Anno 1503 begins with the player in control of a ship filled with men and material searching for an island to settle. After finding a suitable site city building begins. Resources begin as food and cloth, but progress into more complicated and different goods. Eventually, citizens become Aristocrats, and require at least ten different goods and numerous services, such as access to a large church or a bathhouse. The game is constructed around one human player and three computers. Like Anno 1602, the computers are progressive, meaning that they advance along with the human players. The computer players also have adjustable personalities, which the player customizes before the beginning of a game. Each different player, human or computer, is represented by a color.