Does anybody think that I should play at a lower difficulty level than I am usually playing? The only real obstacle is that point where the AI sends massive stacks of cavalry in death-or-glory charges and ends up conquering half a pangæa, which is why I don't play pangæa maps anymore.
I'm thinking that if I go for a cultural win then even the colosseum is worth building, unless I keep it as a pre-build for wonders (After all, I won't have the palace and forbidden palace for prebuilding). A courthouse/police station could help by taking the colosseum's place.
Yes, if you go for 20k, you should build the colosseum. A marketplace is almost as good a prebuild until you learn banking; then you'll want to buy the marketplace and use the bank as a prebuild (unless you luck into an army prebuild).
This is an interesting approach, but it would leave me quite vulnerable to the forces of invading AIs who'd see my city as flush pickings.
I didn't mean that I didn't bother researching, just that I won before I got into the modern age. The industrial age is pretty empty of good wonders, so after I get a coal plant I'll pick up optional wonder techs in the middle ages rather than trying to get myself into the modern age as fast as possible. If playing at regent or below, the AI may not ever research the optional techs for you - every so often I end up in a game where no one is interested in Music Theory at all, for example, and I learn it after electronics.
Ceremonial burial for an easy SGL? That's only if I prearrange the draw of AI civs so that nobody's religious. Otherwise it's wasted time. For my first SGL I always try to rush straight for philosophy + 1 tech (mathematics sometimes if ivory's available, but more often literature or mapmaking, depending on the layout of the game).
Yes, that only can give you an SGL if no one else knows CB (either by prearrangement or luck). However, you want CB early anyway, often before you meet anyone. If you are not religious and you have a couple of forests to chop, building the temple before the Colossus can work well, though if you have no forests to chop I'd build the Colossus first.
Regarding the late middle ages wonders, obviously the science ones are a must just to stay competitive in the tech race, but losing time on democracy if I'm not going to switch to it is a bit of a waste. In my latest game (Ottomans - Emperor) I never switched from Republic to democracy because there was always something to do, which included accidentally triggering a golden age and then building our tribes. I have to say that being industrious meant I already had faster workers, but other civs don't have that trait.
I suppose I'd better time the one-time switch to Republic just right, between wonders, and then BOOM.
If you are playing a 20k game, Shakespeare's Theater is the most-needed MA wonder. PP, Democracy, and Free Artistry can't be that many more beakers than Sanitation (I haven't counted them), and all of them are valuable to trade. It isn't that big of a waste to learn them.
If you are playing a diplomatic game, then maybe don't bother researching any optional techs. In a regular game I definitely would not; I'm not sure how it would play out in an OCC game.
Looking at the "helpful" advice:
Assuming you win this way...
- The Oracle, if not available turn 1, wealth until available
The Oracle is low on the list of ancient age wonders. Build the Colossus instead.
- Courthouse to build next buildings quickly
Useless in OCC
- Temple for happiness, since luxuries are too expensive
Temple for culture. Luxes are very inexpensive in OCC games, since they give so few happy faces, so buy all you can.
- Wealth until iron is hooked
Don't build wealth. Also don't count on hooking up iron. You'll probably have to buy it.
Build a few units, but not a lot.
- Barracks to upgrade army
- Wealth until med inf are available and to afford expenses
- Upgrade swordsmen to medieval infantry, sell barracks immediately after to save money
- Disband all medieval infantry to build cathedral quickly
Upgrading units only to disband them is a big waste. If you are playing 20k you need to build lots of other stuff before the cathedral (which you should cash-rush, possibly disbanding some Ancient Cavalry if available). If you aren't playing 20k, you don't need a cathedral.
If you have ivory (or can trade for it), you want to build the Statue of Zeus. If you have the SoZ, you might want a barracks, depending on whether you are going to disband the AC for shields or go to war with them.