In Disney’s Villainous board game, it’s time to cross over to the dark side. After all, aren’t you a little bored of rooting for the good guys? I know I am – that’s why I love the idea behind this game.
From Maleficent to the Queen of Hearts, all the most iconic Disney villains are brought to life and finally get the chance to triumph under your guidance.
Will you be successful in controlling your realm and achieving your objectives? Not only that but can you also do it faster than your opponents? For me, there’s something about competing with my friends to be crowned the evilest character that brings out my competitive side, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same.
In this Disney Villainous guide, I will equip you with all the knowledge, strategy, and villain skills you need to win, so let’s get started by learning a bit more about the game.
Disney Villainous: A Quick Overview
- Players – 2-6
- Recommended age – 10+
- Playing time – 50 mins
Villainous is an awesome multiplayer game where up to six evil villains from the Disney universe face off in a bid to rule all realms. The game’s subtitle is “the worst takes it all”, which is a perfect summary. Each character has unique abilities and various challenges they must tackle throughout the game to complete their objective and win.
Aim of the Game
To win in this battle of evil minds, you must explore your chosen villain’s unique abilities and learn how to achieve the story-based objective assigned to your character. Each turn, you move your Villain Mover to a new location and perform actions there.
Villain Guides help along the way by offering tips and advice – I’d recommend listening to them for sure! The winner is the first player to achieve their character’s objective.
How to Play
I grew up watching Disney films, so you could say I’m a bit of a fan, and I’ve spent more than enough time playing Villainous to be able to offer you some handy advice. Read on to find out how to win!
First things first, you’ll have to get the board and pieces ready for a new game. Don’t worry; it won’t take long if you follow my advice.
- Each player must choose a villain to represent them in the game. Once this is done, collect the matching board, villain mover, villain deck, fate deck, villain guide, and reference card.
- Position your board in front of you, placing your villain mover on the left-most location on the board. (Now is also an excellent time to familiarize yourself with all the locations.)
- Check the rightmost location for a lock symbol; if it has one, place a lock token on it.
- Make sure your villain deck is well-shuffled and place it face-down on the left of your board, leaving plenty of room for a discard pile.
- Draw four cards (this will be your starting hand) from your villain deck. You’re allowed to look at your cards – and you definitely should! – but keep them hidden from your opponents.
- Give your fate deck a shuffle and place it to the right of your board, leaving room for a discard pile.
- Ensure the cauldron is within reach of all players and put the power tokens inside.
- Now it’s time to choose a player to take the first turn.
Here’s how it works at the beginning of the game: the first player starts with no power, the second player takes one power from the cauldron, the third and fourth players each take two, and the fifth and sixth players each take three.
You don’t need to worry about being the first player and not having any power; I used to refuse to go first for this reason, but it doesn’t put you at a disadvantage.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of your first game, I’ll give you a quick overview of the different game components and how you can use them. You’ll thank me later for it when you win!
The villain guide is your lifeline – make sure you use it! It explains the details of your objective and other important information about your chosen villain.
One side of this card explains how each villain achieves their objective. Top tip: this card can help you determine whether another player is close to victory.
The board in front of you represents your villain’s realm. All cards played to your board are in your realm, and card abilities only affect cards within the same realm.
Other players play fate cards to the top of your realm.
There are four locations in each realm.
Each location has various actions you can perform when you move there.
Your opponents use these cards to hinder your progress.
You play these cards to the bottom of your realm.
Draw from this deck of cards to take action and achieve your objective.
Item cards are present in both the fate deck and the villain deck. If you want to play an item from the villain deck, you’ll have to pay its cost and put the card beneath an unlocked location in your realm. Unfortunately, if a location is locked, you can’t go there unless it says to attach it to an ally.
In that case, you have to put the item under an ally in your realm. If you don’t have any allies (unlucky), you can’t play the item.
On the other hand, items from the fate deck are attached to a hero. You must place the card under a hero; if no heroes are available, you can’t play it.
Effect cards are one-time events in both the fate deck and the villain deck. If you want to play an effect, pay its cost (on the upper left corner), follow its instructions, and discard it. These are rarer than most other cards in the game, so think carefully about whether you want to play them.
When it comes to condition cards, you need to forget everything you know (just to make things more difficult, I know). Unlike other cards in the game, they are actually played during your opponent’s turn. To be able to play the card, the condition that it sets out must be met during the other player’s turn.
Types of cards
Each person should have two decks of cards. Ally cards appear in the villain deck exclusively – they represent your villain’s helpers, henchmen, and pets. Hero cards, on the other hand, appear only in the fate deck; they are do-gooders who are trying to stop your evil plans (yes, you will come to hate these cards when somebody uses them against you).
Now we’re getting to the exciting part!
Taking a Turn
Follow the steps below in this order.
- Move your villain. You can move to any unlocked location in your realm; you cannot stay in the same place.
- Perform actions. You’ll notice symbols on each location representing the actions you can take. You may perform all actions in an order of your choosing or none. Additionally, actions covered by fate cards are unavailable until that card moves.
- Draw cards. You can draw more if you have fewer than four cards in your hand at the end of your turn.
Now you know how to take a turn, let’s find out what actions are available.
This action allows you to take power from the cauldron equal to the number on the symbol. If you’re able to do this action, you absolutely should; power is the currency of the whole game, and you need it to activate abilities and play cards.
Choose an ally or item in your realm with an activate symbol. Pay the activation cost (if there is one) and perform the card’s activated ability.
Play a Card
You may play one card only from your hand. Most cards have a cost in the corner that you’ll have to pay by returning a certain amount of power to the cauldron. You can play an item or ally anywhere in your realm as long as it isn’t locked.
For this action, the first thing to do is choose an opponent and reveal two cards from the top of their fate deck. Choose one card to play and discard the other – I’d recommend choosing carefully because the aim here is to hinder your opponent’s progress as much as possible.
Move a Hero
You can move one hero at a location of your choice in your realm to an adjacent location.
Move an Item or Ally
You may move one ally or item at any location to an adjacent location within your realm.
You can use allies in the same location as a hero to defeat that hero. It’s worth remembering that each ally and hero has a strength (shown in the lower left corner) that other cards can modify in the realm. The ally needs to have a strength equal to or higher than the hero’s to perform this action successfully.
To vanquish a hero, discard the defeated hero to your fate card pile and discard your ally or allies to your villain discard pile.
You can discard as many cards as you want from your hand, and you should always discard them face-up. One of my top tips would be to make sure you discard cards when it is the right time to do so; don’t be afraid that you might weaken your position. In fact, discarding cards gives you new options on your next turn.
End of the Game
To claim your title as champion and the evilest villain, you must be the first player to achieve your game objective. It’s that simple! Follow my advice above, and you’ll be sure to succeed.
How Many Pieces Are There in Disney Villainous?
Disney Villainous contains the following components:
- 6x villain movers (Captain Hook, Jafar, Maleficent, Prince John, Queen of Hearts, Ursula)
- 6x villain decks (30 cards per deck)
- 6x fate decks (15 cards per deck)
- 6x villain guides
- 6x boards
- 3x lock tokens
- 1x fate token
- 80x power tokens
- 1x cauldron
- 6x reference cards
Alternatives to Disney Villainous
Can’t get enough of Disney Villainous? I don’t blame you! The good news is there are lots of similar games to keep you entertained. Here are my top picks.
Disney’s magical world is combined with Monopoly’s property trading excitement in this awesome crossover game. If you’re a Disney fan, you’re in for a treat – rather than purchasing properties on the board, in Disney Monopoly, you purchase Disney films – but even if you don’t know much about the movies, you can still enjoy a much-loved game of Monopoly.
- Players – 2-6
- Recommended age – 8+
- Playing time – 60-120 minutes
Disney Cards Against Humanity
I can’t stress this enough: Disney Cards Against Humanity is a game for adults. In fact, it might be one of the funniest adult games on the market (I’m not exaggerating; it is hilarious). Cards Against Humanity is an iconic card game that’s enjoyable enough on its own, but add sweet Disney characters into this “card game for horrible people”, and the results are excellent.
- Players – 4-20
- Recommended age – 17+
- Playing time – 30-90 minutes
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle
If you’re a fan of Disney, you probably also like Harry Potter, in which case you’ll love Hogwarts Battle. In this game, you take on the role of one of your favourite characters to protect the beloved Hogwarts from evil forces that want to destroy it. My favourite thing about this game is that rather than working against your opponents, you get to work with them.
- Players – 2-4
- Recommended age – 11+
- Playing time – 30-60 mins
This Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle guide contains all the information you need.
Quacks of Quedlinburg
Did you spend hours as a child mixing “potions” from things you found around the house? If so, this potion-making game is for you. In Quacks of Quedlinburg, you’ll take on the role of a quack (a fake doctor) and compete against your fellow players to make the best concoction. At heart, it’s a risk management game, but it’s also fun if you enjoy being creative.
- Players – 2-4
- Recommended age – 10+
- Playing time – 45 mins
Want to find out more? Check out our Quacks of Quedlinburg guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Are there expansions for Disney Villainous?
Answer: You’ll be pleased to hear the answer is yes. There are five expansion packs: Bigger and Badder, Despicable Plots, Perfectly Wretched, Evil Comes Prepared, and Wicked to the Core.
Question: Which is the best Disney Villainous expansion pack?
Answer: My favorite is Bigger and Badder – it’s a lot harder than the original game, but that makes it all the more engaging. There are more opportunities for strategic play, so you’ll need to spend time brushing up on your tactics.
Sounds like your thing? Well, take a look at our guide to the best strategy board games for more inspiration!
Question: Is Disney Villainous hard to play?
Answer: The original version is simple – reflected by its recommended age of 10+ – but players who are new to the game may encounter some difficulties depending which villain they choose.
Once you’ve played a couple of times, you’ll quickly get the hang of it; then, I’d recommend introducing an expansion pack.
Question: Can you play Disney Villainous solo?
Answer: Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to play the game solo; you need to play with at least one other person. If you’d rather find a game you can play by yourself, we have a guide to the best solo games here.
Like a fine wine, Disney Villainous is one of those games that has only got better with time. It came out in 2018, but it’s still going strong in 2022; a new expansion pack (my favorite one) was released earlier in the year. Some characters are more difficult than others, but that’s part of the game’s appeal – it keeps you on your toes and stays interesting no matter how many times you play.