Nobunaga's Ambition II is the Koei update to its older game, Nobunaga's Ambition. The setting is feudal Japan of the 16th Century, a period when ruthless warlords - daimyos - contended with each other for dominance. Ultimately, the winner in this struggle became Shogun, and held actual power in the islands, while being nominally subject to the Emperor.
The game casts you as one of those daimyos and permits you to determine if you are the one who will shape the map by wresting control into your own hands. There are two scenarios. The first begins in 1560 AD as the most famous, or infamous, daimyos began to attract notice. There are 28 of them included in the scenario. The second scenario follows the rise of Nobunaga Kitsuboshi in 1582 to power and allows you to play either as Nobunaga or as one of his chief allies or rivals. Your objective is to unify Japan under your rule in either case. If you fail through death on the battlefield, at the hands of a ninja, or through natural causes, you can choose a successor and play on.
Functionally, your first job is to prosper the lands under your control through good agricultural management practices. Good luck will also help, since disasters will occur from time to time.
Nobunaga's Ambition 2 improves on its predecessor by including some 400 historical samurai in the game, providing you with generals for your troops and governors for your conquered fief (province).
Each samurai is characterized by statistics: Age, Rank, Body Points, War, Politics, Ambition, Charisma, and Loyalty. There are also additional attributes for specific military purposes: Skill, Arms Level, and Unit Type. Some of these attributes may be improved through training (i.e. war, politics, and skill), rewards (i.e. loyalty), or through merchants (i.e. arms level).
Nobunaga's Ambition 2 is a turn-based game, with each turn representing one month. Certain events take place annually such as tax collecting (March) and rice harvest (September), while other events, such as invading neighbors, follows your time table.
The game uses an initiative system to determine what actions can be completed in a particular month. Each daimyo and samurai has a stock of "Body Points" that represent the attention he can afford to spend on an action. Each action has a cost in Body Points for the character executing it, and if he does not have the point’s necessary, he may not perform it. Body Points are refreshed a little each month. The level of Body Points refreshed per month is depends on the level of his Political skill. Intensive operations will deplete Body Points and then require turns of inaction to stock up again, so timing actions to coincide with Body Point availability is an extra wrinkle to the management of resources.