I usually win with the CP. It is just a matter of Italy, France or Russia first. Russia first is the easiest and recommended for newer CP players with Italy and then France first being for more experienced players.
I feel like I discussed how to roll each nation somewhere on here before or I did it on a youtube channel. The Central powers should not lose very often, only when you first start playing 1914 yeah it takes a bit of counting / getting used to the new rules and units / retreat options etc.
France first is the most fun and craziest, after you get France it is a pretty crazy game you got uk / usa on top, Italy under you, and Russia to your East. You have to coordinate Germany / AH very well to get a max power round 4 or round 5 attack on France, you will get France… what happens after that gets nuts.
Russia first is standard. Italy first is for the more conservative of players who do not like taking big risks, that just want to waltz right in and win and deal with the Russian bear later (EASY MODE and you probably lose this game because the otto side of the board will be full of suck). Conservative players hate using Germany + AH to defeat Russia, there is a fair amount of risk involved and in a multi coordination. - MEDIUM difficulty, with russia out of the picture the game is pretty simple. France is hardmode, it is easy to take once you learn how to buy / move and just memorize it… the game after that not so much.
Once you take France… people just get depressed and do not want to play you anymore. Not sure why, everyone is totally cool losing Russia, but France makes people sad.