I'll get to the meat of what happened in a moment. First, here's the map from 660AD:
Some of the Aztec cities around me were getting razed or falling to another civ. But I was happy to keep providing the Aztecs with iron and also happy that warfare was sending some of the civs on my continent into Communism (though no one on the other continent). I had been supplying Egypt with saltpeter for some time when my source near Milanodunum moved out of my territory. It was a good thing that I had a backup source in the far north as a colony, or I would have broken a deal and lost my ability to trade.
And that's where the controversy arises. You cannot, CANNOT stay caught up in tech on Deity if you have broken a deal unless you get techs from constant warfare, because the other civs will not give you any kind of deal. Period. I was always very careful to avoid breaking any deals because then my game would be over, with no chance of winning.
In 760AD, I got this message from the foreign advisor:
I wondered why my foreign advisor looked so sad; the Aztecs had fallen behind in tech and were no longer useful to me. Then I tried to negotiate a trade and learned why: I had an ongoing trade with the Aztecs when they were killed, and the game treated their death as a broken deal.
This was outrageous; I would no longer be able to trade with any other civs throughout the game and would be considered a deal-breaker because the EGYPTIANS had killed the Aztecs?! My game was over just like that, due to a bug in the game's diplomacy system. No way. I refused to accept this. If I had done something wrong, then I would accept it and move on. But I DIDN'T do anything wrong; I was caught by a bug in the game's programming. I was doing so well too; this was like getting punched in the gut when you least suspect it. Whether this result would stand in the eyes of the Epics or not, I resolved to do something about this problem.
My solution, after about an hour of thought, was to reload 1 turn back, get the Aztecs to declare war on me, and continue from there. I did this by paying to steal a tech from them, in the hopes of being caught, thus goading them into declaring war. This picture illustrates that:
So essentially I paid the game 1657g, a VERY large amount, to do what it should have done in the first place: not ruin my reputation when the Egyptians killed the Aztecs on the next turn. I did nothing different on the reload; moved the workers the same, kept production the same, etc. And I gave up all of my money to get the Aztecs to declare war on me. I feel that I did the only thing I could to continue with my game. I certainly will understand if this game is considered "tainted" and not as a real game under the rules for the Epics. But regardless of what others think, there was no way in hell a programmer's mistake was going to cost me the game. I would win or lose on my own merits here, and it won't bother me at all if others think I was cheating or failed to play this one out to the end fairly.