If you use "Custom Match" you can set the board to random and pick all AI players at whatever rank you wish.
I've just run into this problem as well. Is there is a way to simply abandon the game? I can't play the single player 4-player Oceania anymore, because it simply sits there forever.
@sacrophyte Special events like that are not planned in the near future. But if you use a scroll to unlock an expansion the singleplayer mode will be unlocked, too. Using one scroll gives you access for 24 hours for that expansion.