In Zoned Out, players take on the role of a developer trying to build a thriving metropolis. To win, players will need to use the proper combination of residential, commercial and industrial development as well as downtown construction to earn the most points.
On their turn, a player chooses one of the square city cards from their hand and adds it to the city, overlapping at least one existing square. They will then move their planner to one of the four squares of the new card. If they left the zone they were previously in, they score points for the size of that zone with additional bonuses for connected parks and mansions and penalties for connected parking lots and abandoned houses. Zoning out also helps construct one of the city's four downtown towers, which award points at the end of the game based on who contributed to each of them the most.
Mastering Zoned Out means good timing and clever card placement. In the game's advanced mode, players also compete to gain points from a variety of public and private objectives for the city.