Villainous

2- 6 players, Competitive, Action Selection

Designer: Prospero Hall

Artwork: N/A

Publisher: Ravensburger

Overview

You play as a Disney Villain and must complete your heinous schemes to attain your ultimate destiny!

Length/Win Condition

This game plays super-fast (for a board game) at about an hour. This time will increase the more players you have but not by much honestly. I played through a few 3 player games and have tested out Ursula, Jafar and Maleficent and can say that turn length doesn’t take very long as you play from your character board and have just a few actions at your disposal each turn. To win you must complete the ultimate objective for your particular villain. Each of the 6 included villains has a completely different objective which gives the game tons of replayability. Seriously each one couldn’t be any more different and they are all super fun to play. Here is a short-ish rundown of each villains win objective to give you an idea how different they are:

Prince John – Start your turn with 20 power

Maleficent – Start your turn with a curse card at each location

Captain Hook – Defeat Peter Pan at the Jolly Roger

Queen of Hearts – Have a Wicket at each location and successfully take a shot

Jafar – Start your turn with the magic lamp at Sultans palace and Genie under your control

Ursula – You have to start your turn with the Trident and the Crown at Ursula’s Lair

So I super simplified these as it is much trickier to complete these objectives than it seems. For example it might seem kinda bland to play as Prince John as all you have to do is collect Power…..BUT there are a ton of Fate cards that can be played against you that actually steal his power. There is a nice balance woven into every villain so they can all be played and not one seems more lopsided than the other. Although I can attest that certain Villains *cough* Jafar *weez* are much more dependent on their card draws. 

Components

They really did a nice job on this one. The game comes with 6 unique plastic tokens that are made up of a softer almost translucent colored plastic that matches your character. Each one looks different and is a really nice touch to the game to make it more thematic. The player boards have a nice velvety feel to them and are made up of a thicker cardboard. They fold in half so they fit in the box better but they really used this to further the theme of the game by adding a quote from that particular villain to one side. The card stock itself isn’t the thickest but man these cards look nice. The cards are pretty slick so you might get an instance of cards sliding off the top of the stack. The colorful backs of each villain’s cards are glorious and the unique designs they incorporated are great. I also love the white color of the Fate decks as well and how they really contrast with the villains decks. There are little cardboard tokens that are used for tracking power and these are pretty average, nothing special. The one thing component wise that is lacking out of everything is the cauldron that is used to hold the power tokens. A few pictures I have seen online of this it looks really cool, a thicker painted more epic looking holder. The one it comes with though is a flat gray VERY thin plastic holder. I mean it gets the job done and the game didn’t NEED to come with anything to hold all those power tokens so I appreciate it but as far as components go, it is pretty lacking. 

Box/Storage

The box has that same velvety feel to it that the player boards have and it feels VERY premium. I love the colors on the box and the font they used as well as the gold foil inlays around the edge. However it seems they opted to place 4 round clear stickers on each edge to keep the box shut instead of the usual plastic wrap you find on board games. Now for me this wasn’t a huge problem as you can easily slice through these stickers and leave them affixed. However if you are a serious collector you will probably want to remove these and they leave a really messy sticky residue behind. Also be aware that when removing the sticker it will more than likely pull some of that fancy looking gold inlay away as well. There is a cardboard insert that separates the cards into 2 different piles and a space for all the other components and it seems to hold everything in place well for good storage. 

Visual Appeal

Visually this is one of the better looking ones and the writing on the cards is superb! With artwork directly from the Disney cartoons everything is extremely authentic and colorful. The theme from each of the cartoons just oozes forth when you play as each villain. Heck even their win objectives are thematic and interesting. One particular card that I discovered from Captain Hooks Fate deck really stood out to me with some incredible wordplay.

Rulebook

For the most part the rulebook gets the job done explaining the basic gameplay mechanics. Plus there are individual mini rulebooks for each villain that more closely explains each of their wind conditions and explaining in a bit more detail what they need to do. These are super handy as you can keep them close at hand at all times to reference and they take up very little table space. Also included are 6 reference cards that explain what each symbol means on the player boards. I would say it should take you no more than 20 minutes to really grasp how to play the game and maybe 5 more minutes to learn your character. 

Table Presence/Game Board

This game takes up VERY little space on the table as you just have your individual game boards in front of you and space on each side for your villain deck and your fate deck. A little bit of space above and below your player board to place cards. In the middle of the table would sit the plastic cauldron with all the power tokens for everyone to reach, and that’s it! Now normally I would think a game with so little to bring to the table wouldn’t have great table presence but this game looks really cool, especially with more players. Each colorful player board has their villain specific player token standing atop it looking all awesome. Also the colorful backs of each different villain deck and the unique designs they each have are eye candy to the extreme. 

Table Talk/Fun Factor

This game creates a bookoo of table talk as you are not only trying to achieve your evil schemes but are having to keep an eye out for the other villains to try and thwart their schemes. To do this you can choose to use the action to draw 2 cards from their fate deck and use one against them. The fate decks consist of those particular villains’ heroes from the movies and other actions that will basically hinder their plans. It creates a clever dynamic and never makes it easy for the villain. And honestly I had a blast playing this. There is so much variety to each villain that each game plays a bit different but I am already looking forward to the (probable) expansion with new villains to play. 

Optimal Player Count

I have only played with 3 and had a ton of fun. I think a 2 player game would be a little too fast for my taste considering 3 players only lasts about an hour. I am really interested in playing a full 6 player game to see how that would play out as I think it would be really fun to get all 6 villains and their objectives on the table at the same time. The ultimate showdown. There isn’t a single player option however you can easily play 2 or more villains yourself to learn the game. Of course some of the villain cards drawn and some abilities are meant to be used with multiple players

The Fuzzy Llama Bronze Seal of Prevalence

Final Thoughts

From the color to the artwork to the clever writing on the cards. The majority of the components are nice and the box feels premium. The game is easily taught although I wouldn’t expect younger children to fully grasp some of the intricacies of some of the villains. As far as theme goes this game is ranked super high as it should be with Disney. The only negatives I can think of would be the questionable stickers they used to seal the box and the cheap plastic power token holder. As the game has this really premium feel those 2 things left me slightly puzzled. For the price this is a good buy.

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