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Samurai Swords (previously called Shogun but renamed in 1995) was a board game released in 1986 by game maker Milton Bradley as part of their Gamemaster series. Set in feudal Japan, two to five players take control of a fictional warlord and pit their armies against one another in hopes of winning the title Shogun. In 1988, Shogun won the Origins Awards for Best Pre-20th Century Boardgame of 1987 and Best Graphic Presentation of a Boardgame of 1987. Each player controls a number of daimyos, or generals, who command an army. Other forces on the board represent militia and garrisons. Players also have the option of hiring ronin (mercenaries). There is also a ninja, principally used as an assassin against enemy daimyos. Units include samurai swordsmen and bowmen, and ashigaru spearmen and gunners. The play is similar to other games of this type. Income is derived from control of territories. Players attempt to destroy their rivals in battle and seize their territories. Some interesting features include the orchestration of armies in battle, the emphasis on generals (who gain levels, much like roleplaying game characters), and the unpredictable element of ronin placement. The game uses twelve-sided dice. The trays for units are designed to resemble Japanese fortresses, and each player receives a samurai sword (the purpose of which is to display the order in which players take their turns).  

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