Yes, great point, I forgot that. The leader would have won had the victory condition not been changed.
I think the elements are in place for more competitive games in that format. One huge issue in early and mid game is to stress the importance of organizing as a team. I think you need 6-8 players, one for every tech essentially. Which means you should be looking for allies among your neighbors, not picking fights. I doubt that most who join that format understand that.
I wonder if a default game option might be a team-oriented 64 map. All entrants are randomly assigned one of 8 8-man teams. Probably with trade scan disabled. And a team-oriented victory condition. That would have the added benefit removing the pressure to shank your ally, which is off-putting to a lot of players.