In the game, you expand your colony by placing Tetris-style pieces with buildings on your colony board. Dice (representing workers) are used to activate buildings; each die activates an entire row or column of buildings in your colony. Buildings are activated in order (left to right and top to bottom), then the die is placed on the last activated building to block that space. It is therefore crucial to know where you place the new buildings in your colony and in what order you use the dice.
As the game progresses, you produce resources, build sea routes, send out conquistadors, and improve your religious influence to recruit monks. The player who has accumulated the most happiness after three rounds wins. The specialists available, the end-of-game bonuses and the buildings vary from game to game, allowing for near-endless replayability.