The goal of Bushido is to be the first to acquire fifty honor points or to have the most honor after twelve rounds, at which point the game ends. Player acquire honor either by acting as the Daimyo and holding territory or by conquering or defending territory in the role of Samurai or Bushi.
What's different about Bushido from other role-switching games is that the roles don't rotate each round. Instead whoever is the current Daimyo assigns the remaining roles to the other players. With three players, the other two players are Samurai and Bushi; with four players, you add the Sensei; and with five, you have the Hatamoto. As Daimyo, your chosen Samurai will be in charge of your troops and will use them against the player you name as Bushi in order to acquire honor points by the end of the turn.
The Daimyo earns points and other benefits by claiming the territory conquered by his Samurai, but the Samurai acts independently so the Daimyo can't always get what he wants. The game includes six different type of provinces, such as temples that provide 10 honor, 1 rice and 1 katana; ricefields (2 honor, 8 rice and 0 katana) and towns (8 honor, 2 rice and 2 katana). Rice helps you get more troops into the game, while katana are used in battle; these resources, along with honor points and the turn count, are tracked on a separate resource board.