This is a strategy game in which players manage a nation from a single settlement to a prominent civilization. Players can develop their nation's culture and technology, manage its economic and social infrastructure (e.g., diplomacy, trade), and expand territory through military conquests. Combat with nations is presented from an overhead perspective, and military units are represented by small armies of soldiers on a gridded map. Battles include brief animations of sword fighting, gun fights, and vehicular combat, resulting in icons exploding, collapsing, or disappearing. Nuclear weapons can be developed and detonated over opposing nation's territories. Historically based text includes descriptions of violence (e.g., assassinations, murders, suicides) and a reference to the opium drug trade (e.g., "where they could engage in extremely profitable business including the infamous opium trade.").