Lord Monarch is an RTS game in which the player assumes one side of a conflict and must overpower the other sides using tactics and diplomacy. The player can establish alliances with other computer sides in order to get an edge, though this alliance dissolves as soon as the player attacks that particular CPU side. The player must conquer the entire map within a strict time limit, often making these temporary alliances a necessity. The player is represented on the map as a special leader character, who acts like leader characters from strategy games like Fire Emblem in that they are generally stronger than most of their regular units, can perform special tasks unique to them and the game will end if they are defeated.
The game is the seventh main entry of the Dragon Slayer franchise. Like Sorcerian before it, the name "Dragon Slayer" is not included in the title.
In the enhanced Super Famicom version, the player can switch the theme from generic medieval fantasy to a whole selection of other settings such as futuristic sci-fi, the Three Kingdoms Era of Ancient China, a fairytale theme and even a setting that re-imagines the game as a territory war between competing fast food chains. This Super Famicom version was one of a handful of games to support the SNES Mouse peripheral. The game was later made accessible through the Satellaview broadcast system, where it is known as BS Lord Monarch.