Sounds like it could be an experiment. My experience with science games is that I tend to feel that I've won by the industrial age. I had one time where I played as The Zulu on Deity vs. 4 non-scientific opponents, standard sized map, and I was behind. Then I learned Steam Power first and after that it was fairly usual as I recall (though I think I did play it over 10 years ago now). My Sid spaceship game didn't feel that way, but I did also pick up some techs for free without using The Great Library.