy capitol with lots of cottages and build SY that's pretty much all you need to keep up in tech through spying, the rest of your cities can do something else entirely. But that assumes you're running a spy economy and a high espionage slider. If you're teching normally then using a GSpy to infiltrate is usually the best course.

    If you do use a Gspy to infiltrate you should wait till the very last minute to do so, that way you don't spook the AI into pumping up it's espionage slider to counter to massive amount of spy points you just put on it.

    So basically my answer is yes, if you settled a gspy and are not running rep then that was a huge error:D
     
  9. Alisdair

    Alisdair Chieftain

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    I have BTS, but I just want to get vanilla right first.
     
  10. A_Hamster

    A_Hamster Small Furry Animal

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    I understand, as I put off getting BtS for a very long time, but you'll have to learn new twists when you do get BtS as game play changes between the basic game and the Warlords and BtS expansions. If you intend to play BtS eventually, you might as well start as you mean to go on.

    As for your question ... Information is important, so use as many spies as necessary to map your enemy's empire before an invasion. Then preposition them on critical resources such as oil, and on the turn you declare, sabotage those resources. Make sure you have other spies ready to return to those resources if your armies cannot get there within the time it takes the AI to build new improvements.
     
  11. Framesticker

    Framesticker Prince

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  12. AbsoluteZero

    AbsoluteZero Deity

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    1 settled Gspy for 300 turns = 1 great spy infiltration which you can use immediately.

    I do indeed doubt the power of settling Gspys.

    And I also doubt the overkill recommended in that thread about getting more then 1 gspy and settling them. I'd much rather have Great merchants for the trade missions to upgrade troops and such.
     
  13. Framesticker

    Framesticker Prince

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    You can always argue that GMs>GSs (and most will agree with you), but that is not the purpose of this discussion - it rather is about how to utilize Spies.
     
  14. A_Hamster

    A_Hamster Small Furry Animal

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    Specifically, Spies in Vanilla, not Warlords or BtS.
     
  15. Alisdair

    Alisdair Chieftain

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    Thanks for perhaps the most useful reply to my first post, why people crap on about BTS all the time when I post about vanilla all the time I don't know.
     
  16. A_Hamster

    A_Hamster Small Furry Animal

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    You're welcome.
     
  17. Dhoomstriker

    Dhoomstriker Girlie Builder

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    In Vanilla, they can't die if you don't execute any Missions. This behaviour changed in BtS, where Spies have a chance of dying when they are in enemy territory, but in Vanilla, you can essentially camp Spies in enemy lands for as long as you want and they won't magically disappear.

    Of course, if your Spy fails at a mission, it will die, but my favourite use for them is to simply travel from AI City to AI City to see what build items the AIs are making.

    It can get very expensive to sabotage production, particularly Space Ship parts that get a lot of production bonuses, so I often first aim to pillage production-based Resource squares and Mines with the Spies, if the build item won't complete in a turn or two, and then will try and sabotage the production.


    If you are going to Steal Plans, you'd probably best have a use for them, such as declaring war on the next turn and wanting to know where the AI has its forces stationed. The other main use would be to see what kinds of defenses the AI has, in order to see if your current army will be more than a match for what the AI has. Finding a capital or a City that has Versailles or the Forbidden Palace in it will make this mission cheaper (look for a small star icon next to the City's name on the main game screen for the latter two types of Cities--or better yet, use the F9 -> Wonders screen to figure out where Versailles is located).


    I've also noticed sometimes that the cost of City-based misisons seems to go up over time. I haven't looked too deeply into this concept, but I imagine that a value that often increases, such as the City's Culture level or the City's population is factored into the cost... meaning that you might be better off Stealing Plans out of the AI's Forbidden Palace City (if it has one) than out of the AI's capital itself.


    If your plan is to disconnect Strategic Resources, I wouldn't bother most of the time, unless you plan to declare war within a couple of turns. Usually by the time that you can build Spies, the AIs have so many taskless Workers sitting around that they can quickly rebuild the improvements at no additional cost. At least if you go into war shortly thereafter, particularly if you station some units near the relevant City that controls the Resource, the AIs may run their Workers away and thus might not rebuild the crucial improvements, leaving them without Oil or Uranium or whatever. However, disconnecting such Resources in peacetime with the hopes of preventing the AIs from building the relevant units doesn't tend to be a viable strategy, since their Workers can get in there so quickly and rebuild the relevant improvement... to the point that after the first rebuilding effort, there will be so many idle Workers "standing by" the area that the second and subsequent rebuilding efforts will occur far more quickly than the first one.
     

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