Toward the end of the 6th century A.D., King Ethelbert of Kent established the old Roman city of Canterbury as his new capital. In Canterbury, 2 to 4 players represent Saxon Lords who are charged with building the city into a prosperous capital. The Saxon Lords must use the city's meager starting resources to build up the 25 districts of Canterbury and provide key services to its citizens.
The key services are (in order from most basic to most prestigious) water, food, religion, defense, commerce, and culture. As new structures are built in the city, the city grows more prosperous. While each Saxon Lord jealously guards his or her own prosperity and achievements, they all benefit as a whole from the growing prosperity of the city itself. When the city reaches the peak of its prosperity, the game ends and the player with the most individual prosperity wins.