The game can be played against a number of human opponents (over the Internet), or against the computer. Before starting, the player picks one of seven races to lead, modifies the desired size of the planet, its basic geological make-up, the number of enemies, the number of City Centers required to claim victory and the landing site. The colony starts with a small population, which grows in size every turn. By constructing various kinds of buildings, collecting/producing resources and researching technologies, the colony can be greatly expanded. Each can field as big an army as it can support.