Dominate the Marvel Universe as an iconic villain whilst following your own twisted path to victory against the mightiest heroes in Marvel Villainous Infinite Power.
While establishing itself as not only a new and interesting premise; but a tabletop game with both high amounts of variety and replay value; Villainous had until recently stayed within the expansive cadre of Disney’s animated villain collection.
Expanding its horizons, and by proxy, its audience; we’ve recently been blessed with both a Star Wars and a Marvel based version of the objective based strategy game. Whilst it could be assumed that this is simply another variant of the base game, Marvel Villainous — Infinite Power instead adds some new gameplay mechanics to its already varied arsenal whilst leaning heavily into its source material to deliver what is likely its most mature version yet.
Marvel Villainous offers players a number of well known villains to play as including The Mad Titan – Thanos, Hela – The Goddess of Death, Ultron, Killmonger and finally Taskmaster. Opportune for Marvel that each of these have recently been reintroduced through the Marvel Cinematic Universe and are likely to be recognisable to most players.
The base structure of the game remains the same as the original. Every character has their own game board, villain deck and fate deck built around their specific appearances in Disney produced materials which beautifully illustrates many of their most memorable appearances but also the various protagonists they faced in each instance.
All players then follow the same diceless card-driven mechanics with differing outcomes. Every player starts their turn by moving to another location on their board. This isn’t optional and means players can’t just stack a potentially advantageous position on every turn. You can move to any of the other three locations and movement isn’t restricted to adjacent locations.
Each area of the domain depicts a number of icons that allow a number of actions if the player has amassed the necessary amount of power to carry them out. Each of these elements are mixed in order to achieve each villain’s specific and unique objective and therefore victory.
Here’s where Marvel Villainous breaks the mold. Rather than a fully isolated domain with individual Fate Cards per player, a centralised fate deck is introduced, Marvel’s Infinity Stones make an appearance and a new Event driven mechanic is mixed into the fate deck.
The dynamic of the Infinity Stones changes the isolated domain gameplay by allowing Thanos and his allies to specifically invade and capture the stones on his quest. Essentially a convoluted heist mechanic, Thanos cannot lose the stones once acquired but each card can be moved around and protected by local heroes and other villains to stop him in his quest to reduce half the population of the universe to dust.
A centralised fate deck holds a number of non specific villain heroes who can be played to any domain but also effects and specialisms which also may disadvantage players.
Events inflict negative and ongoing penalties on Villains while in play. Each player must deal with each active Event until it is resolved. Each Event has a Strength requirement in the lower-left corner. To resolve an Event, you may play or relocate Allies to an Event. Once the combined Strength of all Allies at the Event meets or exceeds the Strength requirement, the Event is resolved immediately.
To create a more friendly playstyle it’s also possible to play without events to simplify objectives to both new and returning players to reduce complexity or simply to reduce the overall playtime.
We’ve come to expect high quality materials, artwork and illustrations and Marvel Villainous does not disappoint. Every single artefact in the package is lovingly assembled from the player pieces through to every single fate or villain card with many of the illustrations straight ripped from the comic pages they take inspiration from.
The Villainous series was already well thought out and highly replayable but the mechanics introduced in Marvel Villainous show a potential direction for evolving the gameplay across different source material. Events and the Stones are both fairly destructive in the right hands and radically change the strategy depending on who’s holding one in a very welcome manner.
Each villain continues to play differently to every other on the board with half the fun trying to counter your friends in a race to universal domination and ultimate power.
Marvel Villainous can be found on Amazon.