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Welcome New Faces to Villainous with Wicked to the Core

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core
Board Game: Disney Villainous
The bigger the game launch, the more chances you have for someone to screw up. In early February 2019, BGG user Tones Bones spotted an expansion for Villainous on the shelves of a local Target, but was unable to purchase the item as the cash registers wouldn't permit the sale. Turns out that some random Target employee had overlooked the "don't shelf by" date on the boxes and spoiled what was going to be a major NY Toy Fair 2019 announcement by publisher Ravensburger.

In response, the company has now lifted the embargo on information about the game, so let me introduce you to Villainous: Wicked to the Core, a 2-3 player standalone game by Prospero Hall that can also serve as an expansion for the original Villainous game. Here's a rundown of what's in the box and how the game is played:

In Villainous: Wicked to the Core, each player takes control of one of three Disney characters, each one a villain in a different Disney movie, specifically the Evil Queen from Snow White, Hades from Hercules, and Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog. Each player has their own villain deck, fate deck, player board, and 3D character.

On a turn, the active player moves their character to a different location on their player board, takes one or more of the actions visible on that space (often by playing cards from their hand), then refills their hand to four cards. Cards are allies, items, effects, conditions, and (for some characters) curses. You need to use your cards to fulfill your unique win condition.

One of the actions allows you to choose another player, draw two cards from that player's fate deck, then play one of them on that player's board, covering two of the four action spaces on one of that player's locations. The fate deck contains heroes, items, and effects from that villain's movie, and these cards allow other players to mess with that particular villain.

Villainous: Wicked to the Core is playable on its own, and its characters can also face off against those in the Villainous: The Worst Takes It All base game from 2018.
Board Game: Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core

As BGG user Cee Phour guessed in a speculation thread about possible expansions for Villainous, it doesn't make sense for U.S. retail chain Target — which is taking preorders for the game ahead of its March 3, 2019 release date — to sell expansions on the off chance that a casual shopper already owns the base game. Better to sell a standalone item that can lead to sales of the earlier release or sales to those who want to spend less on a trial run of the game.

Coincidentally, I comment on this trend in my video overview of Doppelt so clever, which is scheduled to go live a few hours after this post does. (I hadn't planned to write about Villainous: Wicked to the Core now, but with the embargo lifted, here it is.) The short take: Publishers seem to be favoring standalone sequels over expansions the past few years — think Codenames: Pictures, Queendomino, and Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra — over expansions, and I suspect the fevered market is largely to blame/thank for this trend. While standalone sequels existed in years past, e.g., Ticket to Ride: Europe or Carcassonne: The Castle, publishers seemed to favor expansions on the assumption that gamers would add on to what they already own. In today's market, though, with new people entering the hobby all the time, you don't want to assume that anyone owns anything, so give people a complete game to reduce one obstacle to them purchasing your publications.

Villainous: Wicked to the Core carries a $25 MSRP and its exclusivity period with Target ends on March 31, 2019, after which time you should be able to find it through other retailers. (1I'll note that at Spielwarenmesse 2019, Ravensburger announced the upcoming release of Villainous in German in March 2019.)

I had planned to accompany the announcement of this game with a video overview, but (1) the announcement was moved up eleven days, so (2) I haven't been able to play the game yet since I've been covering the Spielwarenmesse toy fair for the past week or so. Soon!

Board Game: Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core

Board Game: Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core
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