Conquest is a game that focuses on the conquest of the Americas. Players move their various pieces (including explorers, colonists, and soldiers) through a blacked-out world, uncovering mountains, plains, and rivers. Landmarks are named by the first player to discover them. After mapping out some of the local terrain, players must build a colony and make it self-sufficient; to this end, players can build sawmills, metal mines, housing, and farms to generate the resources and space necessary to expand, and eventually, build more colonies. Lastly, players must train armies with which to conquer the other colonists and eventually proclaim independence from their mother country.
The player controls one of 6 different nations (five European and the High Natives) in their attempt to colonize and conquer a "new" continent.
The game is turn-based, and combat is a mini-game taking place on a 3x4 square battlefield where victory can be achieved by killing all enemy troops or capturing the enemy's flag. The gameworld is represented in an isometric point of view with three-dimensional terrain features.
Colonies consist of a Colony Centre, exerting an area of control within which all buildings must be placed. Most buildings, including the Colony Centre, can be upgraded, adding to their production capabilities. Resources are used for construction and trading.
Victory conditions are customizable, so the game can be played as a pure conquest game with the last nation standing, being the winner, or as a more peaceful race for victory points to a pre-determined score.