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Hierarchy - Dastardly Review #126

Hierarchy by Hugo Kawamata is Button Shy's newest wallet game. It should hit Kickstarter in October 2019 so this review is based on a preview copy.

Button Shy's wallet games fill a unique spot in the gaming world. Each game comes in a durable, plastic wallet with typically no more than 18 cards. The concept is to create quality games that are highly portable.

The line of games is widely varied and proves that great things can come in small packages.

Hierarchy is a strong addition to these games.


Hierarchy comes with 14 cards, 2 Reference Cards and a Title card.

Each card is a Character with a Strength ranging from 0-13 and a unique Ability. Each card's front and back are identical except for being purple or yellow.

The Imposter doesn't have a Strength but it's Ability allows it to duplicate any card played by your opponent.

The art on the cards is classy but doesn't distract from the information on the card.

The cards are of good quality and will last a long time.

The 2 Reference Cards are identical and list the Strength, Name and Ability of each card.

These come in handy when you are learning the game.


Setup is super easy.

Give each player a Reference Card.

Place the Title card between the players (provides a starting point to play cards).

Shuffle the 14 cards and deal each player 7 cards.

The players decide if they are yellow or purple and place the cards face up in front of them accordingly.

Setup doesn't take much room - players just need to be able to see the cards. We have played Hierarchy on planes, in bars, on tiny fast food tables and in hotel lobbies.

Game Play

The objective of Hierarchy is to be the last person to play a card. If your opponent cannot play a card (either out of cards or no legal plays) you win!

The player that has the Imposter goes first.

Players take turns playing a card in the middle of the table.

Cards are played so it is easy to see which cards were played previously.

The basic rule is the next card has to have a higher Strength than the previous card.

Of course the game isn't that simple ... each Character's Ability can increase or limit it's ability to be played depending on what cards have already been played and what Character is on top of the pile.

The Reference Cards help players know the Ability of cards so they don't have to rummage through the played cards or pick up their opponent's cards to read them.


To start...Hierarchy is not a pretty version of War. War is a luck based game. Hierarchy is a strategy game. You win by outplaying your opponent.

Nothing is hidden in Hierarchy. There are no dice to roll. Hierarchy feels almost chess-like but quicker, more fun and with varied starting resources.

We are very impressed by how balanced the Characters and Abilities are in Hierarchy. Even though each player's starting cards are based upon a shuffle and being dealt 7 random cards we haven't encountered a 'bad' hand in over 25 plays.

The random startup provides for high re-playability and makes players shift strategy based upon their starting cards.

Game play is 5-10 minutes and Hierarchy can be played almost anywhere making it a perfect travel game.

In summary, we enjoyed Hierarchy a bunch. The mechanics are fun. Hierarchy is fast to learn and to play.

Hierarchy earned a spot in my backpack.

The Good: Fun, fast, strategy game with high re-playability.

The Bad: We want more Hierarchy. The art doesn't appeal much to kids. Maybe a version with a different theme? Super heroes with goofy Abilities?

The Dastardly: My favorite Character is the Leper. I like the variability his Ability introduces. Have used it several times to surprise my opponent and win.


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