jvoodoochild, You are correct as far a the vast majority of players is concerned. There is nothing wrong in playing to win in any or all of the ways the game is designed to win. I have no problem with a player, playing within the rules to get to No.1 in prestige and/or No.1 association and/or top city.
However, having said that, I strongly believe that the game is badly balanced as it is only possible to get to top prestige using PAX and industrial investment but it cannot be done without strong city builders to develop the cities. I am hoping to find that the new change of adding prestige to delivery of cargo to industry will make it more possible for city builders to compete for top prestige. But, this is not the point of this thread.
The point is, imo, those player's whose sole goal is to damage a large group of players in a team or an alliance of teams. They are usually more evident once the end game has started. They play, generally, but not always, alone. They are quite obviously not playing to win in any of the accepted meanings of the word. They are playing to disrupt. I strongly believe that virtually all such players are second accounts with the main account playing to win in whichever is their chosen category(ies). They may be doing this due to a grudge, or, more likely simply to improve the chances of their regular player getting a win. (Please note, many solo players are just that. They chose for whatever reason to play alone and do no harm.)
Is successful disruption by one player of dozens if not hundreds of other players winning by anyone's definition? If it is, then can we please have it as a stated goal with proper recognition! I doubt this game would survive long, but, it would be an interesting experiment!