Playing a hero can be fun - you triumph, save the world from total destruction and win a boat load of gold. But have you ever wondered what it would be like on the other side, to indulge your dark side and watch the world burn? Thankfully, you don’t need to go full on evil genius, because some board games let you test your nefarious skills and take on the role of the stereotypical “villain”. These games encourage players to unleash their most cunning strategies and devious plots to outsmart their opponents - the “good guys”. The opportunity to play as a villain always adds a unique mechanic to gameplay, usually by enhancing the competitive element of any board game. The next time you want to embrace your inner evil and play as a villain, why not consider some of these games.
In Jaws, one player takes on the role of the eponymous shark who is trying to devour the local residents of Amity Island, while the other players act as Brody, Hooper and Quint, and are tasked with hunting down and slaughtering the rogue beast. Gameplay occurs over two phases, the first on Amity island and the second on The Orca, where heroes will occupy a sinking ship and battle against the deadly shark. The heroic human heroes must take down the beast to win, while the ruthless beast wins if it kills all three heroes, or destroys the Orca.
For the human team cooperation is key, they must work together and prevent their teammates from being devoured. In contrast, playing as Jaws himself comes with a different, and just as thrilling, style of play. From the start you’re outnumbered, which means you have to try and divide your opponents if you want to conquer them. Playing as the infamous movie monster is a great experience, as the bad guy your goal is obvious- kill the good guys! It may sound straightforward, and it is, although that doesn’t mean it is easy to achieve, you’ll have to use all your vicious cunning to make sure you come out on top and the heroes become fish food.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a brilliantly suspenseful game where players explore a mysterious, haunted mansion room by room. As they discover new areas and encounter eerie events, tension builds until at a certain point a hidden traitor is revealed. The traitor, one of your former teammates, is then tasked with a secret agenda, more often than not involving the death of their former companions. With 50 unique scenarios the narrative in Betrayal is always different, which means the traitor will never be the same either. In one playthrough the traitor may be a minion for an undead overlord then in another they will be an evil genius plotting the brutal demise of their enemies.
If you’ve never played a game that uses a hidden traitor mechanic before Betrayal can seem a little intimidating at first, especially if the narrative determines that you are the traitor. But once you get to grips with the basic gameplay mechanics you will embrace your inner demon and before the game is over you’ll be clambering to slaughter your former friends.
It would be a crime to write an article about villains and not include the fantastic, and aptly named, Villainous. As the title suggests the game is exclusively dedicated to villains as each player assumes the role of a famous Disney villain, each with their own unique objectives and schemes. You can be Jafar plotting to steal the magic lamp or Maleficent striving to spread curses across the realm. Beautiful artwork paired with thematic gameplay have made it a must own for many people, not just Disney enthusiasts.
Each villain must achieve a specific goal and overcome certain hurdles if they are to be crowned victor, from defeating certain heroes to amassing ludicrous amounts of power. A villain's task is made harder by other players who can influence the actions you can take on your turn and send heroes to interfere with your well laid plans. A growing number of expansions also means that you can continue to embrace your evil side and play as any number of infamous baddies . If you fancy yourself as a villain why not try the cunning Scar or the brutal Gaston?
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a fast-paced, social deduction game where players take on hidden roles as villagers, werewolves, or special characters. The innocent villagers must track down and slay the werewolves while the werewolves must bluff as best they can and evade capture. Gameplay takes place over two phases, night and day, and is guided through an app that instructs you on what actions to take, depending on which character you were given at the start of the game. During the night certain players perform actions depending on their role, they may look at other players cards or swap cards around. Then during the day a brief and often chaotic discussion takes place while players try to identify and eliminate any suspected werewolves. The problem is that the werewolves are in on the entire discussion and can attempt to betray and backstab as many innocent players as they can.
With a blend of deception and strategy, and quick talking gameplay, One Night Ultimate Werewolf makes a great party game, and if you enjoy being a bad guy as a werewolf you can watch friends betray one another and enjoy watching the chaos and murder unfold.
Letters from Whitechapel is a gripping deduction game set in the dark and ruthless streets of Victorian London. One player has the opportunity to become the notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper, while the other players become investigators trying to apprehend him. The game unfolds over a series of nights as Jack moves silently across the city, committing brutal crimes, while investigators work together to deduce his whereabouts and catch him before he escapes. As Jack, each night you have the opportunity to carry out a murder or try to find out the location of the pursuing investigators, using whatever sinister tricks you can. The investigators must search for clues and hunt Jack down before he can evade capture for too many nights in a row.
In a sinister cat and mouse game, Letters from Whitechapel offers a challenge to both sides as they attempt to outwit one another. If you have always wanted to deceive your friends and prove how much smarter than them you are, as you skulk around a city at night committing violent murders, this is the perfect opportunity.