Just played Villainous with my kids. I am flabbergasted. Saying that this is Wonder Forge’s best game doesn’t do it justice because it stands up with the best designs out there. It’s a beautifully executed, completely unique game and if you love Disney...they pulled out all the stops to make it FEEL like classic Disney.
Every player had a completely different set of cards including ally/item/effects and another of Fate cards, which are the good guy stuff that goes with that villain. We played with Prince John (start a turn with 20 power, my pick), Captain Hook (a more complicated objective of beating Peter Pan at the Jolly Roger, my son), and Ursula (get the crown and trident to her lair, my daughter).
Narrative beats and mechanics are pulled straight from the stories. One of Ursula’s locations, the Palace, is locked until she changes form. Prince John had a special prison space where he can lock up heroes. Captain Hook has cards that help him pursue his vendetta against Peter, teasing him out to Hangman’s Rock. There were so many moments where my kids and I were like “yeah, just like the movie!”
It’s kind of an SUPER stripped down worker placement/action selection core. You have one piece, and you move it to one of four locations. These have four action icons, you do any or all of them in any order. The Fate (hero) cards are brilliant. If you get to place one, you choose a player and draw 2/pick one from their deck, placing it over the top half of one of their locations. This blocks half the actions there until they can defeat the hero with allies or other card effects.
It’s quite a bit heavier than I expected- it’s around middleweight Euro. I actually am surprised that it is as complex as it is, and with six totally different characters with unique objectives and cards. It very smartly comes with a little guide sheet for each character to brief you in what they are trying to do, how they do it, and what is in their decks. My kids had a little difficulty with it, I helped them through some of the tougher choices and combos. Scarlett won with Ursula but it was super close- I would have won if she didn’t, and River was in position to beat Pan- but Mr. Smee was hit by a headache and dropped his cutlass!
The graphic design has to be mentioned. Quite frankly, it blows just about everything else on the market today out of the water. It’s beautiful. Every card is lightly, subtly foiled. Each character has unique heraldry on their cards. The movers are lovely little abstract acrylic sculpt. Colors and fonts are totally on point, masterfully selected. The illustrations are stunning and authentic to the source materials. It makes garbage art like Legendary look even more egregious than it did before. The only whiff is that the cauldron for power points is kind of flimsy.
Totally floored by this game. I am a huge Disney fan so that certainly doesn’t hurt my opinion of it, but this is a great design regardless.
It is also worth noting that 3 out of the 6 characters are strong, independent women! Villainous, yes, but better than Red Scorpion!