Review: Button Up! – pommel war

Button Up - packaging

Welcome to the front, soldiers! Turn on the uniform to the neck, it’s freezing, no one would even drive a French dog out. But we must be here. Enemy is waiting for us up there on the horizon, General Buttonaparte. He won many battles, but we have to win this one. Get ready to fight, because the year 1814 will go down in history!

Play But this is no lessons of history. It’s point of being here is to keep us entertained and take a little war perspective. Behind its creation in is hidden and unobtrusive French company, that focuses on a simpler mind, but interesting games. We could see that thanks to The Blue Lion (review) or Docker (review).

The third in a row will be topic about buttons. Specifically, those stitched on military uniforms. And because battles are decided from high above, you try to climb up among your troops as high up the ladder of ranks as possible, to win the whole game.

Button Up - game is ready

Game is hiding inside a small square box, which is not made of such durable material as the previous two games this time. It gives us a little shakier impression, but we believe, that it can withstand transportation without any problems. Everything you certainly need for playing starts with content of folding rules. They are seemingly long and difficult to work through, but you do not have to worry, Button Up! is again very simple entertainment.

Just below the reference first surprise awaits. There are real knobs of large size. There are nine in there in three colors (black for Buttonburg, red for Buttonaparte and white for neutral spies) and have an average diameter of about three centimeters.

Well, and then you can enjoy a bag of tiny thumbnail buttons. These small puppies are used as scoring tokens and have only two colors – red and black. There are altogether twenty of them – ten for each of players, but the latter will have to earn it first.

Button Up - game in progress

But still for a moment back to their big brothers, who are still in the box in company of sticker sheet. Thanks to them, you can even better differentiate the two opposing sides, if you stick a picture on the back of the knob. You glue your soldiers breathing holes, but they probably do not need it, because they fight very bravely for our cause.

A nice bonus is the trio of mats with illustrations, that will guide you through the whole game. But they, in fact are not just coasters, but are game boards for both opponents and also a common round is summarized of them. Similar hilarious illustrations will guide you through not only the rules, but also the stickers contain tiny and pretty pictures. The author of these drawings is .

At the beginning, each player can choose, which side he wants to represent in battle. They take a card from it and put it with the name of their leader up. Center is reserved for cardboard card with rounds, which has on its circumference arrow. They indicate the direction, where buttons move. For setup, you have to take all nine large buttons and spread them in a circle around the base. Position should be random.

Button Up - game in progress

Game consists of the fact, that two rivals are alternating in turns and move forward buttons on the circuit. Soldiers and their opponents are trying to move up as much as possible. In each turn, you simply take a pile of buttons (at the beginning only one) and split its content between all of the following groups of buttons, so that you drop one on every point you pass.

For each group in a clockwise direction you add one button until you have some left. With every move you number of tiles is reduced by one. You split contents of the original pyramid into others. If, however, the last of your relocated buttons ends on a neighbor of the same color, you can play again.

Thanks to this, some buttons are at the bottom and another on top. And that’s all there is to whole game. Round ends, when all mountains are stacked on top of each other. That means it’s time for scoring. Each button, that belongs to your color (total of three) brings you points according to its position inside the stack. The higher it is, the greater the value.

Button Up

You note your gains on plans with tiny buttons, but final result of the round is difference between sums of both rivals. Game then proceeds to the next round until one of the players reaches total of fifteen points. At that moment, winner of the button battle is finally known.

Button Up! is a funny game, which primarily attracts with unusual processing. You have probably not played any game with buttons in main role. Surely it is not high regarding costs, but it looks really elegant on the table.

As a bonus to the very idea of the processing is creative principle. Players each round move some of the tokens. However, you must each time take into account several important elements, that affect the victory. Firstly, they may try to gain free turn, if the top button of distributed stacks arrives on top of the same color.

Button Up - button

More fundamentally you must consider deployment of buttons with regard to their height after movement. Now you have to try to get as many of your buttons up and push the opponent down and further down. To do this, you use not only your buttons and your brain, but also white spies, who belong to noone in the end.

Each round is decided in the first few turns, because with the passage of time also number of possible moves for players reduces. So you need to have tactics clear for each round from the first step.

Button Up! is in fact an unusual abstract game, that has to be thought about a lot. You need good planning and instinct, that will lead you to victory. Some turns may take longer, if you play carefully ahead, contemplating opponent. So again, you must be very careful.

Button Up - card

Fortunately, there is never so many options, that time needed to play one round would exceed five minutes. And with each new round comes new challenge and fun. Total game time crams with no problems into quarters of an hour, although you’ll find ten minutes on the box.

Thanks to the accidental distribution of buttons in a circle at the beginning of each round, game just does not get old in any way even after more playthroughs. It provides a thoughtful duel for players, who enjoy lightning fast game.

With Button Up! you are definitely free to play with children, who will practice many important skills on it. It does not actually matter, who you will be playing the button-war with, but on how well and quickly you are able to turn on your uniform. Clever fingers and quick thinking will save your life on the line and win this game.

DesignerBruno Cathala
ArtistCyril Bouquet
PublisherBlue Orange (EU)
Year Published2012
# of Players2 - 2
User Suggested # of Players Best with 2 players
Recommended with players
(7 voters)
Playing Time15
Mfg Suggested Ages8 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(2 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(5 voters)
CategoryAbstract Strategy
MechanicPoint to Point Movement
FamilyCategory: Combinatorial, Components: 3-Dimensional (3D), Digital Implementations: Boiteajeux, Players: Two Player Only Games
Primary NameButton Up!

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: Button Up! – pommel war
Final word
Button Up! is a logical game, where you will be fighting battles using a real buttons. Separated soldiers in a circle will become one colorful pyramid at the end of the round. But there can be only one winner of this battle. It will be that player, who will reach with his soldiers to the top. Round ends once all buttons make only one tall pile. Until then, you move buttons and distribute each pile among its neighbours. This guarantees you as many steps, as your pyramid is tall. Therefore, you are able to influence outcome until the very end with good decisions and outthinking the opponent. Simple and clever mechanic in this little game guarantees fun even for the younger players..
Reader Rating0 Votes
simple and easy mechanic
suitable for children
random button placement guarantees variable fun
tactical battle
there are real buttons
clever principle
really abstract game (problem for some players)
turns might take a while
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