Hi all, I finally conquered deity and wanted to just share about my long, arduous, painstaking victory, as well as other thoughts about the game!!
Here's the specs: normalized score 160729, finish 1519, deity, standard map, ancient start, marathon. Time spent: 120 hours clocked, maybe 20% was AFK, so roughly 100 hours. Leader: Washington. Version: original (not warlords).
Here's the story. It took me about 40 tries to do this. Most of my tries were as Cyrus, trying to take advantage of his high culture and growth options. This caused me severe financial strain at certain key points, such as after building my first bunch of cities (about 4) to stake out the land, and during war time when I needed to support my troops (while suffering war unhappiness). Finally I decided to pay attention to my financial burden and try a financial/organized leader; the ultimate in managing coinage. So I chose Washington.
I guess the most crucial strategy point about which much of my game centers are the uses of siege units, namely catapults and artillery. Having said that, let me delve into the game summary, which I can divide into stages:
(1) STAKE TERRITORY. To found my civilization with enough land, I needed to carefully control my scouts and early game build orders so as to, well, survive (it's hard in deity) and be able to actually have sufficient territory to have a viable civilization, especially since I don't start wars until I have catapults.
(2) GET CONSTRUCTION AND BUILD PULTS.
(3) ATTACK NEARBY RIVALS. In this case Cyrus was the first opponent, and I had a nice chokepoint at our mutual border, which is GREAT for siege weaponry. I actually talked to Alexander for help, which he willingly gave, as he's not a very peaceable fellow. After we killed Cyrus, I built up and then killed Alexander, completing the conquest of my continent.
(4) REIGN OF PEACE. Heavy science and city development for a long time. I thought I would keep peace all game and win via space race, but Montezuma inspired other thoughts by actually taking over the only other continent and surpassing my power.
(5) ARTILLERY R' US! Thus I rushed my tech to artillery, and just in time too, for sure enough, Montezuma can't stand many turns of peace in a row, and he actually attacked me about 10 turns before I (painstakingly) planned to attack him. THIS was the biggest war I've ever fought, involving literally hundreds of his cavalry units. You heard me. I killed 305 cavalry, according to my screenshot of the stats page. One trick that MAJORLY helped me was that when I saw overwhelming stacks of his units approaching (maybe 80 cavalry approaching my 25 pults), I gave two of my cities over to Mansa Musa (previous owner of them) with whom I had open borders, but with whom Montezuma, friendly chap as he is, didn't have open borders. This led to me actually being able to attack Montezuma's nearby city from within Musa's border, into which Montezuma could not attack! (In that city I counted 93 units that I killed, because that's where he kept his stacks.) I should also mention that my war unhappiness developed outrageously, so during a brief peace I researched fascism and went for police state, jails, and Mt. Rushmore for full war-unhappiness immunity. This world war was an epic finish of an amazing game!
COMMENTS: Civ 4 is great. Fun, educational, stregic... I would definitely complain though that it's too time consuming! (Well normally my games haven't lasted 100 hours, but I was really careful during this one.) I can understand those who complain of it being tedious. I must say that to focus on winning, I ended up paying a lot of attention to certain things: detailed planning and forecasting (short and long term, even 50-100 turns in terms of scientific progress and war plans), knowing my enemies (such as Cyrus's peaceful countenance, as opposed to Alexander and Montezuma; as well as scouting their cities pre-war), and micro-management of all cities and units (yes, that's a bummer). Wow, math was quite applicable, especially when carefully calculating optimal civics and revolutions.
I'm trying to include a few screen shots from around game-end.
Alright time to spend less time gaming. Comments welcome. Cheers.