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Button Men: Strategy Articles

Here are a few of our favorite articles and letters about Button Men strategy. New articles are on this page, older ones are linked from the bottom of this page.

Dice Math, by Ryan Keane:

On the Cheapass e-group, people are always asking how to hunt down non-standard dice, so I thought I'd write up a quick list for the Beat People Up site on how to fulfill your odd dice needs by using blank dice. Credit should go to Glen Barnett and Ryan McGuire, among others, who also came up with many of these ideas.

For most of these, there are several ways to do it. I've chosen the method that uses the least dice, uses only blank d6's when possible, and/or I just prefer. Blank d20's might be easier to find than blank d10's, so you can just use a blank d20 whenever I call for a blank d10. Since some of the larger dice build upon the smaller ones, for brevity I just refer to smaller non-standard dice when necessary.

Cheap blank d6's are available for $0.15 each from

Chessex has blank d20's for $0.40 each at

Here's the list:


* There are d7's around if you can find them. They are said to roll fair, with the length-width ratio having been optimized for randomness, but I haven't seen any tests (check them out at You might be able to get these from, but I think they're out of stock. Their source, who is retired, is:

However, it is possible to make home-made fair rolling 7-sided dice spinners by cutting a heptagon out of board and placing a rod through the center (you can do this for any # of sides - the internal angles of an n-sided polygon are 180(n-2)/n) (take a look at a 3-sided spinner alexandersdice.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=105).

If you do have a d7, you can make d14's [d7 + d6 (0,0,0,7,7,7)], d21's [d7 + d6 (0,0,7,7,14,14)], and d28's [(d7 + d20 (0,0,0,0,0,7,7,7,7,7,14,14,14,14,14,21,21,21,21,21)].

Also, I've seen a few d14's around ( kevincooksuncommonsideddice.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=2281;; nicksdice.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=111) -

the first one may roll fair,but none of these have been mass-produced as far as I know.

** d34's are semi-available, but not as blanks. Just subtract 17 whenever you roll >17. You can get them for $3.00 each at

*** Gamescience made blank d26's

( kevincooksblankdice.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=1705 nicksdice.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=164),

which would also provide you with d13's, but I don't think they roll fair.

Also, check out With large dipyramids and trapezohedra, fair rolling dice of all even sizes (and thus all odd sizes with proper numbering) are possible - maybe some company will get around to making them.

There - with a bunch of blank d6's and some d20's, you should be able to fulfill all your swing die needs. In the 1-20 range (where most BM swing's fall within), there's only one gap greater than 1 die (d12 to d15). So go and beat people up now that you can optimize your swing die choice.

Ryan Keane,

Article 1: The Highest Lower Number  

Article 2:  Questions about Strategy

Article 3: So You Wanna Play Iago

Article 4: Basic Swing Die Strategy

Article 5: A Little More Swing Die Theory

Article 6: Speed Dice Countering Strategies

Article 7: Twin Dice Versus Standard Dice?

Article  8: Even More Button Men Theory

Article  9: Trip Dice and Shadow Dice

Article  10: More Shadow Dice Thoughts

Article  11: More Swing Dice Thoughts

Beat People Up, the Button Men and BRAWL Home Page, is (c) 2002 James Ernest and Cheapass Games.