..., where the starting setup meant that noone controlled china for a few turns, ...
What do you mean with starting setup? The predefined or did you auction of the bonds and nobody bought a single one in China?
I found it really messed up what is normally an interesting struggle for which powers will do well. Every other power got at most 2x. Mostly curious if we played it correctly.
It sometimes happens that nobody has money left to buy US or EU, but usually with the first invests some of these bonds are bought. So far I never have seen an early country which didn´t sell a bond during auction, but if the group decided that way, why not. Usually countries that didn´t sell a bond even after the first investor phase do very bad. They are far behind in military and in general are not very attractive for big investsments. But why did that mess up the struggle? There are always countries doing better or worse then average. Rarely all countries could compete for 4x or 5x.