After playing 2 games till the end of 1940 I have the following impressions.
If the Allies get Norway during the first 2 turns through diplomacy ( not that difficult ) the Axis seems to be short on resources during turns 1.40 and 2.40 .
Right now it seems to be the best way for the Axis to attack Holland and Belgium during 3.39 to put pressure on the Allies to curb their intentions toward Italy.
At the beginning the pp budget for the Axis seems very thight,
3.39 you buy 1 leader step, 1 para step, 1 factory step, replace the losses from your blitz through the Netherlands and Belgium and have 2 points left.
This seems not to really improve ( probabely gets worse ) until you take out France which should be between 1.40 and 3.40.
So there should be about 4 turns left to prepare Barabarossa and helping the poor Italians.
I am really looking forward to seeing that working out.
Prepareing for the next game and signing off.
Yes, Norway is important, but the Allies will need an 8+ (assuming they've parked a naval unit of the coast, or at best a 7+ (average roll) if they play the Norway card. Germany also has an equal chance of gaining diplomatically and has usually has the first choice, but of course risks giving the Allies a rebuff roll. If the Allies gain Norway, the Germans would lose the resources for the 40-1 turn and the 40-4 turn.
I rarely see the Allies go for Norway early because it simply makes it more likely the Germans will invade it in 1940 when the Allies have little in the way of defending it, France and Britain.
The cool thing about the game is that no two will play out exactly the same and the random diplomacy raises new challenges every game.
My most recent game, the Axis made very little headway diplomatically and the Allies won Greece, Yugoslavia, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Turkey. There was lots of fighting in the Balkans. Still, the Germans managed to hang on to the bitter end and only a final Soviet assault on Berlin won the game for the Allies.