BROM

Release Date: November, 1999
Set Size: 12 Buttons, 2 Rares
Publisher: Cheapass Games
Designers: James Ernest, Nick Sauer
Artist: BROM
New Rules: Poison Dice, V Swing
Rares: Echo and Giant

BROM remains one of the most gorgeous and carefully crafted Button Men expansion in the game’s history. These twelve characters were designed with the advanced player in mind, and use Poison, Shadow, and unusually sized dice. Unfortunately, since the 16-sided dice found in the character mix are hard to come by, many players give this expansion a pass.

Design Notes

Poison Dice were an upshot of the development work on Shadow Dice. It seemed reasonable to use them together in the same expansion and even combine them in the first hybrid dice: Bluff’s Poison Shadow Dice. BROM was the first Button Men expansion designed by Nick Sauer, who was also responsible for the design of the Brawl, Fantasy, and Samurai expansions.

Because of the proliferation of die types, Cheapass Games chose the BROM expansion to introduce a new system of notation for special dice, a unique symbol or letter on the die frame. The color of the frame is used as a reinforcement of the different die functions, but the symbol is actually the essential distinguishing mark. In BROM, “S” was introduced as the mark for Shadow, and “P” for poison.

This expansion also introduced the first rare buttons with rules text. The convention was adopted because rare Buttons are typically presented with no support material, and must therefore be relatively self-contained. While neither Gian nor Echo is always allowed in tournaments, this is due mainly to the problem that arises when they meet copies of themselves. The biggest problem is when Echo meets Echo, and there is no basis for creating either character. Some tournament directors have solved this problem by allowing only one copy of any Button Men in a single tournament,.

The five question marks on Echo are superfluous. Some players interpret them to mean that Echo has exactly five dice, whether she’s facing Giant or Shepherd or Reaver. The fact is that since they are undefined, they are simply a decoration. Her entire recipe is dictated by her special ability. Also, since the text dictates that only her “basic recipe” matches that of her opponent, she therefore starts with the same set of options, but may choose anything for her variable dice independent of the choices of her opponent.

Giant’s six 20’s were the original playtest recipe for Crusher, but the dice were later shunted to a rare button in favor of a more “normal” brute strength recipe for Crusher. Players would have to wait until Spring of 2000 for the first non-rare Button Man with more than five dice, Max from the Freaks expansion. He’s got eight.

Name Die 1 Die 2 Die 3 Die 4 Die 5 Die 6 Special?
Coil p4 12 p20 20 V
Bane p2 p4 12 12 V
Lucky 6 10 p12 20 X
Shepherd 8 8 p16 20 X
Peace s10 s12 s20 sX sX
Crusher 10 p20 20 20 X
Grist p4 8 10 12 X
Wastenott s4 s8 s10 s20 sX
Reaver 4 10 10 12 pX
Jellybean p20 s20 V X Two independent Swing Dice
Bluff sp6 sp12 16 20 X
Strik 8 p10 s16 16 X
Rares
Giant 20 20 20 20 20 20 First with 6 Dice, Legal*
Echo ? ? ? ? ? Tournament Legal*

*Note: The only reason to restrict Giant and Echo is that they cannot meet each other. They are perfectly playable buttons and, as should be obvious in Echo’s case, perfectly fair. If Giant meets Giant, you can assume that they start like normal, their slowness canceling out. However, you need a hedge if Echo meets Echo.

Our favorite solution is to allow only one of any Button Man to enter the tournament, so if a second player shows up with Echo he’s too late. However, another possibility is to have a judge select a random button from a hat, which both players must use as their Echo. Either way, be aware of what you’re getting into when you allow these characters in your game.