Button Shy Games

Happy Meeple, a web browser based board game app provider, has announced their next game is Circle the Wagons by Button Shy Games. Released in 2017, Circle the Wagons by designers Steven AraminiDanny Devine and Paul Kluka, is one of Button Shy’s wallet games, packing a deep experience into an 18 card deck. The cards have 4 territories on one side and endgame goals on the back. 2 players take turns creating a town with 15 cards, trying to connect like territories, and meet the goals set forth on the remaining 3 cards. If a player skips the first available cards, they must give them to their opponent. Towns are scored after all 15 cards have been played. Happy Meeple, who previously created web browser versions of Lost Cities and Hanamikoji, has a contest going for Circle the Wagons – the first player to beat their top rated bot, Verboten, 3 times in a row wins a cash prize.

Button Shy Games has started a Kickstarter campaign for the latest in its Wallet Line of games, Sprawlopolis. Jason Tagmire’s Button Shy is known for amazingly engaging microgames, containing few cards, and finishing production in very short time. Sprawlopolis is a 1-4 player cooperative city building game with only 18 cards, wherein players take turns adding cards to the sprawling metropolis, completing roads and growing urban areas. The rules for each game are created by randomly flipping 3 cards, revealing the scoring goals. In addition, the three cards together give the total points needed that game to emerge victorious. But be careful, because the necessary roads require maintenance, eating away precious points.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Sprawlopolis continues through May 26, and the game is expected to deliver in 3 short months – August of 2018.

Another week, and another round of Kickstarters to deliver a pounding to your wallet.

First up is an expansion to an award winning game, and that is Beasts of Balance Battles.  Beasts of Balance is a hybrid game where you stack geometrically shaped animals on a platform, and those animals then appear in an app you run to play the game.  Throughout the game you will moving, combining, and stacking animals in an effort to have the highest score in the app by the end of the game.  This is because while you may just stack animals in real life, in the app each action has differing effects, making this dexterity game much more interesting.  What Battles adds to the game is cards that have effects that attack and remove your opponents animals.  There are also a volcano to contend with now and divine guardians that give you special abilities during the game.  So if you want to expand your Beast of Balance game, or jump into the game now, check out the Kickstarter.

Next up is a new tile placement and area control type game called Overworld.  This game aims to capitalize on the nostalgia of Super Nintendo era RPG games, evident in their choice of box design and the similarity of game pieces to quintessential RPG characters.  In this game you are slowing building out the map, and whenever you completely surround an empty square, that becomes a dungeon.  Who controls the dungeon is determined by who holds a majority in all orthogonal directions.  At the end of the game you will trace a route through all your dungeons and however many spaces it takes will be your final score, and most points is the winner.  One other things to mention about this project is the puzzle lock system they came up with for the tiles, essentially making it so that if the pieces fit together, it’s a legal placement of the tile, a nice innovation to help simplify the game.  So if you are interested, head on over to the Kickstarter page to check out this 16-bit themed game.

After that we have a family weight game called Pepper and Carrot, the Potion Contest.  Pepper and Carrot is a tile manipulation game in that each turn you will be using action cards on the table or in your hand to manipulate tiles on your board.  What you are trying to do with those tiles is get the right ingredients connected together to form one of the three recipes on the main board.  Be the first to complete all three recipes and you are the winner.  There are also additional game modes including solo mode and Chaosah mode, where one player plays as an old witch needing only to complete one recipe, but they are at a disadvantage to the other players.  Art is excellent and very light, making this a great looking game.  Check out the Kickstarter today.

Next we have the latest game from Victory Point Games, a deck builder with a board type game called Renegade.  This is a cooperative game where you are playing hackers, fighting against the tyranny of the SMCs (super massive computers) that have brought the world to the brink.  You will use cards to generate resources on the board, and with those resources you can perform various actions to combat the SMCs.  As you generate resources, if you have three of the same kind in a spot you can convert it into an installation, allowing you access to more and stronger abilities.  As with other deck builders there will be a hackers deck that allows you to buy upgraded cards with better resources and abilities.  Can you stop the machines?  Check out the Kickstarter page for more information and to pledge.

Now we get to the smallest of the Kickstarter offerings I will be talking about, and that is Twin Stars by Button Shy Games, part of their Wallet Series of game.  These are a pack of solo game scenarios featuring the same game system, which utilizes four dice, some tokens, and three cards.  The path to victory in each game is very different, but the core of the game is dice rolling to get combinations of symbols to activate abilities.  The choices in the game come from deciding which dice to re-roll, can you accept a bad symbol combination resulting in a penalty, and how will you assign the dice to get the best effect possible.  Some of the scenarios have been released in other Kickstarters like the Rule the World and Escape the Brig, but here you will be able to get everything in one spot, including some unreleased scenarios.  Add in potential stretch goals and you could have lots of solo gaming for not much money.  Check out the Kickstarter page, and you can pledge for just the cards, supplying your own tokens and dice, or go deluxe and get everything you need to play in one package.

Finally we come to the last project I will mention, and that is an expansion to Explorers of the North Sea called Rocks of Ruin.  Explorers of the North Sea is a viking exploration game where you are sailing around in your longships, raiding towns, picking up livestock, deliver the livestock, and building outposts.  There are lots of ways to score points in the game and it came with 48 tiles giving it a play time of about an hour.  Rocks of Ruin adds new things to the game in the form of a 5th player, 24 more tiles that increase the map size by 50%, more buildings, fortresses, and shipwrecks that you can salvage.  So if you like Explorers of the North Sea, this expansion will just give you more of what you love, with the option of adding another friend to the game.  Also being included in this Kickstarter is a mini expansion for Runesaga, adding a fifth player to that along with three runestones and three inscription tiles.  So if you are interested in these expansions, head on over to he Kickstarter page.

Button Shy Games has been making small games on Kickstarter for several years now (Pentaquark, Circle the Wagons), holding to a philosophy of making small print run, fun games. The company has just announced the Button Shy Select program, forgoing Kickstarter and selling their small games first to Patreon subscribers. Print runs are starting at only 250, which leaves only a few copies after the Patreon backers receive their games.

The first game in the Select line will be You Fool!, a 3-4 player social card game about making a human pyramid of clowns, while trying not to be the only one not in the stack.  You Fool! will sell to the Patreon subscribers until July 9, after which the remaining copies will sell directly through Button Shy.

You can read more about the Button Shy Select line, as well as You Fool!, on Button Shy’s website here.

We all know some roll and write games, Dice Stars, Can’t Stop Express, OctoDice, and more, each with minimal theme and lots of dice throwing.  Well Nevermore Games thought that was a waste, and so they teamed up with Jason Tagmire of Button Shy Games to launch The Spiel Press.  What they hope to do with this new label is produce premium roll and write games that will have a lot more theme and more replay value with legacy type elements.  Each book, yes book, will have dozens of pages of full color game sheets to play on, and when you finish playing the game you can move to another page to play again.  But in a legacy type fashion, the games before will affect the games after, making changes to the play area and giving you a new experience.  In the first book, Blood Royals, this means the political map of the game will change as different factions fight.  In the second book, Star Maps, this means the map you play on will change and evolve as you explore the galaxy.

Both of these sounds like great ideas and hopefully the execution is as high quality as they are making it sound.  You can head over to The Spiel Press’s introduction page to read more about it, and then look forward to future Kickstarters for these books coming this summer.

We reported previously that Button Shy Games was going to condense their wallet game series into quarterly Kickstarters, and so the Kickstarter for Q1 of 2017 has launched.  In this Kickstarter you will find Avignon: Pilgrimage, Turbo Drift, and Find Your Seats. Avignon: Pilgrimage is an expansion to the previous Avignon game, as well as being stand alone, where you are trying to attract three people into your congregation.  You will be moving these people through card play of the different characters in the game with this version having all different characters to the original.  Turbo Drift is the racing card game where you are laying down track and moving along it, then at some point you have to risk it all and “go turbo” to zoom down the track, hopefully crossing the finish line and not crashing.  Last is Find Your Seats, a set collection type game where you are drafting guests to seat at your tables in the best way possible.  As you seat guests they could turn cards face down or back face up.  At the end of the round you will score points based on your seating arrangement, the one with the most points wins the round, win two rounds and you win the game.

The Kickstarter is off to a great start with it already past it’s funding goal, having options to pledge for individual games, bundles, or even both Avignon games and their promos.  Head on over to the campaign page to check it out and pledge for some of these games.

Button Shy Games has taken it upon themselves to be your monthly pocket game supplier, both from Kickstarter and from their monthly micro game subscription service.  So in the new year they are already poised to launch the Kickstarter campaign for their first three games, Avignon: Pilgrimage, Turbo Drift, and Find Your Seats.

Avignon: Pilgrimage is a stand alone expansion for the original game, Avignon: A Clash of Popes, and is a tug of war style game where you are trying to bring three people into your congregation.  This version of the game will contain all new characters with new abilities, and there will be enough included to play the game without the base set.  Gameplay itself is easy, pick a card to activate and follow it’s actions either pushing cards away from you are pulling them in, first to have three cards on their side is the winner.

Turbo Drift is a racing game where you will be drafting cards from a display in order to build your track to victory!  Playing the game is easy as you pick up cards in order to build your track, moving along as you play them in order to reach the goal.  But you and the other players have a special ability, you can ‘Go Turbo!’, and zoom down all the cards instead of just a few at a time, the down side is that you can crash if you do this at the wrong time.  First one across the finish line is the winner!

Last is Find Your Seats, a set collection type game where you are trying to draft the best hand of guests for you to sit next to.  Not much else is said about it but I imagine the cards all play off each other so while some guests together will get positive points, having others nearby my cancel that out or go negative.  Draft the best hand to win the round, win the most rounds to win the game.

Button Shy Games wanted to make this year special by releasing a new wallet game ever month on Kickstarter, and so with this 12th Kickstarter this year they have accomplished just that.  The latest game is a speed recognition game called Hot Dogs, and it’s all about building the best hot dogs.  On a turn there will be a head chef who will pick up a recipe card, they will then read out the recipe and slap the card down anywhere on the table.  It’s up to the rest of the chefs to organize their hand of ingredient cards, which are double sided with two ingredients per side, into the order specified on the recipe card and then slap it down at the front of the card.  Once everyone has done this the last person to place their cards takes them back as penalty for being last, and then from the bottom up people are checked to see who matched the recipe the quickest and the best.  The winner gets the recipe card, which also has a special requirement on it that you have to do each turn for the rest of the round, like turn around twice before the recipe card is read.  If you manage to win the turn while holding a recipe card you get a point and the round is over, head chef passes to the next player and another round begins.  The game ends when someone scores three points, thus winning the game, or when everyone has been head chef, then it is whoever has the most points is the winner.

Art for this game is goofy as all the hot dogs are pictures of dogs in hot dog buns with toppings on them, so the art reflects the type of game it is, a goofy party like game.  Also interesting is that in this Kickstarter you are able to pledge for ALL of the other games in the wallet series in one shot, so if you missed a couple, check out the campaign page.  They are almost into their final 48 as of this writing, so not much time is left for you to get your copy.


Button Shy Games continues to expand their micro game library with another entry, this time a 4X game called Universal Rule.  In this game there are 17 planet cards, you will use these cards in several ways to explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate.  Exploring is easy and just involves you drawing a card from the deck, to expand you just play a planet from your hand, paying the cost of the planet in credits.  Exploit has you collecting the income from each of your planets, and exterminate has you using planets you have played down and in your hand to attack other players.  While this sounds easy, there are some wrinkles in doing these actions that make this game unique.  First is that you can follow any player’s action, but the cost for following that action is set by the active player, meaning the cost will vary from turn to turn.  Another interesting aspect is that everyone is involved when an attack happens, where other players not involved can play planet cards as fleet assistance on either the attacker or defender.  Then once all the dust settlers, they will reap rewards/penalties based on who they sided with and who was the victor.  First person to a set number of VPs is the winner.

The game looks good, and the multi-use cards are a great touch to the game, allowing for a small set of cards to be used lots of different ways.  As usual there are some upgrade packs you can get which will include trackers for credits and even alien cards that will inhabit certain planets.  Even if you get both upgrades, the price for this game is still only $16, a steal for a game promising 30-45 minutes of fun for 3-5 players.  Head over to the campaign page to pledge for your own copy.


Button Shy Games continues to expand it’s wallet series of games with it’s latest entry, a two player worker placement style game called Ahead in the Clouds.

The citizens of the Empacta skies long for the days where everyone, not just the wealthy, can ditch their masks and breathe the precious air that they call their home. As an industrialist, you will collect dust particles from the air and water vapor from the clouds to convert to hydrogen and oxygen.

By collecting, converting and selling these precious resources, you can provide your family with the breathing room that you need to keep your business afloat and go home at night knowing you made a difference to the world with fresh air.


With this backdrop you will take various actions in this game by collecting resources, water and rock, and converting them into other resources, Oxygen and Hydrogen, to fulfill contracts.  The more contracts you fulfill the better off you will be, and in the end the one with the most contracts will be the winner.  But plan wisely, because every so often the blimps will come by to tax you for some resources, and they don’t care if you have enough or not because they will take what they need.  After 8 rounds of the game the winner is determined based on who has fulfilled more contracts.

The game looks great and has some innovative ideas on how to do worker placement with the constantly changing and rearranging “board”.  Cost for the base game is only $10, with a $13 pledge level to include tokens and character cards to bring some asymmetry to the game.  If this sounds like something you would like then head on over to the campaign page to pledge for your copy today.