- 160d 11h 16m
That's easily answered with the same logic that unravels Diamond's thesis: if you start the vikings in the middle of the mississippi river basin, they conquer the world and win the game in record time. In fact, a bunch of viking descendants sit on that basin now and DO rule the world. The Mandans and the Plains Indians who sat on that same basin for thirty thousand years never progressed past the neolithic age, though they had contact with the Anasazi enough to trade for their pottery and agriculture.People who hate the book and have never read it essentially believe that you could pick the Vikings in Civ, start in the middle of the desert, and would easily and knowingly conquer the Numidians who started next to a river and a coast line, with 4 grain tiles, 1 iron tile, 2 hill tiles, and 5 grassland tiles.... because you picked the Vikings.
That is the super-duper simplified version of it.
You could stick the chugs in the Ruhr river valley of the North European Plain three thousand turns ago and they wouldn't have fared any better. They wouldn't have developed metallurgy. They wouldn't have resisted the Roman Legions in the early game and they'd be just as nearly extinct in that game as they are in this one.
On the other hand that Incans had virtually no usable arable land and still built the most complex road network outside of western Europe across the spine of the Andes and through tributaries of the Amazon and its attendant rainforests.
For every sad sack cargo cult Jared Diamond could explain away with malarial jungles or shitty weather, there are ancient incans and transsiberian steppe people who had similarly shitty starting positions but whose roads and monuments survive to this day.