The Best Kind of Expansion!
I love expansions because they usually add something new to a game that I already enjoy and allow me to get more replayability out of a game that I already own. Sometimes an expansion will offer a new twist on gameplay offering new, interesting decisions and sometimes it just offers: MORE – more of the things you loved from the base game, more cards, more characters. More.
The Villainous: Wicked to the Core expansion is one that offers more. But this is also my favourite kind of expansion – one that gives you everything you need to start playing and enjoying the original game all on its own without the need to own – or even ever having played the original base game! It’s even a bit less expensive than the original game so it’s a great way to dip your toe into the Villainous game and decide if you like it before running out and buying the base game.
Wicked to the Core
Villainous: Wicked to the Core is the new stand-alone expansion for the widely successful game Villainous. Whether you are playing this game alone or adding it to the base game, Wicked to the Core provides 3 new Disney villains: The Evil Queen from Snow White, Hades from Hercules, and Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog. Wicked to the Core can be played with 2-3 players (This is the only real difference between the expansion and the base game as the base game plays up to 6 players) and offers the same fun gameplay experience as the base game so you’re not missing anything.
Each player chooses a Disney villain, gets their own player board, two decks of cards for their villain, and a beautifully, mesmerizing 3D player token - all of which are magnifecently crafted to represent each villain. Each villain has their own set of objectives they must accomplish through card play in order to win the game. For example, you might be required to defeat a specific hero from your Fate deck using specific cards from your Villain deck.
Your opponents will be playing their own cards on their own turn to accomplish their own set of goals but they can also play your Fate cards against you to slow you down throughout the game.
The game even comes with a tiny pamphlet about your villain explaining your objective and providing tips on how to win.
The game even comes with a tiny pamphlet about your villain explaining your objective and providing tips on how to win. You will start the game by reading aloud your villain’s objective so everyone can hear what each player is trying to accomplish and you will get a summary card explaining each villain’s objective so you can follow their progress along and decide when is the best times to step in and play cards from your opponent’s Fate deck to try to hinder their progress.
How it Plays
In the game you will move your token to a different location on your player board (you can move to any location, the only limitation is that you can’t stay at your current location) and you will take the actions available at that location. The player boards only have icons to indicate the available actions but they are all covered quite well in a “cheat sheet” that easily explains all the actions in the game and you quickly get to know what each icon is and what it can do to help you win.
Some of the icons at each location of your player board can be covered up when your opponents play cards from your Fate deck against you. These cards are played at the top part of a location on your player board and will cover up some of the icons and at least temporarily remove some of your options at that location. Fate cards often take away half of your available actions at their location (at least until you defeat or possibly move that card to another location) and may even require you to deal with them before you can even attempt your objective. You will need henchmen and items from your Villain deck (played to the bottom part of your player board) to help you defeat the heroes and item cards in the Fate deck and regain these actions.
Some of the icons at each location of your player board can be covered up when your opponents play cards from your Fate deck against you.
You “pay” for the cards that you want to play from your hand with power tokens that you can get at some of the locations on your board. Some villains will get power tokens by playing cards and some villains will always be struggling for more power. Very thematic!
The game essentially becomes a bit of puzzle in finding the most efficient way to defeat the hero cards played against you while quickly playing the cards you need from your Villain deck and deciding when you need to play Fate cards against your opponents. Some villains need to cycle through their deck(s) as much as possible and some need to build up strength before the big fight.
Your hand limit in the game is only 4 cards so you have to carefully decide if it’s worth it to hold on to a potentially good card for a later turn or discard it in hopes of getting something that will help you right now. The push-and-pull of these decisions, mixed with deciding when to play Fate cards on your opponents (and which ones to play) make up most of the interesting - and sometimes frustratingly interesting strategic decisions in the game.
When you play cards from another players Fate deck you get to draw two cards, choose one and play it above a location on that villain’s player board. The other card is discarded. The Fate cards add an element of “take that” to this game that can sometimes seem a bit mean – but you ARE playing a villain afterall, so don’t ignore this part of the game. Fate cards will cause your opponents to fight heroes or generally make it harder for them to win the game and buy you more time to accomplish your objectives. A properly timed Fate card can often be the difference between winning or losing the game.
The Fate cards add an element of “take that” to this game that can sometimes seem a bit mean – but you ARE playing a villain afterall, so don’t ignore this part of the game.
From the Box
2-6 Players, ages 10+
Playing Time: 50 minutes
Designer(s): Prospero Hall
Publisher: Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH
2-3 Players, ages 10+
Playing Time: 40-60 minutes
Designer(s): Prospero Hall
Publisher: Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH
This Game is Just FUN! The theme and artwork will evoke memories of the Disney shows and make you smile as you learn and play the game. For me, the biggest appeal is all the different villains you can play in the game. Each villain feels very different when you play them and each must do different things to win, so having more villains from the Wicked to the Core expansion just adds so much to my love of the original base game.
Not Just for Disney Fans! I must admit that I’m not a huge Disney fan and that I don’t know a few of the 9 villains now available for the game but that doesn’t make the game any less fun to play. Of course this game is probably best for the Disney fan and for families that know the movies and characters; however that is not at all necessary to enjoy the game.
Of course this game is probably best for the Disney fan and for families that know the movies and characters; however that is not at all necessary to enjoy the game.
There is Some Take That! Playing the Fate cards makes you feel REALLY villainous and is usually when you’ll hear players cackle an evil laugh or quote lines from their favourite Disney shows. The “take that” element of these cards may make you shy away from them but they really are the heart of the game and seem to be a key factor to success. In this game you are a villain - and you should allow yourself the right to feel wicked sometimes.
Easy To Learn! The game is easy to learn and you can start playing fairly quickly. But it’s a Disney themed game that isn’t aimed specifically for kids. There is a bit of learning curve for some of the villains and that might influence or taint first impressions for some players but generally the game is a light, “family weight” game for ages 10 and up (maybe a tiny bit younger if their reading is good and they don’t mind some of the meaner elements of the game).
It Looks Amazing! The game components are fantastic! Artwork from the Disney shows you love. Thick cards and player boards, beautiful player tokens (they look amazing all lined up together and players will spend their down time taking photos of these beauties), a plastic bowl to hold all the power tokens and even the insert is masterfully designed.
Is It Balanced? The biggest criticism I’ve read online about the base game was that some of the villains seem unbalanced. We have experienced a bit of that with just one of our plays but to me this isn’t really a criticism about the game itself and more about card games in general. Afterall, it IS a card game and that means that there will be a heavy degree of luck involved whenever you play this game. As with most card games, that random luck factor will sometimes play out in your favour with the cards coming to you in just the right order and in other games it will work against you and can make the game seem unbalanced. We are making notes of which villains seem easier to play and easier to win with and will offer them to new and/or younger players - problem solved in my opinion.
Multiplayer Solitaire? Depending on the villain you play you may feel like the game has a bit of “multiplayer solitaire feeling” (which, I must note, isn’t necessarily a bad thing) but if that’s not something that you enjoy, well, the game plays fairly quickly (usually under an hour) and you can just choose another villain to try next time. Because you are so heavily focussed on achieving your own goals it is easy to miss how close your opponents are to victory and sometimes a victory will seem to come out of thin air – like magic. The solution to this is: Yup, the Fate deck!
More Expansion Are For Sure Coming! I’m super excited about all the possibilities and future villains that they can add to this game! I can’t wait to see more. I’ve also got my finger crossed for some kind of cooperative expansion that makes the villains work together to fight to become the ultimate baddie… or something like that. But even just adding lots of more villains (there are tons) will be exciting too!
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