We want to be the Axis powers up front and yes, it’s difficult to win with them. Therefore, do we just like, get extra pieces to even the score?
There’s two perspectives on this. One is, as you state, extra pieces are added to initial game set-up to even the score.
Another bidding system (called the FIDA bid, initials of a number of online A&A clubs), splits the bid into at no more than 50% of the bid can be added as initial set-up extra pieces; the rest is cash to be split amongst Germany and Japan (you can give all the $ to one side if you want)
An example FIDA bid would be 15: inf, tank in Libya (Germany), $2 to Japan, $5 to Germany.