You really crammed in those cities, eh? It looks like that worked out the way I thought it might; you'd get some economic advantage, but run up against the research limit and it wouldn't speed the endgame.
BTW, what's with all the transports shown in the picture? Did you figure out something with warring that I overlooked? Just amusing yourself? Inquiring minds want to know
And yeah, getting the AIs to research stuff for you was what you'd have to do to compete for the fastest victory. It isn't an ideal situation, true. But ask any NASCAR driver and he'll tell you that drafting off your opponents is just about as important as your own car's capabilities when it comes to who rolls into Victory Lane.
Glad you enjoyed the game!
(BTW, didn't Epic 23 close today too?)