Throw Down and Roll the Dice in Button Men: Beat People Up | Casual Game Revolution

Throw Down and Roll the Dice in Button Men: Beat People Up

Button Men: Beat People Up

Roll your dice, perform attacks, and try to capture your opponent’s dice in this rough and ready, fast-playing dice game.

Published by Cheapass Games and designed by James Ernest, Button Men has a 1950's gangster theme, and features forty-eight unique characters.


In this two-player game, both players start the game by choosing a character. Each character comes with its own unique combination of five dice. The dice range from four-sided to twenty-sided. Each character will also allow you to choose which sized dice at least one of these will be; these are called the swing dice. Some characters have more than one swing die, but they must be the same size as each other. Players take the necessary dice, roll them, and then are ready to start the round.

The player with the lowest rolled number gets to go first. On your turn, you must either perform a power attack or a skill attack. If you have no legal move, you must pass. But if you can make an attack you must make it.

A power attack allows you to use one of your dice to capture one of your opponent’s dice, so long as the value of your die is equal to or higher than the die you are a capturing. A skill attack allows you to use two or more of your dice to capture an opponent’s die whose value is exactly equal to the combined value of the dice you are using. You remove the captured die from play and place it next to you. You then reroll any dice you used in your attack.

The round ends once both players have passed in a row. Each die you have captured is worth the number of sides it has. Each of your own dice that have not been captured is worth points equal to half the number of sides it has. Players count up their points and the player with the most points wins the round. The loser may swap out their swing dice for another size and players take back their captured dice. You’re now ready for another round. The first player to win three rounds wins the game.

There are additional characters that come with unique types of dice, such as poison dice which are worth negative points at the end of the round, or shadow dice which cannot make power attacks but instead can capture a die whose number is equal to or greater than its own result, so long as the captured die’s value is not higher than the number of sides the shadow die has.

Button Men: Beat People Up Components


Button Men has a simple ruleset but its gameplay is quite engaging. The character cards all list the attack types you can make, any special dice you have and how they work, so it’s quite easy to learn — but there’s some clever math at the heart of the mechanics. Choosing which attacks are best to make and which die is best to capture based on probability, is quite tricky. Choosing your swing dice can also be important. You can choose smaller dice in an attempt to go first, a useful advantage, but dice with more sides can also be more difficult for your opponent to capture.

While there is that math and probability element, there is still a lot of luck with the dice rolling to balance the game out. The game also goes by so quickly that even if you do have a string of bad luck or make a bad choice, you’ll soon be ready to play again.

It would be nice if there were some tokens to track the number of rounds each player has won, but you can make do with the extra character cards, and otherwise the production of the game is quite good. There are a really impressive number of characters included in the game, all with great, thematic artwork, and a fun bio for each one.

The number of characters offers a lot of replay value, as does the really impressive number of variations included in the rules — from ways to play with more people to a mode in which players draft teams of characters and swap them out after losing a fight. The game also encourages you to bring more dice to the game to increase player count or even different sides of dice (so long as they do not have more than twenty sides) which is a fun way to customize the game.

If you like rolling dice but want to combine that with a game that requires a bit of thinking and strategizing on odds, button men is a clever combination of math and luck.

Pros: Replay value, artwork, speed

Cons: Nothing included to track rounds

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.