In the Disney Villainous board game, you take on the role of a villain. In the past, Disney has focused most of their attention on their heroes, but behind every great hero, there is an even greater villain. And in Disney’s case, they happen to have some of the most iconic villains in cinema history! So is the Disney Villainous board game a wickedly fun time or is it just as bad as its villains? Let’s take a look in this villainous board game review.
What is Disney Villainous?
In the Disney Villainous board game, players take on the role of classic Disney villains trying to outplay their opponents and successfully complete their evil plans.
There are 6 villains to choose from in the core set: Maleficent, Ursula, Jafar, Prince John, Captain Hook, & Queen of Hearts. Each villain has their own objective to win the game.
Disney Villainous is an asymmetric board game. Meaning that each villain has their own set of rules, cards, and player board. This will make each time you play the game different, but it may take some time to learn each of the villain’s objectives. So let’s break it down.
- Ages: 10+
- Players: 2-6
- Play Time: 50+ Minutes
What’s Inside the Box?
Disney Villainous includes a wide assortment of components including:
- 6 Player Boards – Each villain has their own player board which is known as their realm. Inside their realm are four locations they will be able to move to.
- 6 Villain Movers – Each villain has a really pretty sculpted mover. You use these to show where on the player board you will be moving to.
- 180 Villain Cards – Each villain has a unique deck of cards to draw from. There are many types of cards in the game such as:
- Effects – These cards usually grant you a one-time ability like instantly defeating a hero.
- Ally – Allies have a strength level to indicate how powerful they are and a cost that will need to be paid in order to play the ally to a location in your realm.
- Items – These cards are long-lasting effects that are played to a location inside your realm. These cards usually give your ally cards additional strength or other bonuses.
- Condition – A condition card is played during another player’s turn. You can only play these cards if you or your opponent meet the specific requirements.
- Curse – Curses are specific to Maleficent. They are similar to items in that they are long-lasting effects played to a location in your realm.
- 90 Fate Cards – Each villain has a fate deck that other players on their turn can draw from. They can then play those fate cards in your realm. Fate cards include items and effects just like in your villain deck, but it also includes hero cards that can block certain locations in your realm.
- 84 Power Tokens – This is the currency of the game. You spend power tokens in order to play cards from your hand.
- 1 Cauldron – Villainous includes a neat plastic cauldron to store the power tokens.
- 6 Reference Cards – This is a little cheat sheet that lists all of the symbols and what they mean as well as each villain’s goal.
- 6 Villain Guides – Each villain includes a handy player guide which explains the goals and strategy of that villain more in-depth. If you want more strategies for these villains then consider checking out our strategy guides for Captain Hook, Jafar, Maleficent, Prince John, Queen of Hearts, and Ursula.
- 1 Fate Token – This prevents a player from being targeted multiple times in a row by fate actions.
- 3 Lock Tokens – Some locations on your player board may be locked. You will need to find specific cards in order to unlock these locations.
- Instructions – Like any other board game this one includes a manual.
This game is jam-packed with a lot of different components and man are they pretty. Now that you have an idea of what is all included in Villainous let’s put it all together and see how it plays.
The Disney Villanous Characters
- Captain Hook – Defeat Peter Pan at the Jolly Roger.
- Jafar – Start your turn with the Magic Lamp at Sultan’s Palace and Genie under your control.
- Maleficent – Start your turn with a Curse at all four locations in your realm.
- Prince John – Start your turn with at least 20 Power.
- Queen of Hearts – Have a Wicket at each location and successfully take a shot.
- Ursula – Defeat Triton and start your turn with the Trident and the Crown in Ursula’s Lair.
As it stands Villainous has a solid line up of classic Disney villains and I see why they chose to start with the characters.
In the future, I would love to see some other villains like Gantu from Lilo and Stitch. If they ever choose to dive into their pool of CGI villains it would be cool to see someone like Yokai from Big Hero 6 show up.
If you are interested in learning more about the Disney Villainous characters and how to win check out our strategy guides for Captain Hook, Jafar, Maleficent, Prince John, Queen of Hearts, and Ursula.
How to Play Disney Villainous
Each player will receive these items:
- Player Board: Each player board is unique to the chosen villain. They all will have 4 locations on the board, but with different actions listed.
- Villain Deck: The villain deck consists of items, allies, and other cards to help you complete your objective.
- Fate Deck: The fate deck consists of heroes, effects, and items that opponents can use to stop you from completing your objective.
- Villain Mover: This is your player marker to move around your board.
Each player board, known as a realm, has 4 locations. At the beginning of your turn, you move to a new location and perform any or all of the actions listed at that location.
The actions scattered across these 4 locations are:
- Gain Power: Power is the currency of the game. You use power to play cards from your hand.
- Play a card: Play one card from your hand, paying the cost in power.
- Activate: Activates the ability of one of your item or ally cards, paying any costs in power.
- Fate: This allows you to choose an opponent and draw two cards from their fate deck, you then choose one card to play and discard the other card.
- Move an Item or Ally: You can move one item or ally card on your board to an adjacent location.
- Move a Hero: You can move one hero to an adjacent location freeing some of those blocked actions.
- Vanquish: This allows you to use your allies to defeat heroes on your board. The total strength of your allies must be equal to or greater than the strength of the hero you are attacking. If you succeed in vanquishing the hero you also discard your allies you used in the attack.
- Discard Cards: Allows you to discard any number of cards from your hand. At the end of your turn, you will draw back up to four cards.
You may only perform these actions once per turn and they must be listed at your current location in order to do so.
At the end of your turn, you draw back up to your hand limit and the next player will take their turn.
The first player to complete their objective wins the game.
Now that you know how to play Disney Villainous I want to share my thoughts on the game overall.
The Disney Villainous box art is really neat with the silhouette of Maleficent looming across the front. The storage is inside the box is excellent.
There are cutouts for each of the villain movers, decks, and cauldron making it easy to set up as well as clean up.
If you are a fan of sleeving cards, unfortunately, you will have to do a little bit of DIY work to make the cards fit in the box.
I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to board game components. I really like to have lots of pretty pieces. Not to say that I can’t enjoy a simple card game. I enjoy simple games like Exploding Kittens and Codenames too, but having something more tactile and shiny really adds a lot for me. Disney Villainous delivers this in spades.
The villain movers in the game are sculpted into shapes of their villainous counterparts. They are slightly see-through so when the light hits them they have a gem-like glow to them.
My favorite mover would probably have to be Captain Hook. His piece has a pirate hat and a cool feather coming out of it. It just looks really neat with the dark red color.
But that is just the beginning! Let me talk about the artwork on the cards. More specifically the back of the cards.
That’s right! I am not even talking about the actual card art on the front. The back of these cards are absolutely brilliant!
They capture the essence of each villain perfectly. Each with their own color and design they really did an excellent job.
Green is my favorite color so the Maleficent deck really caught my eye. This deck has her raven engulfed in flames and has her dragon form above that and her horns above that!
They were able to do so much with the design and somehow made it simple and not feel overcrowded.
The fate decks have the same designs but are re-themed to a really pretty white and gold color scheme.
How about the front of the cards you ask? Well…
The art is just as awesome as the back of the cards! I mean it is Disney after all what did you expect. They are known for their beautiful animation and this is no exception.
They did a great job packing each of the villain’s decks with all of the characters you have come to know and love.
A lot of the art comes from iconic scenes from each of the villain’s respective movies. The design from the back of the card bleeds into the front with the slick and simple line art. You send your cards to the player board which helps to draw you in as well.
The player boards have 4 unique locations depending on the villain. Each location are those you may recognize from the movies.
For example, the Queen of Heart’s player board includes the White Rabbit’s House, the Courtyard, the Hedge Maze, & the Tulgey Wood.
These boards feel super sturdy and the art is once again well done. On the front of each board is a quote from that villain which I thought was a nice touch.
With all of these villains, it can be hard to remember all of your opponent’s goals. So the game also comes with reference cards to remind you.
On the one side, it has all of the game’s iconography and their meaning. Then on the other side, it lists all of the villains and their goals.
There is one more component in this game that was a really cool addition.
Disney Villainous also includes a plastic cauldron to hold the supply of power tokens. This is a welcome addition as it just adds even more to the theme of the game. The power tokens themselves are thick cardboard which should last you through many play sessions.
Having each villain play so differently is key to the theming of the game. Each villain has their own personality in the movies so why not have that show in Villainous?
This is where the game succeeds. The designers knew that each villain has their own motives and desires that drive them. Giving them goals and cards that match their personalities perfectly.
For example, Prince John is greedy so he has cards that focus on gaining power. Jafar wants to rule Agrabah so he needs to gain the magic lamp card and hypnotize the Sultan.
Licensed games usually get a bad rep because publishers can take a well-known property and slap it on a box and think that’s enough to make a good board game. You can tell that the designers of Disney Villainous knew what they were doing. They took the spirit of these iconic villains and perfectly incorporated this into the theme of the game.
Everything in this game feels thematic. From the cauldron that holds the power tokens to the individual goals that drive each villain.
The asymmetric mechanic is a big part of Disney Villainous and something I was pretty excited about going in.
I am a huge Disney fan. I love the movies, theme parks, & merchandise. Their board games have been targeted towards a younger audience up until this point. So when I had learned about this game I was excited, but also worried that it was going to be too simple and once again targeted for a younger audience.
With that said this game did not disappoint me. The asymmetric nature of the game works extremely well and makes you feel as though you are that villain.
Since each villain is unique and has their own goals this makes each time you play a little bit different. Each villain has their own strategy and playstyle which you will need to figure out in order to win.
For example, Prince John has to focus on obtaining power tokens and he can do so by taxing heroes and placing warrants for their arrest. While Maleficent needs to search her deck and find curses to play. It really sucks you into the game and puts you in the villain’s shoes.
I will say that the game is not perfect. Certain villains like Prince John can feel a bit unbalanced. With such a simple goal compared to the other villains, he tends to win more than the other villains. Luckily there are a bunch of other villains to play as in Disney Villainous so you can choose not to use him in your games.
This game doesn’t have a whole lot of player interaction. Each villain is focused on their own thing, but they did include the option to “Fate” your opponents. This allows you to play heroes and effects in other players’ realms to slow them down.
Because every villain has their own unique cards, it can be hard to keep tabs on your opponents if you are unfamiliar with their character. So if you are like me and you like to be in the loop of what everyone is doing then it can be a bit frusrating at first. I would recommend taking a look at all of the villains, their goals, and their cards before playing to understand what they are capable of.
You do get a decent amount of strategy out of Disney Villainous. The different locations on the player boards force you to decide if you need to gain more currency or should you focus on slowing your opponent down.
All of the cards work together perfectly. They all have effects that will get you one step closer to your goal. It’s up to you to strategize and figure out out how you can leverage each card and maximize their effects. Or you can check out our strategy guides and see how to win as each villain.
- Replay Value. There are 6 different villains and each one of them plays very different. At the very least this will give you a few plays without the game getting stale.
- Artwork. Everything from the cards, which showcase classic Disney art taken straight from the movies, to the unique villain movers in the shape of classic Disney villains look amazing.
- Theming. I’m a huge Disney fan so maybe I’m biased, but being able to play as these Disney villains and hatch their evil schemes is a blast and it gets you immersed in their universe.
- Expansions. This doesn’t affect my overall rating, but it is worth mentioning that there are currently two expansions; Disney Villainous Wicked to the Core and Disney Villainous Evil Comes Prepared.
- Some Balancing Issues. Certain villains I found to be a bit easier to win as, given your opponents don’t fate you every chance they get. For example, Prince John has a simple goal. All he needs to do is gain 20 power tokens. While someone like Ursula has to search both their deck and their fate deck to find Triton and a bunch of other cards.
- Can Drag On. I like fate cards because they keep people from winning the game before I do, but when playing with a large group of people fating can really make the game drag.
- Disney Fans & Fans of Card Games. Disney Villainous surprised me. We got it because we are huge Disney fans, but it goes beyond just a fan service game. This is a super fun card battle game not unlike that of Hearthstone.
- If you are interested in other games that are fun for the whole family, consider checking out our review for Machi Koro.
Disney Villainous Expansions
Currently, there are two expansions for Disney Villainous with a third on the way.
The first expansion to be released is the Disney Villainous Wicked to the Core board game. This introduces three new villainous characters; the Evil Queen, Hades, and Dr. Facilier. All three of these villains introduce new mechanics such as the introduction of titan cards and fortune piles.
The most recent expansion is the Disney Villainous Evil Comes Prepared board game. This introduces three more villainous characters; Scar, Ratigan, and Yzma. Each of these villains introduces even more ways to play and I would recommend picking up either of these expansions.
Disney Villainous Review Breakdown
- Value: 5/5. Currently Disney Villainous is at about $30, which is a tremendous value! You get a bunch of cards, cool sculpted pieces, and other high-quality components.
- Components 5/5. Villainous has some of the highest quality components for its price range. The art in the game is amazing and you will want to play each villain just to see all of their cards.
- Gameplay: 4/5. This is a super fun game with an excellent theme, but it doesn’t scale very well thanks to fate actions. Once you start to play with 5-6 players turns start to take longer and can really drag the game out.
Disney Villainous Review Score
The Disney Villainous board game is one of my new favorite games. All of the villains are unique which makes it super repayable. The artwork and components are absolutely gorgeous and elevate the theme even further.
I think this game really shines when playing with 2-4 players. Any more than that then you may risk this game going on for too long.
With that being said I highly recommend this game to not only Disney fans, but to anyone who is looking for a genuinely good card game.
Disney Villainous features excellent artwork, components, and gameplay. I highly recommend it.
- Great artwork
- Highly replayable
- Excellent theming
- Fun gameplay
- Some balancing issues
- Slows down when playing with more than four people