Intelligence and Espionage
Knowledge is power, and in this game both are related to money.
You have the ability to establish an espionage budget with a portion of your annual budget. You don’t need to assign funds from previous years to espionage because you already know what you know at the start of the game.
Intelligence gathering is all handled abstractly. Assigning money to espionage funds an intelligence unit that uses those resources to research specific information about an enemy or enemies that you designate. How much to spend is a matter of opinion and judgment. Generally speaking they need to be able to buy a modest used ship or two and hire crew. They need to dispatch some people with cover stories, most usefully to an Embassy. Once they get there they need to bribe enemy or neutral citizens to reveal information. Throughout all this they need to train operatives for actual missions to retrieve information from secure facilities.
On the other side, assigning funds to counter-espionage creates a counter-intelligence unit that checks out immigrants and travellers, researches foreign ships, increases the number of guards, detectors, sensors, and so on.
Espionage spending is directed toward a specific power. The more money is spent, the higher the modifier is on the die roll to uncover useful information. If no money is spent on counter-intelligence the odds of success are about even.
Counter-intelligence doesn’t target anyone specific, spending money there increases the number that all other powers have to roll for
If an espionage attempt fails badly, the enemy government will find out about it. This may cause them to close their embassy, complain, declare war, or they may not care or pretend not to care. They may capture your spy and kill him, keep him prisoner or set him free.
There are other ways to gain intelligence about an enemy power. If your forces successfully board an enemy ship they may capture
computers with information on them. Standard procedure would say to wipe the memory but sometimes the crew is dead and can’t do that. If the crew isn’t dead they will become prisoners and some of them may talk. The average spacehand doesn’t know all that much but he might say what ships he served on and where he went which might be useful. A courier might likewise be captured with a critical message that he somehow spills. Better, or worse depending on your perspective, a commander might be captured.
Civilians, may have witnessed enemy activity in the past. Merchants get around a lot and a neutral starport crew may have seen
or helped to repair enemy vessels.
Of course players are fully capable of planting false information or allowing messages to be intercepted on purpose.
- See also Embassy