My first Diety win under "tournament conditions" (to borror an expression from Chess). I have beaten the level before several times in sandbox games, but with reloading or replaying of the map, or under cooked map conditions (marathon with a rush UU, etc.). Playing it honestly and under reasonably neutral conditions is just a tad beyond my level I think.
Did the maze map help or hinder you?
I dont know... BOTH, is the simple answer, but which it did more is hard to determine. I certainly helped in that the distance to some civs was so enourmous that they could be diplomatically shuned without fear of them showing up with a real millitary treat. It however hurt for the same reason. The civs which I was millitary strong enough to consider attacking after my first set of wars were in positions that I could not possibly reach in a timely fashion.
In what year did you win/lose/retire?
I honestly dont remember! I was so shocked I was winning that I did not even pay attention to the date... 18xx, I would GUESS.
I eventually took all of Freds land in a series of about 5 wars (I say all... Actually, he survived with a couple of small isolated cities deep in the south, which eventually fell to someone else, but I took his main spoke), such that my empire stretched from Roosy to Cathy.
I tried to tech monopoly techs and trade aggresively, and with this I managed to stay almost competitive in tech. Cathy and Roosy were always a ways ahead, but I was more advanced than the other cives for some time. I did manage to grab some of the key late techs in time, including Electricity and Radio, for example, which allowed me to trade enough to keep out.
I kept both these AI at friendly, which while not a garantee with Cathy, at least provided me some security... To do this, I shared a religion adopted from Roosy, while I stayed in Monarchy so that Cathy felt I choose civics wisely. I had +4 fair and fortwrite with them. Had given into a deman or two, stoped trading when they wished, and also had some mutual war for a while, since I had bribed them in against Fred. I also avoided trading with their worst enemies, and supplied them with resources (in trades). For extra security, I tried to keep cathy at war with VIcky and/or Monty whenever I could.
I tried to keep up in millitary for a while, but once I saw a stack of 15 rifles and caves enter my territory (on their friendly way through) a turn after I had built my first few grenediers, I knew that dream was over.
All I could do was keep everyone friendly, and as soon as he got the right tech, I made a defensive pact with Roosy, who was the score leader, power leader, and tech parity with Cathy. I then pressed enter alot, until he would agree to a permanent alliance. By this time, he had already built a couple of cassings, and I decided I would team up with him to build a ship. I tried to help... I choose a reasonable tech order, and trew in all my research (which was about 25% of his), and trew in a couple of bulbs towards the techs... He did the rest, including building all the parts.
I actually did build the UN, an had the option of wining diplomatically about 10 turns before the ship was ready (I was already secretary general, and had more than enough votes... with my team and Vicky). At this point however, the ship was in the bag, everyone was in another war, so I was safe. And for some reason, I decided I prefered a space win.
I will start the Nobel level WOTM soon... The tech past there is going to look like it is frozen in time by comparison.