Once Upon A Dream, Under the Sea, A Whole New World, The Second Star to The Right; don’t you want your Disney fantasy to come alive?
But won’t you get bored seeing the same outcome? Heroes living happily ever after, leaving the villains in misery or even death. Don’t you think it is time for the villains to take the stage and taste a bit of victory for themselves? Wait no more, folks! Wonder Forge has published the perfect game to soothe our dark delusional side with Villainous! As the name says, we are asked to perform evil deeds according to the story of each villains while interrupting our opponents progress. Focus too hard on your goal, you might just let your opponent slip into victory. Focus too hard on interrupting your opponent, you might just forget your own goal. You can say that this game requires complex (and villainous) strategy for you to win.
At the start of the game, you are given the option to choose one out of the six available characters: Captain Hook, Jafar, Maleficent, Prince John, Queen of Hearts, and Ursula. Each comes with their own realm board consisting of four location, each with four actions depicted that you can choose to perform. Again the actions may differ from one character to the other, so don’t panic when you don’t see a certain action on one of the characters’ realm (I did, HAHA). The basic actions are: Gain Power, Play a Card, Activate, Fate, Move an Item or Ally, Move A Hero, Vanquish, and Discard Cards. The characters also have their own Evil deck; cards with Allies, Items, Effects, and Conditions, and Fate deck; card with Heroes, Items, and Effects. The ones that you will be playing is the Evil cards whilst the Fate cards are played by your opponent using the Fate action. Evil cards are either discarded or put on the bottom part of your board when played, while the Fate cards are put at the top part of your board, covering two actions of the chosen location. And that my dear readers, is how you disturb your opponents, but worry not for the Hero may be erased using the Vanquish action later on (except if you’re using Ursula).
Three Main Steps in Playing
First, you move your character to one of the locations in your realm. Then, you may do all of the available actions depicted there in any order, except for the ones that are covered by Heroes. Lastly, draw cards back to your hands so it stays at four. Some cards will affect those three steps along the way; you might be able to draw +1 card at the end of every round, you might not need to move your character at the start, or even have more actions to be performed in a location. There are several characters with the lock icon on their realms (such as Captain Hook, Jafar, and Ursula) where you must find the key card inside your Evil deck before unlocking it (again, except you, Ursula, you’re either stuck at Ursula’s Lair or The Palace). Might I remind you that vanquishing Heroes is not always a necessity. As long as it doesn’t do much harm, let it be, you’d be better off focusing on tending your own garden.
The most interesting thing about this game in my opinion (besides the fact that it’s about Disney) is that each character is unique. They have their own Evil cards, Fate cards, realms, and winning goals. BUT that’s also the downside of it. From my multiple experience of playing and teaching Villainous, I find that it is best for each player to know thoroughly the cards and realms of their opponents. By doing so, you will be able to plan your strategy better and of course reach your own victory before your enemy does! Don’t forget to read the effects written on each card thoroughly too so that you won’t experience any misrules, trust me on this one, you will not want to have your friends calling your hard-owned victory invalid at the end of this long journey. *wipes tear* Another magical thing from the uniqueness of each character is that it really fits into their own original story. Captain Hook will have to dig his own Fate deck to find Peter Pan. Jafar can hypnotize Heroes to move them on his side of the board. Prince John’s Heroes will try to rob his Power tokens even as far as leaving him with nothing. And the list goes on if you don’t try it for yourself. No, I’m not seducing you to try this awesome game. Just reminding you what you’re missing out. *smirks*
Although it is written 50 minutes of game play, but again, if you read all the cards and rules of all your opponents including yourself, it takes another 50 minutes. *cries internally* It is also written that Villainous is playable for 2-6 players, but I would highly recommend to play it in two player mode to really feel the maximum pleasure of this game with the addition of seeing the fear emitted in your opponent’s eyes. *evil laugh echoing through your room* When you play this in a party of over two person, you will lose the competitive feeling. Winning becomes easier and quicker since there are too much opponents that you need to interrupt hence you’ll decide to only focus on yourself (Villains don’t have time to focus on other people other than themselves).
Onwards the Components
I can’t say that I loved all of it, but most of it. One of the things to look forward to is the uniquely designed villain figurines, they’re using clear plastic mold with dominant color and minimalist design unlike the usual figurines that we see (we have to thank Wonder Forge for saving us from having to paint). The illustrations on the cards, boards, and booklets are top notch (because Disney, of course). The thing that I think has room for improvement is the cauldron that holds the Power coins. It doesn’t seem sturdy enough since the plastic is thin and can barely hold all the tokens. Another thing that I’m sad of is the exterior packaging. There are four circular stickers that I think wasn’t necessary on each bottom sides of the box. When you peel it to open the box, it leaves residue that is difficult to clean on boxes with dove material. Even mine is still tainted with some left although I’ve tried a few methods to clean it (as did other people on the internet). Friendly tip, sleeve the cards using Ultra Pro Fit or the sort, then divide it into three stacks, the two goes in the original space, and put the third one under the insert between the two original spaces. BOOM. MIND. BLOWN. RIGHT? And that folks, is how you salvage Villainous’ insert. I’d also suggest that you put each character cards inside the plastic wrapper of your sleeves so that it’ll be easier for you to differentiate it (plus recycle, why not?). That’s right people, over here, we don’t only review game plays and components, but we also give you guys life hacks. YOU’RE WELCOME.
Now my fellow board gamers out there, chant together with me, “WE.WANT.MORE.VILLAINS!“. There’s Cruella de Vil, Gothel, Hades, Yzma, and all other baddies that need to start turning the tables (or boards in this case). To the good people in Wonder Forge, hear our voice and make our five year old persona shut the tantrum, even I can’t handle it sometimes. *winks*
Doing evil never felt so good (and right), right?