Sometimes I get stuck in the world of big name games, and the hotness. After all, I watch YouTube videos and read BGG, just like some of you might do. There’s nothing wrong with these games, as a mater of fact, some of them are my favorite games to play. However, from time to time, I come upon a smaller game company. One who is not able to advertise all over, and these people are making great games as well!
One of these companies is Button Shy Games. Button Shy is a small game publisher based out of New Jersey, run by a really nice guy named Jason Tagmire (Twitter @jtagmire), and a few others. Button Shy does things a little different and I have been really impressed. They make wallet games, games that come in an old school plastic bifold wallet, usually containing 18 cards or so. They also have a Board Game of the Month Club available to their Patreon, where they actually send you a new microgame every month! The games are priced wallet friendly too, around $12.00 each.
Recently I had the pleasure, thanks to Santa, of playing one of their games, Twin Stars: Adventure Series I. Twin Stars was designed by Jason Tagmire and Mike Mullins. Twin Stars is a solo game where you play as two cosmic adventurers who have gotten themselves into a bit of a pickle. The game comes with 12 characters, and 6 different scenarios to play through. The game plays through the rolling a set of dice. Each die must then be placed on one of the two characters selected for the scenario. Each scenario lists recommended characters, or you may choose your own. When the die are placed certain effects may trigger based on combos that are made. If a combo is made then you fulfill the action as indicated on the scenario card. If a combo is not trigger you may reroll one of the die, while reducing the number on the other die. Each scenario has different win conditions, and additional rules to make the game more fun, and increase replayability.
The games are challenging as well. My win/loss ratio is about even overall, but decreases as I play through the scenarios. The challenges can be frustrating at times, but as this is a dice based game, it is to be expected. We are at the mercy of a dice roll, and sometimes that is the difference between escaping the brig, or getting caught by the guards.
The game is quick, compact, and a lot of fun. It certainly lives up to its billing as a wallet game. I got the deluxe version, because, to be honest, if there’s a deluxe version, I’m going for it every time. The deluxe version comes with dice, tokens, and a little pouch to keep it all in, and still can fit into a pocket, or a backpack with ease. The little pouch is well made and fits all the components with room to spare. The token were really well made, nice and thick, not at all what I was expecting. The cards are also good quality. All in all a well made product. Definitely worth the $20 they are charging for it, don’t tell them this, but maybe worth even more than $20! The game play remains fresh through the different scenarios and the mixture of characters. Button Shy has already announced there will be more scenarios added to the Twin Stars universe, and I personally cannot wait to see more.
This is the only game that I currently own from Button Shy, but they offer a slew of games on their website. Some games that I have been following (and coveting) include Circle the Wagons, Ahead in the Clouds, Pentaquark, and Avignon: A Clash of Popes. Circle the Wagons recently got a bit of a rebrand as IDW Games released The X-Files: Circle of Truth, using the same mechanics as Circle the Wagons, but adding an X-Files twist. Button Shy has also recently stated they will have a Kickstarter in February 2018, offering two new games for under $20.
If you have a few bucks in your wallet and would like to replace it with a quick, fun, challenging game, the I highly recommend Twin Stars: Adventure Series I.