Button Shy Games 1st Quarter Kickstarter

For anyone that hasn’t heard of Button Shy Games, they are a gaming company that is based out of New Jersey and release monthly Wallet Sized games. These are normally 18 cards and yet a whole heap of games packed into their tiny packet. Last month I heard they will no longer be running their monthly 10 day Kickstarter and I was sad, as I can’t wait to see what they come out with next. Then the good news arrived. Button Shy Games announced its line-up for their 1st Quarter Kickstarter of 2017. You’ll be able to pledge for 3 new games. So here is your complete guide to these 3 games; Avignon: Pilgrimage, Turbo Drift and Find Your Seats.

Turbo Drift


To set up Turbo Drift each player will choose a car and place it on one side of the table behind an imaginary start line. On the other side of the table players will place the Finish Line card. Barrier cards are then shuffled and placed randomly between the start line and the Finish Line card. Lastly, players shuffle and create a 2×3 grid—off to the side—using the six Path Cards. The first player then receives the First Player card and the Boost card.

On a player’s turn he will perform the following actions:

  1. Select a Path card or cards from the 2×3 grid. Players can choose 1, 2, or 3 Path cards on their turn with varying effects.
  • If a single Path card is selected he also gains the First Player card which he can keep for himself or give to another player.
  • If three Path cards are taken he must shuffle and use them in the order they are in. For one or two cards he has the choice of when they are used.
  1. Play a Path card. A player drives by laying down the Boost card behind his car, lining up the tire marks. He then removes his car and plays the first Path card in front of the Boost card, again lining up the tire marks. This continues for as many Path cards he has. Once all Path cards have been played he returns his car to the front Path card. When returning the car he flips it over indicating he has taken his turn. The Boost card is then passed to the next player. See examples of driving in the images below.
  1. Return card(s) to the 2×3 grid. Once finished he returns the Path card(s) to the empty spots in the 2×3 grid in any orientation and order he chooses.


Barriers: When driving a player may encounter a Barrier card. If a Path card is played that overlaps the Barrier card or will cause the player’s car to overlap the Barrier card the player may not play the card. And instead ends his turn. The only exception for this rule is the Nitro rule below. To avoid a crash a player can choose to back up on their turn.

Nitro: On a players turn he can take all six Path cards from the 2×3 grid. This is called Nitro and can only be used once per game. The cards are played in the same way as three cards except a player may stop when they want (after a Path card has been played and before the next). If a player hits a Barrier card while using the Nitro move they are knocked out of the game in an explosive fireball that even Michael Bay would be proud of.

Boost: There are several spots on the Barrier cards that are indicated by a flame symbol, these are boosts. When a player’s car or a Path card overlaps a boost symbol he takes the Boost card from the back of the path and places it at the front, adding to the player’s move. The rest of the Path cards are then played in front of the Boost card or the player’s car is placed back down if no Path cards are left in the move.

The player to reach the Finish Line card first is the winner.

‘Ask any racer. Any real racer. It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning’.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              – Dom, Fast & the Furious


Unlike a lot of the previous Button Shy Games I’ve played, this game is less complicated but not in a bad way. Ahead In The Clouds felt like a Euro game in an 18 card wallet; the amount of complication and beauty they fit into that game was amazing. Turbo Drift on the other hand is not like that, the mechanics are simple, easy to learn and the game play is so much fun. It is the process of laying a card or cards and following the track. But like slot cards or playing Outrun (yes, I’m showing me age) at an arcade, this game is just so so much fun. You can swerve into people’s paths forcing them to go around you and barriers. You can go the longest way possible and somehow still win. This game is just fun. As the old age states; Go big or go home. For Turbo Drift this is exactly what you need to do. It is recommended that you play on a surface 3ft x 3ft, but the bigger you go the more crazy it becomes. This does lengthen the game and we added several additional barriers, but man the chaos that ensued.

This game is one of my favorites at the moment and is stoopidly fun. I played this several times with people from 12 to 42 and they loved it. Turbo Drift is a must have, especially for entry level gamers or people that are fans of racing games.


Avignon: Pilgrimage Preview


Avignon: Pilgrimage is the standalone expansion of the highly successful Avignon: A Clash of Popes. It adds six new characters with new ways to push and pull your way to victory. In addition there are alternative rules for set up that add more depth and strategy to the game.

In Avignon: A Clash of Popes players are vying for the position of Pope and as such are trying to influence members of the church to join their congregation. Players do this by pushing and pulling character cards back and forth across the table using actions and character powers. The player who can do this the best wins.

To set up, players place the five map cards between them going from Avignon to Rome. Players then shuffle the twelve character cards and place five face up along the Genoa map card row. The remaining character cards are placed in a face down draw pile.

Once the game is set up the player on the Rome side will go first. On a players turn they must take two of the following actions:

  • Chastise – Push a card towards your opponent’s congregation one space.
  • Beseech –                           Pull a card towards your congregation one space.
  • Excommunicate –            Choose a card in play, discard it and replace it with the top card of                                                                 the draw pile in the same location.
  • Petition –  Use the special action of one of the characters.

Once a player has taken her two actions her opponent takes his actions. This goes back and forth until one player has three cards in their congregation, at which point that player wins. A card is considered in a player’s congregation once an action moves it past Avignon or Rome.

Note: a player may never do actions that would totally undo what the previous player has done on her turn.

There are also combinations using the Noble character that can trigger winning conditions. And as I mentioned above there are different ways to set up that combine characters from A Clash of Popes and Pilgrimage giving the game more variety and strategy.

So never having played Avignon: A Clash of Popes, I didn’t know what to expect. But the tug of war of Avignon: A Clash of Popes is amazing. Being able to move people towards you and then use a special ability to either help or hinder your opponent makes me realize why it was such a hit. Avignon: Pilgrimage now takes it to the next level, adding new abilities and characters along with a few additional rules. This not only allows for a great standalone game but beautifully balanced expansion that adds a new level of complexity without taking away from the original game.

After playing Avignon both with and without the expansion the enjoyable and rewarding gameplay experience is truly a testament to the design of not just the original but also the expansion.


So I know I haven’t mention the art so far in this article, and I’m getting to that. Avignon: Pilgrimage is stunning; it takes me back to my trips to Italy. That old school 16th century style you see on the many text books and painting. The colour palette and slight aging of these pictures have been handled so perfectly, you truly couldn’t have asked for better art on a game like this.

Avignon: Pilgrimage is a strategic tug of war and an extraordinary game in its own right, but as an expansion it truly rounds out and makes a great game even better.


Find Your Seats


In Find Your Seats, players take the roles of party planners that have completely misplaced their seating plan. Each player will start with a hand of cards representing dinner guests and, over three rounds, draft what they believe to be the best group of guests to sit next to each other. Players score points based on the seating arrangement of their guests. The player with the most points in a round scores a round win. The first player to win two round will win the game.

Take all eighteen cards and shuffle them. Deal four cards to each player and set the remaining cards to the side.

Find Your Seats is played over multiple rounds. Each round has four phases:

  1. Setup
  2. Drafting
  3. Seating
  4. Scoring

Each player will view their hand of guests and will choose one guest to keep. The remaining guests are passed to the left in rounds one and three, and the player to the right in round two. Players continue to choose a guest and pass the remaining cards until there are no guests left to select. At this point, each player will have a new, drafted hand of four guests.

Remember the below list while drafting.

  1. Age
  2. Character Name
  3. Gender
  4. Conversation Topics
  5. Card Ability

The seating phase consists of playing guests at the table. Each player has three chairs where they can seat their guests: left, right, and middle.  Beginning with the first player, each player will take turns seating one guest in one of their three available chairs announcing which seat they are. When a guest is seated, immediately check the guest’s ability and apply it if necessary.

After all players have seated three guests in their chairs, the Seating phase ends and Scoring begins. There are multiple ways cards can earn points: through neighbors matching conversation topics, neighbors matching age, or their abilities.

Ty and Nick really enjoyed it, but I wasn’t the best at it.  I needed the rules next to me to keep track of things. After years of hospitality I thought this would be my game! Mmmm…. No not at all. I really enjoyed it but like in Magic the Gathering, I just seem to have the worst luck when it comes to drafting. This is a clever little game; one that honestly took me a few turns to get right. The games are quick, the gameplay is simple and yet super clever. I honestly just think I have a drafting learning disability. I get it eventually but it takes a little time. Ha ha


I really like the way they have handled the conversational Topics on the card, using a Trivial Pursuit style colored circle with simple and clear logos. The characters are beautifully stylized to suit their stereotype, they are of multiple races and ages. What is also something I truly enjoy about the art is the fact that the people look real, they look like the sort of people you see at your local mall or down the street. They haven’t been overly sexualized like so many games these days. The characters are humorous without being disrespectful.



When Button Shy Games told me they would no longer be doing monthly kickstarters I was a little sad. It was something to look forward to every month.  I can totally understand why they are doing it; the stress of monthly kickstarters. But with this change comes some very good points for us; the consumers. I think this will allow Button Shy more time to focus on what they already do so well, make games. So we will get a better product (which is going to be hard, as they already produce some amazing games) but I think the biggest plus, especially for us living outside the US, will be cheaper shipping. As we all know, shipping can be a massive pain on the old purse strings. But if I’m correct, this will allow us to pay one shipping cost and receiving 3 games.  This may be the end of an era for Button Shy Games but I think they are going on to much bigger and better things and we are going to reap the rewards.

You’ll be able to pledge for Avignon: Pilgrimage, Turbo Drift and Find Your Seats starting Tuesday, January 3 2017.

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