Button Men

Button Men, a popular dice game played by two players, was invented by game designer James Ernest of the company Cheapass Games. It was released for the first time in the year 1999.

It is a very short game with one game generally taking around ten minutes to finish. Each player has to choose a pin-back button which would represent them in the game. The buttons are made of metal or plastic and are around 5 centimeters to 6.5 centimeters (2 inches to 2.5 inches) in diameter. There is a pin attached to the back of each button so that one can easily fasten it to clothing. The buttons are marked with the illustrations and names of the combatants (the "fighter" or "Button Man"). Each player assumes the role of one combatant. These buttons also specify the abilities (if any), size and number of dice the players will use in the game.

Button Men Photo

Button Men Gameplay

The game consists of several rounds. It begins with the players rolling their dice. Then both the players take turns and try to gain control of, capture or neutralize the dice of their opponent, depending on the current value of the dice. The first player who succeeds to win 3 rounds becomes the winner.

Set Up

To start the game, both the players choose a fighter and gather the dice required for playing. Players are not allowed to change their fighters while the game is running.

The Dice

At the beginning of each round, the players have several dice of different values. Following are the main dice used in this game:

Basic Dice: If a die represents a specific number, the player has to use a die representing the same value.

Swing Dice: Sometimes, a die may represent a specific letter (e.g. Mood Swing, Turbo Swing or Turbo Die). In these cases, the player has to choose a die that represents one integral size from upper limit through lower limit indicated:

R: 2-16

S: 6-20

T: 2-12

U: 8-30

V: 6-12

W: 4-12

X: 4-20

Y: 1-20

Z: 4-30

Option Dice: The option die represents two values that are separated from each other by a line. If a player gets an option die, he or she has to choose one value and collect the die representing that value.

Twin Dice: If a die represents 2 different numbers, printed in an oblong-shaped frame, the player has to use 2 dice that specify those values. These dice are used for rolling, targeting and scoring.

Special Dice

The Button Men has some special dice that can modify the general rules of the game. These dice are indicated in various ways. Most commonly, they are represented by a combination of a changed field color and a symbol. The special abilities of these dice include the following:

  • Armor
  • Auxiliary
  • Berserker
  • Chance
  • Constant
  • Deception
  • Evil
  • Fire
  • Focus
  • Game
  • Insult
  • Loaded
  • Mighty
  • Mood Swing
  • Morphing
  • Null
  • Ornery
  • Plasma
  • Poison
  • Queer
  • Rage
  • Rebound
  • Reserve
  • Shadow