I feel like sharing the story of my last game (sorry this is so long). I started as Siam and my idea was to go for a cultural victory. My plan was to befriend every cultural city-state in the game, because their unique ability gives them +50% culture from each of them. Well, it started off and I handled it pretty well (in Civ5, culture victories are easier with small empires, so I stopped expanding after five cities or so). Then Montezuma appeared and asked me to go to war against Washington. So, being a sucker, I agreed. When I arrived at New York city, I saw the Aztecs blindly throwing themselves at the city and being beaten back. Through patience and expert siege warfare, I took the city right from under Monty's nose. I could see he wasn't too happy with this. Soon afterward, he declared war on me. I quickly took another city from America and sued for peace. Then I managed to stop the Aztecs from doing any harm and made peace with them too. My plan was a peaceful game, afterall.
I was playing on Pangea map, but it was roughly divided into two hemispheres. In my hemisphere were the Aztecs, Americans, and French. To the east was Babylon and beyond them were Rome, Greece, and China. In this game, Greece was a warmonger, so all the powers in the east ganged up and eliminated him. I found myself allying with Rome in most situations. Augustus was extremely cooperative in trading luxuries and we both prospered. On my side, the Aztecs continued to be a problem, but the French asked me to help take them out and I obliged. I took two cities, Napoleon took one. Then I stopped once again and realized I'm not very good at being peaceful.
Eventually, the map broke down into three empires, me, France, and Rome. Rome had gobbled up many city-states (or took them from people who took them), but France had taken one as well. I laughed when Augustus crushed Babylon. Then he asked me to help fight France. I obliged and took three French cities and liberated the city of Geneva. Geneva became eternally grateful for being liberated from French oppression and stayed my ally. They were a cultural city-state and I tried to resume my path towards the cultural victory. I quickly made peace with France. Two turns after I made peace, French troops invaded Genevan territory and took the city right in front of me. I couldn't believe it! Next time I talked to Augustus to renew our deals, he shared my shock. His words were "We are going to do something about Napoleon, right?"
Finally, not long after, Augustus' war machine started rolling. At first I laughed as French cities fell. I stopped laughing after he annexed Geneva, however. The next turn, two French cities fell. Then three more quickly fell and Napoleon was knocked out of the game. His efficiency was shocking to be honest. He had Mechanized Infantry, Anti-Tank guns, Helicopter Gunships, and Rocket Artillery. I had a scattering of cannons, Infantry, and Riflemen. The bulk of my army were deployed on Elephants. I was several turns away from dynamite and Artillery. My gold situation wasn't great either. One of the history of the world updates flashed on the screen. Rome's army outnumbered mine 8-1. At the same time, Augustus went from friendly to hostile and canceled all out deals.
The next 5 turns or so, I focused on setting up units in defensive positions. The attack was inevitable. He sent me a brief message informing me that I had played into his master plan and would now be conquered like the rest of the fools (I'm not joking either, that's almost verbatim what he said!). He attacked. I think I had one Artillery, one cannon, and a Trebuchet, along with infantry on hills and a river to hold the line. I would bomb with the Artillery, hit the unit with a cannon, and finally kill it Ewok style by flinging a large rock at it. Several Mech Infs fell this way. Eventually, I got enough gold to upgrade to Artillery and Mech Inf. myself. Then I went on the offensive.
At first, I liberated a couple of French cities. The French were immediately grateful at their rescue. A few turns later, Napoleon started acting resentful and made disparaging comments about me. I'm not sure whether to be pissed off or to commend Firaxis for their realism here
Still, I pushed forward. Every French city I conquered I gave back to France with one exception. I kept the city next to Geneva because I wasn't going to let him conquer the city again. Then I moved on and liberated Geneva. I took stock of the situation and realized my war effort had basically prevented me from winning a cultural victory. Conquest was also a long way off. My military adviser told me to seek peace as soon as possible or else Rome could destroy me at any moment. I asked Augustus what he wanted for peace. Answer, all my cities! So I resumed the war.
Finally, I realized that if I liberated enough City-States and conquered Civilizations and built the United Nations, I could win a diplomatic victory. So I pushed on and liberated Babylon and another City-State. Unfortunately, Rome conquered one of my allied cities. There was another one he could follow up with and I couldn't reach them. So I had to give the city some of my army in order for it to defend themselves, which left me dangerously thin with all my troops. Finally, with just three Mech Infs and Two Modern Armor left, I realized I had no chance of going any further with the war. He also made a sneaky naval invasion I missed completely and was in danger of taking one of my cities. I conquered one more Roman city and then offered it back to him in exchange for peace, which he gladly excepted in order to save face.
Then it was only a matter of waiting. I gave a few more units to my city-state allies, which kept Rome honest. Finally, the UN was built and the vote was held. Every single City-State and every Civilization except Rome and America voted for me. And I won the game!