My opening (Vasari) is as follows:
(A is small map - I don't play small that often; B is large w/ space map - I've refined this a bit.)
1. 2-3 scouts to explore the nearby worlds and take any neutral extractors (latter is VERY important as Vasari)
2. extractors on home planet
3. work my way to cap ship factory, then build Evacuator
4. build however many LFs i can afford
5. colonize 'roid or two nearby, or least defended world with all non-scout ships.
6. build 2 warfare labs
7. research LRF and sentinel
8. build enuf vitsurka labs for ice and volcanic colonizations and first phase detection (3 i think)
9. colonize nearby worlds, using all possible ships to minimize losses
10. max out defenses at frontline worlds. maybe surrender a few planets for a contiguous line of connected planets for easier and more effective defense
11. build up for fleet.
1. build 5-10 scouts and set to autoexplore
2. build extractors
3. build LFs & Evacuator
4. colonize nearby asteroids - max 2 jumps away - or least defended terran/desert if no roids close enuf
5. if other players nearby, mad grab for planets, only upgrading infrastructure to 0 undevelopment tax; if no nearby players, firm up my planets and fleet as I go.
6. make fleet upgrades as needed, rush my Imperial research getting phase detection and everything needed for max RA
7. expand, start building up my Warfare research and defenses as needed.
My cap ship order is generally 1) egg 2) Devastator 3) egg 4) devastator/Vulkoras/Carrier depending on opposition tactics. if they swarm (like the AI loves to) i go devastator. if they go for the lined slugfest, i go desolator. eiether way, I'll usually end up with 3-4 desolators, 6-7 Devastators, 2 eggs, 2 Marauders, and 2 carriers. first thing i do in a major brawl - cast all volatile nanites and phase missile swarms.