One general piece of advice if you want to improve quickly at 42SE: Either play or look up footage of “Axis and Allies Online”. That game uses this game (42SE) as a base, so strategies used there will generally convert well to over the board play. To answer your specific questions though:
I recently started playing A&A with 4 friends. We have played a few games so far and always play until Total Victory.
Don’t do this. Use the standard VC rules as with “Total Victory” it will takes the Axis literal hours to actually win, as London and USA are very hard to reach.
The Germans always fails to take Moscow without even needing help from the United States.
Not entirely uncommon. Germany has the income advantage over USSR but generally you need help from Japan in the east to actually break Moscow. Just as a sanity check, what are you typically building with Germany each round?
As a result, the Americans always concentrated on the Pacific and manage to push the Japanese back to Tokyo in a one-on-one battle.
This is (sort of) true. Japan starts with a much larger fleet than USA and it should take USA at least 3-4 turns to catch up to Japan if Japan is at least dedicating some portion of their income to maintaining their fleet. Given enough time, though, USA will surpass Japan.
When the Japanese then can’t get off their island because the entire American fleet is around Japan and the Japanese lost more and more IPCs
This sounds off. Before the game reaches this point Japan should have built a Factory in Manchuria. What is your general game plan as Japan? You should be primarily focusing on funneling land units into Asia and making a beeline for Moscow. If the UK Player is doing a poor job of defending India, you can take it, but if they’re playing properly you won’t be able to take India until after Moscow falls (or it’s about to fall).
The Americans begin to advance on Berlin with the other Allies. In the end, the last hours of the game consist only of defending Tokyo and Berlin.
As a hint, if the game actually reaches this point it’s probably for the best if the Axis Team surrenders. That way everyone can go home and get some sleep. Just because the IRL Axis fought to the death doesn’t mean you have to.
How do the Germans effectively take Moscow?
Build INF/ART only. Focus on maintaining large, consolidated land stacks and pushing slowly. Try to take Karelia early to take the VC and Factory there. If USA is ignoring Europe completely and going full Pacific, try spending some money on land units in Italy to send into Africa via the Mediterranean. Typically, USA’s job in the early game is to keep Germany out of Africa, but if they’re going 100% Pacific, Germany shouldn’t be met with much (if any) resistance in taking Africa. This is important because Africa will get you about 8 extra income, and every little bit helps.
And how do the Japanese manage to defend themselves against the Americans?
Spend J1 destroying the UK Fleet. Keep your main fleet in Philippines (to threaten any potential USA buildup in Solomon Islands) while building mostly land units (probably build 1-2 SUB + rest land units). The land units should be sent into Asia to gobble up USSR/China. If you can get Japan’s income high enough off of taking those territories, you can achieve economic parity with the USA and drain USSR’s income to the 12-14 range. This achieves two things:
Makes it easier for Japan to transition to building an increasing number of boats to further delay the US Fleet buildup.
Makes it possible for Germany to actually beat USSR, as Germany will be consistently in the 45-50 IPC range while USSR sits at 12-14. If you can keep up this advantage for 3-4 turns, it will become impossible for Moscow to hold on, and the Axis will win.