Disney Villainous

RRP: £34.99

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RRP £34.99

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Have you ever wanted to play the villain in a film? Come on, be honest… Of course, you have! You wouldn’t be here if you haven’t. Well, now you can thanks to Ravensburger! And not just any villain in any film. Now you can be one of six legendary villains from six of Disney’s classic films! Disney Villainous is a 2-6 player, asymmetric, feast of cunning combat and tactical tr…
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Awards

Exceptional Components
Stunning Artwork

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • One game containing within it lots of different ways to play.
  • Clear objectives to achieve.
  • Messing up your friends' best-laid plans, with the opportunity to be very strategic.
  • Being the bad guy and vanquishing Disney heroes.

Might Not Like

  • Frequent setbacks - nothing is straightforward and everything can change in an instant, even if you think you've nearly won.
  • Some of the villains have complicated objectives. I was constantly checking to see what on earth I was doing.
  • Strictly competitive rather than co-operative play.
  • The game does technically work with two players, but achieves a better sense of engagement and player interaction with more people.
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Description

Have you ever wanted to play the villain in a film? Come on, be honest… Of course, you have! You wouldn’t be here if you haven’t. Well, now you can, courtesy of Ravensburger! And not just any villain in any film. Now you can be one of six legendary villains from six of Disney’s classic films!

Disney Villainous is a 2-6 player, asymmetric, feast of cunning combat and tactical trickery. In the game, you and your opponents will battle it out to be the first to reach your own unique winning condition. At your command, you will have loyal minions ready to enact your sinister plan. It sounds all too easy, doesn’t it?

But there are others just as evil as yourself fighting for victory and as they move to different locations on their unique player boards, they can activate your own villainous Fate Cards that could lay waste to your devious schemes or at least painstakingly slow them down!

Disney Villainous comes with stunning artwork from the Disney films, unique character Villain and Fate cards, player boards, tactical tips, reference cards, six stylised plastic villain miniatures and of course no game about Disney villains would be complete without a cauldron brimming over with power tokens.

It’s time to dig out your cape and let forth your sinister evil laugh, for Disney Villainous is here!

Player Count: 2-6
Time: 50 Minutes
Age: 10+

 

Let's face it - who hasn't wanted to be a Disney villain? Sure, the princess and princesses are all fine and happily ever after, but if you were Maleficient, you could curse those who'd wronged you! If you were Jafar, you could hypnotise people and make them do whatever you wanted! If you were Prince John, you'd… have a crown?

Disney Villainous, created by Wonder Forge, lets you do just that: indulge your inner villain. Each of the six playable villains is given a nefarious plan to achieve, so to win the game you must complete your objectives – while also fending off those pesky do-gooding heroes and doing your best to sabotage your opponents.

Characters - Pick your Poison

The villains available to play in Disney Villainous are:

  • Captain Hook - The eternally unlucky pirate from Peter Pan.
  • Jafar - The megalomaniacal vizier from Aladdin.
  • Maleficient - The grudge-bearing witch from Sleeping Beauty.
  • Prince John - The insecure usurper from Robin Hood.
  • The Queen of Hearts - The croquet-loving despot from Alice in Wonderland.
  • Ursula - The shape-shifting sea witch from The Little Mermaid.

Each villain is represented by a cleverly-designed translucent plastic piece that manages to capture the essence of each character in a wonderfully simplistic and artistic way.

The range of characters that Wonder Forge have chosen is appealing; players will immediately be drawn to at least one character from that list. It must have been an extremely difficult job to whittle down Disney's extensive roster of villains to only six choices. Prince John in particular is a surprising and pleasing inclusion, with Robin Hood perhaps being a lesser well-known Disney film.

And, excitingly, it doesn't end there! Perhaps to assuage those who think they chose wrong, Wonder Forge is currently taking votes for the next villain to be added to the game. This is a perfect way to expand the popularity and replay-ability of the game: everyone has a favourite film/villain, and, as I mention below, gameplay is different with each character, so knowing that there will be more characters added in the future keeps the game full of possibilities.

Gameplay - No Honour Amongst Villains

Each turn in Disney Villainous is broken down into three steps: moving, performing actions, and drawing cards.

Moving

Your board has four locations that you can move between. Some villains start with 'locked' locations, which subsequently need to be unlocked by using cards.

Performing Actions

Each location has symbols on it that correspond to actions, for example play or discard cards, or 'fate' another player: draw the top two cards from their Hero Deck and use the best one to wreak havoc.

The cards in the game are divided up into Villain and Hero Decks.  Your Villain Deck contains allies who help you vanquish heroes, effects, and conditions. Effect cards are played as part of your turn; condition cards are played during an opponents' turn. The Hero Deck contains heroes who you have to vanquish (placed on your board after another player 'fates' you), items, and effects.

One aspect that I found a bit disruptive was trying to remember what each symbol stood for (for some reason it just wouldn't click with me) - however you do always have a reference card to hand which lists the symbols.

Picking a location becomes very important when you need a certain action, for example, if you need to vanquish a hero or you're desperate to fate someone before they win. Some villains need to be in specific locations to complete parts of their objective.

Drawing Cards

You start with four cards in your hand from your Villain Deck. If you've used/discarded cards during your turn, you draw from your Villain Deck until you're back up to four again.

The villains' overall objectives range from the relatively simple (e.g. Prince John needs to collect 20 power tokens) to increasingly difficult, with four out of the six having multi-step objectives that require careful planning and exactly the right conditions (e.g. Ursula must play the Trident and Crown item cards, move them to her Lair, and defeat King Triton). Don't worry, you're not expected to remember all of that - each villain gets a personalised card that reminds you what your objectives are (this is invaluable for some characters).

This differentiation works extremely well, with new/younger players able to choose more straightforward characters and then build up to the others with more experience. It also prolongs the appeal of the game: each villain has story-specific allies, effects, conditions and heroes to battle, thereby providing players with what feels like a whole new game every time you pick a different villain.

The amount of players also changes the feel of Disney Villainous. Two players means you only have each other to target, but equally means that there are less chances of you being 'fated' per round. Four players means you have a lot more to keep an eye on to ensure that people aren't secretly close to winning, and if someone IS close to winning the other players can team up to target that opponent (this can be EXTREMELY frustrating when you're the victim). It is a surprisingly strategic game; it can be a tricky balance between concentrating on your own goals and scuppering the other villains.

Final Thoughts on Disney Villainous

Disney Villainous is a delight for fans of Disney. The objectives, characters and locations chosen by Wonder Forge really make you feel like you're playing through your chosen story. Experiencing the plot from the other side and the competitive nature of the game makes you seriously root for your villain, often with hilarious results ('BLOODY ALICE!' I yelled, after a particularly difficult turn as the Queen of Hearts).

That being said, you don't have to know much about Disney to enjoy the game: the different levels of complexity available, the beautiful artwork, and the 'just right' amount of challenge that Villainous offers makes it entertaining to play.

How to Play Disney Villainous

Disney Villainous turns the happily-ever-after that you'd expect from Disney on its head and gives the villains a chance to FINALLY complete their evil schemes. Playing as one of six characters, you are tasked with completing their story-based objective - if you can get past the Disney heroes lurking to thwart you and, more importantly, the other players trying to back-stab you at every possible opportunity.

Setting up the game

Each player chooses a villain from Captain Hook, Jafar, Maleficent, Prince John, Queen of Hearts, or Ursula. Once you've chosen your villain, you pick up the corresponding:

  • Player Board.
  • Mover (the plastic game piece representing your villain).
  • Villain Guide, which tells you more about that particular villain's objectives and special powers.
  • Villain Deck.
  • Fate Deck.
  • Generic Reference Card.

That sounds like a lot, but it makes a lot more sense when it's all in front of you - everything is colour-coded and has the character's name printed on for easy reference.

Lay out your board in front of you, placing your mover on the location on the far left. As I found out too late, you're going to want to leave a lot of space around your board to account for all the cards that can be laid on the board as the game progresses.

If you're playing as Captain Hook, Jafar, or Ursula, you'll need to take a Lock Token and place it on the location on the far right to signify that that location is locked, for now.

Next is the most straightforward step - shuffle your Villain deck and place it face-down on the left side of your board, leaving space for a discard pile. Shuffle your Fate deck and place it face down on the right side of your board, again leaving space for a discard pile.

Draw four cards from your Villain deck to make your starting hand, making sure only you can see your cards.

Tip the bag of Power Tokens into the Cauldron and put it in the middle of the table, or in easy reach of all the players. Whoever goes first (there aren't any rules in the guide for picking whoever goes first, so make up something suitably villainous) does not pick up any Power Tokens, the second in line takes one Token, the third and fourth players take two Tokens, and the fifth and sixth players take three Tokens.

Finally, you are ready to begin!

Playing Disney Villainous

Playing Villainous

Playing Villainous (published by Wonder Forge) requires a balancing act of focusing on your own objectives while keeping an eye on your fellow villains' progress to make sure they're not getting ahead. Each villain has a different objective, which you may recognise…

  • Captain Hook - Defeat Peter Pan at the Jolly Roger.
  • Jafar - Start your turn with the Magic Lamp at Sultan's Palace and Genie under your control.
  • Maleficent - Start your turn with a Curse at each Location.
  • Prince John - Start your turn with at least 20 Power Tokens.
  • Queen of Hearts - Have a Wicket at each location and successfully take a shot.
  • Ursula - Start your turn with the Trident and the Crown at Ursula's Lair.

On your turn, you:

  1. Move your villain.
  2. Perform actions.
  3. Draw cards.

1. Move your villain

You can move to any of the four locations on your board, as long as that location isn't locked. Moving is mandatory; you can't stay on the same location (unless you have certain cards that overrule this, as is the case with Maleficent).

Disney Villainous - Power Tokens

  1. Perform actions

Each location has a series of symbols (maximum of four) printed on, which correspond to actions:

Gain power: take Power Tokens from the cauldron, equal to the number printed inside the symbol.

You need Power Tokens to play cards and Activate abilities. Prince John needs a large amount of Power Tokens to fulfil his objective.

Most cards have a Power Token cost, shown in the upper left corner of the card, which you must pay to play the card. Your Villain Deck contains:

  • Allies - Henchmen/women who you can deploy to locations and use to Vanquish heroes (see below).
  • Items - Can be attached to Allies to boost their abilities.
  • Effects - Extra actions played during your turn.
  • Conditions - Extra actions played during an opponent's turn (so you don't need the 'Play a card' symbol for these ones).

Activate: activate a feature of an Item or Ally card.

Some Allies or Items do not have their abilities available until they are activated. You must land on a location with an Activate symbol and then pay the activation Power Token cost (if relevant). The Queen of Hearts' objective involves Activating her Card Guards to Wickets, so that she has an activated ally on every one of her four locations.

Fate: choose an opponent, draw the top two cards from their Fate deck and choose one to play.

Your Fate Deck contains Heroes (the Disney good guys - or, to you, the bad guys), Items, and Effects. All are designed to significantly hinder your progress and are equally annoying. I can guarantee that you will experience the very strange occurrence of hurling abuse at a beloved Disney prince or princess.

In games of five or six players, if you've been Fated you receive a Fate Token, which grants you immunity from being targeted (passed to the next player who is Fated, and so on).

Disney Villainous - Binding Contract

You can move Items/Allies to use their abilities in different locations, or in readiness to Vanquish a Hero. Five of the six villains' objectives involve moving items or allies in order to complete their goals (e.g. Ursula must move the Trident and Crown Item cards to the location of Ursula's Lair).

You can move a Hero to an adjacent location, as long as it's not locked.

Vanquish: defeat a Hero using your Ally/Allies

Each Ally and Hero has a strength, indicated by the number in the bottom left corner. To successfully Vanquish, the Ally's strength (or combined Allies' strengths added together) must be equal or higher than the Hero's strength.

Ursula has a slightly different way of vanquishing Heroes: you must draw a Binding Contract Item card and assign it to the Hero. The Binding Contract is location specific - you must attach it at a location that is NOT mentioned on the card. You must then move the Hero + Binding Contract to the location specified on the Binding Contract card to Vanquish them.

You can discard as many cards as you want.

Disney Villainous - Locked Location

As you'll have noticed, considering each location only has a maximum of four actions out of these eight, moving to locations can become more about what you need at the time. Do you need more Power Tokens to play a certain card? Do you need to Fate a player who's nearly winning? Do you need to move an Item to finish your objective?

At the end of your turn, if you've used/discarded any cards, you draw from your Villain Deck to give you four cards in your hand.

Winning Disney Villainous

When a villain has achieved every step of their objective (some have more than others), they are victorious. Four of the villains must start their next turn with the objectives fulfilled, so sometimes you have an anxious wait through everyone else's turns, hoping that they don't mess up your carefully laid plans (spoiler alert: they definitely will).

Go forth and scheme your way to villainous victory! Read my review to learn more about the game.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • One game containing within it lots of different ways to play.
  • Clear objectives to achieve.
  • Messing up your friends' best-laid plans, with the opportunity to be very strategic.
  • Being the bad guy and vanquishing Disney heroes.

Might not like

  • Frequent setbacks - nothing is straightforward and everything can change in an instant, even if you think you've nearly won.
  • Some of the villains have complicated objectives. I was constantly checking to see what on earth I was doing.
  • Strictly competitive rather than co-operative play.
  • The game does technically work with two players, but achieves a better sense of engagement and player interaction with more people.