빠른 게임 모드에서는 사용자가 정원의 일부에 위에서 내려다보는 화면상의 개미 사회를 설립한다. 컴퓨터는 같은 크기의 붉은개미 사회를 자동으로 설립한다. 지하 개미 사회는 측면 시점에서 묘사된다. 사용자는 각각의 개미들을 통제할 수 있다. 이때 개미들은 노랗게 나타난다. And may switch control to a different ant at any time by either double-clicking the desired ant or choosing Exchange from the Yellow Ant menu and clicking on it. A little known fact is that the spider in the game can also be controlled by using the Exchange method. The player's yellow ant may influence the behavior of other black ants by leaving [[pheromone]] trails to destinations such as food and enemy ant colonies and can control the other ants in a limited way (by ordering a certain number to follow it, for instance). The quick game is won or lost when either the red or black colony in said patch is defeated.
The player's yellow ant may pick up food and pebbles, engage in [[trophallaxis]] (by receiving [[Regurgitation (digestion)|regurgitated]] food from friendly ants), and attack enemy ants. Groups of ants (or yellow ant with his recruits) may attack and kill bigger enemies like [[spider]]s, [[caterpillar]]s, and [[antlion]]s. Natural hazards include human footsteps, electrical outlets, bugspray, spiders, [[antlion]]s, [[lawnmower]]s, and [[rain]], which washes away pheromone trails and can flood the bottom of ant nests.
In the Full Game, the player begins with an ant colony in an overhead view, much like the Quick Game. The region of this overhead view is a single square of a map containing a yard and house. The player spreads to other areas by producing young queens and drones to mate with each other. The full game is lost when the black colonies are eliminated and won when the red colonies are eliminated and the humans are driven out of the house.
The Experimental Game is similar to the Quick Game, except the player can also control red ants, spiders and has access to a set of experimental tools. These tools allow the player to place pheromone trails, maze walls, rocks, ants, pesticides and food.
The boxed game also comes with a thoroughly researched instruction manual, which not only covers game mechanics, but also contains a large amount of information regarding ants and ant societies.
There are a variety of creatures in ''SimAnt'' such as [[spider]]s, [[antlion]]s, [[caterpillar]]s, [[woodlouse|pillbugs]], [[bird]]s, [[Cockroach|roach]]es, [[fly|flies]], and even humans. The roaches and flies can only be found inside the house. The spider, caterpillars, and the antlions can all be killed by sufficiently large swarms. Dead spiders and caterpillars will eventually turn into food. They will eventually be replaced. Dead antlions are not replaced.
The ants' caste system in the game is simple. Workers normally make up most of the colony and their jobs are to gather food, dig out the nest, and care for eggs, larvae, and the queen. They also help defend the nest. Soldiers are stronger than workers, and better at fighting other ants; they can do most of the same jobs as workers but need more food and can't care for eggs and larvae. The queen ant only has to lay eggs and is the most important ant. In the PC version, 20 queens can be placed in a colony using a cheat (type "qeen"). New queens and males (drones) have wings and their only jobs are to mate and make new colonies.