Get Ready to Rumble with the New Button Men

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Fans of dice-rolling combat action will be getting a blast from the past when a new version of Button Men is released this October. Known for its simple ruleset and quick play, Button Men has a devoted following and was recently put up on Kickstarter to bring dice fighting back to the masses.

“We have wanted to find a more retail-friendly version of Button Men almost since the beginning,” creator James Ernest said. “But we were never sure what format was best. Using Kickstarter helps us gauge the viability of the new format, and fans can give us their input on the details before we take the game to press.”

Button Men is receiving a makeover as Button Men: Beat People Up. Cheapass Games published the original in 1999, which won two Origins awards for Best Abstract Board Game and Best Graphic Presentation of a Board Game. The game’s characters were printed on the back of buttons and a set of polyhedral dice was used to propel the action.

Players roll dice as determined by their characters in an attempt to capture their opponent’s dice. Points are scored based on captured dice and the player with the most points win and games normally last between 5-10 minutes.

Button Men: Beat People Up is set in a 1950s town called Fight City, which is divided into four factions. Each faction uses different dice for combat. Characters from Downtown use normal dice, while Delta characters use poison dice (negative points). Likewise, West-Side characters use Shadow dice, which make attacks upside down, while those from the Hill are still being developed.

Over 300 characters were created for the original Button Men and its expansions. The new Button Men: Beat People Up will be compatible with all previous characters.

Button Men has been through many versions, including virtual characters and print-on-demand trading cards,” Ernest said. “Actually, before it was Button Men, the game was designed to go on coasters at a gaming-themed restaurant!”

The Kickstarter campaign has already been funded with two weeks remaining. The Button Men: Beat People Up starter set will contain 48 characters printed on trading cards instead of the original buttons. “There was no groundswell pushing us toward trading cards,” Ernest said, “but it seemed like the best way for us to bring new players into the game.”

Also included in the starter set are 30 dice in various sizes: d4, d6, d8, d10, and d20, which allows players to use any combination of two characters. Players who already own enough dice have the option of purchasing just the character cards at a discounted price. Backers will also have the option of buying a “funvelope,” which includes eight additional character cards and other freebies.

Ernest and company hope that this new starter set can be used to launch a new generation of Button Men players.

“Once the starter set exists,” he said, “we can make expansion packs of 12 or 15 character cards, and sell them cheaper than a pack of 2 buttons.”

The Kickstarter for Cheapass Games’ Button Men: Beat People Up wraps up on May 26.

Are you ready to rumble with the new edition of Button Men? Tell us in the comments!

Image Credits: Cheapass Games

Ruel Gaviola is a writer and educator based in Southern California. He loves board games, books, cooking, traveling, date nights with his wife, and Star Wars. He reviews games and reports news for and his name rhymes with Superman’s Kryptonian name. Follow him on Twitter.

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