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Espionage is a game system in Civilization VI which allows undercover activities in other civilizations' cities, such as stealing technologies, Civ6Gold Gold, or even Great Works. The system has been greatly expanded compared to Civilization V: Gods & Kings, and is now pretty similar to the one from Civilization: Beyond Earth.

Espionage Mechanics Edit

Espionage becomes possible in the Renaissance Era, thanks to Civics development. The Diplomatic Service Civic allows you to train your first Spy, and subsequent Civics (and the Computers tech) will allow you to maintain more than one. Note that you can always maintain a certain maximum number of Spies in your empire, similarly to Traders.

Spies Edit

Spies in Civilization VI are almost like other units - they must be produced in cities (via the normal Production queue) and moved around. They can also get killed, or captured. Note that you can never have more Spies than your current empire's development allows!

Spies take quite some time to produce, but this time may be halved with the Machiavellianism Social Policy. Also, each Spy has a unique name to help you distinguish him or her from your other Spies.

Spy Activity Edit

Spies act in cities. All cities you have already discovered (including your own) may serve as their targets, and what exactly they will do depends on the city you send them to. Unlike Civilization V, Spies now act only in national cities, not in City-States.

Spies aren't moved like regular units; they jump from city to city using air, sea, road, or foot travel, each with their own travel time. You may send a Spy to any city you have revealed, regardless of any actual physical constraints - they are clever, they will find a way. The only difference is how many turns they'll take to arrive at their destination. Whenever you are prompted to choose this destination, the dialogue will reveal all possible target cities, the districts they have, the time it will take to move there, and what possible Operations the Spy may undertake. Once established in a city, a Spy can begin their mission.

Spy Experience Edit

Spies begin at the Recruit level and may gain levels from successful offensive operations or capturing an enemy Spy during Counterspying. Upon reaching level 2, Spies may also earn special promotions. These usually make them more effective at certain types of missions, or at remaining undetected during missions. Spies are able to choose one of three promotions each time they gain a level, which are chosen at random from the pool below.

Promotion Effect
Ace Driver If caught on a mission, have a much higher chance of escape (+4 levels).
Cat Burglar Steal Great Works as if 2 levels more experienced.
Con Artist Siphon Funds as if 2 levels more experienced.
Demolitions Sabotage Production as if 2 levels more experienced.
Disguise Takes no time to establish presence in an enemy city.
Guerilla Leader Recruit Partisans as if 2 levels more experienced.
Linguist Time to complete all missions reduced by 25%.
Quartermaster If this Spy is in home territory, all your Spies operate at +1 level.
Rocket Scientist Disrupt Rocketry as if 2 levels more experienced.
Seduction Counterspy as if 2 levels more experienced.
Technologist Steal Technology as if 2 levels more experienced.

The level of a Spy also increases his or her general chances of success at what he or she is doing. Here are the spy levels:

  • Recruit
  • Agent
  • Secret Agent
  • Master Spy

When a Spy reaches Master Spy level, he stops gaining experience. This means that each spy can have up to three Promotions - you should choose well which ones he will acquire.

Mission Details Edit

Espionage Missions Edit

Successful Steal Tech Boost (Civ6)

Tech Boost was successfully stolen

Failed Steal Tech Boost (Civ6)

A Spy failed to steal a Tech Boost and was captured

Successful Siphon Funds (Civ6)

A Spy managed to steal gold

When a Spy arrives at his or her destination, a list of possible Missions appears. Their range depends on the Districts in the destination city. When you choose certain mission, a Mission Briefing screen will appear, listing the Mission duration, the chances of Success, Failure and the chance of the Spy being Captured or Killed.

There are some common missions which a Spy can always undertake:

  • Gain Sources
    • Location: City Center
    • Effect: Spies in this city operate at 2 levels higher for 24 turns.
  • Listening Post
    • Location: City Center
    • Effect: Increases Diplomatic visibility with this civilization by 1 rank.

The other possible missions depend, as mentioned above, on what Districts this city has. Each type of District (or at least most of them) allows a respective mission:

  • Siphon Funds
    • Location: Commercial Hub
    • Effect: The Spy will steal the Civ6Gold Gold income this District has accumulated for the duration of the mission. That means that richer cities/districts will yield more.
  • Great Work Heist
    • Location: Theater Square
    • Effect: The Spy will attempt to steal a Great Work residing in the District. If there are no Great Works here, this Mission cannot be executed.
  • Sabotage Production
    • Location: Industrial Zone
    • Effect: The Spy will sabotage (Pillage) all buildings existing in the District at the same time. The District itself is not sabotaged!
  • Steal Tech Boost
    • Location: Campus
    • Effect: The Spy will steal the Boost (this is the same as Eureka moment) for a technology you have yet to discover. Cannot be executed if this civilization hasn't discovered any of the techs you don't have.
  • Recruit Partisans
    • Location: Neighborhood
    • Effect: The Spy will cause some barbarian units to spawn around the city. These include the very powerful Mechanized Infantry (depending on the era).
  • Disrupt Rocketry
    • Location: Spaceport
    • Effect: The Spy will sabotage (Pillage) the Spaceport District. Any Science Victory project that city was currently undertaking will be postponed until that Spaceport is repaired.

Finally, the Spy can be assigned to your own cities on Counter-Espionage missions. You have to select further which particular District he or she will protect. Note that adjacent districts will also benefit from your Spy's vigilance. If an enemy Spy is acting in one of those Districts, there is a much higher chance than normal that he or she will be caught.

Mission Duration Edit

All missions have uniform duration. Unlike Civilization V: Gods & Kings, there won't be long periods of time a Spy will pass without apparently doing anything (such as going as long as 60 turns trying to steal a tech). The missions now are quick, brutal and effective - the results will come much quicker, but the enemy will also have more chances to catch your Spy. The aforementioned Machiavellianism Policy may speed them up even more.

Spy Discovered Edit

Chase sequence (Civ6)

The Chase sequence

At any turn during or at the conclusion of the mission, whether succeeded or failed, your Spy may be discovered by the police of the target civilization. When your spy is discovered, the target civilization's leader will demand you cease spying on them. The leader will also gain a Casus Belli against you.

Furthermore, if a Spy is discovered, he or she will need to escape from the target city. You will be prompted to select the mode of escape. There are four possible options:

  • Airplane (requires an Aerodrome District in this city) - The Spy attempts to fly away. Very dangerous, because the police always watch airports! But he or she will take only 1 turn to arrive in HQ.
  • Boat (requires a Harbor District in this city) - The Spy attempts to escape by a vessel. Quite dangerous, since the enemy police always watch seaports too. He or she will return in 2 turns.
  • Vehicle (requires a Commercial Hub District in this city) - The Spy attempts to escape by a land vehicle. Somewhat dangerous, but the police usually have trouble watching all roads leading out of the city. He or she will return in 3 turns.
  • Foot (always available) - The Spy attempts to flee on foot. Not very dangerous. Think of it, who can surround the entire city with agents? He or she will, however, return in 4 turns.

If your spy fails the escape, he may be captured or killed. The faster the escape mode, the less likely your spy can escape successfully. The dice roll occurs within the turn. That is, actions during the current turn can affect the outcome of the roll.

If the Spy manages to escape, he or she will appear in your Capital6 Capital after the respective number of turns, ready for a new assignment. Even if the mission is interrupted, a successful escape may still bring back the loot or a successful pillage report.

Spies may also fail to accomplish a mission without being discovered. In this case you won't gain anything, but the Spy may continue working normally.

Captured Spies Edit

Captured Spies are imprisoned, but not killed, and their original owner can then attempt to "trade" with the civilization who captured the Spy, securing his or her release and return to active service. If the trade goes through, the Spy is immediately returned to the original owner's Capital6 Capital, ready for a new assignment. If not, the Spy is held indefinitely, but can be traded for again at any time.


Targeting an opponent's Spaceport districts with Spies is one of the most effective ways to hamper an opponent's progress towards a Scientific victory. If one of your rivals is progressing quickly through the Technology Tree, plan ahead by upgrading at least one of your Spies with the Rocket Scientist promotion, and ideally another with the Quartermaster promotion. Keep in mind your rival might have multiple Spaceport districts – it might be necessary to employ multiple Spies, or use the same Spy for multiple missions. In either case, Disguise and Linguist would also be useful promotions to have.

District placement can be used to make counter-espionage more effective. During Counterspy missions, Spies protect not only the District in which they're placed, but any adjacent Districts as well. Forming clusters of Districts – particularly Commercial Hubs and Industrial Zones, which are frequent targets for enemy Spies – can therefore allow a single Spy to protect multiple Districts.

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