The player can play as one of six races:
adventure in which the Captain of the ship (the player) can modify and evolve the ship with new parts, repairs and new crew members. The "Skirmish" and "play-and-forget" games are fast and self-contained and help the player become familiar with the game and the high number of missions available in the "Campaign." The "Multiplayer" allows more than one player to challenge against other human players instead of game AIs.
The game was followed by three sequels, Star Fleet Command: Orion Pirates, Star Fleet Command II and Star Fleet Command III.