1. What are all the things the Balance Token is good for?
The balance token is good to show who gets closest to the stability number at the end of the hand where there are two consecutive passes. It helps when players are first learning to understand the card text on the operative. I have not used it since the first few plays.
2. What do you do when each player plays the same agent - who goes first when taking the agents actions?
It depends on the agent. Master spy is the same text essentially. If a double agent and analyst are used at the same time, only the winning operative gets to use their special power. A director and an assassin have no effect in a loss. And the Deputy Director has no special power other than not dying. If the operatives are different you look to the number towards the center of the card for turn order smallest to largest.
3. Anyone play with population variants?
We were playing that you could go over the population as long as you were back under before the turn ended. Well that won't work as once you are over you might as well keep drawing cards then in hopes of a bunch of military cards.
When we played it the correct way, the fun died pretty fast though, as there just isn't as much to actually do with the card play. Part of the fun was going over and getting back under using a combination of the deck and the other players cards.
I was thinking perhaps a "fix" could be that you can go over the population only by stealing the other players cards (never by drawing from the deck). We tried it once and it helped give some more options back.
The only population variant I have never played without is having a population of 2 on the cards with special abilities. This really allowed for those cards to be a luck draw. I think the population numbers are good in the other cases, because that should factor into your decision as you think about drawing another card. As in, "If I draw here and go over, I will only have two cards to get back under. Can I do it?"