Age range: 10+
Playing Time: 50 Minutes
Style: Board Game
Publisher: Ravensburger and Wonderforge
Gameplay: If you’re tired of board games about heroic deeds, handsome heroes, and derring-do, try taking a walk on the wild side with Disney Villainous. Channel your inner baddy and take up the role of a Disney Villain, on a quest to make some trouble and cause some chaos.
In Villainous, each player becomes the antagonist from a different Disney film. You have a villain deck of cards that help you, and a fate deck of cards that hurt you, with each player having a different mission that they are trying to accomplish. On your turn, you move your character to a spot on your player board, taking actions, playing cards, and doing what you can to slow down the other players. You play cards from your villain deck to draw allies and items to help you along. You can play cards from an opponent’s fate deck against them, drawing and playing the heroes that are ready to stop the other villains in their tracks.
The base game of Villainous has 6 characters that you can play as, including Captain Hook, Jafar, Maleficent, Prince John, the Queen of Hearts, and Ursula. There are 3 expansions currently available for the game (with a 4th releasing on February 28th, 2021), each with 3 additional villains to play. The great thing about the expansions is that they can either be played on their own as a 3-player game, or combined to mix and match. There’s also a Marvel Villainous edition with five Marvel Villain Characters, if you have a crop of super hero loving patrons.
Verdict: This variety of characters is one of the real strengths of the game. Each set mixes more modern characters with classics, and each villain has a significantly different goal that they’re trying to accomplish. This can be a barrier for some, as every player is responsible for understanding and executing their own end goals, but many players enjoy the asymmetry of the play. Each villain that you try out feels like a fresh take on the game.
Disney Villainous works well for families that have played gateway games like Catan and Ticket to Ride, and are looking for a new option that is roughly the same difficulty level. It puts you smack in the middle of a Disney movie, an easy prospect to sell during patron advisory. Villainous is a beautifully designed game on a well-loved theme, and speaks to the little voice in all of us that likes to root for the bad guys.
This review was submitted by Emma Fish. Emma Fish is a Library Assistant working at a small rural library in Lebanon, Oregon. She spearheaded a project to add a games collection to her library during COVID shutdown in Spring of 2020, and has been excited to see it grow and develop!