As with other Anno games, the player starts as an unarmed country which has to colonize and expand in the game world. While the player expands, other computer controlled rivals are expanding and strengthening. As the player progresses through the game, players have access to lodge activities and troops which allow them to invade and ultimately to defeat other players.
Anno 1701 requires at least a Radeon 9000 Series 64MB or GeForce 9200 to meet recommended requirements running on high graphics setting, with 1080p resolution. This hardware should achieve 60FPS. To summarise, Anno 1701 needs around a 13 year old PC to play at recommended settings.