Or, hey ho!
Mansa demands a tech - there's a perfect chance for the brownie points that I need! OK, Radio at monopoly is a hefty price, especially to a rival that I'm racing neck-and-neck for space. But I'll pay it. You better appreciate this, man.
And he did. What a nice thank-you note!
OK, here comes the next election.
Let's try this again...
Bingo! Diplomatic Victory in 1758 AD! By a margin of 5 votes and 1 diplomatic point. :)
56156 game points - second in my HOF!
So there's The Gauntlet. Just as in the Civ 3 version of the game, the correct path was to expand only briefly and then rush rivals as soon as possible. Take their land for economic development rather than trying to squeeze productivity out of an arctic start. Even on Emperor difficulty, the rush with axes and swords wasn't hard at all, especially with the Aggressive trait. Genghis was supposed to be the worst leader for this challenge, but in fact, Aggressive was the best possible trait.
Again I hate to speak ill of Sulla, but the map didn't fulfill the scenario aim. Any start with both metals and adjacent to the most peaceful AI civ is highly rushable, even on Deity. And since the continent was small enough to be entirely conquered in the swordsman era, there was no risk of a tech deficit turning into a military loss. Once continental conquest was complete, the player would have all the time in the world to outbuild the AIs to space, or even more easily, to an uncontested cultural win.
Sulla did have it right that playing an economic game from that arctic start would've been suicide. But the ancient melee conquest unlocked vast tracts of far superior land. The only correct move was to rush. For the Gauntlet to truly have been realized as it was in Civ 3, we needed at least one more on-continent opponent to push the warfare out beyond the swordsman era, and we needed them to be fighters rather than India and Inca.
After the conquest rush, the variant restrictions hardly meant anything. Lacking Slavery did slow my midgame development, but once the economy was fixed with courthouses and the happy cap fixed with Hereditary Rule police, I didn't miss whipping. I definitely never missed Nationhood or unit upgrades; both are only used in emergency military defense, but Universal Suffrage fills that role too.
And I at long last avenge my only true defeat in Civ 3.