Amazon Echo Buttons: What They Are And How They Work

Want to do more with Alexa? Try one of these nifty buttons

Amazon Echo Buttons used to play a party game with friends
Amazon's Echo Buttons can be paired with any Echo device to play games and more.

 Amazon, Inc.

Echo Buttons are accessories that are designed to provide an element of physical interaction with Alexa devices like the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show. If you think of Echo Buttons as the buzzers from classic game shows, then you'll have a basic idea of what they are, and what they can do.

What Are Echo Buttons?

two echo buttons pictured with an echo dot
Echo Buttons are small and simple by design, but they can liven up Alexa games with a physical element.  Amazon, Inc.

Echo Buttons are puck-shaped devices that are a little smaller than the Echo Dot. They come in sets of two, since they're meant to be used for competitive games, and each one is exactly what the name implies: a button. The button itself is a milky white color when the device is off, but a built-in LED can light up in a variety of different colors during gameplay.

Each Echo Button is powered by a pair of AAA batteries and is capable of connecting to an Echo device via Bluetooth. You can connect multiple Echo Buttons to a single Echo, and there are games designed for two players, larger groups, and even some single player experiences.

What Can Echo Buttons Do?

Echo Buttons can basically do two three things: light up, change colors, and tell an Echo device when the button has been pushed. This extremely basic functionality might not seem like much, but the real capabilities of an Echo Button are only limited by the games, or skills, that you can use them with.

When Echo Buttons first launched, Amazon provided a small number of fairly basic games to play with them. Amazon later opened up development to third parties, so anyone is free to design their own games, or other inventive Alexa Skills, that expand the definition of what an Echo Button can do.

If you enjoy tinkering with code, you can even build your own Echo Buttons skills.

What Games Can Alexa Play With Echo Buttons?

The original Echo Button game lineup included four games:

  • Button Monte - This game works like a high tech version of three card monte.
  • Party Foul - Another timeless party game, this one rewards you for being able to predict how your friends will answer various questions.
  • Hanagram - This is a game that is based around solving anagrams by listening to clues from Alexa.
  • Trivial Pursuit Tap - Hasbro's classic trivia game with a heavy focus on pop culture.

New games are released all the time, so the original lineup is only a very small taste of the games you can play with Echo Buttons. Some of the most popular include:

  • Would You Rather for Family - A classic party game where players have to make a decision between two situations. This version is family friendly.
  • Bandit Buttons - A quick-draw game that casts Echo Buttons in the role of six shooters in the Old West. You'll need to hit your button faster than your friends to win.
  • Song Quiz - A game where you listen to clips of famous songs and then guess the artist name and song title.
  • Jeopardy - This is an official home version of the classic TV game show, and it includes integration with the Echo Show.

How to Set Up Amazon Echo Buttons

Setting up Echo Buttons isn't difficult, but it is a multi-step process that involves talking to your Echo. So before you try to set things up, you'll want to make sure you have your Echo Buttons, your Echo, and a relatively quiet space to work.

Here's how to set up Echo Buttons:

  1. Make sure your Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show is on and working.
  2. Insert two AAA batteries into your Echo Button, and set the device down on a solid surface.
  3. Say Alexa, set up my Echo Button.
    1. Note: If your Echo wake word isn't Alexa, substitute your personal wake word.
  4. Press and hold the top of the Echo Button until it glows orange, and then release it. This should take about 10 seconds.
  5. Listen for Alexa to tell you that pairing is complete. When pairing is complete, the Echo Button will turn blue.
    1. Important: If Alexa never says that pairing is complete, and the Echo Button never turns blue, start the process over again.
  6. If you have additional Echo Buttons to set up, repeat these steps for each one
Note: Each Echo Button can only be connected to a single Echo Device. If you connect your Echo Button to a second Echo, it will forget the first one, and you will need to redo the set up process to use it with the original Echo in the future.

How to Play a Game With Echo Buttons

To play a game with Echo Buttons, you need to connect each button to your Echo and then teach Alexa how to play the game you're interested in by installing the appropriate Alexa Skill.

There are three ways to install an Alexa Skill: search for the skill in the Alexa app on your phone and enable it, search for it on the Amazon website and enable it there, or ask Alexa to enable the skill directly.

Here are the easiest instructions to install and play a basic game like Button Monte:

  1. Say Alexa, enable the Button Monte skill.
  2. Wait for Alexa to finish explaining the game, if this is the first time you've played.
  3. Choose one player to be the trickster, and one player to be the watcher.
  4. If you are the trickster, tell Alexa how many Echo Buttons you want to use.
  5. If you are the watcher, keep an eye on the Echo Buttons, and try to remember which one turns red.
  6. If you are the trickster, wait for the buttons to all turn yellow, and then shuffle them around to try and fool the watcher.
  7. If you are the watcher, wait for the buttons to turn green, then push the one that you believe is the one that turned red before.
  8. Alexa will let you know who won, and you can play again.

Combining Echo Buttons With the Echo Show

echo show used with echo buttons to play a party game
If you have an Echo Show, you can use it with Echo Buttons to have even more fun. Amazon, Inc.

While you can use Echo Buttons with any Echo device, combining them with an Echo Show opens up even more game options. The buttons are still used as buzzers in most games, but the Echo Show can be used to display questions, clues, and other visual information.

What Other Games Can Alexa Play?

Echo Buttons are designed to create fun multiplayer game experiences with a physical dimension, but you can actually play Alexa games on your Echo without any additional devices or peripherals. Alexa can play quiz games, murder mysteries, and more, even without Echo Buttons.