Homesteaders is an auction and resource management game in which players bid on the right to build certain types of buildings, and then build their desired building of that type. Each round features an income phase, where players acquire resources, and an auction and building phase, in which players bid for available land, and then spend their resources to develop a building on that land.
The game is played over 10 turns, made up of 3 stages. Turns 1-4 comprise the Settlement stage, turns 5-8 comprise the Town stage, and turns 9-10 comprise the City stage. The buildings which are available for development vary through the stages, as buildings that were important when the settlement started, such as Farms and Markets, are no longer needed and new buildings become important as the city grows, such as a Train Station and Railway Terminals.