The most visible features of the game are its greatest oddities. KoDP contains no animation whatsoever, and for much of the time doesn't have graphics as much as illustrations or artwork. More importantly, its genre is unclassifiable and perhaps unprecedented - it has some elements of strategy, some of simulation and some of role-playing, though it offers no proper alter ego.
Gameplay is turn-based as a player controls the decisions of the seven-member clan ring leading the clan and thus all aspects of its life from clearing farmland to diplomacy. There is little micromanagement and the ring is allowed two decisions per season. In addition, random events drawn from a pool of hundreds happen several times a year requiring a decision from the ring. To succeed, a player must successfully juggle the various needs of survival and prospering, as well as manage the problems presented by the setting - a lack of food might be solvable by clearing more farmland, but when the forest responds by sending a talking fox to urge the cessation of this practice, a wrong choice could bring the clan hunters to war with their environment.
King of Dragon Pass is extremely far from being a mainstream game, and as such has attracted relatively few fans. However, as is common in this kind of cult classics, the few are exceptionally loyal, and unlike most games KoDP is proving to be virtually immune to loss of appeal due to aging.