After many play throughs of the game, I've noticed that there seem to be three distinct stages to game play.
Survivor (Condition Red)
You have little or no equipment, and you are in danger of dying from hypothermia, thirst, hunger, sickness, or enemy action. Your priorities are focused on getting the basics as fast as you can - water, shelter (including clothing), and a weapon. You want to avoid the bad guys as much as you can, but it feels like Time is your biggest enemy. You only have so many turns before you freeze or die of thirst. This describes the first few turns of the game, but it can happen later in the game too. You can end up back in this condition if you surrender, or get robbed, or get your camp looted while you are away. Likewise, if you get infected or poisoned, you face the same 'race against the clock' feeling as you try to find a cure before its too late. You feel like prey, in a world of predators. You feel like you are 'losing the game'.
Explorer (Condition Yellow)
You have the basics covered, and you have more time to improve your situation. It is likely that you have set up a camp of some kind, a base where it is reasonably safe to sleep or cook/craft things. You are out foraging for supplies and things like tools, containers, medicine, extra food and extra water. You still avoid dangerous enemies, but you aren't afraid of lone opponents like the occasional Looter or Feral Dog. You may be exploring the area, looking for your next camp site in the direction you want to travel. Clues in newspapers and conversations with others are beginning to interest you, and suggest a destination. You are careful, but confident in your actions. You are both predator and prey now, hunter and the hunted. You feel like you are 'playing the game'.
Conqueror (Condition Green)
You are well equipped, well armed, and in great physical condition. Only groups of powerful enemies pose a threat to you in combat. You have stockpiled supplies in multiple camps scattered around the area, and you are actively trading with vendors in the DMC/ATN for profit. You now have plenty of time to indulge in investigation - why were you in Cryo, what happened to the world, what is everyone else trying to accomplish, and so forth. You are willing to take risks, because you have the knowledge and resources to recover quickly from any non-fatal mistake. You are an apex predator now, top of the food chain, and everyone you see on the map is potential prey. You feel like you are 'winning the game'.
You Look Farther Down The Road As Your Condition Improves
When you are in Condition Red, you are only thinking of your next couple of mouse clicks. There isn't any point in planning for the mid to late game, if you can't find some damn water in the next few turns. If you are being pursued by a relentless Dogman, your focus is on getting away from him and staying away from him. You react to things more than you plan for them.
When you get to Condition Yellow, you don't worry so much about the immediate actions you are taking (crafting, scavenging, etc). You start to make short term plans, usually ones that are goal oriented - setting up a new camp, building a bunch of arrows, replacing your worn out spear, or preparing a supply of food/water for your next expedition.
When you get to Condition Green, the immediate and short term goals take care take care of themselves (click and forget about it). You are making long term plans, ones that have multiple/complex goals and maybe a lot of risk/reward involved - getting/selling enough trade goods to buy all of the surgical upgrades in the DMC medical clinic, figuring out a way to kill the Mergawraith, and so forth.