During a game of Pocket Imperium 2-4 players will Expand (get more ships), Explore (move fleets) and Exterminate (conquer planets). At the end of each round, they will Exploit (sustain their fleets) and earn points.
Timing is everything, as the choices that each player makes has consequences! If more than one neighboring player chooses the same action, then they both have to make do with less.
A further layer of gameplay rests on the way players move their fleets on the map. The constantly changing power dynamics lead to temporary alliances – which may have unintended consequences, as players seek an edge.
Finally, choosing what sectors of space to receive points from is yet another strategic choice. Combined with the constant struggle to control (or deny the control of) Tri-Prime, which gives an often-significant bonus, players must choose wisely where they draw their points from.