Villainous: A Game So Bad It’s Good
Classic Disney Villains come to a gaming or dinner table near you in the new game Villainous by Wonder Forge. Villainous brings 6 classical Disney villains together in a battle to discover who is the most evil. Who can thwart their heroes first? The six villains featured in the base game are Ursula, Jafar, the Queen of Hearts, Prince John, Maleficent, and Captain Hook. This game does not include a center board with track around it and is not a deck builder, setting it apart from movie-themed games of the past. Instead the game is played on small individual boards depicting four locations. At the beginning of the game, one of the locations is locked, for most players, and will not unlock until certain criteria are met. Each player gets a villain token, a reference card, a hero deck, and a villain deck. On a player’s turn, they must move their token to a different section of the board. The areas have different actions that the player can decide whether or not to resolve. Some examples of these actions are taking power tokens (which act as the game’s currency), playing a hero card on another player’s board, playing an ally or item card on your board, vanquishing a hero, or discarding cards. The final step on a turn is to draw up to 4 cards from the villain deck.
Villains have unique goals that must met in order to defeat their hero, and these goals stay true to the flavor of the original movies. For example, Ursula can only win if she has the Trident and the Crown on Ursula’s lair location, which was essential for Ursula’s evil plan from The Little Mermaid. By contrast, Maleficent must have a curse at each location; one of the curses is the “Forest of Thorns,” which mirrors the Forest of Thorns Prince Phillip had to fight through in Sleeping Beauty. The villain deck assists the players in reaching their dastardly goals, while the hero decks work to thwart your opponent’s progress. The only way to play hero cards is to land on a space with a “Fate” logo, which is a lightning bolt. When this action is resolved, the player gets to look at two hero cards and select one to play on their opponent. Heroes are assigned to a location, and while occupying that space, they prevent that opponent from accessing the top two actions on that location. Heroes often have annoying abilities that affect how your opponent can navigate their board. In order to rid your board of a meddlesome hero, a player needs to have one or more allies at the same location as the hero and place their marker on the “Vanquish” location. The strength of the allies and items combined must be greater than or equal to the hero’s strength.
This game is fantastic for all ages and is a must have for Disney fans! All the components and cards are made of high-quality materials and feature art befitting Disney villains. The theme stays strong throughout the game. There are two negatives with this game. First, Villainous does not promote a high amount of interaction between players. The only time you worry about your opponents is when you are placing hero cards or getting a hero card placed on your board. Since this event only happens when a player lands on a designated spot, it limits the amount of player-to-player interactions. Second, the Jafar character may be overpowered. My husband keeps playing as Jafar, and he keeps winning, so I call shenanigans! These two negatives are small, and luckily, they do not hinder the game play. The design of this game is truly unique. I can’t think of anything to compare it to. It has traditional board game, deck builder, hand management, and strategic movement elements, and therefore doesn’t really fit into any singular category. Villainous is ingeniously set up for future expansions, as Wonder Forge could easily release a “villains pack” to keep up the game’s replayability. Based on the lightning bolt symbol for the “Fate,” the company appears to be teasing Hades as a potential future expansion. Additionally, Cruella De Vil could be another future villain, seeing as her silhouette is on the back cover of the rules! No matter who they end up featuring, I am confident any expansions for Villainous will be a must have.
Who do you hope Villainous will add to the game? Let us know in the comments.