The Worst Takes It All...
Disney Villainous is a competitive, highly asymmetric card game designed by Prospero Hall for 2-6 players in which you will take on the mantle of an iconic Disney villain, striving to accomplish your own uniquely sinister objective while trying to prevent other villains from doing the same. Both my wife and I are big Disney fans, so this game and its expansions were no-brainers for us. So, without further ado, here are 3 things that I love about Disney Villainous and its expansions.
1) Theme & Asymmetry
It should come as no surprise that a game that was licensed by Disney is both incredibly thematic and immersive. But, fear not, this theme is not at all one that has been pasted-on as a money grab. This is one of those magical games that has a theme that not only matches its mechanics, but is critical to its mechanics. Every aspect of Villainous' asymmetric gameplay is driven and directed by its theme.
In Villainous, you play as one of many different Disney villains. The object of the game is to.... well that's just it. While everyone will be using the same basic gameplay, depending on which villain you play with, your objective will be radically different than that of your opponents. While King John seeks power, Captain Hook wants to vanquish Peter Pan and Maleficent wants to fill he kingdom with evil curses. While Queen of Hearts just want to play a good game of croquet, Jafar is plotting to find the magic lamp and hypnotize Genie. To further add to this asymmetry, each player has two of their own villain card decks, filled to the brim with unique allies, items, heroes and more from their individual universe.
This game has asymmetry unlike any game I've ever played. Playing each villain doesn't just FEEL different, it is different. Your gameplay (and the gameplay of your opponents) is specifically tailored to your villain, which means every game will feel uniquely fresh.
2) Hero Cards
Villainous' base gameplay mechanics are very simple and straightforward which is part of what really makes this game shine. One of the most elegant mechanics you'll encounter in the game is when opponent's choose to "fate" you and place heroes into your realm. These heroes often have one-time or ongoing effects in addition to their primary effect: taking up space.
When a hero is placed into a location in your realm it physically takes up space and covers up action symbols in that location, preventing you from being able to use those actions. Now... you can try to ignore the villain and make do... but the more heroes you allow to accumulate in your realm, the less you'll be able to do. The only way for you to regain those covered action symbols is by "vanquishing" the villains (allowing you to remove them from your board).
Like many of Villainous' mechanics, the placement of hero cards is cleverly simple and effective.
3) Discarding Cards
Last but not least, I have to talk about another really simple mechanic that is in so many modern and classic card games that people tend to not really think about it as a "mechanic"... discarding cards.
Unlike in many other games, discarding cards is often a crucially important action to take in Villainous but you don't get to do it every turn. Discarding is only an action you can take if it's action symbol (bottom right of the photo above) is present at your location. A big part of Villainous revolves the luck of the draw of your own card decks and discarding to get through you deck quicker is one of the best ways to minimize that luck. There are often times when the best action you can take is to completely discard your entire hand so that you can get through your deck as fast as you can to find the cards you need. So very simple... so very effective.
So there you have it. Those are 3 things that I love about Villainous.
What's your favorite part of Disney Villainous?
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