As a Disney fan, Villainous is a game that immediately caught my eyes.
Do you know the famous meme “Shut up and take my money!”? That was exactly my reaction when they announced this board game, where you play as a Disney villain. I immediately thought “That’s the next game I’m going to buy!”.
Needless to say that, when I first played it with my friends, we had a lot of fun. I mean, who wouldn’t like to be a villain for a night? After all, it’s fun to be a villain!
There was only one problem: it had only 6 playable villains, and we wanted more! But our worries had a short life: there are already 4 expansions out that add 3 new villains each, with even more to come!
In this review I’m gonna focus on the main game, but the reviews of the expansions are on the way as well.
Let’s put our villain face on and see what all the fuss is about!
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Become a villain for a night and try to be the most villainous in the realm.
In Villainous you’ll take the part of a famous Disney villain and you’ll have to defeat the heroes of your own story, trying to reach your objective.
But beware, you are not the only villain out there! Each villain has their own objective, so to succeed you’ll also have to hinder their path to victory.
Will you succeed in becoming the most mischievous of them all?
- 6 Villain Movers;
- 6 Villain Guides;
- 1 Cauldron;
- 6 Villain Decks (30 cards in each deck);
- 6 Fate Decks (15 cards in each deck);
- 80 Power Tokens;
- 1 Fate Token;
- 6 Reference Cards;
- 6 Boards;
- 3 Lock Tokens.
How To Play
Each player chooses a villain and takes the corresponding Villain Mover, Board, Villain and Fate decks, Villain Guide, and 1 Reference Card. The Reference Card will help you understand what the symbols on your board mean.
Open the board in front of you and put the Villain Mover on the left-most location.
Then, shuffle both the Villain and the Fate decks: place the former to the left of the board, and the latter to the right of the board.
After that, each player draws four cards from their respective Villain Deck.
When all players are done setting up, place the cauldron in the middle of the table with the Power Tokens in it. Then, choose a player to go 1st: that player will start with no Power Tokens. The 2nd takes one Power. The 3rd and 4th take two Power each. The 5th and 6th take three Power each.
On Your Turn
Each turn has 3 parts, to be done in this order:
- Move Your Villain: Move your Villain Mover to a different location in your realm. If a location is locked, the Villain cannot be moved there. You cannot stay at your previous location.
- Perform Actions: Once on a location, the player can now perform the actions on that locations. Keep in mind that:
- All actions are optional. You can do all of them, none of them, or just some of them.
- The actions can be performed in any order.
- Some actions may be covered by Fate cards, making them unavailable. Those actions become immediately available if you uncover them and it’s still your turn.
- Draw Cards: If you have less than four cards in your hand, draw as many cards as you need to have again four cards. Drawing cards means you end your turn.
Types of Actions
Take as many Power Tokens from the cauldron as the number on the Power symbol. You need Power in order to play cards and activate abilities.
You can choose one of the cards on your realm with this symbol. You can activate its ability by paying the card’s activation cost, if it has any.
Move a Hero
Move one Hero from a location in your realm to an adjacent location. You may not move it into or out of a locked location.
Defeat one Hero at any location in your realm by using one or more Allies in that same location. Each Hero/Ally has a strength. In order to defeat the Hero, an Ally needs to have at least the same strength. More Allies can be used together to reach the Hero‘s strength. Once the Hero is defeated, discard all the cards used.
Play a Card
Play only one card from your hand. Most of the cards have a price to pay in order to play that card. You cannot play cards on locked locations. The cards can be stacked in the same location.
Choose an opponent to target and reveal two cards from their Fate deck. Choose one of the two cards to play, and discard the other. Who is the target of a Fate action gets the Fate Token until the next Fate action. Who has it cannot be targeted by Fate actions.
Move an Item or Ally
Move one Item/Ally from any location (not locked) to an adjacent location. If a Hero has an Item attached, you have to move them together.
Discard as many cards as you wish from your hand. This will allow you to draw more cards at the end of your turn.
Types of Cards
This type of card can only be found in the Villain deck, and they are your best way to achieve your mischievous objective. Each Ally has a price to pay (upper left corner) in order to be played.
When you play an Ally, place it in the lower part of your realm on any location, as long as it is not locked. If that location already has an Ally, you can stack them.
Each Ally has a strength (lower left corner), and most of them also have an ability that can affect other cards.
These cards can only be found in the Fate deck, and they’ll do anything to stop your sinister plans!
The Hero cards can be played by your opponents on the upper part of your realm, in any location as long as it is not locked.
They are really tricky because they can cover up to two actions in the location they are played in.
Each Hero has a strength (lower left corner), and most of them have an ability. To defeat them you’ll have to use a Vanquish action.
These cards can be found both in the Villain and the Fate decks. On the upper left corner you can find the price to pay, if any, in order to play the card.
Some items can be played by themselves, others need to be attached to an Ally/Hero. All attached Items move with the card they are attached to, and need to be discarded if that card is discarded.
These cards appear both in the Villain and the Fate decks. Play its price, if any, to play it. Do what the card says, then discard it immediately after its effect has been used.
If you can’t do what the card says, you may not play that Effect.
These cards are unusual because you play them during an opponent’s turn. In order to be played the requirements on the card need to be met. When the condition is met, play that card immediately, do what it says, then discard it.
The opponent’s turn proceeds as normal. You cannot draw a new card until the end of your next turn.
Ending the Game
As soon as a player has fulfilled their Villain’s Objective, the game ends and that player is crowned the most villainous of them all!
Beware because some objectives need to be fulfilled at the beginning of your turn; in this case, from when your winning conditions are met, your opponents will still have one full round to try stop those conditions, until your next turn.
And here we are, at the end of this Villainous journey! This is definitely one of the most talked about games of the moment, at least from what I can see online and with my friends. And I would say, deservingly so. Even though licensed games usually tend to be just a marketing move to attract people based on the name and not on the quality of the game, this is not the case because Villainous is wickedly good!
First of all, the materials are great: the cards look really resistant, and shuffling them is pretty easy. Plus, the artwork on the back is just beautiful and is unique to each villain! The movers are the things that impressed me the most because they are very detailed and they don’t look cheap, even though they are just made in plastic. The rulebook is very easy to read, with a lot of images that help to better understand the rules.
Probably the only cons is the cauldron that just looks really cheap, unlike all of the other components. One of my friends made one with a 3D printer, so that could be a solution if you want a better looking one, but I don’t really mind about it.
Mechanics and game length
The mechanics of Disney Villainous are great. I love that each villain has its own objective and that you can mess up the other players game with the Fate action: I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a little villainous every once in a while?
The game length is not as accurate though, I’ve noticed that an average game usually takes between 90 and 120 minutes to finish. But if all the players have already played at least a match, it gets faster (as a lot of board games in general).
I would say that 10 as the minimum age is about right, the mechanics for younger players are not as easy as other games more suitable for those ages, but I’m sure that out there there are 8-9 years old kids nailing this game!
The villains are just great, and I find it interesting that they chose Prince John, a lesser known villain, to be part of the main version of the game. By the way, it’s also a great villain to play with. Personally, the Queen of Hearts is my favourite because Alice in Wonderland is my favourite Disney film, and it was also the first one I won with. Prince John, Maleficent, and Hook come right after her. Ursula and Jafar are probably the trickiest ones because to win they require that you find a certain card in your deck before having to defeat the main hero; lady luck plays an important role here.
The replay value of Villainous is really good: each villain that you play with makes you want to choose that villain again for the next match, but at the same time you want to try the other villains, and I think that’s just what a game with great replayability should do!
The replay value becomes even greater with the expansions. Each expansion adds 3 new villains with unique objectives: there’s not a single Objective that looks the same as another one. Sure, there are Objectives that require you to do similar things, but there’s always a certain uniqueness in them.
So far there are 4 expansions, and I’m sure a lot more of them are to come:
1- Wicked to the Core (Evil Queen, Hades, Dr. Facilier)
2- Evil Comes Prepared (Scar, Yzma, Ratigan)
3- Perfectly Wretched (Cruella De Vil, Pete, Mother Gothel)
4- Despicable Plots (Gaston, Lady Tremaine, Horned King)
What else is there to say? Villainous has become one of my favourite board games, not only because it’s Disney themed, but also because it’s very fun and entertaining. I definitely recommend it, especially to those who love Disney Villains! It’s a little bit pricey compared to other similar games, but it’s all worth it, believe me! Let Villainous transform you into the most mischievous villain of them all, because in this game it’s the worst that takes it all!
2 – 6 players | 60 – 120 min | 10+