Star Wars Villainous Board Game Review
I am a huge fan of Villainous, the Ravensburger game that had you take control of a Disney Villain and try to accomplish a unique task before your opponents finished theirs. These tasks varied from killing the hero of your story, to collecting power and money, to Stealing 101 dalmatians (this was Hopper's mission. JK but Ravensburger give me Hopper as a villain NOW). Honestly I've had this game in my Best Game spot for a while now. It's fun, the Fate Deck (how you attack other players) is unique, the character playstyles perfectly match who they are, and the art and figures were crafted with love. There are now three editions of this game out, Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars. The Disney one is perfect, the Marvel one is meh (they ruined Fate Decks in that one, but good on them trying something new), and I just got my hands on their newest addition, Star Wars Villainous. I'm sure more expansions are on the way, but here are the five villains you can play as for now. Darth Vader. GENERAL *cough*GRIEVOUS. Kylo Ren. Asajj Ventress. Moff Gideon.
The pieces (except the General Grievous one) are really well made and look like perfect board game pieces of their characters. The draw of this game is it's simplicity, it doesn't take up a lot of room and it's pretty friendly towards beginners of all levels. Most games these days require ample room on your side of the table, but this game has a pretty genius way of organizing everything you have. You never really feel cluttered. In the shot below you can see my game piece, my discard pile, my currency/mana, the game board you move your piece on, and pesky Mark Hamill blocking my success.
The concept of the game is easy, you move your piece to one of four locations, then you can do all four actions listed at your location. There are some locations that have actions designed to help you win, then there are usually two locations that have actions that are designed to help stop your opponents from winning. The pace of the game is good once you learn it, but obviously the first time takes a bit. We were playing with two people who knew how to play, and two who have never played it before; it took us about two hours to complete. I played Kylo Ren, who has a pretty easy mechanic to win the game (get nine token to the dark side). In the picture below you can see the card that helped me keep track of my tokens, and a card (Sith Legacy) as an example of a way to move my tokens to the Dark Side to win the game. Needless to say I still lost.
The coolest concept behind this game is the Fate System, that lets you pick two cards fro ma deck designed to screw over each villain. In the picture below you can see we screwed Grievous MULTIPLE times and infested his board with Jedi Scum.
Each fate card hurts your villain in different ways, from limiting how many cards they can hold in their hand to straight up just making them restart their objective. This game can easily become a friend ender much like Mario Party or Monopoly or Elefun. As I said before, Marvel did away with the custom fate decks and tried a common fate deck, which really took the fun out of fating someone. I'm glad Ravenburger decided to bring back custom fate decks, so I can now fate Vader and add Obi Wan Kenobi to his board over and over again. This is still my favorite board game series of all time, as it's easy to teach to people and they are constantly adding expansions. Heck the Disney one is at 21 playable villains, and the Marvel edition is at 8 I believe. The Star Wars edition adds two new mechanics, vehicles and a new currency called ambition, a different way of paying for cards (but Power is still the main currency). The vehicles are a cool addition, adding a fifth location for your villain to move to, and it makes sense adding vehicles for Star Wars, since they are so iconic. The duel currency thing is an interesting addition, I was busy trying to farm credits (power) and ambition tokens to speed up my win condition. I don't really think it hurt or help the game to add ambition, but I like they are trying out new things. For Villainous noobs and vets alike this is a must own. If you are a Star Wars fan who hasn't really played complicated board games, this would be an excellent way to start. Here is hoping for Cad Bane and Darth Maul for the expansions! I played with three friends, Dan, who played Grievous (likes board games and plays a lot of them), Joe, who played Darth Vader (professional Yu-Gi-Oh player), and Mike, who played Moff Gideon (doesn't play complex board games at all but loves Star Wars). Here is what they had to say about the game.
Easy to understand the gameplay. Characters involved are great. Good game for beginners
Not enough game pieces, ran out of credits and ambition. Too much luck of the draw for some villains (Moff and Vader), not enough ways for each character to win
Fun, figures were good, the board and card designs were great, politics of the game is fun (AKA don't fate me or else)
Needs more characters. More modes of interaction between players, fates are really the only interactions you get.
Cards were closely related to Star Wars lore
Commitment to Star Wars Lore made some win conditions overwhelming (Vader needing Palpatine in the Throne Room). Entire game could come down to one or two fate cards ruining your whole objective in one turn.