You start the game by choosing your race, they each have their own advantages and disadvantages. You then choose which planet populated by your race you want your starport and ship to start at. The premise is to build the biggest, richest trading empire by the the year 2500, starting in the year 2375. You can either do this through hard work and diligence or go about this the cut throat way and make life difficult for your competition. The game runs in real time, so once you set up a trade route the ships will continue to make deliveries, you can pause the game and make changes.