Release Date: April, 1999
Set Size: 12 Buttons, 1 Rare.
Publisher: Cheapass Games
Designer: James Ernest
Artist: Brian Snoddy

Soldiers won two Origins Awards: Best Abstract Board Game and Best Graphic Presentation of a Board Game of 1999.

Soldiers was the first Button Men set. The first printing of Soldiers consisted of 10 characters and came with a 2-fold rules sheet. The first edition buttons can be distinguished by the slightly larger size and their “Badge-a-Minit” backs. The second edition has a slightly smaller, unmarked back and includes a tri-fold rules sheet, as well as two new characters: Hannah and Kublai, bringing the set total to twelve.

Soldiers also had one rare button, Changeling.” Rare buttons were often printed on the extra space on rulebook press sheets, and hand-assembled in small quantities. Rares from Cheapass Games are always easy to distinguish by their “Badge-a-Minit” frame. Rares are not normally offered for sale, and are often overpowered or otherwise unusual characters.

Though essentially fair, Changeling was dubbed illegal in tournaments simply because she was hard to find, and might be perceived as unfair because of her five Swing Dice. One misconception about Changeling is that her Swing Dice can vary independently. In fact, the rules dictate that they must all be the same, so there are only five permutations of Changeling.

Design Notes

Soldiers was the original experiment to create a dice combat system in which every size of die was relatively equivalent. It wasn’t a perfect system: although the differences are slight, certain characters from Soldiers have proven stronger against each other and the rest of the system. For heavy hitters, Bauer and Hammer are the hands-down favorites. Hardcore players are big fans of Shore and Stark. New Cheapass expansions are typically playtested against the trio of Bauer, Shore, and Stark.

Soldiers introduced the template for all Button Men character biographies, which are essentially a mockery of the traditional concept of character biographies. Each Button Man is described by several random and incongruous elements of “personality,” concluding with the universal common denominator that they like to beat people up.

Name Die 1 Die 2 Die 3 Die 4 Die 5 Special?
Avis 4 4 10 12 X
Hammer 6 12 20 20 X
Bauer 8 10 12 20 X
Stark 4 6 8 X X First with two Swing Dice
Clare 6 8 8 20 X
Kith 6 8 12 12 X
Karl 4 6 6 20 X
Iago 20 20 20 X First with only 4 dice
Niles 6 10 10 12 X
Shore 4 4 20 20 X
Hannah 8 10 10 10 X Only found in 2nd Ed.
Kublai 4 8 12 20 X Only found in 2nd Ed.
Changeling X X X X X Not Tournament Legal.