In 1914: Shells of Fury the player takes control over German submarines during World War I. As with most modern simulations the player has detailed options to set the realism level of the game and which parts he wants to do himself. This includes details like unlimited fuel or oxygen. Just like in reality most missions are to patrol a certain area. The story is told through briefings.
The player can simply switch between the submarine areas with the menu bar on the bottom of the screen or hot keys, e.g. to the map, the engine room or the periscope. Depending on the time period there are four submarine classes to choose, later ones have more functions, e.g. more torpedo tubes, mines or a machine gun. The gameplay itself is not different from similar games, the player uses the map to plan his route. Then he activates the time accelerator which automatically stops when meeting another ship. Then he uses the various gear to bring it down. Since it wasn't invented yet the player can't use sonar to track the enemy's movements.
The player can choose between four campaigns which either cover the whole war or just parts, several single missions and a mission generator. The editor can be used to create own scenarios.