Game Length: 40-80 minutes
Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power is much more than a re-theme, however, adding new gameplay elements that reflect the shared universe of the comics and films.
If you’re familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you can probably guess the five villains included in Marvel Villainous: Thanos, Ultron, Hela, Killmonger, and Taskmaster (who appears in the delayed Black Widow film).
Like Disney Villainous, each Marvel villain has their own game board, token, deck of cards, and their own unique win condition. Hela needs to defeat enemies and acquire souls, Killmonger must plants bombs around Wakanda, while Thanos is after a bunch of colorful stones, you may have heard of them.
Each turn villains move their token to different regions in their domain and perform the listed actions, such as gaining power, playing cards, and drawing a fate card for their opponent.
The shared fate deck is one of the biggest changes from Disney Villainous. Instead of each villain having their own fate deck, everyone’s fate decks are shuffled together, along with a generic fate deck, to create one big fate deck that everyone draws from.
The shared deck is a nice reflection of the shared Marvel universe. Iron Man is just as big a headache for Thanos as Ultron, after all. Fate cards also include new events, which act as additional locations that impose a nasty penalty on one or more villains, until they divert some of their allies to defeat it.
The downside of the shared Fate deck is that players are only drawing one card from the relatively large deck, and only a portion of the deck truly hampers any one villain; whereas in Disney Villainous, every draw of the villains’ fate deck is specifically tailored to set them back in different ways.
The Mad Titan
Marvel Villainous attempts to fix one of the biggest problems with Disney Villainous: needing to find a particular card in your deck to move forward with your objective. To alleviate the desperate card search, it introduces new Specialty tokens and a new Specialty slot on each villain’s game board. These tokens, such as the Infinity Stones or Ultron’s upgrades, exist outside of the villains’ decks, allowing for more flexibility.
In the case of Ultron and Killmonger, the specialty tokens are used to keep track of their progress, as well as granting advantages and disadvantages throughout the game. Thanos, as befitting one of the biggest villains in the Marvel Universe, is in a league of his own when it comes to this new specialty system.
All six of Thanos’ Infinity Stones are specialty tokens. Through certain cards, the stones are placed in an enemy villain’s territory, where Thanos must send over troops, defeat that villain’s allies, then return with the stone. The stones grant powers to enemies and to Thanos once he acquires them, giving him more and more power as he collects them. Thematically it’s a bit strange – you would think Thanos would need to defeat pesky heroes with stones, not other villains.
Having Thanos in a game completely shakes up the normal pace, where direct player interaction was mostly limited to drawing Fate cards on each other. It’s not an entirely welcome change – Thanos can move his troops into your territory and really wreck things up, much to that players’s annoyance. For someone like Taskmaster, whose whole goal is to power up his troops, it can be absolutely devastating.
The recommended age for Marvel Villainous is 12+, a slight bump up from the 10+ Disney Villainous. With its added fate locations, specialty tokens, and multi-step win conditions, Marvel Villainous is a bit more advanced than its older sibling.
Despite his popularity, we would recommend not playing Thanos in your first game due to his added complexity and interaction.
Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power mostly delivers as a solid comic version of Disney Villainous and will undoubtedly be just as welcoming to future expansions with more villains. Marvel fans will love the colorful artwork, striking tokens, and thematic objectives. The few big gameplay changes are enough to make the game feel different, though not necessarily a straight improvement.