This is a largely water based map. You start with several units right next to other players on the same island. From that island you must go out and take over land. There are many islands you can take. Four islands with cities on them have villager flags, which give you a villager if you put a pirate next to the flag and have 100 food.
You have to balance your economy. You need all three resources: food early on for villagers, wood for ships, and gold for pirates. Gold is especially important because it is the only way to make land units and it is harder to get. It is important not to screw yourself of resources early on and be unable to get villagers.
You can build saloons, outposts, walls, trade posts, and docks. At the saloon you can make pirates and corsairs. At the dock you can make fishing boats, frigates, and caravels.
To get more population room, you must have an economy to support your population. Each villager and fishing boat adds four population.
This is an exploration game, so it;s kind of ruined if one person knows where stuff is and the other doesn't. I admit that's a big flaw in the game - noone's going to want to play it because the people who are hosting have already played it and have an advantage.
There are three trade posts on the map. Two are native villages and one is a trade route.