There are twelve victory cities. The Allied victory cities are located in the territories of the United Kingdom, India, Eastern US, Western US, Russia, and Karelia. The Axis victory cities are located in the territories of Germany, Western Europe, Southern Europe, Japan, the Phillipines, and Kwangtung.
In an 8 victory city or less game, the Axis goal should be to quickly secure Karelia and India, while not losing control of the relatively easily attacked territories of Western Europe, Phillipines, or Kwangtung. If the Axis can accomplish this goal, they will control 8 victory cities, and thus win the game. The Allied goal is, of course, to prevent the Axis from getting those eight victory cities.
In a 9 victory city or more game, the Allied plan should be to prevent the Axis from taking over any of the Allied capitals, while using their economic and positional advantage to secure the game. The Axis plan should be to use their superior initial numbers concentrated in one area to take one of the Allied capitals, effectively eliminating the Allied positional advantage. This is because although the Axis can secure India and Karelia quickly (getting 8 victory cities), securing the 9th victory city is very problematic for the Axis, requiring either the capture of one of the Allied capitals, or Western US (which is equally difficult).
The Eight Victory City Game:
A few tanks give Germany solid control of Karelia early in the game, and prevent any Allied recapture of the territory until the Allies can get their fleet going in the Atlantic. A few infantry give Germany a solid hold on Western Europe. A careless Germany player can lose Western Europe, but if the Germany player is a bit careful, it will be almost impossible for the Allies to crack any of those German controlled territories early. So unless the Germans make some really glaring errors or gets amazingly bad dice rolls on Germany’s first turn, the Allies should concentrate on a KJF plan.
Japan is hard to crack, but the Phillipines and Kwangtung are not, cut off as they are from any easy reinforcement. More importantly, it is difficult for Japan to attack India in force early. If the Allies make a determined defense of India early, the US can have time to build up a naval fleet to take control of either Kwangtung, or more likely the Phillipines, if and when India falls.
A strong Japanese attack on India can occur early, particularly if Japan does not do Pearl Harbor, and instead sends its air west towards India. Even so, if Russia moves units towards India on the first turn, by the time Japan is set to attack India, a strong Allied defense can be created (in conjunction with UK fighters flown in from the United Kingdom, an industrial complex built in India producing units, and another industrial complex in Ssinkiang producing even more units to pull Japanese reinforcements away from India, plus possible fighters flown from either London or from a Pacific based US fleet).
The Nine Victory City Plus Game:
This sort of game is really more about total world domination than victory cities. The fact that Karelia and India contain victory cities hardly comes into play. What the Axis really want to do is capture one of either Western US, Eastern US, Great Britain, or Russia, and hold that territory for at least one round.
If Japan manages to capture and hold Western US for at least one round, Japan should have a production of around 40 plus, and will be able to produce 10 units a turn in Western US. This effectively neutralizes the US, but does NOT neutralize Japan. In a nine victory city game, the Axis can go on to take Karelia and India quite easily, winning right away. In a ten victory city game, the Axis can take control of Africa (without the US to reinforce); if UK diverts lots of resources to retaking Africa, Germany can press on Russia; if the UK does not diver resources to Africa, Germany and Japan will have the economic advantage and should be able to crush Russia anyways.
If Japan or Germany manage to capture Eastern US (almost impossible) and hold for at least one round, the gigantic financial boost plus the newly produced units will mean that the US will probably be neutralized for the rest of the game – and more, that the Axis powers will have the IPCs from the United States’ American territories, which should seal the game for the Axis.
If Germany manages to capture Great Britain (unlikely but possible) and hold for at least one round, Germany will be forced to fight a two front battle against Russia and the United States for a while. However, with London to use as a transport base against Eastern Canada and Eastern US, and as a fighter base for the Atlantic, and with Japan pressing on the Allies from the east, even though Germany may be pressed upon, the Axis should eventually win.
If Germany and Japan manage to capture and hold Russia for at least one round, the economic gain will likely be small, as the Allies will probably have made a fighting retreat to Moscow. However, with the Allies cleared out of central Europe, the Axis can divert all their units and resources to fighting off the Allies from the coast. This neutralizes the Allied positional advantage of being able to force both Axis powers to fight two-front wars. With the Axis powers both fighting one-front wars, IF neither of the Axis powers falls almost immediately after Russia, the Axis will have an economic advantage that should allow them to win the game.