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What do you do with your espionage points?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Gabethebabe, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. Gabethebabe

    Gabethebabe Chieftain

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    Before someone links to them, I already read these threads:
    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=289036
    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=274135
    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=269801

    Some pretty good info on espionage, but mostly for games that are concentrated on espionage (which doesn´t appear to be a very viable strategy at higher levels, I play emperor).
    In most games you will ignore EPs, simply because beakers > EP. In most games you do not want to generate an early GSpy, because getting it will delay the academy in your capital.

    So assume you do not build the GW, you do not run spy specialists or yank up the espionage slider, what do you do with your EP (couple of 100s or 1000s)?

    I have found out that I do quite few with them, probably the only thing I do is cause city revolts when at war.

    I don´t use spies for scouting, I hardly use them during peacetime to disrupt. But maybe I should cause unrest or poison water. I´d like to hear some opinions about the most effective use for limited amounts of EP.

    Also a question on game mechanics. If my spy gets caught, it is always going to give a -1 relation penalty? Are my spies recognized if my EP> their EP? How long for this penalty to wear off?
     
  2. wolfblue

    wolfblue Warlord

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    personally i use my spies almost exclusivly for counter espionage and for revolts when i dont want to spend a few turns hitting them with bombardments. and for being able to see their tech and cities if my espionage is higher than theres.

    I do occationaly raise my espionage to 10% for this reason although management of espionage weights is almost as effective as slider maipulation.

    if i have a vassle or an enemy with very few cities or some one who is WAY below me in espionage points i will move hem to a 1, move the medium threats to 2 and the main threats to 3 so that most of my points are aimed at those who most need to be spied on.

    rarely will i bother with poison, unhappyness, treasury, culture and only on very rare occations will i steal a tech. VERY RARE occations.
     
  3. MephistoLV

    MephistoLV Chieftain

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    I don't play with them as much as others, but there are two things I use them for frequently:
    1) as scouts when I don't have open borders and
    2) to destroy strategic tile improvements when I begin a war
     
  4. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    Spies have limited use as scouts since they get caught a lot. Waste of hammers IMO. Great Spies on the other hand are quite nice as spies, especially if you are saving it for a golden age later as opposed to settling it or a mission.

    Generally the best thing seems to be to focus espionage early on one AI for either the purpose of stealing techs later or attacking them (city revolts). Focus EPs on faster techers like Mali is a good idea or a psycho. If you are using them for attack, build several of them and park them in the target city a few turns before sending in troops. You don't want to send them to early so you don't lose too many, but you do want them to sit there a turn or 2 if possible as it increase success. Still, you need a few of them as you should expect some to get caught or fail the city revolt mission.

    I rarely play the all out EP game but I have tried it. It can be quite effective to keep you up in techs. The Great Wall and Philo leaders are especially nice.
     
  5. TheDS

    TheDS Regular Riot

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    Um, beakers are NOT better than EPs, as long as you don't mind not having the tech lead.

    You could spend 1000 beakers on a given tech, or you could spend about 300 EPs for it. (40% discount for religion, 50% discount for stationary spies, and 10-30% discounts (or more) for EP spending) can yield some seriously cheap techs.) Since EPs are much easier to get and spies are cheaper than libraries, you can make up the most dreadful tech shortfalls in just a few turns.

    The downside is that you have to get a few key techs first (usually by researching) and you have to have neighbors who are more advanced than you (and hopefully not too aggressive).

    However, unlike beakers, EPs can be used for more than acquiring techs. EPs can translate into culture, into gold (stealing it), can seriously hamper enemy production (destroy buildings, cut resources, cause revolts),can influence combat (revolts, destroy walls), and can make an enemy into your friend (change their religion or civics to yours).
     
  6. cain3456

    cain3456 Prince

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    If I have enough, I'll steal tech, but that doesn't happen very often. Most of the time I use them to spread culture. Occasionally I'll do counterespionage or blow up one of their culture buildings.
     
  7. theskibum

    theskibum Brewer of Oatmeal Stout

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    My favorite use for espionage is to support a fast war against an inferior AI, say like if I get cavalry and the target barely has muskets. In that case I fore go seige and use spies to incite revolt, hitting with cavalry.

    My second favorite, usually in tandem with #1 is to use them to harrass the AI by cutting off resources and destroying buildings (especially courthouses and markets). You can really wreak havoc with an AI by destroying economic buildings and denying them metals or horse.

    If I get behind in tech and see a way to get a GS pretty easily (maybe in my GP farm city through spy specialists) I will use them to steal techs.
     
  8. babar

    babar King

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    I am always worried about negative diplo from spies getting caught, especially if my neighbor is advanced, but I'm guessing this shouldn't be too major a concern?
     
  9. wolfblue

    wolfblue Warlord

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    I have recently been experimenting with using more spies. as soon as I get alphabet i raise my espionage points to 10% since i play organized trait its not as an economic hit as it seems.

    the absolute best thing about espionage points is being able to see inside an enemy city. i have learned to grab SO much info from this. I know how many resources they are getting so that i can spam useless corporations to them, and i know how close a city is to culture flip or even when that enemy on another continent has stacked up a bunch of galleon/transports and i should be worried about a naval attack.

    one of my biggest FU moments is destroying the monestary in every city i find. its not really a major thing but since they cant rebuild them after scientific method it feels more devistating to me than taking out a market that can be rebuilt in a few turns.

    its also fun to win tech or wonder races simply because you know how long it will take your opponent to build and you can speed up yours or sabotage his to get an advantage.
     
  10. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    the only thing is that a monastery is not doing anything after scientific method except providing a marginal amount of culture. a market or library or some other modifier building still in effect would be more devastating. still, I admire your effort.

    In my view, other than using the passive points accumulated toward a target - and possible brief EP focus for city revolts before an attack - you either go all in on the EP game or you don't . Running 10% EP passively is really nerfing your tech considerably.
     
  11. wolfblue

    wolfblue Warlord

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    LOL. yea i know. i am not saying that destroying the monestary is the best move in the game.

    just saying that the FU value is fun enough to employ it from time to time.
     
  12. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    you are evil :) i like it

    i know you are fairly new to the game and appear to like the general forum a lot. However, I recommend spending some time over on the S&T forum too. Not sure if you peruse much over there. You will really learn a lot and there are good forum games too.
     
  13. theskibum

    theskibum Brewer of Oatmeal Stout

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    I think the bolded part is the most important thing to consider when sabotaging a building...which building will hurt the most? If its a well cottaged city, then destroying the Library or University or Market is key. If its heavily hammered, then Forges and Factories are better targets. The idea with sabotage is to get the most bang for your buck. Taking out an obsolete culture building really doesn't help you nor harm the AI.

    I agree with Lymond's second paragraph too. With EP you either really need to go balls to the wall, or you set the slider at 0% and let your buildings/spy specialists build EP's for you.

    I find that for the espionaging I do (revolts for quick war usually), that I can get what I need through focusing my EP weight against a single target, say weight 5 maybe and leaving all others as weight 1
     
  14. s.bernbaum

    s.bernbaum Mostly lurking

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    In defense of the monastery in this context: If the civ in question has the Sistine Chapel then the monastery is providing 7 culture points per turn, multiplied by any culture modifiers. If such a city is on your border it is putting a lot of culture pressure on any resources or cities that you have there. In that case, taking it out would be well worth while.

    That said, I have never used a spy to knock out any building. I pretty much only use them for counter espionage.
     
  15. snepp

    snepp King

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    Revolts to bring down defenses is my primary use, with a little steal treasury and counter esp thrown in.

    I find myself ignoring them in many games, managing a lot of them can be a chore. I wish I had a "notify me after idle for 5 turns" option for them. I routinely find myself accruing a ton of espionage points that never go to use.
     
  16. bobbyboy29

    bobbyboy29 I was saying boo-urns...

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    In some cases I find that the best use of EP's is to not spend them at all. Often getting some of the passive espionage effects doesn't require too many points invested (they can still be spent later too boot). And seeing the demographics and research of your nearest rivals can be extremely invaluable. Especially seeing what they are researching can be a major factor in determining your techpath and can be a big help if you are delaying taking lib but need to make sure no one else will get there first. I find that getting city visibility is nice, but usually not too helpful, at that point you're usually better off spending the points.

    In short, there are definately many situations in which I'd rather see what 3 civs are researching at all times and their respective power ratings than inciting a revolt or two or stealing a cheap tech.
     
  17. theskibum

    theskibum Brewer of Oatmeal Stout

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    If you play with Better BUG AI, your spies will become active after 5 turns. Not sure if its the Better AI mod doing it or the BUG mod though. When I used to play with just BUG (prior to the newest version) this didn't happen, but when I went to BBAI, it started, but that also upgraded BUG. I like that this happens. It has helped me avoid the same thing you are talking about.
     
  18. s.bernbaum

    s.bernbaum Mostly lurking

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    I use BUG and that doesn't happen, so I suspect that it is the Better AI part. (OTOH, I play with one version older of BUG, since the latest BUG has a bug, at least on the Mac.) Also, that would drive me nuts. I park a spy in each city as a counter espionage unit, before the tech where you can build counter espionage buildings. If they woke up and had to be tended to every five turns, I would not be happy camper!
     
  19. theskibum

    theskibum Brewer of Oatmeal Stout

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    I haven't looked, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn there is an option in the BUG options to turn the spy wakeup off. I should check tonight
     
  20. snepp

    snepp King

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    I play the most recent version of LoR (bug/bull/betterai/other) and I haven't seen that ability yet. Can anyone verify which mod and version provides this?
     

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