Good advice by zgrssd.
My games tend to follow this pattern now:
1) Nationalize the scavenger in round 1.
2) Shoot for light tanks by forming the MDC in round 1. Assign 100% BPs to discovering new models. Once light tank is discovered, switch all BPs to designing it. Even out the BPs after that and get an EC. Light tanks are really my main goal early game. I feel vulnerable without mobility and armor.
3) A few rounds later, I nationalize the truck station. The scavenger funds the truck station nationalization by selling rares. There has been occasion to push this a few rounds, but I usually do it between round 6 and 10 I think. Sometimes I need to turtle and don't need a truck station as soon. Before the truck station I explore. Just spy and keep the bad guys away is all I really worry about.
Food, water, metal, IP, and BP priority is relative to the planet, start position, hex perks, resources, early events, immediate neighbors, and probably other things I don't remember.