The scenario is a contest between five ancient civilizations to have the highest score when the nine available wonders are built. The wonders in the scenario are the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; The Pyramids of Giza, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, The Colossus of Rhodes, and The Great Lighthouse of Alexandria; plus two additional wonders, The Oracle of Delphi and The Great Library of Alexandria.
The wonders are not unlocked by technologies, but rather by earning the right to build them through the accumulation of various points, such as Total Gross Income, Total Accumulated Culture, Total Accumulated Great General Points, and Number of Technologies. The exception to this is the Oracle, which is available from the start. Bringing a Great Person within 2 hexes of the city that owns the Oracle will allow you to see the wonder progress of your rivals for five turns. Doing this will not expend the Great Person, but will make them unable to consult the Oracle again, so if you have built the Oracle, it is advised you have all Great People consult the Oracle before you expend them.
The pace of research and policy acquisition is slowed so players can "immerse [themselves] in this distant age." Cities cannot be razed, so wonders cannot be destroyed. For every wonder owned by a civ, they gain 500 victory points, but gain 1000 victory points for building a wonder. This means, if you build a wonder and prevent it from being taken, you will get 1,500 victory points for it. This means, to win, you should try to aggressively build the wonders, instead of trying to conquer them. However, you can still win by conquering all four enemy capitals before all nine wonders are built, even if you don't have the highest score.
In the scenario, you can play as one of five civs, three already present in the game (Egypt, Persia, and Greece), as well as two others unique to the scenario, Sumer and The Hittites. Some of the city lists have been changed in this scenario to better reflect their locations on the scenario's Historical map. The Egyptian ability has been changed so as to not give them an unfair advantage over building wonders in the scenario. Their unique building has also been changed in the scenario for unknown reasons.
There are thirteen City-States in the scenario. They are:
- Byblos (Cultured and Grey)
- Cyrene (Maritime)
- Elam (Cultured and Blue)
- Enkomi (Maritime and Cyan)
- Knossos (Maritime and Green)
- Nakhchivan (Militaristic and Light Green)
- Seuthopolis (Militaristic and Lavender)
- Sharuhen (Militaristic and Yellow)
- Stobi (Militaristic and Light Green)
- Troy (Militaristic and White)
- Tyre (Militaristic and Green)
- Ugarit (Cultured and Tan)
- Washukanni (Militaristic and Light Orange)
In the Historical map, the city-states are at or nearby to their historical locations.
The scenario also uses four remaned Natural Wonders, Cappadocia (re-used Grand Mesa), Mount Ararat (re-used Mt. Fuji), Mount Olympus (re-used Rock of Gibraltar), and Mount Thera (re-used Krakatoa). They appear in their historic location in the Historical map. The randomized map uses some of the original Natural Wonders as well.
- Leader: Gilgamesh, a re-used Harun al-Rashid
- Unique Ability: Land of Two Rivers (Recieve free Great Scientist when you discover Writing. All units pay just 1 movement to enter any tile adjacent to a river.)
- Unique Unit(s): Phalanx (replaces Spearman)
- Unique Building: Ziggurat (replaces Temple)
- Capital: Ur