In the future, the Earth is a wasteland, unable to sustain human life any longer. Mankind's only hope is to find a new world to colonize. Giant transport ships are launched, each carrying 10 million people. Sent ahead of each of these ships is a Trailblazer-class scout. Controlling one of these Trailblazers, it's the players mission to find a suitable planet for a new colony, to scout for natural resources and to deal with various alien species, who might be both friend or foe.
From a robot-controlled home base, the Trailblazer starts exploring the nearby star systems (two different star clusters are selectable, representing different difficulty levels). Planets in uninhabited systems can be claimed for their natural resources. If aliens already inhabit a system, diplomatic negotiations can be opened. Since the resources of the uninhabited systems won't be enough for sustaining a colony, trade agreements with the aliens are necessary. Each alien species has its own attitude and quirks. Not all of them are friendly, and some might demand that the player attacks their enemies before they agree to trading or a peace treaty.
If hostilities with aliens begin, there are a variety of combat options. The Trailblazer itself is rather slow and sluggish, but is equipped with a powerful main gun and a gun turret. It can also launch remote-controlled combat chassis in various configurations: as a guided missile, a kamikaze ship, or a fighter, the latter two being controllable by the player.
The systems of the Trailblazer (the weapons, shields, sub- and faster-than-light engines) are powered by various parts. On the engine room screen, these parts can be individually mounted or removed. Combat may damage the parts. The same parts are used by different systems of the ship, so they can be moved around to improve one system at the expense of another. New and replacement parts can be collected from the wreckage of destroyed alien ships and space stations, or be acquired through trading.