Speed Dice Countering Strategies

Rick Healey

First, the subject that stressed me before – Speed Dice, and the level of power that they grant a player in Button Men. I’ve been doing rough experiments (involving both the buttons I have and the BM 1999 poster for the recepies that I don’t), and I’ve got some concrete strategies in place.

Now, first, it’s obvious that the Speed Dice were made to compensate for powerful dice of small values, such as the Trip Dice of the Lunch Money Button Men. That’s what you said, at least.

Thus, the best shot at taking down the Speed Dice is to have as many disparate dice as possible, to minimize the impact of Speed Dice. This is of vital importance against Bennett, with his two Speed d20s. However, on the flip side, you’re not going to worry much about Hale’s solitary Speed d8.

However, if you just go for sheer overpowering (read: you pull out Iago and take a d20 as a Swing Die), you’ll still discover that you’re being munched. So far, it seems that the best strategy against them is to have as wide a range of die sizes as possible. Obviously, against Bennett, you’ll want to favor the heavier sizes. But if you are already playing a heavy die user, like Iago, Hammer, or Crusher, it’s actually best to use a d4 as a Swing die. Logic being that all of the other dice are already relatively safe (of course, nothing is going to save you from watching all of your dice coming up between 2 and 5 and Bennett getting a 1 and a large Speed roll), you need the speed edge to take care of your opponent. Since very few of the Brawl Buttons even have the chance to go first (Darwin being the only one that has a d4 in his recipie) without some luck, just one tiny die amidst a horde of large dice can mean the difference between a close game and pummeling the Brawlers.

This generally means one thing – trying to equal the opposition’s recepies when possible. This isn’t always that vital – again, odds are against Hale doing a massive Speed attack, while I’ve seen multiple situations while testing that have Bennett taking four dice at once. I’m bad at math, but so far as I can tell, you need to have a number of sides no fewer than 1.5 times the total of “Speed sides” (number of sides on combined Speed Dice) to put yourself at an even pace. While this means that you can pretty much treat Hale as a normal Button that can occasionally do a decent die nab, Bennett (40 Speed sides) and Morgan (minimum 38 Speed sides) can only be taken on by some of the more hefty characters. If your character can equal the target number I’ve estimated above (again, you’ll probably want a math person to give you a more precise number) before swing dice, then shoot low with the Swing. If you need to bulk up to get there (Stark players take note), then grab your d20 and start rolling.

Actually, another interesting phenomenon I’ve run into concerning Speed Dice. They do have one serious flaw – they don’t stand up well to Focus Dice. Reason being this: they can “minimize” themselves on the first turn, taking away a possible Speed Attack. Since the rules do not prohibit reducing a Focus die that has nothing to do with initiative (such as reducing a 9 on a Focus Die to a 7 when your opponent has a 1 showing), you can nullify any potential Speed attacks that your opponent could try.

Now, to make a mad rush to get the Lo5R Button Men…

Actually, I could see another theoretical sort of die, which could be reduced at any time, not just on the first turn, to help against this sort of thing. I shall call this theoretical die a “Fading Die,” and it also couldn’t attack the same turn as it was reduced.

– Rick Healey