disney villainous

Disney Villainous Review

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Publisher: Wonder Forge
Age: 10+
Players: 2-6
Game Length: 45-60 minutes
MSRP: $34.99

A good villain usually makes for a good story, and one of Disney’s strengths throughout every era was its memorable cast of villains. Some, like Maleficent, have even become more popular than their heroic rivals. Yet we’ve never seen a tabletop game that focuses solely on the darker side of the Disney universe, until now.

Disney Villainous is an elegantly constructed, asymmetrical card game where you play as one of six classic Disney villains. Each villain has their own deck of cards, player board, and goals, all of which reflect their sinister machinations in each film. Being bad never felt so good.

Off With Their Head

Players begin by selecting one of six infamous villains: Captain Hook, Maleficent, Jafar, Ursula, Prince John and Queen of Hearts.

disney villainousEvery villain is tasked with completing their own objective, ripped straight from the films. Jafar has to unlock the Cave of Wonders, hypnotize the genie, and bring both he and the lamp to the Palace, while Captain Hook needs to defeat Peter Pan at the Jolly Roger.

Each turn you move your player marker onto one of four locations on your player board. Each space has several different actions available, from playing cards to gathering power and vanquishing heroes. Choosing where to go and how to utilize both your cards and your limited actions each turn is a delightful puzzle.

At the same time, you’ll need to draw from the fate deck of your opponent’s heroes to foil their plans, while they do the same to you.

Choose Your Fate

While the villains are trying to get their various objectives done, those pesky heroes are always in the way. One of the actions allows you to draw from your opponent’s fate deck of heroes, select one of two cards, and play them on the top portion of their player board. Heroes cover up half the actions, weakening that villain’s options, as well as including debilitating effects specifically designed to undermine that villain – such as discarding Maleficent’s curses or stealing power from Prince John.

The fate deck is a lot of fun and helps alleviate the multiplayer-solitaire problem that frequently crops up in these kinds of games. It provides a high level of interactivity between players, and leads to some fun table talk as players see who’s doing well and work to thwart them.

disney villainous

The card art, player board, and player pieces are absolutely lovely. Disney fans will be satisfied to find classic art depictions of movie scenes and characters on each card. The foldout player board looks fantastic and the pieces are gorgeous 3D color-coded symbols of each villain. As great as the components are, the modeled plastic cauldron that holds the power is cheap by comparison.

With each villain having unique rules and cards, some of them play far more complex than others. Prince John and Maleficent are very straight-forward, while Ursula’s need to apply Binding Contracts to defeat heroes and only ever having access to three locations at a time creates a much more difficult scenario.

The balance between villains seems fine – almost every game I played was very close. Though Maleficent won every game she was played in, regardless of who played her. A complexity rating for each villain would have been very welcome, though the guide pamphlets do a decent job explaining their unique play styles.

The Rating

Villainous has a recommended age of 10+. Despite being a Disney game it’s complex enough to make it suitable only for older kids, teens, and adults. The fact that the most recent villain is from 1992 is a big clue that it skews to an older crowd than most Disney games. The game is easy enough to teach, but each villain has its own rules to learn and strategies to employ, and you have to pay close attention to what your opponents are doing.

disney villainous

The Takeaway

Villainous is a fantastic and cleverly designed card game. Each villain’s deck and strategy is richly thematic and expertly tied to their respective films, and the fate deck is an effective way of adding deliciously diabolical player interactivity. Hugely recommended for Disney fans looking for their next favorite card game.

Find Disney Villainous at Amazon, Target, and other retailers. 

nintendo switch family showdown

Win a Trip to LA in the Nintendo Switch Family Showdown Contest

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In what feels like a blast from the game show-laden 1990s and early 2000s, Nintendo and Disney are partnering for the Nintendo Switch Family Showdown Contest. The contest is open now and ends July 1.

Families can apply for the contest by submitting a one-minute video. The video should explain why they are big Nintendo fans (and presumably how marketable and charismatic your family is). Four families (of up to four) will ultimately be selected to compete in the Nintendo Switch Family Showdown. Contest winners will earn a 3-day trip to Los Angeles as well as the chance to meet the teen stars of the Disney Channel.

Contest entry will end July 1. The Nintendo Switch Family Showdown will air later this summer, starting August 27, on the Disney Channel, Disney XD, and the DisneyNOW app. On the Showdown, the winning families will compete in a series of gaming challenges on a Nintendo-themed set.

Examples of challenges include finding collectibles in Super Mario Odyssey, competing head-to-head in Mario Tennis Aces, and showing off the dance moves in Just Dance 2018. The competition is mean to be fun and family-friendly, using modern video games as an anchor to bring families together and make for a fun spectator sport.

Video submissions are open now, and close July 1. The Nintendo Switch Family Showdown will air beginning August 27 on the Disney Channel.