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Nobunaga'a Ambition is largely a menu driven game. As such, you do not directly control the action with your control pad, rather, you input commands or make selections, and the result is displayed. There are a few different ways in which you can use the control pad to enter choices.

Yes/No or similar choice between two options
To choose between yes or no or two other options, you simply press Left dpad to select "Yes" or the first available option, or press Right dpad to select "No" or the second available option.
Selection menu
When choosing among more than two options, you will be presented with a list of choices. Press Up dpad and Down dpad to move the selection cursor to your desired choice, and press A button to enter your selection.
Single or double digit numbers
When entering a single digit number, press Up dpad and Down dpad to change the value of the number, and press A button to enter your selection. If you wish to enter a two digit number, press Up dpad and Down dpad to enter the tens digits, then press Right dpad to move over and begin entering the ones digit. You may push Left dpad to return to the tens digit and make alterations before pressing A button to enter your selection.

If you are entering a series of selections, you may press B button to go back to the previous entry and change your original selection. Once you complete a series of selections, your choices are locked in and cannot be undone.

Starting a new game[edit]

Before a new game begins, you must make a series of selections that dictate the flow and difficulty of the game. The following list will walk you through the steps taken to set up a new game.

New Game / Load Data
Press Left dpad if you wish to begin a new game, or press Right dpad if you wish to resume the progress of a previously saved game.
Scenario Select
Choose either a battle between the 17 central fiefs of Japan, or all 50 fiefs across the nation. Understand that a 50 fief game will take considerably longer to complete and is not recommended for new players.
View non-player battles
This option allows you to choose whether or not you wish to observe battles taking place between two computer-controlled opponents. Press Left dpad if you wish to watch them, or press Right dpad if you do not. Ordinarily, this options is not recommended as it slows the progress of the game down tremendously; however, players who wish to improve their strategy may want to observe how the computer deals with particular situations.
Number of players
The game actually allows for up to eight people to play together, with each player taking control of a different daimyo. Each player's turn is taken using the first control pad, while two daimyos who battle each other use separate controllers. In some versions, this value may actually be set to 0 to allow an entirely computer-controlled game to take place.
Selecting a fief
Next, you must select the fief where you wish to begin your campaign. In the 17 fief game, you may choose only among the 17 fiefs available on a small portion of the map; in the 50 fief game, you will be able to choose any of the fiefs available across many sections of the map of Japan. When entering a two digit number, don't forget to use Left dpad and Right dpad to alternate between digits, and use Up dpad and Down dpad to change the value.
Setting your daimyo's abilities
The five attributes that define your daimyo are now selected in a random roulette-type manner. These attributes are described in detail below. For each attribute, a random number will continue to change rapidly until you press A button. Whatever number was showing when you press A will become that attribute's score, and random number will appear by the next attribute. You must continue to do this until all five attributes have been assigned a value. The random values can range between 60 and 110. After all five values have been assigned, you have the final option to keep the assignments, or start back over with the first attribute.
Difficulty level
Finally, you must choose one of five difficulty levels. Level 1 is the easiest, while level 5 is the hardest. Level 1 is considered quite difficult to begin with, while level 5 is so difficult that it's possible to lose the game before you even have the opportunity to take your first turn.
Final confirmation
Before a new game can begin, you must confirm that all of your selections are to your liking. If you are ready to begin, press Left dpad to select yes. If there is any setting that you are unhappy with, press Right dpad to select no, and you will be taken back to the beginning of the process.

Daimyo Attributes[edit]

At the beginning of the game, each of these five attributes is assigned a number between 30 and 110. Throughout the game, these values will rise and fall depending on the outcome of various actions and situations. The highest value possible for any attribute is 210.

Health determines how likely your daimyo is to become ill. If your daimyo is sick, he may not issue certain commands such as going to war, so it's important to keep a daimyo's health as high as possible. Health decreases with the coming of each spring, as well as any time a plague visits your fief. It's possible to increase health by selecting the Rest command. Once your daimyo's health reaches zero, he will die.
A daimyo's drive is an indication of how motivated he is in achieving the goal of uniting Japan. Drive increases with each successful battle.
The luck of a daimyo helps to predict — but not determine — how successful certain actions will be. Luck will influence odds of things happening in the game, and not always for the better. Luck decreases whenever a marriage proposal is turned down, but it will also fluctuate on its own throughout the game.
A charming daimyo is a more popular daimyo. When charm is high, a daimyo can command greater loyalty of his peasants and soldiers. You will also be more successful at bribery when you are more charming. Your charm will increase whenever you win a battle, but you can also increase it by giving rice and / or gold to your subjects.
When a daimyo's IQ is higher, many of his commands will be more effective. IQ will rise and fall with the success or failure of your battles respectively.

A sixth attribute — Age — is set depending upon the daimyo that you choose in the beginning of the game. It will increase by one year every spring. All daimyos can die of old age, but a higher health attribute will allow a daimyo to live longer.