I still believe that that the all out West opening is the best opening available for the Axis. Everything else seems inferior.
Please prove me wrong by posting an AAR in which Germany wins a decicive victory without going all out West in 3-39 and in which the game was not decided by a huge mistake or incredible luck. (You know what I mean Ron)
I have won several games by waiting until the second card play of 40 to attack France and I was playing against some of the best block game players out there. It is doable because Germany can build up its 4-step armor (3-steps by 40-2 and ready for a 4th step by next turn) and will have its D3 infantry in the fight.
The benefit of waiting is that Germany will have time to make its defenses in the east stronger and hopefully deter a Russian attack.
The bottomline, there is no set "best" strategy. Yes you should have a strategy in mind (go west, go east, or turtle), but you have to adjust to the fall of the cards, diplomacy, and the results of battles.
Unlike some games that script much of the early war behavior so the historical timeline will be close, VE gives both players room to fight the war their way. This means a competent Allied player will typically make the battle of France more costly for Germany than history, unless the German player gets lucky with his dice. Does this mean Germany has lost? Absolutely not. If Britain committed heavily to defending France, then as the German player I would consider making Britain my main focus regardless of any pre-game strategy I may have had.
Even with bad luck in the first part of the game, Germany can come back by husbanding its forces and building up before going on the offensive. I have seen some games where the German attack on the Soviet Union didn't occur until 1942 because the France campaign was too costly.
Yes there is lots of chance in the game, but I feel it tends to average out and the better play will tend to win out in the end.