In 2018, Ravensburger released Disney’s Villainous. Based on six of the most well known Disney villains from their extensive animated motion picture catalogue it, unfortunately, had to exclude a few of the more recently created antagonists. Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared fixes that…
Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared is one of two recent expansions (The other being Villainous – Perfectly Wretched) which can either be played standalone or used to supplement and expand the original six-player package with three brand new villains — Scar (The Lion King), Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove) and Professor Rattigan (Basil the Great Mouse Detective)
As with the original Villainous, each villain is completely unique within the premise of the game’s rules of play. All three villains each have a main objective to complete which wins the game for the player but every villain’s objective is achieved in a completely different way and with a different set of tactics and dynamics to that of your adversaries.
In some ways Villainous and its expansions have created a game which potentially could be played by up to twelve players; if you had enough time and resources to play it that way; but also manages to create twelve different play styles within the framework it offers. Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared centres on three of those.
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 (such as Yzma’s Wrong Lever moment in Emperor’s New Groove) but also the various protagonists they faced in each instance (In Scar’s case — Simba/Mufasa/Pumbaa etc)
All players follow the same diceless card-driven mechanics with differing outcomes. Every player starts their turn by moving to another location on the 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.
The board represents a villain’s realm, given that many of the Disney stories are standalone and do not overlap. This is then split into four specific scenes or locations. Locations are dotted with four icons representing optional actions which may be undertaken to support your goal (if you have enough power amassed to do them). Overall there are sixteen icons across each players realm but these are taken from a pot of eight possible action icons. Some may be repeated and depending on the villain may not appear on your realm board at all.
Each location is then split further into two rows, the top row and the bottom row. Fate cards played against you cover the top row. This also covers the top two icons and as such you also lose access to the actions on that realm location until the item or hero is vanquished. The bottom row is for placement of items or allies played from your hand on your turn, this doesn’t cover any icons however and is generally a positive action.
Each players fate deck is made up of actions, effects and hero cards which when played by other players inhibit your ability to reach your objective. Heroes played to the board are placed on a location and have an effect. For example, if Olivia is played on Rattigan’s board. Once Olivia is defeated you must choose one of the other players to play another random card from your fate deck. Heroes can be stacked on a location and each has a strength rating which must be matched or beaten by any Allies moved to the same location to vanquish them.
Each player also has a villain deck comprised of actions, conditions, allies and items. Holding a maximum of four villain cards at the start of each players turn, depending on which location you choose to move to you can play a card (if you have the power). This could be to deploy an ally to the board, increase strength of an ally, add an effect or do something to assist in discarding some of your fate cards (meaning reducing possible risks to your objective). At the end of your turn, you replenish your villain hand to a maximum of four cards and move to the next player.
The general framework then gets complicated depending on your Villain.
Scar’s objective is to reach a strength of 15 Succession, a dynamic unique to Scar alone. Usually having a hero played to your board is a disadvantage. For Scar it’s his only method of victory, but as in the film (The Lion King), Scar’s rise to power cannot commence until he defeats Mufasa (who is hiding in Scar’s Fate deck). This means Scar needs other players to play fate cards against him or play villain cards from his hand which allow him to use his own fate cards.
Once Mufasa is defeated he starts a Succession pile and the strength of Mufasa and then any subsequently defeated heroes are added to it until Scar is victorious. Any heroes defeated before Mufasa are just added back to the Fate deck.
Yzma must defeat Kuzco, she can’t do this without Kronk (her main henchman). Kronk is hidden in your villain deck and Kuzco (like Mufasa) in the fate deck. Yzma’s fate deck, however, is split into four different decks and her villain cards support searching them to find Kuzco or Kronk. Cards like eavesdrop (unique to Yzma) let you search one of your fate decks to find Kuzco. Easier, I hear you say than Scar’s objective… Nope. Fate cards for Yzma are littered with shuffle actions. Think you have found Kuzco or ruled out a pile ? Shuffle let’s your adversaries mix up your decks and recut them potentially screwing up your plans.
Kronk is also a unique ally in that as you move him around the board he gains power. It supplements his strength and even when used to vanquish a Hero he stays on the board. Unfortunately, Kronk is a bit simple and if he amasses three power from moving around he becomes a hero card and moves to the top row. You can defeat him with stacked allies but he goes back in the deck and you need to find him again.
Rattigan, just like in Basil the Great Mouse Detective, is trying to take the throne via his Robot Queen. His objective relies on finding her, having a massive amount of power amassed to play her card and then moving it from one side of the board realm to the other and into Buckingham Palace. The challenge for Rattigan initially is actually getting 15 power amassed, it’s a lot and playing as Yzma or Scar I only ever had around three power at any time. Secondly is that Rattigan’s fate deck is comprised of heroes who can defeat the Robot Queen. Even if Rattigan manages to get the Robot Queen to Buckingham Palace, some of his foes have abilities that can either stop his objective or change it. If this happens then Rattigan’s objective changes mid-game to defeating his adversary — Basil.
Three wildly different ways to play the game keep you guessing on your opponent’s actions and balancing it with your own objectives. Do you defeat another Hero or move to play fate against someone who potentially may have found their objectives target?
The construction of the game materials and the quality of the illustrations scream Disney, strange then that the mechanics really are for more adult minds. The age rating of 10+ is realistic unless you play with children in teams with adults. Turn time is around two mins per turn and game length with all three villains in use is around an hour. Add this to the base game and I’d suggest some breaks since you could be looking at 2-3 hours for a session.
The Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared expansion comes in a box that could likely transport well in a rucksack and is more mobile than the original but I would not suggest given the number of cards and pieces that it’s a travel variant, it’s still tabletop around a good-sized four-seater table.
Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared supplements beautifully with three new Villains or stands alone well with a smaller gaming group. Master one villain to perfect your strategy or try a new style of play with the others. All in all, it’s wicked fun and very well balanced.
You can buy Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared now from Amazon.