How can I do this? What necessities must be in place for me to have a chance and how to best go about maximizing my chances?
Well, I can't stand to do larger than standard very often, especially in always war. Smaller than standard wouldn't feel truly legitimate, so I guess the map size will be standard.
I'll have essentially no chance at surviving the initial flux of Sid units in AW, so I need to start completely isolated from any AI. With so many starting units, Sid AIs map very rapidly, so I need to be alone on an island. I want the AIs isolated and alone, too, so that means archipelago. And minimal land, to try to maximize the time the time the AIs spend alone and to minimize the size of their starting island.
I went with flat, but normal wetness and normal heat to start with. The difference in AI improvement and human improvement of tundra is non-existent and I want every edge I can get, no matter how small. Flat was designed to encourage/allow my pillaging parties to reach as many squares as possible. I figure army pillaging will be an integral part of any prayer I have at success.
Once I decided on agricultural, though, I went with hot and dry. I searched for a freshwater start, so deserts are just like plains to me - irrigate them and I'm good to go. Maybe the deserts will slow down the AIs, too.
Barbs will be completely off. Goodie huts are never good on Sid and I don't want to give the AI a chance to tech any faster than it already does. No barbarians at all.
Required trait: Commercial or Seafaring. I must 100% certainly start with Alphabet. I've got to be the only one to do so as well. That alone gives me a reasonable shot at the Great Library. So, that means I need to pick a civ that is either commercial or seafaring.
From experience, I'll have plenty of time while waiting for the Writing, Literature, GLib run with not much to build, so I can send out a bunch of curraghs for contact. I won't have anything else, really, to build! Thus, seafaring, I reason, is of limited use for this particular game and commercial, always a good corruption-fighting trait, is the way to go.
Second trait: NOT Expansionist or Religious. Those two offer too little for this game - religious for the one or two revolts (I might go commie if things work out that way) and cheap temples just isn't that valuable. Expansionist on a 'pelago with no huts? No chance.
What UUs do the others offer?
Scientific - Greece, Korea - hoplites, h'wacha. Both are excellent UUs but I don't quite see enough value in scientific
Militaristic - Rome - legionaries. Great choice. My original efforts were here, but the complete lack of "other" builds during the early turns doomed me.
Industrious - French - musketeer. Much improved UU. Allows walls and palace pre-build much earlier. Just not quite enough for me, though, right now.
Agricultural - Iroquois - mounted warrior. Great UU. Great traits. Early granaries can be quite useful. This is my current choice - the Iroquois.
Well, there can be no Commercial or Seafaring opponents. I want nobody else to start with Alphabet, so I have a head start on my Great Library run. That eliminates a lot of civs. Scientific also serves to speed up the tech pace, and I'd just as soon see the tech pace stagnate as much as possible. No scientific foes.
I'm happy with expansionist - scouts on an island with no huts? Religious, too, isn't much benefit to a Sid AI, so they get that trait happily, too. Militaristic? Why not? In my experience, barracks are so cheap the Sid AI builds them all the time anyway. And I hope to bombard the units well enough so that the increased chances for promotions are minimal. That's three acceptable traits.
Agricultural was fine earlier. Once I decided to go hot and dry, though, I didn't want anybody else benefiting from the desert, so that's out. Leaves industrious, which I'm not happy seeing (I expect to pillage a lot to slow the AI down and industrious workers heal the land more rapidly) but I think I have no choice.
Mongols - expansionist, militaristic - keshik isn't too bad to fight against, especially with flatter land
Zulu - expansionist, militaristic - impi is hard to fight early but not a bad UU to face
Americans - expansionist, industrious - F-15 is a joke UU, so no worries there
Arabia - expansionist, religious - ansar warrior is a great UU but the traits are such that I will let them pass
Egypt - religious, industrious - war chariot hopefully is outdated by the time I fight them
China - militaristic, industrious - rider is scary. Would like to avoid this one
Japan - religious, militaristic - samurai is also scary - so frickin' hard to kill and only one resource required
If I allowed agricultural, Celts, Incans, Mayans, and Aztecs would all be reasonable. In the end, though, I decided that the trait distribution was more important than the UUs I'd have to face. So, it was those 7 foes.
I toyed briefly with the idea of using less than 7 foes. But it just wouldn't feel like a complete victory to me, then. I'd feel too much like I stacked the deck. Why the number of foes matters so much more than anything else, I don't know, but I made myself go with the full line-up of 7 foes.
I set them to most aggressive, though. Any war against somebody besides me had to be a good thing. Even if one civ wiped another out, the acquired space would be significantly corrupt and would slow total units coming against me. Fight each other...please!
Fill my island with as many reasonable cities as possible. Send out curraghs to meet the foes and get them into war mode and hopefully cranking way more units than they can profitably try to ship to attack me. The more units they have sequestered on their island, the more gpt it will chew up and hopefully lower their research rate.
Min run on Writing followed by max run at Literature. I'll have to trade and pick up Masonry on one of my first contacts. I need a large prebuild (palace) for the Library. I might be able to get Philosophy first, but why take the chance of missing? Writing then Literature then let the techs roll in.
The other goal is to finish the Library before (m)any AIs have discovered Map Making. Then I can actually build reasonable units to defend my shores. My initial military plan is to defend heartily on the land and hope for some MGLs to use on armies. Armies will take a ship to any reachable foe and finish loading there, to go on pillage patrol.
That's the plan, at least. Will it survive contact with the game/enemy?