The Use of Espionage

Espionage is the act of spying and I wish to see that implemented within the game. Spying should be a manipulative and a powerful mechanic. In addition, it should be a straightforward mechanic and promote deeper thinking.

My plan:
Spies will be built by Espionage Facilities(Special Building) and can only be built once per star system. This is similar to the Warp Gates we have today(Be possibly Upgraded?). The contrast is that Espionage Facilities can be upgraded to increase spy production.

Spies are similar to ships.They are a unit and always have to be upgraded. This is where Espionage tech is to increase the quality of it’s spies similar to Weapons tech. In addition, these spies are able to move without the need of carriers; so, players could rally their spies to a star system any time. One major difference however, is that their battle is not instant and is a battle of 2 numbers ticking down.

Spies are able to:
Offensive Skills
Spies are sent to star systems to accomplish their objective and cannot be changed. Their mission continues as long as there are spies and ends if they are all captured. Furthermore, spies engaged in a spy offensive will take attrition in any mission. Spies can only start their operation as soon as the counter intelligence force reach zero. Likewise, counter-operatives can only stop a mission in progress as soon as all the enemy spies have been destroyed.

  • Sleeper Cells are sent to star systems for potential espionage. Any counter intelligence agents would come into conflict, but the battle would occur at a slower speed.
  • Sabotage Industries to stop ship production.
  • Siphon income or technology from star systems.
  • Disable Scanning Range
  • Force succession of a star system through an uprising. This is only applicable if the star system has no spy agents for a relative number of production turns and have a greater strength than Espionage Tech X * Natural Resources. Spies would attempt to destroy counter intelligence agents until there remains none. The start timer would start and can only be paused by a counter intelligence force of at least 50% strength. Upon success, the player would receive money relative to the star system’s economy and gain ships stationed. There would be no harm to any of the infrastructure upon the planet.

Defensive Skills

  • Counter Espionage(Passive) gives bonus defender’s advantage.
  • Hide Statistics. This is action hides the statistic of a star system from world statistics including its stationed fleet. However, scanning range will reveal the star system’s statistics relative to the beholder. In addition, the world statistics would show the number of discrepancies determined by the number of affiliated star systems within the beholder. Once activated, agents would suffer attrition to prevent the leak of information. In addition, agents would have a penalty in their counter intelligence skills.
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I think the idea outlined above is too complex. Start with the bare bones of the idea and the minimum required, then remove as much as you can, then ask other people to remove more. You might still have too much.

I have not read any other people’s ideas, that x_Molotov mentions. But, here’s yet another take an the idea:

  • A singleton building (like a gate), as you suggest, which produces 1 spy every tick at a star.
  • Spies can be transferred on normal carriers.
  • For two stars A and B. If A has more spies than B and B lies within the travel range of A then the owner of A shares B’s scanning vision.

The good thing about the above is it’s very easy to implement. I’m not saying the above is perfect, but I think this should be the base level of complexity. Your idea has spies doing eight different things along with a new tech(s) and a new movement method.

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I’m not sure how this would upset game balance. Counter espionage is a passive defender’s advantage that when placed correctly can efficiently capture other agents. Perhaps I wasn’t clear(most likely wasn’t and therefore edit), but spies can only start their projects after defeating the counter intelligence force.

It is not that complex. In coding, this can be seen as a bunch of true and false booleans or if and else statements. I am not proficient and I know the simplicity of this. Therefore, my outline would be considered as a medium sized project that mostly revolves around effort and caffeine.

Game play on the other hand is a different story. This espionage plan is to increase the complexity of the game. Spies with only one or two active skills will only make a dent within the current meta. At the moment, the game is 90% diplomacy and 10% skill(relative). This is especially true with larger games. Diplomacy is used to get into a good position, then skill is used to back up that position. I want the game to be based more around skill. In addition, Espionage would revolutionize co-operation. Allies won’t have to leap with blind faith or hesitate. A player can finally support another indirectly without relying on diplomacy or again a leap of blind faith. I want to promote INDIRECT WARFARE without needing DIPLOMACY.

I would say the initial idea is too complex in a matter that it would not be Neptuns Pride anymore.
Not too complex to be a good mechanic but complex in a means of difference to the current state of the game.

I like the modification of AnnanFay but would like to make some minor suggestions:

  • There is some way to produce spies(maybe just being built like carriers)
  • Spies on enemy planets have a percenteage chance of being discovered(and killed), which depends on city size(easier to hide in a big city). computed each tick for each spy.
  • spies dont need carriers
  • there is a counter-spy building raising discovery-chance
  • spies grant vision, nothing more
  • formal Allies share vision(?)

most importantly: there is an option to disable each of these at game creation

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:frowning: But my idea is awesome and. I’ve already laid out every niche(including your list). Besides, the point is that Neptune’s Pride need to improve. Evolving the game will only make it better.

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I must admit, on first read I went “YUCK”. I play this game for the diplomacy, its just about as complicated as I can stand.

On second read, this statement caught my eye:

A major problem with this game is momentum. Growing players, or growing unbreakable alliances, eventually break out and become unstoppable. Too few players in a winning alliance are willing to betray each other in order to create optionality for losing players. So losing players bail, often prematurely. Hence AFK

What is needed is a healthy counter-force of entropy.

@JayKyburz has attempted to address this from time to time. The AI automatically treats the leading player as an enemy. On this forum we have vetted proposals to build in decay rates in fleets sizes or ship production. We have also vetted proposals to encourage federations of smaller players to organize against the leaders. We have scan-only trading to inhibit the effectiveness of trading cartels. All have issues.

So maybe we need a Black-Ops Tab, where players can direct the entropy at specific players. As I envision it, you can pay to degrade the effectiveness of another player’s ind, econ or sci by some percentage. The percentage goes up as dollars spent go up and and the espionage tech level improves. Every cycle you would allocate cash to Black Ops, in addition to spending on econ, ind or sci. In the extreme you could pay enough to make ship production negative for another player. And maybe you can only target players with more stars than you.

Plus, now you can hurt an "ally’ without necessarily telling him, to ease the sting of the backstab. hmmmmm…


Interesting plan. It is completely different from my espionage outline. I could see its potential and it is simple enough for any beginner to understand(and misuse :smile:). However, this outline has one flaw. Multiple players can simultaneously decrease a player’s assets to none. Even with scanning range only, any player would easily fall victim to a larger force. This does not help against momentum, it only increases it’s effect. In addition, unbreakable alliances would only grow exponentially stronger. In conclusion, Neptune’s Pride is a game of resources and this suggestion gives the stronger more assets to toy with.

Lastly, a defensive mechanism that relies on credit would only disinterest the player. This assumption is based on your outline. Therefore, your idea is too offensively oriented and would truly take unbalance the current meta.

As long as you can only target a larger player, it should work against momentum, no? And perhaps the espionage tech is tuned so that it is only material by mid game.

If the black ops are focused by an alliance on a larger player, so much the better. Once that player is whittled back to size, the tool no longer works on that player.

And as I said, even within a winning alliance the tool may well prove to be irresistibly destabilizing.

I’m sorry, but I didn’t follow your last paragraph.

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