Elemental: Fallen Enchantress has a single-player campaign, and a nonlinear "sandbox" game-play. Outside the campaign, players win by conquering or allying with other factions, fulfilling a master quest or casting a spell of making. The player controls a pre-built or custom sovereign leading a faction with different characteristics affecting gameplay. The sovereign founds the faction's capital city and may then be sent to explore the world or govern the settlement. Multiple settlements can be built by other units, but city building sites may be far between. Settlements can research technologies, build military units or town improvements or harvest nearby resources. As settlements grow they become specialized in economy, research or military might. Outposts can be built to harvest resources in places without city sites.