A colony on a beautiful island...
You usually start in the Colonial Era. You have a small piece of land, usually 50 colonists and 10.000 dollars. There are a few buildings on the island - Palace, Docks, Teamsters Office and Construction Office, maybe a Plantation and a few Country Houses.
Most of the island is covered by the fog of war. However, you can see such information as soil fertility or resources, although it doesn't show what resources exactly. You can't build on territory that hasn't yet been discovered. From your Palace, you can send soldiers on exploration to uncover new lands. By doing so, you will enlarge your territory and discover new resources.
The most important feature for you is your term of office. During this era, you will be receiving missions from the Emissary of the Crown, which will allow you to earn some money, increase immigration number or prolonging your rule. There are also missions from revolutionaries, who will support you with money and educated immigrants.
In most cases you have 10.000$ at the beginning of the game. It means that you can spend 20.000$ on buildings, because your limit is -10.000$. Don't bother with residential and luxury for now. Build a Tavern somewhere on the green field, a few Libraries and spend the rest on Plantations, Ranches or Logging Camps. You have to establish a stable source of income.
It's certain that 50 people won't be enough to fill all the vacancies. Temporarily limit the employment in Teamsters Office and Construction Office. When new immigrants will start to show up, then increase it again.
When your balance starts to reach an equilibrium and you will be making around 7.000 - 10.000$ with every trade ship, you can start to provide accommodation for your citizens. Start with Country Houses, as Mansions are definitely to expensive.
After building a Library, hire three scientists. If you don't have them on your island (check in Almanac), then hire somebody from the outside, but this can cost you a lot. You can also wait until they arrive at they island after some months. They will provide 50 research points, which will result in your first discoveries. You can queue the research by clicking on another ones.
In this way you should be able to reach 51% of support, which will enable you to Declare Independence.
Two World Wars.
Education is now available. One College will be enough (make sure that you upgrade it, so that it would bring you research points), but you will have to built several High Schools if you want to educate enough future engineers. Two is a minimum.
Now it's time for electricity. If you have a coal Mine on your island, you can build a Power Plant and after building Oil Wells in the next era, you can change it to draw energy from gas, which will reduce the pollution.
Invent The Compass as fast as you can - it will uncover the whole island and you will save money on expeditions.
You can now proceed to develop industry. Every building from this category, except Lumber Mill, requires qualified personnel. It is worth it however, because you can earn much more on goods then on raw resources.
Choose your constitution. It will regulate election, the system of the country and military. Later, along with technological development, you will get the option to change it and add new legislations.
As far as politics is concerned, you can choose from two sides of conflict: The Allies and The Axis. You can't be the ally of both of them, but keeping good relations with them is advisable in case they would want to attack you.
The production of cars should be now available, so build a Parking Lot near every bigger group of houses and factories. This will enable people to commute, which means that they can now work at factories far away from their houses.
As the war slowly ends (it is a time span of approximately 15-20 years, during which you will discover most of the technologies), you have to sign treaties with both sides. Depending on the relations that you have with each group, you can count either on a warm handshake or an invasion.
Cold War... Brrr...
In this era, two new political factions appear, so you will have to make contacts with a lot of people. From time to time you will receive a mission from them to keep good relations.
New foreign powers are: USA and USSR. Supporting one of them means worse relations with the other one.
You can now build advanced industry structures, such as Pharmaceutical Company, Jewelry Workshop and Vehicle Factory.
There are more and more people with Secondary education. It is good therefore to invest in education now, by increasing the budget of the schools and building new ones. Additionally, you are now able to build facilities that require personnel with higher education - graduates of College.
You should also provide healthcare facilities. A Hospital is a must at this stage of the game. In places where there are less people, a Clinic will be enough.
Build new Parking Lots. Fast communication guarantees low unemployment, and also the number of homeless people will decrease.
At this stage, provided that everything went well, you should earn around 25.000 - 40.000$ with every trade ship. It is good to build new ports, if you don't have them yet.
You advance to the next era by building Space Program or Nuclear Program, which will influence the future a bit.
Modern times. And future.
In Modern Times, there is no USSR and the world is ruled by money.
New buildings are available, such as Apartments, Science Labs, Electronics Factories or Geothermal Power Plant. Watch out for the cost of maintenance however.
The next aspect of this era is the end of technological development. You can therefore change research points either on money or on free buildings.
The gameplay can now last forever, unless you've stated some victory requirements. Managing you island's resources well will allow you to live long and prosper.