I’m not sure what your Friday nights consist of, but mine normally include two things: friends and board games. We’re living in a time where tabletop gaming—board games and card games—are making a major resurgence. Of course, Disney found this the perfect time to partner up with board game company Wonder Forge and create their new game: Villainous. The game was released for sale at Gen Con, an annual four-day gaming convention that takes place in Indianapolis. When the game was released, the line to buy a copy was comparable to Space Mountain during peak season. Disney got everyone’s attention, but was it worth it?
What is Villainous?
Villainous is a board game where each player can pick to play as one of six classic Disney villains: Ursula (The Little Mermaid), Jafar (Aladdin), Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland), Prince John (Robin Hood), Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), and Captain Hook (Peter Pan). Each villain has their own personal goal to win, which is completely thematic to their own world. For example, Maleficent must cover her realm in curses or Captain Hook has to destroy Peter Pan on the Jolly Roger.
The game is recommended for ages ten and up and is for two to six players. I personally don’t recommend playing with two people, because it’s a very back-and-forth interaction between the players. I recently played the game with four people and it felt chaotic enough to be fun, but you were still able to keep track on who was close to winning. The estimated time for playing the game, start to finish, is around fifty minutes. While the game comes with a rulebook, I do recommend watching the video that Wonder Forge created, that teaches you how to play. The only thing we used the rulebook for was to reference a specific rule while playing the game.
The game itself comes with: six villain pawns, each themed to their own character; six incredibly detailed game boards; six villain decks; six villain guides, and all of the tokens you’ll need to play the game. I love the idea of the villain guides and I think they work really well for the game. They outline the winning goal for your specific character, some potential strategies to win, and certain cards that could thwart your villainous plans.
If you’re worried that you’re going to miss your favorite character because you’re playing the villain in the story- have no fear! Through the game mechanic of “fate” (an action that can disrupt an opponent’s progress), all of your favorite heroes and items come up, just like they would in the movie. This mechanic is the main way in the game for players to interact with each other. If you see a player getting close to finishing their personal goal before you would, you can “fate” a player. This then draws a random card from their personal “fate” deck. The card could be a hero from their story or an item. For example, if you’re playing as Ursula, you could draw Ariel, a “dinglehopper” or a “snarfblat,” among others. Each of these cards has effects that hurt you, the villain, making it impossible to win with them out in play or eliminating certain types of cards you can play. I absolutely love this mechanic, as it allows player interaction but everything is still themed to your specific story.
Villainous is being retailed at $34.99 at Target and most local game stores, and I think it’s completely worth it. I played with three other people, who are not nearly as big of Disney fans as I am, and they all had a great time. All of us were very close to winning at the end, and it led to some fun alliances with each other to try and slow each other down from winning.
Aside from the game itself being fun, I also think that all of the pawns, game boards, and cards are really nicely made. The art on the cards and game boards seem to be straight out of the movie and all of the pawns seem to be sturdy enough to last over time. I do recommend gently wiping all of the pawns off with some water when they come out of the box, as ours seemed to be dusty. There is just one small caveat, however, the holder for the tokens is very cheaply-made plastic and doesn’t look very good.
Overall, I’m excited about the future of this game. If Disney decides to, they could create multiple expansions for different villains, if they aren’t planning to do that already.
I recommend this game for board game fans and Disney fans alike. If you try it, let me know what you think about it in a comment below!