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Tabletop Game / Villainous (Ravensburger)

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Which Villain Are You?

Villainous is a Tabletop Game produced by Ravensburger centered on the iconic Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars villains. Players take control of a villain and work towards their Evil Plan to win the game while sabotaging their opponents with twists of fate.

The way the game works is that each player has their own game board tailored to their villain with four locations. Each turn, the player moves to a new location of their choosing and can take specific actions tied to the location, such as generating a "Power" resource, playing their own cards, sending heroes to interfere with other players' villains, defeating heroes sent by the other players, moving cards from one location to the next one over, and so on. Each villain has their own goal and method to reach it using these mechanics.

All three versions of the game have had multiple releases:

Each release is able to be played on its own or combined with other Villainous sets of the same type (except for the single-character expansions, which cannot be played alone for obvious reasons). However, the different types cannot all be combined with one another, as each type has somewhat different rules.

Compare Lorcana, a Disney-themed Collectible Card Game by the same publisher.

Villainous provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy: The Eddie Brock Venom and his symbiote eventually became Anti-Heroes rather than villains, and the Symbiote Allies used in his deck were not evil and used by heroes for substantial parts of their history. This is downplayed though in that he is the first character who is both playable and represented in a Hero Fate card to represent his more heroic moments.
  • Ambition Is Evil: It's also a secondary currency in Star Wars Villainous, since it’s used to activate special villain abilities in that version of the game, and thus keeps it from being compatible with Disney and Marvel.
  • Arch-Enemy: A plot point for many of the playable villains. Many of the villains' objectives are to defeat their Heroic rival.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Every villain is out to complete their own personal schemes: Jafar seeks to rule Agrabah, Maleficent wants to cover all the land in a wicked curse, Captain Hook wants to murder Peter Pan, Prince John wants wealth and power, Ursula wants to rule the ocean, and the Queen of Hearts wants to... play a game of croquet.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Black Cauldron, a cardboard token with the unique keyword of "Relic." Finding it and unleashing its power to raise the dead is how the Horned King wins.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Syndrome has a total of 16 cards in his fate deck that remain in his realm when he plays them. Aside from the obvious advantage this would give of making it easy to to defeat heroes whenever the player wants, this also means that Syndrome can effectively cut his villain deck in half while these cards are in play which makes it significantly easier to get the card he wants. The problem with this is the fate card "That Was Totally Wicked" which has the effect of discarding ALL of his items and allies that are in play at once, which means not only will his villain deck go back to it's normal size, but also that all of the power and time he spent putting them in play was suddenly wasted. It's much more effective to simply play what you need only when you need it and mill his deck as aggressively as possible.
  • Bad Boss: Something you want to avoid while playing as M.O.D.O.K., as the card he needs to win the game specifically requires that his loyalty meter is maxed out.
  • Bad Future: Implied by most villain victories.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The objective of the game, naturally. It's just a matter of which bad guy wins.
  • Barrier Maiden:
    • Mickey Mouse stops Pete from achieving any goals.
    • The Mouse Queen stops Ratigan from achieving his primary objective.
    • Belle stops Gaston from removing any obstacles.
    • Ball Gown Cinderella is a roundabout case of this. Defeating her means finding and playing 2 Glass Slipper cards, both of which prevent Lady Tremaine from winning. And she can't be Trapped. In addition, her presence means no Allies can enter the Ballroom.
    • Adam Warlock stops Thanos from claiming victory if he's present in his Domain; given the nature of Marvel Villainous, he might actually be plopped down in someone else's domain.
    • If Tony Stark, Iron Man is present in Madam Masque's domain, she'll be so distracted by his presence that she's actively prohibited from accomplishing Vendetta Vanquish actions.
  • Big Damn Heroes: One of the highlights of the endgame is for the right hero to pop up from the fate deck at the last possible second to stop a villain from achieving their objective, such as Aladdin stealing the Magic lamp from Jafar, Ariel snatching the trident away from Ursula, or Perdita rescuing captured puppies from Cruella.
  • Boring, but Practical: Of note in the case of Mother Gothel, whose objective is to accumulate Trust tokens; the fate card Everyone Has A Dream will have her Trust token.
  • Bounty Hunter: Essentially the core aspect of Boba Fett's gameplay as his goal is to fulfill the objectives of four bounty cards.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Jafar can use "Hypnotize" to turn any Hero into an Ally. He needs to use this on Genie specifically to win his Objective.
  • Cape Snag: Syndrome's Fate Deck has the card "No Capes!", that causes him to stay stuck in the same location at the start of his next turn without moving, presumably because his cape got stuck.
  • Caught Monologuing: Syndrome, being the Trope Namer, has a "Monologuing" card in his fate deck.
  • Cool Starship: The Star Wars universe has enough of these that Star Wars Villainous classifies them as their own card type, "vehicles", and builds an entire game mechanic around them.
  • The Corruptor: The win condition of Venom is implied to be this. They need to attach a certain number of symbiote tokens to Spider-Man in order to take him over.
  • Deal with the Devil: Ursula is one of a rare few villains with no Vanquish actions on her board. In order to defeat heroes, she has to attach a Binding Contract to them, then move them to the location specified on the Contract.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Naturally, everything in Pete's realm is devoid of color.
  • Doom Magnet: Played With regarding Fflewddur Fflam. Upon being played he draws all of the Horned King's allies to his location, mercenaries, dragons, undead soldiers, etc. However, since the Horned King’s objective is to have allies spread at every location, Fflewddur Fflam can absolutely wreck his plans.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Cruella's Roadster can be moved anywhere in the realm in a single move item action, and take 2 puppy tokens with it to boot.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The base game for Disney Villainous comes with six villains to play as while both Marvel and Star Wars come with only five.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Most fate decks have at least one effect card that can stop a villain from completing their objective at the last possible second, either directly (such as Gurgi’s Sacrifice deactivating the power of the Black Cauldron) or indirectly by playing a hero with a devastating ability (such as Call For Help, which summons Basil).
  • Engineered Heroics: Syndrome's goal. He needs to upgrade the Omnidroid to v10 and defeat it while also ensuring there are no heroes around so he can take the credit for its defeat himself.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The goal of the game is to complete your own villainous objective while hindering your evil rival's goals with twists of fate.
  • Evolutionary Levels: Ultron has to upgrade himself three times to reach his goal of "Age of Ultron". These three levels are "Transformation", "Optimization", and "Ultimate".
  • First-Player Advantage Mitigation: The game is a race to reach the villain's objective first, which the first player has an advantage at. To compensate, the player going second starts with one additional Power (currency), and any subsequent players start with two additional Power.
  • Godzilla Threshold: This can happen when an event Fate card is played. So long as the card is in play, it affects all players in some way and can generally make life much more difficult for everyone. By working together to complete it the players can all benefit from a reward in addition to just having a nuisance removed.
  • Go Through Me: A handful of heroes must be defeated before any other heroes can be defeated, namely Magic Carpet, Donald Duck, Doc, Rafiki, Chaca, Tipo, and the citizens of Halloween Town. Marvel Villainous has enough of these sort of heroes to simplify it with a "Guardian" icon.
  • Gotta Catch Them All:
    • Cruella de Vil's Objective is to capture all 99 dalmatian puppies, mercifully represented by tokens denoted as either 11 or 22 puppies.
    • Thanos, of course, must obtain the six Infinity Stones.
    • General Grievous is out to collect lightsabers from Jedi he slays.
  • Greed: Prince John. His objective is to start a turn with twenty Power Tokens, symbolizing his wealth in gold coins.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: One of Evil Queen’s condition cards is Jealousy. She brews poison if an opponent has many items in their realm.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door:
    • Syndrome's Omnidroid will always be under his control until it gets upgraded to v10. Once it does its allegiance is a matter of where his remote is. If the remote is under Syndrome’s control, then Omnidroid v10 will effectively function as a hero, but if a hero steals the remote or Syndrome hasn't put the remote in play then it functions as an ally. This can result in the Omnidroid switching sides every turn, although Syndrome actually wants it to function as a hero as defeating it is part of his goal.
    • Yzma's Ally Kronk can be made into a Hero and hinder her if he moves three spaces. She can get him back on her side again by using "Right-Hand Man" or "The Path That Rocks".
  • Hero Antagonist: Hero cards are Twists of Fate meant to hinder the player's villainous goals. Mickey deserves special mention, as he can effectively stop Pete from ever achieving his goal(s) at all, especially when played alongside Donald.
  • Hero Killer: Scar's objective relies solely on defeating heroes until his succession pile is 15 strength or more at the start of his turn.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Gurgi's Sacrifice, a card in the Horned King's fate deck that depowers the Black Cauldron. For balance purposes, this card does not actually require Gurgi to be defeated, or even in play.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Lotso's status as the Big Bad of Toy Story 3 is a major plot twist in the movie. The "Bigger and Badder" pack features Lotso as one of the playable villains spoiling that twist for anyone who didn't see the movie yet.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • While this is present to some degree, given that this is a card game, this trope is far more prevalent with Oogie, since many of his card effects are reliant on a roll of the dice. Granted, he also has plenty of options in his deck that lets him rig the result in his favor, as well as cards in his Fate Deck that will rig the result against him.
    • For the Queen of Hearts to win, she has to play "Take the Shot", which has her reveal 5 cards from the top of her deck. She can only win if the total cost of those cards is less than the total strength of her wickets.
    • One of Pete's goal tokens is called "Win Big", which requires him to win 4 power tokens from playing "Play a Game" at his location. He can use "Sneaky Pete" or "Mischief" to help get better results.
  • Me's a Crowd: Loki's unique card type, Multiversity, are all alternate versions of himself, and can only be played in other villains' domains.
  • Meaningful Name: Almost every box release has a name relating to the headliner villain who is prominently displayed on the box cover:
    • "The Worst Takes it All", the base Disney box featuring Maleficent, averts this, though it does highlight her tendency to be the leader of the Disney Villains and thus the 'worst'.
      • "Wicked to the Core", which has the Evil Queen on the box, is possibly derivative of the poisoned apple the Queen uses.
      • "Evil Comes Prepared", which has Scar on the box, is named after Scar's Villain Song, "Be Prepared".
      • "Perfectly Wretched", which has Cruella on the box, is directly based on a line Cruella says in 101 Dalmatians.note 
      • "Despicable Plots", which has Gaston on the box, is based on Monsieur D'Arque's description of Gaston's plot to blackmail Belle into marrying him by having her father incarcerated in D'Arque's asylum if she doesn't comply.note 
      • "Bigger and Badder", which has Syndrome on the box, is directly based on his description the new and improved Omnidroid.note 
      • "Filled with Fright" is based on the lyric describing Oogie Boogie in the film's opening number. note 
      • "Sugar and Spite"note  alludes to King Candy's role as the corrupt self-proclaimed ruler of Sugar Rush.
      • Averted with "Introduction to Evil" which features Ursula on the cover. This title describes it being a simplified version of the game for newer players.
    • "Infinite Power" the base Marvel box, refers to Thanos using the Infinity Stones and Gauntlet to achieve ultimate power.
      • "Mischief and Malice" relates to Loki's title as God of Mischief.
      • "We Are Venom" is Venom's Catchphrase.
      • "Twisted Ambitions" relates to Doctor Octopus's constant grandiose schemes and how his mind became twisted and cruel after his Freak Lab Accident
    • "Power of the Dark Side", the base Star Wars box, describes the seductive source of the Sith's power as mentioned many times by Darth Vader in episodes Vnote  and VI.note 
      • "Scum and Villainy" refers to the patrons found in Mos Eisley spaceport, Boba Fett being among them, as described by Obi-Wan Kenobi.note 
  • No Ontological Inertia: If the Power of the Black Cauldron is lost, Cauldron Born start dropping like flies, one per turn.
  • No-Sell: Several Condition cards are contingent on the opponent’s deck. An ability that requires a certain number of Items or Allies will fail against Yzma (who has only one item card) or Evil Queen (who has only one ally).
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: Nearly every villain has at least one way to exploit their fate deck in a way that isn't immediately obvious in order to give themselves an advantage that they normally can't get. Gaston for example could have every single hero in his fate deck covering up his entire realm. One might think they would need to tediously remove them all one at a time, or they can just vanquish Mrs. Potts and Chip and then play Take Me Instead. Since they're the only hero left in the fate deck in this situation Gaston can guarantee that he gets to play them with the card's effect and then use their effect to relocate all of the heroes to a single location which will both remove them from most of the board and also guarantee that opponents can't utilize any of the heroes on play effects again since they don't get recycled back into Gaston's fate deck.
  • Plot Armor:
    • Rapunzel is the only hero that can never be removed from her villain's realm; vanquishing her simply moves her back to her tower. Justified in that keeping Rapunzel alive is very much Gothel's goal.
    • Luke cannot be removed like other heroes; he can only be turned from "Focused" to "Conflicted" in order to move him closer towards the Emperor's Throne room. He even gets his own special designation as a Jedi instead of a Hero card.
  • Revenge: An all-too-common motive, but special mention goes to Mother Gothel, who has a card with Exactly What It Says on the Tin, Ratigan, who has it as a secondary objective, and Madam Masque, which is embodied in her Vendetta Meter mechanic.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The Villain Movers that represent the characters often have an extra layer of meaning to them, or at least a bonus detail about their design.
    • Captain Hook's Mover is his coat, cravat, and feathered hat. The shape of the coat and hat, with the curved feather, makes the silhouette of his Hook Hand.
    • Maleficent's Mover has her horns and High Collar of Doom. But if you look closely, you can see the face of a dragon, which makes the collar also serve as a silhouette of the dragon's head.
    • Hades' Mover is his Flaming Hair, toga, and Fog Feet in the shape of a mountain. His goal is to rule Mt. Olympus in place of his brother.
    • Scar's is topped with an abstract representation of his head. But his cheeks are round like eye sockets, so combined with the spikes at the base it looks like a flaming elephant skull from far away.
    • Mother Gothel's Mover is the golden flower in a vase, but the vase has a pattern on it that makes it look like her travel cloak.
    • Averted with Ratigan, whose mover is the most anthropomo... mousomo... er, ratamorph... let’s just say zoomorphic of the lot. Also averted with Gaston, whose mover is literally just his chest. Also, with Oogie Boogie, whose mover is just a miniaturized version of his body.
    • The Horned King has one of the most elaborate mover designs and is the only one based on a specific scene: the cauldron explosion. The upward eruption morphs into the Horned King's raised arms and the King's own head takes the place of the skull-cloud that is formed.
    • Syndrome's marker has his hair and cape, but they're set on his wrist-mounted remote. The remote is his means of controlling the Omnidroid for his Engineered Heroics.
    • Lotso's marker is his head but covered in flecks and set on a base to make it look like a strawberry. Lotso smells like strawberries.
    • Thanos's mover shows his armored helm at the front and the knuckle braces of the Infinity Gauntlet on the back.
    • Kang's mover is double sided, referencing how he always has a time variant of himself as a backup plan.
    • Every Star Wars mover incorporates the hilts of their lightsabers. In Grevious's case, there are four lightsaber hilts engraved on the back of his cloak.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Titans can become Trapped, unable to reach Mount Olympus for Hades to win. The Planets Align is needed to free them once more, or the help of the Titan Pyros.
  • Shapeshifter Showdown: The framework of Madame Mim's gameplay, centered around her climactic duel against Merlin. Both Mim and Merlin have multiple cards with different magical transformations, and all of Merlin's must be defeated with the appropriate counter-transformation from Mim. For example, Crab Merlin must be defeated by Rhino Mim.
  • Shared Universe: This only applies to the Marvel version, and factors into why it's not compatible with the others. In Disney and Star Wars, each player's game board is completely segregated, including the Fate Decks representing the heroes. But Marvel instead uses a shared Fate Deck so that any of their associated heroes could show up to foil any given villain's plans. Thanos' gameplay even involves the Infinity Stones falling into the hands of the other players so that he has to raid his opponents to collect them.
  • Sizeshifter: A unique element to the Queen of Hearts' fate cards. Heroes can either be shrunken down so they only cover one action, or grown large to cover three actions.
  • Slippery MacGuffin:
    • Dr. Facilier's Blood Magic Talisman is integral to his objective, or at least controlling it is. The problem is that whenever a weak Hero comes into his realm they steal it, requiring that hero be vanquished in order to reclaim it.
    • Syndrome's Remote is required for Syndrome to defeat the Omnidroid V.10 for his win condition, but if any of the Heroes (except Jack Jack) are played, they immediately grab it, preventing Syndrome from using it. Fortunately, the V.10 will act as a powerful ally when this happens, as it wants the remote as well.
  • Stealth Pun: If Captain Hook moves to Tick Tock's location, he has to discard his hand (the cards he's holding). This is in reference to Tick Tock being the crocodile that ate his literal hand.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Creeper is never discarded when he defeats a hero, instead relocating to the Horned King's location.
  • Take Me Instead: when played, Sebastian the Crab can take a binding contract from another hero and have it attached to himself instead.
  • Take Over the World: The Horned King's ultimate goal, symbolized by having Cauldron Born present at each location in his realm.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Evil Queen’s lone ally, The Huntsman, has a strength of 4, a cost of 1, and a special effect that lowers the strength of heroes at his location. However, since Evil Queen lacks a vanquish action The Huntsman won’t ever defeat any heroes.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Although still very, very unlikely, the Queen of Hearts is the only villain whose objective can become impossible to achieve. However, she would have to play every single ally in her deck away from Alice's location.
  • Vanilla Unit: A few Allies that have a Strength stat, but no additional ability. These tend to have a great cost-to-Strength ratio. There are also quite a few virtual vanilla Allies and Heroes with an ability that only does something when the card is played. This keeps the complexity manageable when there are numerous of these things on your board.
  • Variable Player Goals: Each villain has a different goal. Using the Perfectly Wretched set as an example: Cruella is trying to collect 99 puppies, Mother Gothel needs to earn Rapunzel's trust while keeping her from getting to Corona, and Pete has to complete a randomized series of mini-goals.
  • Villain Protagonist: Naturally, given you're playing as a villain.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Referenced with Ratigan. His initial objective is to get the Robot Queen to Buckingham Palace, part of his scheme to take over London. If the Robot Queen is taken out of play, Ratigan transforms from "Ratigan the Superior Mind" to "Ratigan the Rat", and his only goal is "Defeat Basil".
  • Violation of Common Sense: Captain Hook's fate card Splitting Headache allows the person who plays it to discard any item in Captain Hook's realm. This technically means it can be used to discard Pixie Dustnote  and help Captain Hook by removing one from Peter Pan who Hook needs to defeat to accomplish his goal. This is normally a terrible idea, but in games with more than 2 players a player can deliberately set up Captain Hook to win on his next turn if they've been getting heavily fated by the other players in order to force them to target Captain Hook instead of them. Especially if they know they can win on their next turn as long as they don't get fated.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Heroes have an easier time messing up Prince John, due to most of his realms' "gain power" actions lying in the top half of the board, liable to be covered up. However, he can turn heroes' meddling to his advantage, with cards like Warrant (gain power when a hero is played to a certain location), Beautiful Lovely Taxes (gain power for each hero in your realm), and Imprison (move heroes to the jail, a location with no actions on the top half of the board (with the exception of Lady Kluck)).
  • You Have Failed Me: Both of Dr. Facilier's Spirit allies have negative effects if they are played from his fortune pile; Masked Spirits nullifies any other fortune cards revealed, and Shadow Spirits steal power.
  • Zerg Rush: Pete has seven Bandit minions in his deck, any number of which can be played with a single action. You still need to pay for each of them, though this can help Pete fulfill his 'Power Play' Goal.

Alternative Title(s): Villainous