SuperPower 2 is a real-time strategy wargame where players may join a game as any of the 193 nations recognized by the United Nations at the time of its development. All standard games start in the year 2001, with the player taking control of their nation. They then must work toward their predefined goals, such as achieving world peace, balancing your nation’s resources, or conquering the world, or, if they did not set any predefined goals, they have the opportunity to work toward developing their nation’s infrastructure, increasing their military strength through new unit designs and development, and encouraging the economic and cultural growth of their nation.
Any nation not controlled by a player is considered an AI nation. If there are predefined objectives, the player will attempt to reach this objective to win the game. The AI will have its own objectives, which they will try to reach as well. If and when the player and the AI have conflicting goals, it is up to the player, and occasionally the AI, to decide if diplomacy is the way to go, or if war is the answer to their problems.
After playing for a long period (the exact amount varies from game to game), a bug called Autarky sets in. The Autarky bug will always happen if the game is going on for a long period. It makes it nearly impossible for a nation to trade because everyone has a surplus of many of the items they trade. This causes nations to begin to lose money since they can no longer make money from trade.