When I connected to LT34 for T86 I was surprised to find that the player Wieder had established an embassy. My last contact with this player was on T82 when one of my ships passed near his island. When asked I said truthfully that I had "no military plans" and my ship left the area and didn’t return. This player now knows my technology status, what I’m researching, my government and my financial situation for the rest of this game. It puts me at a serious disadvantage and there is nothing I can do about it.
I think a major change required to FreeCiv is the ability to prevent players from creating embassies. Espionage is one thing, that is part of the game, but being able to create an unwanted embassy is wrong. Even leaving diplomats in every city is no guarantee of security. In a live game where a player can be vigilant diplomats are less of a problem but in a game such as LongTurn things are different. Another urgently needed change is the ability to close an embassy. This might be required later in a game. Today’s friend is tomorrows Wieder.
One suggestion I have is to make it impossible to create an embassy with a player you are at war with. A proper peace treaty must come first. It could also be the case that a declaration of war automatically closes an embassy with that player.
Yeah, no military plans for now
Unwanted embassies usually happen for some reason. The first of course is that you don't have a treaty (in-game or chat made) with someone. In this case people are not really breaking any treaties with embassies. Just saying that you don't have any military plans doesn't equal with a treaty. You could have a plan in the next turn. What you can do is to establish an embassy and get the same info.
In this game anything can be considered as an act of war and if there is a reason for a war, go for a war.
Usually players establish unwanted embassies for few reasons. First, they may be afraid of the unknown and want to know what's going on. Second, they may be preparing to attack you and will need the embassy just a moment before the attack. Juts to make sure if attacking is a viable solution.
I would like to make it harder for creating embassies but I don't know how to do it with the ruleset. Then again, for LT36 we had this crazy idea, not a decided one, that there would be a small wonder enabling embassies with everyone. Everyone would be playing with open cards. That might become available with navigation, steam engine or with electricity. How about that?
I'm personally Ok with the current embassy rules.
It is an interesting trick, adding a passion to the game at early stages.
With true friends, you can agree on mutual embassies.
Against enemies (or simply foreighners), establishing embassy is a tricky (and costly) operation.
Embassies with neighbours at perimeter are very useful for defence, it provides an early warning against sudden threats, when you see switch to all-money or war techs.