Skulls of the Shogun's gameplay differs in several ways from most turn-based strategy games. The UI is very simple and straight-forward, and designed to be as easily accessible as possible. Commands are displayed in the corners of the screen. On the opposite side of the commands is a long scroll which shows statistics during an attack. It also displays the amount of rice, units, and the round.
There is no grid system for movement - players have direct analog control - and units can perform multiple tasks from haunting areas, to attacking enemies, to defending.
Skulls of the Shogun does, however, employ the traditional action point system common in many games. Everything players do costs, be it building, moving, attacking, haunting, or otherwise.
There are three structures in the game: rice paddies, shrines, and summoning areas. Rice paddies are where the player gets the main currency of the game, rice. Shrines are used to summon monks - units with special abilities and spells they can cast. And finally a summoning area where players can use rice to summon units.
Unlike other games, there's no rocks, papers, scissors category of unit types. A cavalry unit won't always beat infantry, and archers won't always beat cavalry. Player use is much more important.
Additionally, there are the Generals, which are the centerpiece of every game. If the General dies, the game ends. The General, however, is also a very capable unit, and every turn he's not used he becomes more powerful.
When a unit is killed, its skull drops, which another unit can devour. A single unit can eat up to three skulls, which boost abilities - the first skull boosts defense, the second skull boosts offense, and the third skull turns a unit into a completely new, more powerful and strongly upgraded one, in the form of a Demon.
For more detailed gameplay information check out the next few pages.