RogerBW's Blog

Marlow Tabletop and Board Games 18 February 2019 22 February 2019

This Meetup-based boardgames group continues to meet at the Marlow Donkey.

I was curious about Villainous, and we played that first. Each player is a Disney villain, trying to play cards and achieve their particular goal based on the film in which they appeared; they are impeded by "Fate", which mostly takes the form of heroes from their deck.

Each set of cards and Fate is specific to a villain, and they never leave that villain's play area: you can make an individual story come out differently, but you can't mix elements from different stories. Being fair, it's clear that the villainous powers and enemies are quite closely balanced in terms of game play; to be able to use other villains' cards might well make things too easy, and of course would introduce a combinatorial explosions in playtesting expansion packs. But it does feel a bit like multiplayer solo with quite long downtime between turns, with occasional "take that" moments; all you'd need to turn it into a true solo game is some means of automatically generating Fate effects, and a turn limit.

I was also slightly disappointed to see that the only game mode is conventionally competitive, with each player trying to complete their objective first, rather than having any option for a cooperative league of villains trying for a joint victory.

Still, the real problem with this game for me is that there's no designer credit. Not on the box cover, not in the manual; on the back of the box there's a small mention of "Prospero Hall", but it turns out that this is just a house name at "Forrest-Pruzan Creative". I wouldn't buy a book without an author credit (and yes, they have been published), and I wouldn't buy a game without one either.

We went on with The Resistance, where I managed an effective game as the False Commander, picking my rebel victim and making sure nobody trusted them. (It helped this this was a person who, like me, is usually regarded as untrustworthy in this sort of game.) Straight spy win, no need for assassination.

Finally, Codenames, where I was spymaster for the first time in quite a long while. Some of my clues were too obscure, but they didn't lead to any false guesses, and we ended up winning.

[Buy Villainous at Amazon] [Buy The Resistance at Amazon] [Buy Codenames at Amazon] and help support the blog.

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