Thumb up
1 Posts

Button Men» Forums » Reviews

Subject: User Review rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Tim Deagan
United States
flag msg tools
Hello, my name is RevTim and I am a dice-o-holic.
{Audience response- "Hello, RevTim!"}

Many of my generation (I'm in my 40s early 40s) acquired addictions to mind altering substances in the 1970s. Alas, I have never shaken mine. I don't know if it was a d4 or a d20, but one toss of that first polyhedral and I've been hooked for life. The platonic solids aren't enough. d10's are like candy. No, I've got to have d16s, d100s, I've even found myself rolling those wierd faceted cylindricals.

I've trolled the world of RPGs, searching for strange saving throws to justify my obsession. I own multiple sets of dice in matching colors so that everyone can roll at the same time. I've been caught rolling dice in meetings at work to make up fudge factors for estimates. Nothing would truly exercise the full power of these mighty random engines. Until....Button Men.

Button Men, by Cheapass Games (Cheapass Games Double-Secret Website: rings a pure tone in the dice-lover's heart. It's all about dice. True, it has a thin, ever so tasty drizzle of theme sauce poured ligthly in a squiggle across the top. But that's just delightful presentation.

A Button Men character has a picture and a name, but really, it's a set of dice. A Button Men character (which is, in fact, sold as a button) can be, and usually is, worn pinned to the player's clothes. A pleasant affectation. The characters, pins, names and images make no difference whatsoever to the game and are enticing, wonderful and fun,.

Dice, baby! Dice with powers! Button Men is head to head combat with dice. No campaigns, no narrative (unless you just plain make one up and I often do,) no board. It's fast, it takes almost no time to learn and it's addictive. While multi-player variants exist, it's fundamentally a two person game. When more want to play, the game is fast enough that mini-tournaments work great.

It uses lots of dice. Colored sets of dice work best of all. Each Button Men character generally has between 4 and 7 dice of various sizes. Some of those are usually 'Swing' dice that allow a player to choose a die from a range of sizes (4-20, 6-20, and so on.) Both players roll their dice at the same time and the character with the lowest number showing goes first (in case of a tie, the first two, or three, or however many it takes.) The players take turns attacking. There are two basic attacks that almost all Button Men characters can make; Power and Skill. A Power attack works if the value on one of your dice is equal to or larger than one of your opponent's dice. A Skill attack works if a set of your dice add up to exactly one of your opponent's dice. A character may have dice that possess special powers or attacks, e.g. a Speed attack in which one of your dice can capture any set of your opponent's dice that add up to it's value, or Focus dice that are allowed to be reduced in value to allow the posessor to go first. When an attack is successful, the victor captures (removes from play) the victim die or dice and re-rolls the triumphant die or dice involved in the attack. The round ends when no one has any more attacks to make. Scoring consists of points awarded for every 'side' you have captured (20 for a d20, 4 for a d4, etc.) and half the number of sides you still have in play (10 for a d20, etc.) Three rounds make up a match.

I'm not writing this as a alternate rules listing. There are dozens of special dice powers that folks have thought up. Try or (this site will even let you play on-line.) I'm writing this to convey how much fun the game is. Thinking pays off with higher win ratios, but the fickle muse of randomness extracts her due. This game is apealling to a wide range of players. Long dense loving missives by math geeks have been posted on-line about the deep statistical significance of the various Swing dice choices. My six year old piles on the d20s and proceeds to smack-down his old man. I fondle dice and win and lose and enjoy. There is a surprising amount of strategy based on the shifting odds of dice mix and attack powers. The game fits in purse, pocket or glove compartment and can be played almost anywhere.

It is, in fact, a game you can play without ever paying it's creators a dime. Nevertheless, the cost is so low it can be often be found in dimes around the house and is good value for the money. A pack of two Button Men characters (with typically excellent art) is MSRP'd at $4.50USD and can be found from time to time as low as $1.00USD. As mentioned above, you can play it on-line for free. There's even a version out for Nokia phones. Cheapass Games licenses the creation of Button Men fairly liberally, so a number of other small game houses are creating Button Men for the characters from their games.

I sleep peacefully now, knowing that my dice get plenty of exercise. Sure, I find myself at the local dice dealer a little too often to get more matched color sets, or a couple of extra red d20s. Okay, I've got a LOT of those little Chessex plastic boxes piling up in the corner, they'll be useful someday. I admit it, I've moved into one of the very large tackleboxes to hold my precious dice collection. But now I have a reason! I'm not ashamed, I'm proud! I'm a dice-lover and I've got Button Men to justify it!

 Thumb up
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.