What Are Amazon Echo Buttons, and What Can They Do?

Want to do more with Alexa? Try these nifty buttons

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

What Are Echo Buttons?

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

Two echo buttons pictured with an echo dot
Amazon, Inc.

Each Echo Button is powered by a pair of AAA batteries and can connect 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 do three things: light up, change colors, and tell an Echo device when the button is pushed. This basic functionality might not seem like much, but the capabilities of an Echo Button are only limited by the games, or skills, you use them with.

When Echo Buttons first launched, Amazon provided a small number of basic games to play with them. It later opened up development to third parties, so anyone is free to design 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 build your own Echo Buttons skills.

What Games Can Alexa Play With Echo Buttons?

The original Echo Button game lineup included only 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 predicting how your friends answer various questions.
  • Hanagram: This game is based on 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 sample of what you can play with Echo Buttons. The Echo Buttons ships with more than 100 Skills. Some of the most popular are:

  • Would You Rather for Family: A classic party game where players have to decide 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 need to press 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's 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's a multistep process that involves talking to your Echo. Before you set things up, you need your Echo Buttons, your Echo, and a relatively quiet space to work.

Here's how to set up Echo Buttons:

  1. Turn on your Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show.

  2. Insert two AAA batteries into your Echo Buttons and set the device on a solid surface.

  3. Say, "Alexa, set up my Echo Buttons."

    If your Echo wake word isn't Alexa, substitute your personal wake word.

  4. Press and hold the top of the Echo Buttons 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 Buttons turns blue.

If Alexa never says that pairing is complete, and the Echo Buttons never turns blue, start the process over again.

If you have additional Echo Buttons to set up, repeat these steps for each one.

Each Echo Buttons can only connect to a single Echo device. If you connect your Echo Buttons to a second Echo, it forgets the first one, and you need to redo the setup 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, 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 it in the Alexa app on your phone and enable it.
  • Search for it on the Amazon website and enable it there.
  • 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 remember which one turns red.

  6. If you are the trickster, wait for all the buttons to turn yellow and then shuffle them around to fool the watcher.

  7. If you are the watcher, wait for the buttons to turn green and then push the one you believe turned red before.

  8. Alexa lets you know who won, and you can play again.

Combining Echo Buttons With the Echo Show

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

Echo Show used with Echo Buttons to play a party game
Amazon, Inc.

What Other Games Can Alexa Play?

Echo Buttons are designed to create fun multiplayer game experiences with a physical dimension, but you can 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.

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