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Nobody expects another Boardnado Review, yet (much like the Spanish Inquisition) here we are with everything you need to know about a sinister boardgame called: Villainous.

 

ReginaEverybody loves a good villain, especially a Disney villain. I think we pretty much all have a favourite one and for a lot of people it can be easier to relate to them as they're more fallible and thus human (even if they have tentacles or dragon wings). Just take a look at Reddit: there are plenty of examples from fans standing up for their villain in posts like 'Malificent was right to curse Aurora according to medieval custom' and 'Scar was a peacebroker between Hyena and Lion'.

 

Whether or not that is true doesn't really matter (at least in this article!). What's fascinating is that, with the exception of a rare few (I'm looking at you Hans, you're a douchebag) you can find plenty of villain sympathizers out there. Many of them wondering ... what if they would have won?

 

Well in this boardgame you can finally lead your favourite villain to victory!

 


HOW TO PLAY

 

Villainous is a 2-6 player game created by Wonderforge where you pick a Disney villain and try to achieve their (evil?) goals before the other villains/players achieve theirs.

 

There are six notorious fiends that come with the base game and each of them has a unique objective they need to fulfil in order to win the game. If you've ever seen their movies it will immediately make sense to you.

 

Hook IconCaptain Hook 

Wants to defeat Peter Pan on his ship: the Jolly Roger. In order to do this he needs to find Pan first and force him on board his ship. Then he can rally his pirate crew to defeat him.

 

 

Malificent IconMalificent

Her goal is to curse the land. To do this you will need to play special Curse cards to the four locations within her realm and prevent pesky heroes (I'm looking at you fairies) from removing them. She is backed by her trusty raven and an army of Orcish goons.

 

Ursula IconUrsula

Not happy with her exile from Atlantica she wants power over the seas by obtaining the Trident from King Triton and his Crown. Her unique gimmick is that she uses contracts to defeat heroes through trickery instead of brute force.

 

King John IconKing John

Is all about money, money, money. If he obtains at least twenty power (which is the currency of the game) he simply buys his victory. Assuming Robin Hood doesn't steal everything he has.

 

 

JafarJafar

When playing Jafar you realize just how convoluted his 5-step plan to become the Sultan actually was. First he must find the cave of wonders, play the lamp, summon the genie, control the genie with his hypnotism, and bring both the lamp and his new servant to the palace.

 

QoH IconQueen of Hearts

Our beloved monarch has the funniest goal of them all. She simply wants to win at cricket! She needs to turn four of her loyal card guards into wickets and then take a shot with her flamingo. If she succeeds at taking this shot she wins the game.

 

Now at this point I'm assuming you're a bit confused about terms such as 'locations', 'realm', 'power', or how a flamingo suddenly came into play. Never fear, the base gameplay is actually quite simple. I promise!

 

Each villain is tied to their own realm which has four important locations that feature in their story (such as the Sultan's Palace, Streets of Agrabah, Oasis, and Cave of Wonders if you're playing Jafar). None of the realms interact so you won't have Alice drop in on Malificent or Ursula travelling to Sherwood Forest. You are, essentially, playing the role of villain in your own movie.

 

To the left and right of your realm are two decks. The left deck contains all your special powers, tricks, and devices you can employ as a villain to achieve your goals (such as the Curse cards we talked about, or the flamingo). These are unique to each villain and you start your turn with four of these cards.

 

The rightmost deck is called the 'fate deck', this deck contains the pesky heroes that try to hinder you, but we'll get back to that.

Board CLoseup

When it's your turn you take your (totally awesome) Villain token and move it to a location in their realm (eg: the Oasis). Each location has four different actions which you can do such as (but not limited to) 'play a card', 'move a card', 'vanquish a hero', or 'gain power'. Power is the currency of the game and it is used to play cards from your hand as these mostly (but not always) have a cost.

 

Once you've taken whatever action(s) you want you end your turn and draw your hand back up to four cards. Easy!

 

Spoiler alert: it's not so easy. Most villains never have it easy.

 

One of the actions every villain has somewhere in their realm is the ability to send heroes after the other players. This is known as 'fate-ing' and it can either be a minor annoyance to your friends or completely stop their progress.

 

Not only do heroes cover up actions in your opponent's locations (reducing whatever they can do during their turn from four to two) they often have abilities designed to disrupt the evil plan of that villain. Example: Aladdin can steal the lamp from Jafar, forcing Jafar to defeat him to get the lamp back and continue his progress.

 

There isn't really a way to avoid these do-gooders and sometimes you even need to summon and defeat a specific one (such as King Triton, The Genie, or Peter Pan)

 

Oh, and did I mention many heroes aren't so easily defeated? You will need to scheme your hardest to end up on top! (Just look at how caught up our Boardnado crewmembers are in their evil plans!)

Boardnado Reviews 

MY THOUGHTS ON THE GAME AND POSSIBLE ISSUES

 

Let me start of by doing something I rarely do during these reviews and talk about the components. They are stunning. Each villain is represented by a stylistic minifigure/token that is both unique and instantly recognisible. The art used in the game is made especially for this game and not simply copied from the movies. Add to that a quality storage option where everything fits perfectly inside the box and I'm blown away.

 

They even printed a phrase from every villain on the back of the Realm Board ("Double the powder and shorten the fuse!" - Cap'n Hook) which is invisible during play and exists only to add flavour.

 

ManiacalSpeaking of flavour: there is tons of it. In a lot of games you sorta feel like the theme is pasted on afterwards. Here it's incorporated in every aspect of the game. Each playeable villain is really well crafted and you do feel like you're living out their movie. When you're Captain Hook it's a radically different experience from playing as, say, Malificent and you do feel like it all makes sense. That's some good game design right there!

 

The gameplay itself is a bit of a hybrid between a worker-placement game and take-that mechanics. Every player exists in their own little world and you would think this limits player interaction, but that could not be further from the truth. If you really want to excel at this game you need to keep a very close eye on the progress of your opponents so you know where and when to interrupt their schemes or further your own. This does require you to know how every villain works which can be a lot to learn at first but adds depth to the game once you get the hang of it.

 

Furthermore once you've played every villain and gotten good with them you'll have played a LOT of games. Meaning one core box gives you a lot of replayability. And spoiler alert: we already know Wonderforge plans to add three more villains to the game (namely Cruella, Facilier, and the Evil Queen – All hail Regina!).

 

Scar - Why U not in game?I do recommend not to play with more than four people at once and perhaps employ the Fate-rule for 5-6 player games. At least do this when you're first starting out. It can take a very long time before it's your turn and it can also feel quite unfair when you get 'fate-ed' over and over again. Playing with fewer friends and employing one additional rule fixes that.

 

Lastly I simply cannot overstate how much I enjoy this game and what a thrill it is to finally achieve your goal. It's perfectly ok to let out an evil cackle when you blast that little brat Peter Pan into smithereens or chuckle when you roll in delicious gold as Prince John.

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

Villainous is a thematic, flavourful, and well-designed game made to bring out your inner Disney villain. It does have a steep learning curve and taking a turn can take a while, but this is mitigated by its excellent gameplay. While it is already quite replayable this is further assured by the plethora of villains they could still add. Such as Scar ... he needs to be in this game.

 

Villainous is now available on our webstore and in all our physical stores.