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Game Preview: Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared, or Ravensburger Pulls the Lever

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game Designer
Board Game: Disney Villainous
Board Game: Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core
Board Game: Disney Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared
When Villainous — or to use its proper title Disney Villainous — debuted in the middle of 2018, people immediately asked, "Who else have you got?"

In the game, you represent a villain from one of the Disney animated films. You have a personalized deck containing allies, items, effects, and more from that film, and you must use these cards to complete your master plan, which is unique for each villain and which embodies that character's plan from their film. The original Villainous game includes six characters, but cries went up for more and in March 2019 designer Prospero Hall and publisher Ravensburger delivered more in the form of Villainous: Wicked to the Core, a standalone game with three new villains that could also be played against the characters in the original game.

With San Diego Comic-Con 2019 opening today, July 18, and announcements of new licensed items coming out left and right, Ravensburger has contributed to the buzz by announcing Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared, a new standalone expansion for 2-3 players that mirrors Wicked to the Core in format. The character line-up in this box is Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove, and Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective, and Scar from The Lion King — the new live-action version of which coincidentally opens this weekend. Absolutely a coincidence, I'm sure.

Board Game: Disney Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared

The basics of gameplay remain the same as in the earlier games:

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, and conditions. 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.
Scar's winning condition is the most straightforward: Collect 15 points of strength in a succession pile, "collect" being a polite word for eliminate. You want to be king, after all, so your first challenge is to find and eliminate Mufasa, who is part of your fate deck. Opponents aren't likely to put Mufasa in play for you to kill, so you have effects cards in your deck — "Be Prepared" — to help place him in a position of vulnerability, after which you can use your hyena packs to bring him down. Once Mufasa falls, he counts as the start of the succession pile, giving you 6 of the 15 points you need for victory. Each hero that falls after that adds to your total, although opponents can sometimes pull them back from the pile or strengthen those heroes that remain on the plain to make life more difficult for you.

Ratigan needs to get the Robot Queen into play in his secret lair, then deliver it to Buckingham Palace — but the Robot Queen costs 15 power compared to the 0-3 power cost of everything else in your deck. Thankfully, you can place gears into play that lower the cost of items on a one-shot basis, and other cards will help you dig for the Queen, which you need to get into play before Basil shows up from your fate deck. If Basil comes into play while the Queen is out or can move onto its location, the Queen is discarded, which so enrages Ratigan that his goal transforms to the elimination of Basil. Thankfully you have Felicia in your deck to provide big hits...

Board Game: Disney Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared

The rules note that Yzma is the most difficult to play, and I can testify to that from my one playing of the game to date on a review copy from Ravensburger. Unlike all other Villainous characters, Yzma has her fate deck divided into four equal piles of four cards, with Kuzco hiding in one of those piles. Yzma needs to use her cards to find Kuzco's location, then place Kronk in that same location so that Kronk can take out Kuzco. Kronk doesn't really want to do this, of course, so each time you move Kronk to a new location, he collects power, and once he has three power, he switches sides, now acting as a hero against Yzma. She must then defeat him to return him to her deck so that she can employ him once again against Kuzco. Amongst the cards in her fate pile are two "Wrong Lever" cards, and if she reveals one, she loses half of her power. Why do they even have that lever?!

Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared is scheduled to debut as an exclusive with the Target retail chain in the U.S. on July 19 August 1, 2019, with a release on the broader retail market scheduled for September 2019.

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