Each player takes the role of a European nation and tries to conquer colonies, build up agriculture and mining industries and export goods to Europe.
However, the indigenous peoples of the colonies are likely to rebel against their European conquerors and rival European nations are fighting for dominance in the colonies. So all through the game you have to consider whether you want to promote economic development or safeguard your colonial holdings by the deployment of colonial armies.
In addition to this it is important to enhance the international reputation of your home country. Your level of Influence in politics and trade on the world stage will be important especially towards the end of the game, when colonies will be moving towards independence. Each player should have as much Influence as possible in the colonies in order that you can continue to extract trade profits even after a declaration of independence.