Just beat my first game of Civ IV! Hooray!
I had to adapt my gameplan slightly once all hell broke loose along my southern border. Once you begin a war, it's virtually impossible to achieve lasting peace with that person; I successfully fought Alexander to the point where he sued for peace, but a few turns later he attacked me again. I reluctantly concluded that the only option was to wipe him out. This was complicated by another conflict with the Incas far east and, towards the end, a surprising war with Catherine of Russia.
The Greek war was tedious but not too difficult; he was far behind me technically which made it easier. (Because I'd happily been trading science with Inca and Russia until shortly before our wars, they had units more on par with my own.) After taking Sparta I seized Athens, which split his empire in two. I brought up my panzers and infantry and focused on one city at a time, which each fell in a turn or two. Then they swung east, took the last of his cities and kept marching towards Inca. Capac must have sensed them coming because he offered me tribute to stop, even though I hadn't taken any cities from him yet. The Incan war was strange; he had Infantry in his own cities and I couldn't afford to bring enough force to bear against him, so I just harassed him with airpower and kept some defensive units on top of his critical resources.
Catherine was the most dangerous opponent yet; she had trained SAM infantry and was starting to deploy gunships into the field. Once that war began I rebased my air force onto my one city in her mini-continent, and airlifted some veteran mehanized infantry in. I weathered a long wave of mixed units she threw against me, everything from SAM infantry and cannons to knights. Once the ground around Frankfurt was clear, my heavily-promoted mechanized infantry rolled north. Backed by massive airpower, they pounded on St. Petersburg for several turns before finally taking the city.
In parallel with all this, I had begun building the United Nations around the time I started seriously crushing Greece. With the help of Nikolaus August Otto, a Great Engineer, I was able to finish it in a handful of turns. My first priority was banning nuclear weapons - I was pretty sure nobody else had the capability to build them, but didn't want to be surprised. It passed unanimously. With that out of the way, I started maneuvering for a diplomatic victory.
There are a variety of ways to win the game. Besides your standard conquest and space race, you can also win by domination (control the majority of the world's population and landmass), culture (three cities with "legendary" status, which must be difficult - even Berlin, a cultural juggernaut, never reached this level), or diplomacy. To win this last victory, you must get 2/3 of the votes for supreme ruler. I knew I had a majority - I was one of only two possible choices, along with Catherine, and I had Washington, Mansa Musa and Ashoka on my side - but I wasn't sure about the actual numbers. Everyone gets a number of votes proportional to their population, and I knew Catherine and Huyana Capac were fairly large. Sure enough, I fell about 50 votes short (out of around 550 votes total).
Business at the UN continues, and while I was swallowing up Alexander's cities in hopes of pushing my population high enough, I continued passing resolutions boosting free trade and a global currency. (As a fairly large nation, I stood to benefit more from these agreements than other civilizations.) Finally, once Alexander's last city fell, I called another vote. You don't immediately learn the results, so I spend an anxious turn fighting in the desert south of St. Petersburg while awaiting the results.
Finally they came in - just ONE VOTE short! I was angry, but optimistic - after pounding on Petersburg it was close to falling, and that seemed enough to push me over the top. I called for a repeat of the resolution and continued to press in.
And so it was that, in the year 1962, Frederick was finally elected the supreme ruler of the world. And there was much rejoicing!
So that was fun. The very end of the game is... well, I don't want to give it away, but it's very evocative of Civilization I. Which is a good thing.
One more post about my thoughts on my game quality, then I'm taking a break for the rest of the afternoon before diving in on my Prince game. :-)