Button Men: Diceland: Deep White Sea
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A mean little dice game for two players, you need: one button for each player (included), and several polyhedral dice.
This is an amazingly complex strategy game for such a simple concept. My only disappointment is that is that there havent been any new buttons made in awhile. The game goes very quickly (a best of five takes 5 min) and the art work is good. Different sets introduce dice with special rules, adding to the intrigue. You are just getting a button with some numbers on it, and you have to buy the dice separately, but it is well worth it.
the rules to this game take a little getting used to, but the fact that if you were to run into someone else wearing a button, and you both had a bunch of dice, you could battle each other to the death, is an intriguing concept. the sad thing is, i never run into anyone else wearing a button. *sigh*
Button Men: Winner of the Origins award for best abstract board game. That's all well and good, but as James Ernest himself said when accepting the award, 'Where's the board?'
In all honesty, despite how much I enjoy Button Men, it is one of the few Cheapass products which I don't consider to be worth the money paid. The reasoning is simple: for about $4.00 you're getting 10 numbers and a picture. The buttons are not required to play. In fact, in tournaments, people often use Button Men which they don't actually own. The real appeal is that, when you buy the buttons, you (presumably) wear them, advertising to the world, 'I play Button Men! Challenge me, those who would dare!'
I like the game, though, and it has a subtle but complex system of probability which makes it both strategic and random. The rules and statistics for each button are available freely on the net over at the official 'Beat People Up' site (URL: http://www.cheapass.com/bpu ), so the only real reasons to actually buy the buttons are 1) To support James Ernest, and 2) To get and wear the beautiful artwork. And it is incredible artwork.