Game Length: 20 min/per player
The original Disney Villainous tabletop board game celebrates its fifth anniversary with the release of Introduction to Evil.
Introduction to Evil isn’t another expansion (of which Villainous has spawned half a dozen, not to mention Marvel and Star Wars spinoffs). It’s a slightly redesigned and updated version of the original 2018 box set, with easier and more streamlined gameplay for new and younger gamers.
Thanks to some smart design changes and balance improvements, Introduction to Evil is the better version for everyone, and it’s fully compatible with other Disney Villainous releases.
Poor Unfortunate Souls
If you’re new to Villainous, it’s an asymmetrical card game where each player plays a classic Disney villain, with their own mini-location board, deck of cards, and winning objective.
Introduction to Evil features four of the six villains from the original 2018 game: Ursula, Prince John, Captain Hook, and Maleficent. It’s a big bummer that Queen of Hearts and Jafar didn’t make the cut, however.
The overall gameplay remains the same. Every turn, each player moves their beautifully sculpted marker to a new location, and performs the actions listed there, such as Play a Card, Move a Card, or Vanquish.
Using their personalized deck of cards, they’ll need to achieve their objective before their opponents, all while being occasionally thwarted when their adversaries use a Fate action to draw from their Hero deck and muck up their best laid plans.
Introduction to Evil rebalances several cards, concepts, and winning objectives in all the right ways.
Villainous is a very “take that” style game, thanks to the Fate actions that hamstrings each opponent (sometimes by a frustrating amount).
One of the most impactful changes is that Villains such as Maleficent and Ursula no longer have to wait until the start of their next turn before they can win (thus previously allowing their opponent one last chance to stop them). As much as I enjoy the game, it almost always runs long. I appreciate any attempt to speed it up.
Another intuitive update is eliminating locked locations for Ursula and Captain Hook, and redesigning their cards to make up for the accelerated gameplay.
Ursula’s Binding Contracts are now easier to pull off: simply stick them in a certain location and add a new one-time Vanquish action to defeat heroes.
Prince John, in addition to amassing 20 power, must also defeat Robin Hood, giving him a more active playstyle as he hunts for the pesky outlaw.
Maleficent, easily the most winningest Villain in the original game, now needs an Ally in a location before she can place a Curse card there, a much-needed change to slow down her repeated runaway victories.
My 11 year old quickly picked up the gameplay, and even beat me with Ursula, who’s probably the most complicated of the bunch. We could quickly jump into the game, and I could begin teaching more advanced strategies, such as deck cycling and hero-location coverage.
Despite the slightly easier gameplay, Introduction to Evil carries the same age rating of 10+ as the rest of Disney Villainous. Without item activations or locked locations (and a few redesigned cards), it’s an easier game to teach and welcome newbies to the series.
Introduction to Evil is neither a repackaged anniversary edition, nor a completely redesigned kid’s version. It’s more akin to a major balance patch in a video game, with the designers taking a mindful eye toward needed fixes and changes to improve (and mostly speed up) the Disney Villainous gameplay we love.