Button Men is a free Print&Play game for 2 players. Each player chooses a character card, and the polyhedral dice associated with that character, and takes turns trying to capture their opponent's dice. There are over 200 characters created for it. Dice with more sides can capture opponent's dice more easily, but they are worth more to your opponents when they are captured. Some analysis has been done with regard to strategy, but have the clearly best and worst character cards emerged?

  • 2
    Are you even certain that there are clearly best and/or worse characters? This feels like a textbook setting for a non-transitive game ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontransitive_game ), and while some buttons surely dominate others, I suspect this is still going to turn out akin to 'which is best: rock, paper, or scissors?'... Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 18:39
  • I feel that it this might be true, but I know that some characters are banned from tournaments. I am guessing that some are banned for power reasons. I think that this question is too difficult a question for anyone to want to spend too much time answering. I think I will ask a different question first, "Which of the 12 Soldier Button men is the best", or perhaps who has the edge Avis or Hammer. With only 12 characters, that is only 66 possible match ups. The Soldiers release doesn't have any special rules, so it might even be posible to brute force all the matchups (quadrillions of outcomes).
    – user1873
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 3:30
  • And on the "worst" side, even Dead Guy (0,0,0,0,0) wins against poison-heavy buttons. So, pretty sure there's no definitive worst Button Man. Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 17:33

3 Answers 3


(disclaimer: i haven't played button men seriously in ages, but i'll share my impressions from back in the day)

My feeling is that Lab Rats is the best button, as its 2-dice will allow skill-attacks on far better dice than it has to give away. Bunnies, with its 1-dice is also strong, but can too-often get trapped into not being able to make any attacks.

The worst by far has to be the dragon with d30s all down the line. Yes, it can take anyone's dice, but odds are you're going to roll one of them low, and give up 30 points at once. Do that twice and there's no way to win against most buttons.

Some are banned from tournaments for power. i think lab rats and bunnies were both banned at some point. Some are banned due to non-playability (how would you roll a pi-sided die for the James Earnest button?), and some are banned for their swingy nature (the xxxenophile buttons, with their 3 x-dice, were considered too "swingy"; you could completely change the nature of your button between rounds, though it looks like they're back on the permitted list) http://www.beatpeopleup.com/tourname.html


There was a "Button Men Online" website until recently that had amassed HUGE quantities of statistics on different Button Men competing (albeit being controlled by people users on the site). If you could get a hold of that data, that might answer your questions.

I've messaged @cheapassjames on twitter, he might have the data. Possibly, you could contact the site creator, Dana Huyler (but the email [email protected] seems to be out of order).

  • Well, James Ernest hasn't replied yet, so this might remain open for a while.
    – Sveinns
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 17:45

The site buttonweavers.com is a relaunch, and data from the old site in the source files.

Characters winning 84% to 75% of games
nelde, Snuff, mgatten, gslamm, relsqui, Discordia, skapheles, spindisc, Tilili, kestrel, Cristofore, bobby 5150, icarus, trifecta, roujin27, Lascivia, Weylan, flesh99, Jordan, NeoVid, Heather, fendrin

Characters winning 25% to 12% of games
Tess, Trogdor, Mr. Peach, stoooooooo, gman97216, Golo, Limax, Cthulhu

Cthulhu is the worst character in the game, based on almost 4000 games played with him.

Lascivia is the best official character. The other characters like nelde and Snuff are from the Fanatics set, which isn't considered official.

95% of the characters win 25% - 75% of the time.

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