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Button Men Review

Quick Look:

Designer: James Ernest
Artists:  Nate Taylor (II), Cheyenne Wright
Publisher: Cheapass Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2
Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 5-10 Minutes

Photos By: Andrew Nebrich Photography

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

“You accomplish more with a smile, a handshake, and a gun than you do with just a smile and a handshake.”
- Al Capone

From the publisher:

In Button Men, each player selects a single character card, then uses the dice depicted on that character's card to try to capture dice owned by another player. You score points based on the size of the dice you capture (and keep), and the player with the most points wins.

Button Men: Beat People Up is a new version of Button Men that depicts characters on cards instead of stickpin buttons, but the basic gameplay is the same, and characters from the different releases can still fight one another.

This game is set in Fight City, a 1950s gangster town somewhere on the Gulf Coast. The Fight City set is divided into four factions, each with a different style of play. 


Button Men has been around for a long time, and in the original version, the characters were on actual buttons and not cards as they are now (hence the name). There have also been tons of unofficial buttons--everything from presidential candidates to game of thrones characters, all made by fans. Let's dig into what has made this game stick around for twenty years. Let's find out if this game razzed my berries.


Rules and Setup:
Each player chooses one character card and grabs the corresponding dice for that card. There are four factions within the city, and choosing different characters results in different potential power-ups. Characters from Downtown use normal dice only. Characters from The West Side have Shadow dice, which make attacks upside-down. Those from the Delta region use Poison dice, which are worth negative points. And characters from the Hill ("Uptown") have Rush dice, which give those characters more chances to make the first move.


Dice Rolling
Variable Player Powers

Game Play:
At the start of the game each player rolls their dice, then the player with the lowest die value goes first.

On a turn, you can capture one of the opponent's dice in one of two ways:

Have one die with a value equal to or higher than the value of the captured die, take the die, then re-roll the die used to make the capture.

Sum the values of multiple dice to equal the value of the captured die; reroll all of the dice used to make the capture.

If you can't capture a die on your turn, you pass. The game ends once no one can capture any more dice. A player's score is the sum of the sides of the dice they captured, plus half the sum of the sides of dice they own that weren't captured. Highest score wins.

Artwork and Components:
The artwork fits the overall era in which the game is set in. Some characters you might debate wether that style was around in the fifties, but the majority are spot on. And, there are a bunch of characters to help you serve up a knuckle sandwich. Oh, and there are dice--lots and lots of dice.

The Good:
Despite the quick play, there is a strategy to the game. It's a tough decision on how many dice you want to use in order to capture your opponent's dice. And you get a crazy amount of dice.

The Bad:
Like with any dice game, some bad rolls are bogus but don't get frosted, cool cat.

Final Thoughts:
This game is a gas. The addition of the power-ups adds an extra layer from the original game. My favorite way to play it is a character draft. We draw 10 cards and place them face up and take turns picking our teams, best of five. An excellent filler that can be played tournament-style. Word from the bird.

Players Who Like:
Take-that, dice manipulation, beating people up.

Check out Button Men on:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/226312/button-men-beat-people   https://cheapass.com/free-games/button-men/   https://www.facebook.com/buttonmen/   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2NqvPEbiYc      

James Freeman - Reviewer

James is a child of the 80's he grew playing D&D and Stratego. He currently owns more games than his understanding wife of 20+ years thinks he should. James lives in Buffalo, New York with his previously mentioned wife, 2 teenage kids and one Havanese dog. Also, if someone outside of Buffalo says they serve buffalo wings, they are lying.

See James's reviews HERE.
Button Men Review Button Men Review Reviewed by James Freeman on February 21, 2019 Rating: 5

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