Button Shy Games · What's In Your Wallet?

What’s In Your Wallet? #1 – Seasons of Rice

As announced earlier this week, I’m taking a new approach to my blog for the majority of the posts. Yes, reviews will still be coming. I have a small backlog of review copies I need to hit upon, and I am still receptive to checking out others in the future. However, most of what I want to do centers around feature articles that I try to revisit every month (if not more often in some cases). And so to kick them off, I’ll begin my focus on a company whose games are small in size but are bigger on the inside with their gameplay: Button Shy Games


When it comes to gaming with a baby in the house, my wife and I have found Button Shy’s wallet line of games to be a lifesaver for our gaming habits. Because these games are 18 cards and packaged in a small wallet, it means they typically are quick to play, easy to learn, and take up little space on a table (mostly). One of the more recent titles that funded on Kickstarter is Seasons of Rice, a game where you’re competing to see who makes the best rice paddies over the course of a wet season and a dry season.

This game checks so many boxes for us as a couple beyond the small and portable size and the quick gameplay. It has two phases of card drafting, making it so players are continually making decisions both about what they need and what they don’t want their opponent to have. It has the building of your paddies, making it feel almost like Carcassonne but you’re each making your own area – and the point bonuses, and restrictions, keep things interesting. For example, you get exponential points for making a larger paddy…until it gets too big, to where the points flatline at a slightly reduced rate. Too often have I planned what I thought was a perfect paddy to maximize the points, only to find that I forgot each building in there increases the size and so now I’m one step too high and suffering for the misstep. The game also has variable player powers, adding either new ways of scoring points or abilities that allow you to break the rules of the game somehow – this keeps the game fresh even when you play it five times in one day like we have.

Here’s a little more on how this game functions:

Seasons of Rice is an 18-card game where players will be Cambodian farmers expanding their rice paddies to ensure the most bountiful of harvests. Players will be drafting cards and placing them into their expanding Landscape area to close off Paddies in order to score the most points by the end of the game.


The very first thing you get to decide in a game of Seasons of Rice is who to use as your Ancestor, which will provide unique scoring conditions for the game. With 18 of them in the game – of which you choose between two each game – there are a lot of variations on how you might decide to build your Rice Paddies. For example, choosing Pally as your Ancestor will let you score double the points when closing a Paddy that has nothing inside of its boundaries. On the other hand Chantrea would provide 2 points per farmer located in an open Paddy at the end of the game. Those two choices could lead you to draft and place cards in very different ways. The other card is used to being the player’s Landscape.


Players will each get 7 cards dealt to their hand for the Wet Season. Then two cards are simultaneously chosen by each player, one to go into their Landscape and one to go into the common area of Dry Season cards. After this section, players pass their hand to their opponent and the process is repeated until both players have one card left in their hand.


As cards are built into the Landscape, attention must be paid to the solid brown lines (Paths) that form the borders for Paddies. Cards must always be placed orthogonally adjacent to at least one other card in their Landscape, and there are dark lines (Furroughs) which break each card into grid-like sections. These Furroughs allow cards to be built off-center from an adjacent card if desired, so long as at least one Furrough is orthogonally adjacent to an existing Furrough.

Whenever a Paddy is closed off (in other words, a completed Path encloses an area completely), the player will score points for the completed Paddy. It scores points based on size, with the best sizes being 3-5 squares, and also gains points per buffalo in the Paddy and for a set of Farmers enclosed within the Paddy. Ancestor Cards may provide additional scoring conditions during these scoring opportunities. However, if there is a gap inside the Paddy then it will always be considered as Open, even if it is closed off through traditional means.


The next set of drafting comes during the Dry Season, which is the final phase before the end scoring on the game. Whoever is behind in points gets first selection of a card from the six that were placed in the communal Dry Season set of cards, and players then alternate taking a card from there and placing it in their Landscape. Once all of the cards have been selected and placed from here, the game moves into the Final Scoring.


Most of the points in the game have already been accounted for by this point, but there are three key scoring triggers that happen at the end of the game. First, players gain a point for every closed Paddy in their Landscape. Second, players lose one point for every buffalo that is not inside a closed Paddy. Finally, players will score via any conditions that are end-game scoring from their Ancestors. The player with the most points has the honor of being the most successful at navigating through the Seasons of Rice. In the event of a tie, the player with the most Farmers is the winner.

Button Shy has a ton of great games for 2 in their line-up, and Seasons of Rice has quickly become one of our most played, and greatly enjoyed, titles in their catalog. This game will be shipping in October and November of this year, and you can still preorder the game on the Button Shy website.

Button Shy Games · Solo Gaming · Two-Player Only

Look to Button Shy for your Valentine’s Day Gaming

(Originally posted at: https://buttonshygames.com/blogs/news-1/look-to-button-shy-for-your-valentines-day-gaming )

Valentine’s Day is a traditional holiday where we associate celebrating the day with flowers or chocolates and having a fancy dinner at a restaurant. This year allow Button Shy Games to help make your romantic date a little more memorable with some of these portable, fast, and fun games that the two of you can play while waiting for your food to arrive. Or that you can stay up late playing long after the children have gone to bed. With games that fit in your pocket, these Button Shy titles make the perfect pairing for any Valentine’s Day situation.

Arcane Bakery Clash

Arcane Bakery Clash is a resource management game, where your resource is time – and not just the roughly 30 minutes it’ll take you to play the game. Specifically, time to cook the magical treats that you will use against your co-worker. I dare you to find a more thematically-appropriate game to play during dinner. In Arcane Bakery Clash you can choose 2 actions per turn, and you will either put a recipe card in the oven, peek into an oven, turn up the heat, or take a recipe out of the oven. With these actions you will bake new treats that are used to either reduce your opponent’s health, heal yourself, or allow special actions. Show your spouse how much you care by reducing their health to 0 and become the most talented baker in Arcane Bakery Clash.

Circle the Wagons

Circle the Wagons is a card drafting, card-laying game that can be played in about the time it takes for appetizers to arrive. Three cards are flipped to form the scoring objectives, and the rest get placed in a nice circle – think of it as a circle of trust – and you’ll take turns going around said circle drafting cards. Don’t like the next card in the line? You can skip ahead to take any card, but the cards you skip immediately go to your opponent to add to their little boomtown. Once all cards have been drafted and added to your towns, the objectives are scored and the largest groups of each of the six terrains are scored to determine the winner. Playable in roughly 15 minutes, Circle the Wagons will leave you wanting to reset for a rematch again and again.


Perhaps you’re among the crowd itching for the next superhero movie to hit the theaters. Well, you may find that HeroTec is the perfect game for you and your significant other. In this game you’ll be competing to outfit a superhero client who requires four types of items: a gadget, a costume, a vehicle, and a lair. Players will race to be the first to complete the job, while also trying to build the best tech. In HeroTec you must outfit your superhero client by first drafting cards and placing them directly into your Workshop. There you will use the card for its resources, trying to build items for your Showroom. Each card is multi-use, featuring level I, II and III resources, as well as a special ability that allows you to build a very unique engine that will guide you to victory. Once a player has all 4 items in their showroom, it’s time to bring out the superhero and see which HeroTec employee makes the best impression.


Kintsugi is the Japanese art form of repairing broken pottery with gold lacquer, to show the imperfect history of the object, and to affirm that it is better for having been broken. Therefore in this small tile-laying game you are repairing a piece of pottery, then playing the role of an art critic for your opponent. You can win by being a better artist, being a better critic, or both! In true minimalist tradition, the lowest score wins making it an interesting twist on most scoring objectives in games. If you are looking for something with a more abstract, cultural theme to pair with your meal you may find that this caters to your tastes.


Perhaps you’d like to put on your favorite Space Opera film and recreate the epic struggles between the forces of good and evil while watching them play out on the screen. Allow me to introduce you to Liberation, a game that plays out a miniature rebellion of galactic scale on your tabletop. An asymmetrical game of cat and mouse, the Dynasty player expands their web of power, occupying and exploiting planet cards, while the Liberation player strikes from the shadows, sabotaging the Dynasty’s hand and performing daring missions. Can you stall long enough to cycle through the deck 3 times, earning enough support to topple the Dynasty, or will you scour the galactic map, tightening the noose around the secret base of the Liberation to attack and destroy them? Be warned, though: you may find that you are too engrossed in this little game to pay much attention to your rewatch of that Space Opera. At least it provides a thematically-appropriate source of sound effects and soundtrack.

Mint Julep

In Mint Julep, you’ll be attending a horse race. You will draft cards, place bets and then manipulate the race in order to ensure the horse that you want to win ends up finishing the race in a top spot. Be careful where you place your bet because the odds might be against you! Final scoring is based on where horses start in the race (horses starting in lower positions are worth more points), where horses end in the race (more points earned for higher place finishers), and when a bet was played (with later bets being worth less than earlier bets). Can you outwit and outbet your significant other in this equestrian experience? Place your bets on Mint Julep and you’ll end up with a winner in your pocket.

Potions Class

Potions Class is an explosive game of set collection a bit of press your luck mixed in for good measure. You will take turns adding a card to a potion, your reserve and your opponent’s reserve. These are done one at a time, in whatever order you choose, but you won’t know what the next card will be when making these decisions. If you complete a potion, you claim it as yours, but you need to watch out for your opponent’s reserve. It might be just enough to push them over the edge and complete a potion that you were working on. Potions Class is for two players, and plays very well with young kids in case you want to get a little bonding time in with the little ones before putting them to bed. It also works quite well as a relaxing game to wind down your evening and pairs well with liquid potions for your own consumption.


In Sprawlopolis you will work together to build a new city by playing a card from your hand to grow the city. Much like Circle the Wagons, three cards will be flipped over to show the scoring conditions for that specific game – however, this also determines the minimum score you’ll have to achieve in order to claim victory. The two of your will have to communicate and plan without revealing your own cards in order to most efficiently develop large areas in each of the 4 zone types. However, each road will cost you points in the end. Watch a sprawling metropolis grow as you cultivate the expanding landscape together in Sprawlopolis.

Twin Stars Adventure Series I

For those whose Valentine’s Day is spent alone, we have some excellent games for you as well! Circle the Wagons, with its Lone Cowboy expansion, and Sprawlopolis are both excellent solitaire experiences. But you may want to launch into the stars and explore the vastness of space in our solitaire-only Twin Stars Adventure Series I. Two cosmic adventurers are in a tricky scenario and must work together. By rolling and manipulating dice for special abilities and combos, you can be the one that guides them to victory. This group of 6 scenarios and 12 characters, makes for 396 unique combinations and tons of solo replayability to last you long after the holiday ends.


No matter what is in your wallet, these games are sure to satisfy a variety of gaming tastes this Valentine’s Day. With all base games being priced around $12, expansions adding only a few additional dollars to the overall cost, and free shipping on orders over $25, there is no better time than now to start, or expand, your Button Shy collection with some of these games that play well for two.