Eight Family Friendly Games That Fit in Your Back Pocket From Button Shy

Eight Family Friendly Games That Fit in Your Back Pocket From Button Shy

September 19, 2019 0 By Ryan Sanders

A family (and gameschoolers) quick introduction to Button Shy Games. 

For those that may not know about Button Shy, they are an independent family ran board game company known for their wallet games. What is a wallet game? It’s an 18 card game, held inside vinyl wallets for easy transport. We thought we would run down eight games that may be of interest specifically for families or those that may be looking for more games for your classroom. 

Why I Otter

  • Designed By Aaron Andrew Wilson.
  • Player Count: 2-players only 

Why I Otter makes it on our list because it is rated for ages 6+ – it is very easy to understand the 2-player game that is perfect as a travel game to play with your children of all ages. It’s a simple trick-taking game that uses a rock-paper-scissors mechanic. At the end of the game, a river will be formed of some cards not used by players (the river is on the backside of all playing cards), this river scores like 1 point per pink otter or 2 points for the player with the most yellow otters, etc.

  • Link to Why I Otter on Button Shy’s Webpage: https://buttonshygames.com/products/why-i-otter

Potion Class

  • By Owen Wokasch 
  • Player Count: 2-players only 

Potion Class makes it on our list because it was designed by Owen when he was 9 years old (He is 11 now) and is for ages 6+. In Potion Class, two players will take turns adding a card to a potion, their reserve, and their opponents’ reserve, in the order they want, but they will only see one card at a time. If you complete a potion, you claim it as yours, but you need to watch out for your opponent’s reserve. It might be just enough to push them over the edge and complete a potion that you were working on.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

  • By Jonathan Liu
  • Player Count: 3-5 Players

Looking for a game that you can play when learning about literature or Aeesp’s Fables? The Boy Who Cried Wolf, is a bluffing game, where each player takes a turn as the “boy” and will look at the top card of the deck and either cry wolf or pass. The deck is filled with lots of sheep and just a few scary wolves. If a boy cries wolf, each player decides whether he is telling the truth or lying. After they all give a thumbs up or thumbs down, the card is revealed. If it was a lie, the boy gets points for each player that fell for it. If it was the truth, players that thought it was a lie will lose points. Play until a player reaches 10 points, or 5 wolves attack.

Wonder Tales

  • Designed by John Kean
  • Player Count: 2-Players Only

Wonder Tales is for ages 8+ and is coming very soon (they are hoping this month, September 2019) and is another one that would work with a Literature class, as it features classic fairy tale characters.  Wonder Tales is a puzzly, tile-laying game about the connections between fairy tale characters when they are removed from the comfort of their books. Each of the 17 game cards is double-sided, with the same fairy tale character on both sides, but with a different colored highlights. Players take turns placing cards on a shared grid with their color showing. Once the grid is full, scores are tallied depending on which combinations of characters and/or colors lie adjacent to each player’s cards. A game consists of 2-3 rounds, with the grid shape-changing each round


  • Designed by T.C. Petty III
  • Player Count: 2-6 Players

Handsome is Button Shy’s only word game. This one stands out not only because it is word game, but you don’t have to have a big vocab to win, you see the game also has symbols (set collection) you are trying to collect during the game.  Players will try to use the most letters of each suit (bow ties, necklaces and bolos) to gain points. Each round, players must come up with one word using a combination of the 5 shared cards on the table, as well as the cards in their hand.

Tussie Mussie

  • Designed by Elizabeth Hargrave
  • Player Count: 2-4 Players (to play solo you need to buy an expansion) 

Coming in October 2019 is Tussie Mussie. Just from the following description, I am sure many of you will already be thinking how this one can be used in the classroom: Tussie Mussie draws upon the the Victorian fad that assigned meanings to the flowers that friends and lovers exchanged (and the game actually tells what those Victorian meanings at the bottom of the card as flavored text) Famous authors such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Emily Bronte all utilized the meaning of flowers in their writings, and now you can experience the language of flowers in this newest wallet game from Wingspan designer Elizabeth Hargrave. Featuring I-Split-You-Choose drafting, players draw 2 cards and offer one face-up and another face-down to their neighbor. The neighbor takes their choice and the active player receives the other. After everyone has 4 cards, face-down cards are revealed and everyone scores their collection. After 3 rounds the scores are totaled to determine a winner!

Circle the Wagons

  • Designed by Steven Aramini, Danny Devine & Paul Kluka
  • Player Count: 2-players only 

Each player in Circle the Wagons is fixin’ to build up their own boomtown, but only one’ll build the best in the West! Blaze a trail by draftin’ cards ’round the circle and placin’ ’em in yer town, tryin’ to connect matchin’ territories to score prosperity points! But don’t forget about them three bonus cards in the center of the circle that can score ya even more points — that is, if ya play yer cards right. With darn near five thousand unique ways to score and millions of draftin’ and placin’ combos, you’ll never build the same town twice! Yee-haw!


  • Designed by Steven Aramini, Danny Devine & Paul Kluka
  • Player Count: 1-4 Players

Button Shy’s best selling game, is the city-building game of Sprawloplois. In this game, 1-4 players work together to build a new city from the ground up. Using only 18 cards and a variable scoring system, the game is never the same twice. Each turn, players will play 1 card from their hand to the growing city, trying to score as many points as possible. Players will have to communicate and plan without revealing their own cards in order to most efficiently develop large areas in each of the 4 zone types. Watch out though, the city hates paying for road maintenance so each road will cost you points in the end. When all cards have been placed, the game ends and players see if they have met dynamically generated minimum score for their game. Can you meet the demands of the officials, work with your fellow planners and build the ultimate urban wonder? It’s time to find out!

Bonus: Storytelling Cards

  • Designed by Jason Tagmire

Before we leave we wanted to add a bonus title. This one is Storyteller Cards, which isn’t a wallet game, but rather a 54 deck of cards that can be used in various ways. Each card features an illustration with 4 unique elements. There is a character, holding an item, completing an action, in a location. Each of these elements can be used to create something new, get you out of a mid-project slump, or just to have some creative fun with family and friends.  The cards also feature additional icons in the corners to help you dig a little deeper into storytelling, creating, and gaming. The icons represent a ranksuitmood, seasonletter, and color.  This could be a good resource to practice creative writing. You can get a free pdf manual with ideas and games that you can play with the deck at http://storytellercards.com/. I would recommend for older kids trying out telling a story based on the picture on the card using exactly 25 words.

Ryan Sanders is the founder, owner, and editor-at-large of Adventures in Gameschooling. He’s also the guy behind its social media accounts. God has blessed Ryan and his wife Mary, with five children, which he homeschools. As a Christian, he believes that he should not only look out for your own interests but other peoples too (Philippians 2:4) and this is one of his guiding principles for Adventures in Gameschooling. Ryan’s expertise is informed by almost two decades of experience as a stay-at-home father and from the running The Inquisitive Meeple where he performed over 300 written and podcast interviews within the board game industry.