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"Button Wars is a fast paced, easy to play sci-fi fleet combat game that utilizes full color, ready to play metal disks as miniatures. Additionally, the second edition of Button Wars includes complete rules for fighter and mecha units that come packaged as ready to play plastic tokens."

Click for a larger picture


12/17/2007 - Phil Shanton pointed me to the following information about Button Wars posted on Guild of Blades Forum after a question from Phil: 

The Button Wars line has been temporarily placed on hold. We have plans to relaunch it in a more cost affordable manner for players.

We are looking to buy a new die cutting machine that will allow us to print game pieces onto a chipboard stock and then die cut a variety of different sizes. This will let us provide as many as 25-30 game pieces mixed between fighters, mecha, frigates, destroyers, capital ships, fleet command ships, space stations, etc, in a game pack for $4.95. Additionally we'll be able to establish 5 or more piece sizes. Smalles will be fighters and mecha, followed by mid sized ships like frigates, destroyers, blockade runners, etc, and then the standard size you are used to for capital ships. Things like the Quo-Ti Hives, the Thrash Imperial Command Ships and other similarly large vessales would then be a size larger. Star Crushers, Earth's orbital battle stations and other extremely large vessels would be even larger than that.

The difference will be the new game pieces will be printed onto chipboard and no longer be metallic "buttons".

As for content, we have fleet packs already designed for the Space Knight Empire, Duarian Confederacy, Teslam Empire, Adarkan Empire, the Ucharians and a few others. We also have the campaign board game map designed and fairly well play tested. So when we do the relaunch we'll have lots of new products to release.

The reformat of the game pieces is a move needed to make it more affordable for players to collect a diverse selection of ships from the different factions. Ultimately the universe, as it has been designed for so far, has upwards of 20 factions, so we felt under the existing price structures it would have simply been too expensive for the average player to collect them all, or even a substantial number. Under the new format, one, two or three fleet packs will give a player plenty of game pieces so as to play even a large fleet for a particular faction.

The one thing we are considering is a name change. Obviously the game was originally named Button Wars because of the uniqueness of its game pieces. With the game system moving away from the buttons we are contemplating a name change for the whole game. A change to "Empires & Overlords", which is the name for the space opera setting from which Button Wars is based.

Drop in on our forum from time to time. We will be posting news here as we solidify information for the game relaunch.

Any buttons you currently own that represent capital ships will be fully compatible with the new game.


9/15/2004 - GoB just released an "introductory" PDF game set for Button Wars on RPGNow. It costs only $1 and provides a player with the artwork (for the game pieces) and game rules for the first 9 Button Wars products, so it give players the full feel of the game.

"This e-version of the Button Wars game has been designed as a great sampler for the Button Wars game system. While we can't get you the metal buttons and plastic tokens in an e-product, we can pack in all of the ships, fighters and mecha units from both the Button Wars 2 Player Starter (typically $6.95) and all 8 Button Packs in the first release (combined valued at $47.50), plus asteroids and planet terrain.

"So how can we give you so much game for only $1. Well, that's simple. Unlike an RPG, Button Wars being a miniatures game requires buttons (ala miniatures) to play. We're betting that most players who give this e-version of the game a try will like it. Like it well enough to upgrade the paper ships, fighters and mecha they can print with this e-product for the nice quality buttons and plastic tokens that come with the physical products. But fear not, we've held nothing else back. This e-product contains ALL of the Button Wars rules, buttons, fighter/mecha tokens and score sheets commercially available." 


2/6/2004 - Ryan S. Johnson of Guild of Blades announces:

We're happy to say that the first set of Button Wars Button Packs for Button Wars 2nd Edition is now available. You can complete you order by visiting our product ordering catalog at:

Button Wars: Button Pack Booster Box #1 (packs 1-8) are now listed on GoB's order page, see below for specific packs, and the booster box is now reduced to $45.00

5/25/2003 - Guild of Blades starts a pre-order system for Button Wars:

If you see a product on our forthcoming games pages that you know you would be interested in, once it becomes available, simply click on the Pre Order link and e- mail us to express your interest. We'll be collecting these pre orders on the honor system. As pre orders build for certain items that will influence and guide our production schedule and dictate what products we release and when we release them. In this manner, our customers will be getting the games they want and helping us to know what to produce. 

And to reward those games who help to make this system, most products listed on the Guild Pre Order pages offer an incentive for pre ordering the product. A deluxe edition, limited authors signed edition, additional scenarios, a small discount, free shipping, etc.

More information can be found on GoB's Pre-Order Page.  The following items are listed for Button Wars:

Button Wars: Button Pack Booster Box #1 (packs 1-8)
$47.60 - Includes 8 Button Wars Button Packs. Packs come in playing card sized boxes.Pre Order It Now
The Booster Box includes the following Button Packs (see below) . Once released, each button pack will also retail separately for $5.95 each. Each Button Pack includes 4 Spaceship Buttons plus 9 Fighter/Mecha plastic playing tokens and playing token stickers.

1) Thrash Empire Button Pack #1
2) Thrash Empire Button Pack #2
3) Elvesferran Federation Button Pack #1
4) Elvesferran Federation Button Pack #2
5) Earth Alliance Button Pack #1
6) Earth Alliance Button Pack #2
7) Folklonian Empire Button Pack #1
8) Folklonian Empire Button Pack #2

Pre Order Special: If you Pre Order the Button Wars Button Pack Booster Box #1 you will get it for the reduced price of $42

Release Information: These buttons are already designed. We will release this product once we have 20 Pre Orders.


Button Wars: Button Pack Booster Box #2 (packs 9-16)
$47.60 - Includes 8 Button Wars Button Packs. Packs come in playing card sized boxes. - Pre Order It Now
The Booster Box includes the following Button Packs (see below) . Once released, each button pack will also retail separately for $5.95 each. Each Button Pack includes 4 Spaceship Buttons plus 9 Fighter/Mecha plastic playing tokens and playing token stickers.

1) Duarian Confederacy Button Pack #1
2) Duarian Confederacy Button Pack #2
3) Adarkan Empire Button Pack #1
4) Adarkan Empire Button Pack #2
5) Teslam Empire Button Pack #1
6) Lykinee Protectorate Button Pack #1
7) Quo-Ti Clans Button Pack #1
8) Cloaking Buttons Accessory Pack

Pre Order Special: If you Pre Order the Button Wars Button Pack Booster Box #2 you will get it for the reduced price of $42

Release Information: These buttons are already designed. We will release this product once we have 30 Pre Orders.


Button Wars: 5th Galactic War Campaign Box Set
$24.95 - Box Size: 5.75" wide, 8.75" tall, 1.5" thick - Pre Order It Now
The 5th Galactic War Campaign Box Set adds a lot of utility to the Button Wars game. To include approx. 12 Buttons and 50+ Fighter/Mecha plastic tokens, the Campaign Box Set also provides detailed maps and histories for each of the galactic power, offers strategies to be used for each faction, and includes a number of battle scenarios. To include a number of cut out table top accessories such as planets, asteroid belts, stars, worm holes and more. Also to include the first look as specialty buttons and playing pieces from special factions like the Ucharians, Cystar and Space Knight Empire.

Pre Order Special: If you Pre Order the 5th Galactic War Campaign Box Set you will also receive the limited Nuller Attack Ship spaceship button with your order.

Release Information: These buttons are already designed, but we have a bit of writing to do and the accessories to create yet. We will move this product up on the production schedule once we have 20 Pre Orders and release it after we have 50 or more Pre Orders.

So if you want to see these products go into production soon, send in your pre-orders now.


2/7/2003 - Ryan S. Johnson of Guild of Blades sent out the following information on the release of Button Wars 2nd Edition:

I am pleased to announce that the Guild of Blades will be releasing the "Button Wars 2nd Edition Demo Pack". Orders begin shipping to our distributors and retailers Monday Feb 10/03. Pre order your today at your favorite local hobby game retailer or at the Guild of Blades website. 

Button Wars is a table top tactical spaceship miniatures combat game. Originally releases in 2000, Button Wars (1st Edition) was original released as a collectible button miniatures game. The second edition of Button Wars has been completely repackaged, upgraded, and is now being released as a non collectible expanded miniatures game. While the first edition only included Capital Ships while the new second edition includes both Capital Ships and Fighters and Mecha. Button Wars includes two types of game units. The first of these are high quality full color ready to play metal buttons (with the back pins removed to make suitable as table top miniatures) with a 2.25" diameter, representing capital ships such as battleships, fighter carriers, destroyers, and larger scout ships. The second game unit type are smaller 7/8" circular plastic tokens with applicable stickers and these represent smaller fighter craft and mecha units. Button Wars is fast paced fleet action games that allows players to run large scale fleet battles in as little as a half hour. 

The Button Wars 2nd Edition Demo pack (GUI2009. MSRP Only $.99) comes in a starter sized card box and includes a rules sheet, 2 Metal Spaceship Buttons, 9 Plastic Fighter/Mecha and associated stickers, and targeting string. Players will also need (which are not included) a D4, D6, and ruler or tape measure in order to play this demo. We're making the Button Wars Demo Pack available about a month prior to the forthcoming 2nd Edition Starter Box Set so players may experiment with the new system a bit before the core game's release. 

Forthcoming 2nd Edition Button Wars Products Include: 

GUI2009 2nd Edition Demo Pack $.99 

GUI2000-1 Button Wars 2nd Edition 2 Player Starter $6.95 

GUI2001-1 Button Wars Button Packs Display Box $47.60 

GUI2003 5th Galactic War Campaign Box Set $24.95 

GUI2004 Cloaking Button Pack $2.99 

GUI2005 Button Ship Score Pads $4.99 

GUI2006 Fighter/Mecha Score Pad $4.99 

GUI2000-1: The Second Edition Starter Box Set will come packed with 32 page rule book, 8 Metal Spaceship Buttons, 12 Plastic Fighter/Mecha Tokens, Targeting String, Cardstock Ruler, Button Ship Score Pad, Fighter/Mecha Score Pad, 1D4, 1D6 and cut out chitboard space mines and beacons. (box dimensions 4.5" x 5.75" x 1.5"). Enough game units to allow 2 players to begin play with modest sized fleets. At only $6.95, this is a great buy. 

GUI2001-1 thru GUI2008-1 : Button Wars Button Packs. Inside each Button Pack Display Box comes 8 National Button Packs. The Starter Set and first Display Box will offer buttons from 4 of the galactic empires from the 5th Galactic War setting. 2 Button Packs for each empire. Each Button Pack comes in a card sized box, full color, and includes 4 additional Metal Spaceship Buttons and 9 Plastic Fighter/Mecha Tokens. Packs will also be sold separately. Button Packs retail for $5.95 each. 

GUI2003: 5th Galactic Wars Campaign Box Set. (box dimensions 8.75" x 5.75" x 1.5") The 5th Galactic War Campaign Box Set will offer an expanded game book with detailed histories on the 5th Galactic War setting and on each faction. 15+ Metal Spaceship Buttons and 54 Plastic Fighter/Mecha Tokens, Spaceship Score Pad, Fighter/Mecha Score Pad, pre generated fleet battle scenarios, and cut out planetary and special anomalies. This box set will offer expanded special units for the various races, included a few elite special ships for factions that won't ever have their own Button Packs. 

We have future plans for a second and then third Button Pack Display Boxes offering ships for more of the Galactic Powers. The release schedule for 2nd Edition Button Wars items hasn't been set in stone as of yet. We *hope* to be releasing the 2nd Edition Box Set just before or just after GAMA Trade Show, with the first Button Pack Display Box following a month after. The 5th Galactic War Campaign Box Set will be a late summer/early fall release. 

The Button Wars web pages are currently being reworked. But you can take a peek at the new box cover art on the Guild's index page at:


9/4/2002 - No copies were available at GenCon and after checking with Ryan, Button Wars 2nd Edition should be heading towards retailers and distributors in about two months though no hard dates have been set.


7/11/2002 - I got some more info from Ryan at GoB about the 2nd Edition:

It and a number of other products slipped behind on the production schedule. Button Wars 2nd edition is still on the production schedule for release in about 2-3 months. Though we may have a limited number of copies available for sale at Gen Con as a sort of sneak peak. 

The primary differences between the 2nd and first editions are this: 

1) It is no longer a collectible game. The 2nd edition is being packaged as an expandable game. 

2) The new starter set is in a box half as big as the last one. The rules have been streamlined to edit out most of the storyline background material. The fighter and mecha rules have now been included in the core rules as well. Every product will have set distribution of buttons (the same buttons). The core box set will now only retail for $6.95 and include 8 Buttons and 7 fighters/mecha. The Buttons will remain the same, short of a few new pieces of artwork and an overall reduction of movement per ship. The new fighters and mecha units will be on 1 1/4" plastic circle chips with printed adhesive labels with the ship/mecha picture and stats on it. Oh, and hit points are going up a bit and the system will be adding in a D6 as well as keeping the D4 the first edition ran on. D6 will now be the combat dice for Capital ship types while D4 will be used for smaller fighters and mecha. Eventually the super large buttons like the Quo-ti Hive and Folklonian Star Crusher will be re-released with rules to use a D8 for combat. 

3) The initial release will only contain ships/buttons for four races. These will be the Thrash Empire, Elvesferran Federation, Earth Alliance, and Foklonian Empire. In addition to those buttons that come in the starter set there will be 8 expansion booster boxes. These will come in little card boxes and contain 4 additional buttons and 3 fighters/mecha units for $5.95 each. There will be 2 expansion boxes for each of the four initial races. 

4) A few months after the release of the core set we will be releasing a 5th Galactic War Box Set priced around $30. This will contain a book with the storyline elements from the first edition, greatly expanded. The box set will also introduce buttons from the other races. It will include 15-20 new buttons plus as many or more fighter/mecha units. 

5) We have gotten rid of the little ship cards that came with each button. They we a packaging nightmare and players easily lost specific ship cards, which made keeping everything strait difficult from game session to game session. Now there is one generic ship record form that comes in the starter box in a score pad format. Players may use these to keep their ship records and dispose of them as needed. For a few bucks there will be 100 sheet expansion score pad sets tha players can buy once they have gone thru their initial score pad of record sheets. 

Well, those are the primary differences. Other than that, we plan to introduce rules for how to represent planets, stars, and other stellar icons into the battlefield.


5/27/2002 - I just checked out Guild of Blades website, and on their list of upcoming released, it listed a 2nd edition of Button Wars along with several supporting products as a late June release.

Button Wars 2nd Edition 2 Player Starter  - 

Button Wars 2nd Ed. Button Pack Display Box -   

Button Wars 2nd Ed. Elvsferran Button Pack #1 -

Button Wars 2nd Ed. Elvsferran Button Pack #2 -      

Button Wars 2nd Ed. Thrash Button Pack #1 -  

Button Wars 2nd Ed. Thrash Button Pack #2 -      

Button Wars 2nd Ed. Earth Button Pack #1 -   

Button Wars 2nd Ed. Earth Button Pack #2 -   

Button Wars 2nd Ed. Folklonian Button Pack #1 -    

Button Wars 2nd Ed. Folklonian Button Pack #2 -   

Button Wars 2nd Ed. Demo Pack  -        

Button Wars 2nd Ed. Ship Score Pad Accessory Pack  -

Button Wars 2nd Ed. Cloaking Button Accessory Pack -

$6.95  -  GUI2000-1
$47.60 - GUI2001-1
$5.95 - GUI2002-1
$5.95 - GUI2002-2
$5.95 - GUI2002-3
$5.95 - GUI2002-4
$5.95 - GUI2002-5
$5.95 - GUI2002-6
$5.95 - GUI2002-7
$5.95 - GUI2002-8
$.99  -  GUI2002-9
$4.95  GUI2003
$3.95  GUI2004

Also there is a Button Wars yahoo group which mentions the 2nd edition:

"We've determined that the starter box set was too expensive ($19.95) to get lots of new people to try this new gaming format.
As such, we have plans to release Button Wars in its second edition this summer. The new starter box has been repackaged to be priced at $8.95 and we've upgrade the packaging on our Button Packs as well.
Game play is remaining the same, only in the second edition we're also including fighters and mechs as part of the core sets. Movement ratings for most of the buttons is actually decreasing a bit for the second
edition, but otherwise, same game."


9/8/2001 - The Button Wars pages on the Guild of Blades webpages have been updated and now do include info about the game.  Plus I have seen a few auctions of the Button Wars game plus boosters for sale on ebay recently.


6/22/2000 - There is a review of Button Wars in Games Unplugged issue #1 along with pictures of some of the buttons.  Also from the rulebook, the first expansion will add fighters and mechs to the game.  The second expansion will be Assault Troops.  This expansion will make it possible to have boarding partt actions inside enemy vessels as well as mission oriented scenarios on space stations and ground bases.


6/13/2000 - I got my copy of Button Wars.  It is a different type of game using buttons as miniatures but has potential.  For the best current deal, check out eBay auction #356346646 or search on "button wars" and you can save $10 on the basic boxed set plus a button expansion pack.  The main Button Wars page is now up on GoB's website


5/30/2000 - Ryan Johnson of GoB has gotten back to me.  Other than the copies sold at a convention last week and those on eBay, Button Wars is currently being shrinkwrapped and should ship to distributors this week.


5/29/2000 - The index page at the GoB site has been updated and mentions "Button Wars: Empires & Overlords; a new table top spaceship combat game to ship to our distributors in one week."  The page also states that the Button Wars pages were added but I still get a missing page error.


5/25/2000 - Still no response from Guild of Blades on Button Wars, but there is now an auction on eBay for the boxed set and an expansion.  It also mentions that the first edition is almost sold out?!  Here is a link to the
picture of the box
.  It seems a bit messed up but you do get to see what one of the ship buttons looks like.


4/21/2000 - In a posting on RPGnet's Soapbox dated 4/4/2000, Ryan Johnson, CEO of Guild of Blades wrote:

"we are releasing the game Button Wars: Empires & Overlords later this month. Button Wars uses buttons in a disk-like style in a table top tactical spaceship combat game. In development for over a year, it was actually in parallel development to Disk Wars, just a drastically behind schedule. The initial release will cover the Capital ships of the Empires & Overlords universe and include 46 different ships, along with an undetermined number of promotional ships as prizes for tournaments and special events.

We'll have information on Button Wars on our website at within a few days."


I last checked their website on 4/21 and there are links for Button Wars but the links end up with 404 errors, page not found, though I have emailed Ryan for more info.  They do list prices though, $19.95 for the Box Set and $5.95 for Expansion Packs