I had no time to finish this game unfortunately, so this is only a quick recap of what happened in my game until 1565AD.
Athens was founded on the spot, missing a cow tile.
Since after irrigating the rice tile a worker would have nothing to do for some time, I went settler first, then worker (whipped). Research was Agriculture -> Mining -> Bronze Working -> Animal Husbandry -> The Wheel -> Pottery -> Writing -> Mathematics -> Currency -> Polytheism -> Literature. Archery and Masonry I got from huts.
Sparta went on a hill northwest of Athens with cows, ivory and LOTS of floodplains, destined to be my Oxford science city. In 975BC, a massive uprising near Sparta occured.
Luckily, it was swords not horses, and two of them went after Mali - otherwise, Sparta would have been lost.
Mansa founded Confucianism, and I adopted that ASAP to befriend him. He also founded Taoism, converted to that, only to convert back to Confucianism 5 turns later. I wasted two turns of anarchy following him wherever he went religiously. This paid off, as it allowed me to keep a very small military for a long time.
Darius was not a Confucian, and Mansa built the Apostolic Palace. Hatty and I gladly voted for trade embargos against the heathen Darius.
I built an early academy in Sparta in 350BC, and later built more academies in Athens, Pharsalos and Corinth, then merged two more great scientists in Sparta. I also built the Hanging Gardens and the Great Library in Sparta.
"No Tech Brokering" didn't really meant that no tech brokering took place...Here are some of the trades I did in this game:
I got Liberalism first in 1170AD, taking Nationalism for my free tech. Alas, Mansa had researched that already some turns ago, and so I lost the Taj Mahal to him by 6 turns.
After Liberalism, my research was ->Feudalism -> Banking -> Economics -> Printing Press -> Astronomy -> Constitution -> Democracy before I had to retire the game. Here's the tech situation:
Here's my empire:
I had managed to stay on par with the AIs up to then, but now was falling behind. The plan was to steal techs from Mansa now (the only one I had any espionage points with) and try to go for a space victory, despite the AI's superior research. An option would have been to go for a diplo win - I was on very good terms with the AIs, but hadn't met all of them yet. In fact, going for the UN would have probably the more promising way, but I specifically wanted to see how my economy would be able to compete in a space race, even if that meant losing the game. Unfortunately, I ran out of time.
That had been a fun scenario, though! Thanks Darrell for sponsoring this.