A game of Dune 2000 is played in three stages: early-game, mid-game, and late-game. The early-game consists of the basic build order and a little bit into the build order after that. For example, if I were playing a defensive game, using the defensive build order, once I get a Light Factory (#1 on the Defensive Build Order), I consider the early-game stage done, and the mid-game stage then begins. About half way through your chosen build order is the end of the mid-game stage. At this point, the late-game is started. I consider the end of the mid-game to be around #4 or #5 in the Defensive Build Order, thus starting the late-game.
Of course, the game could end in the early-game (you find the Infantry Crate, and succeed in using your Saboteur to destroy your enemies Construction Yard). Or it could end in the mid-game (you send a swarm of Quads and Combat Tanks to your enemies base, and possibly hit him with an Ornithopter Strike). But most games will end in the late game, when all players have reached the end of their build orders (the Palace for example) and it is only a matter of time, luck, and strategy to determine the ultimate victor.
Most strategies in the early-game are quite obvious: scout map, find enemy, harvest spice, train infantry, etc. Make a couple squads of Light Infantry, with a ratio of 1 Trooper per 3 Light Infantry. Put them at the openings into your base (there are usually about two large openings). Build two or three Trikes, with maybe a Quad or two, and scout out the map, specifically looking for your enemy. You might invest in a Gun Turret during this time. It doesn’t really matter at this point whether you’re going to play offensively or defensively because you won’t have enough units yet to do much of either. Just concentrate on scouting and harvesting, and make sure everything is as it should be. You’re enemy might try something sneaky here. If he does, and you win, attack his base if you have the units to do so (assuming you know where it is). He will have lost so many units that he will have little defense, so you can walk in and stir up all kinds of trouble.
There won’t be much combat in the early-game. Combat starts in the early part of the mid-game, and will only intensify going into the late game.
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