There are three styles of play: Instant Battle, Historic Battle (via DLC) and Campaign.
via Colonial Navy DLC
3 Instant Battles set up with Historical setting.
Single Player only.
Choose one of 7 Factions (even with advantages listed)
- Holy Roman Empire
Choose Naval Combat Style
- Simulation (Wind is vital, more tactical)
- Normal (balanced between simulation and fast)
- Fast (Wind is underplayed, less tactical)
Game starts in Jan 1500 and finishes Dec 1650
Create colonies at (random per game) designated colony spots (Number of available spots depends on your difficulty. There's 7 regions and each has 3 colonies on hard, 4 colonies on medium and 5 colonies on easy) with (random per game) resources available
(Recommend saving at start, sailing around to work out a nice place (or better 2) to land, then reload save)
After creating your first colony, send fleet back to Europe and grab some more colonists for colony number two.