1 Quick question: How often in a diplogame does a group of smaller nations win against a larger one in a war? And how easy is it to get a small nation to take that huge risk and go after a bigger nation (even with allies?).
Response to Inca:
A. Yes, human, not pre-programmed. Aggression is a risk, and many humans will avoid risky behaviour if there is an alternative. Your presupposition is that all three neighbours would be aggressive risk-takers, and none of them peaceful builders. You say that Mongolia should have acted like Mongolia, but what about India? Should I have acted like... Mongolia? What about sea-faring isolationist Japan? Should they have acted like Mongolia? Mongolia DID act like they were supposed to and fight China. But with the ridiculous advantage China had, they fought them off (the Russians not being a help to balance either). India and Japan acted "according to history".
B. Again, ALL 3 neighbours would have to be smart enough to realize that they would be better off challenging China by military might. If ONE of them decided to be friends with China it would be 1 very rich civ + 1 not so rich vs 2 not so rich. Your assumed responses of the 3 roundlaying nations is flawed. You assume that they would react like top level players going straight for the money. Yet as you admit yourself, they are the mid-level players. Mid-level players might not realize these things (as they obviously did not).
C. Again, related to A and B, not only would all THREE people have to come to the same conclusion, but they would have only have done so if they were good players. But as you have said, they are mid-level players.
D. Beijing has 8 resources, Delhi has 5 or six. I can't seem to connect to the game so I can't check. But you are absolutely right, the original Indian player should have immediately taken the Guangzhou area. But a mid-level player obviously did not realize the huge strategic significance it had.
E. I HAVE been conducting diplomacy to keep myself from harm, the point is that it is far easier to make deals to keep yourself safe than it is to build an offensively purposed military alliance. Especially when that military alliance has to be with TWO other players. Keep in mind, a single trade-off with one of the 3 would keep China safe. It would require a very skilled player to realize the discrepancy between a short term gain and the long term gain. Keep in mind also that if the attacks had failed the 3 nations would have been completely screwed in terms of peace-time development.
F. Again, the mapmaker based the entire balance in the east on human beings being rational and logical. Have you met humans?
As for my inactivity against China it should be obvious as to why, there is NO way I could ever challenge them even WITH the Mongolians fighting them in the north. Partly because of the ease they had in seizing Guanzhou which makes any attack practically impossible.
Also, you say that diagonal tiles are "further in distance" than regular ones? Allow me to ask you this in practical terms: Does it take longer to move a settler 10 diagonal squares to a given square than it does to move 10 squares from left to right? If the answer is no, then for practical effects and purposes the distances are the same. If it takes China 5 turns to move to Guanzhou and India 5 turns to move to Guangzhou (from their respective capitals), how can you say that one is further? Your point is moot.
Did you look at India at startup? More than half of it was jungle.