Single-player has three game modes: Perfection, Domination, and creative. In all three modes, players play against bots of one of four difficulty levels: easy, normal, hard, or crazy. (In the creative mode, players may choose to have no opponents at all.)
The difficulty level determines how aggressive bots are and how much income bots receive from their capital. Bots are more aggressive on harder difficulties. For example, easy bots will almost always be at peace with your tribe until provoked, while crazy bots may be immediately hostile. The difficulty also determines how much income bot capitals provide at T0. Easy bots get one SPT (stars per turn), normal bots (and human players) get two, hard bots get three, and crazy bots get five.
"Show your skills on the global hiscore in the classic 30 turns game."-In-game description
The objective of the Perfection game mode is to obtain the highest score possible in 30 turns. Perfection is the original game mode of Polytopia for which the game is balanced. Playing against more opponents and against a higher difficulty bot raises the difficulty bonus applied to the player's final score. During the 30 turns, the player has to balance developing their economic and military power to attain the highest score possible. In some ways, Perfection offers more freedom to players than Domination: In Perfection, there is no rating counting how many units the player has lost, and the game does not immediately end when all enemy tribes are defeated.
In Perfection, a score of 3,000 points with a certain tribe grants one star for that tribe; 10,000 points grants two; and 50,000 points grants three. A score of 100,000 grants a halo around the tribe's icon. Global high scores can be found under the High Score tab of the main menu. The leaderboard is reset every Monday.
The multiplayer counterpart of Perfection is the Glory game mode, where the first player to attain 10,000 points wins.
"Play until there is only one tribe left, with no time limit."-In-game description
The objective of the Domination game mode is to defeat all other enemy tribes within a certain turn limit (10 turns per enemy tribe) while losing as few units as possible. This game mode was released in update 1.2. The Domination rating is made of four equally weighted parts: Speed skills (destroying the enemy tribes within the time limit), battle skills (determined by how many enemy units are killed for every friendly unit lost), tribes destroyed (which percentage of the tribes the player and not other bots destroyed, i.e., captured the last city), and difficulty rating (25% for easy, 50% for normal, 75% for hard, and 100% for crazy).
In Domination, a rating of 20% with a certain tribe grants one star for that tribe; 70% grants two; and 95% grants three. A rating of 100% grants a halo around the tribe's icon.
The multiplayer counterpart of Domination is the Might game mode, where the win condition is capturing every tribe's capital.
"Set up your own game and play however you like."-In-game description
The creative game mode was introduced in the Moonrise update and allows players to customize the number of opponents, map type (amount of water), and map size (including the larger "Huge" 400-tile and "Massive" 900-tile map sizes). Within the creative game mode, players also choose to play either in the Perfection game mode with its 30 turn limit and scoring system, the Domination game mode with its rating system, or the endless Infinity game mode with no win condition.