Disney Villainous is an amazing board game that brilliantly captures the essence of Disney’s most iconic villains. The game offers a unique blend of strategy, competition, and narrative, allowing players to step into the shoes of their favorite Disney villains and engage in a thrilling battle of wits and cunning. With 21 characters available in the Disney version, and also a Marvel and Star Wars version available, there is already a lot to love about the Villainous franchise. Yet, as we found out in our exclusive interview with lead designer of the Villainous franchise, Mike Mulvihill, there is a lot more he and his team want to bring to life.
The Future of Villainous (Disney Villainous)
Villainous is currently crossing three franchises (Disney, Marvel, Star Wars) with the Disney100 Edition just releasing and an expansion for the Disney and Star Wars versions set to release later this year. The game is in full swing, but even though we’re five years in. It still feels like we’re in the early stages of the game. And according to Mike Mulvihill, we definitely are as he and the team have plans for the future.
“The future of Villainous is so amazing! Disney is awesome to work with and we have plans for lots of continual growth. This year, besides Introduction to Evil (D100 version), we have Star Wars Villainous: Scum & Villainy with Boba Fett on the cover, and Disney Villainous: Filled with Fright, which is a stand-along character featuring Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas.-Mike Mulvihill, Lead Designer of the Villainous Franchise-
One of our big pushes will be on the growth of games. We will be doing a Disney Villainous Tournament at Gen Con in August this year and hope to roll out events like that in the future as well.
Adding both Marvel Villainous and Star Wars Villainous to the Villainous franchise was a major step for the line (note that Marvel Villainous and Star Wars Villainous have unique and different mechanics).”
The Ultimate Disney Villain in Disney Villainous
While the game is designed to be balanced, there are some characters who are harder to win with than others. While it is largely subjective, Mike shares which villains players should be particularly proud to brag about if they win as them.
“If you win as Lotso or Syndrome take a lap – and you can say “Mike loves these Villains, and I am his new best friend!!! Also, winning as Cruella, Yzma or Mother Gothell – the triple threat of female Villains is a pretty good achievement. In fact, if you win as all 5 you can walk around saying you are the Ultimate Disney Villain!”-Mike Mulvihill, Lead Designer of the Villainous Franchise-
More Fun Things to Know Mike and Disney Villainous
Our interview with Mike Mulvihill provided us with a lot of insight and information about Villainous and the new Disney Villainous “Introduction to Evil” Disney100 Edition. But we also had a lot of fun questions and answers that might not be newsworthy but are definitely great things to know. Especially about Mike’s personal preferences about the game.
Can you elaborate on the process of balancing the gameplay to ensure each villain has a unique and satisfying strategy? AND WHY IS MALEFICENT SO HARD TO WIN WITH?
Mike M: Well first off, each Villain has a unique set of issues or problems to balance against only because each Villain is its own “new game.” We must play every Villain against every other Villain and my play testers are awesome at grinding out those games. That said, I must keep an open mind to what can go wrong. Your Maleficent statement is funny to me because we know for instance that an experienced player can really crush some of the Worst Takes It All characters… so it may not be that Maleficent is hard to win with but is hard to win against X or Y.
Then we need to balance that – hard to win against Prince John…well maybe Prince John is the one that needs to be addressed because he wins against everyone! That was our thesis, if you will, in working on the 4 original characters: Can we bring them to be part of the greater meta of 20 other Villains, make them competitive and still easy to learn and fun to play? I think we did that.
What inspired the decision to include fate cards that allow players to interfere with their opponents’ strategies?
Mike M: The Fate deck and its cards were created because a Villain is nothing without the Heroes that wreck their plans. Movies tend to be the Hero’s stories with the Villain as the blocker or problem… Villainous flips the script, which means the Heroes are always getting in the way of the Villains’ plans. How to logically incorporate them…well that’s the key. If you are the Villain – you’d never choose to deal with the Heroes at all… and thus have no obstacles and that makes for a poor experience (game and movie).
But other Villains annoying you when you look to be getting ahead… now that works. While Heroes will always team up, Villains may work together for a bit but if Prince John can manipulate Tinkerbell to annoy Captain Hook that is so what they will do!!!!
Have you encountered interactions or strategies that emerged during playtesting or after the game’s release that were completely unexpected?
Mike M: I think what always ends up surprising me is the feedback on how “easy” or “hard” a character is. For example, the fact that I think Lotso and Syndrome are usually treated as harder to play is always surprising to me because their Objectives seem so logical to me. I know exactly what to do to try and win but some people find winning with them very hard…like you with Maleficent!!!
As a Disney fan, what is your personal favorite aspect of the game that captures the essence of Disney villains?
Mike M: Okay – to say that my day job is spending time working with Disney, watching Disney movies and creating cool Disney content means I have one of the greatest jobs ever! So personally, that is my ultimate favorite aspect. From a game standpoint – I work hard to make the game an immersive story game – I love (and totally believe) that every fan should try playing their chosen Villain as the Villain would play themselves. Treating the Villain almost as a role (dare I say in the manner of a role-playing game) seriously unlocks a level of fun and immersion. Your choices become a little different and a bit more of the game is revealed.
What other properties would you like to give the Villainous treatment?
Mike M: OMG – I’d love to do every Villain ever in Villainous…but since we are currently talking about Disney Villainous, I’ll settle for every Disney Villain ever!
Who is your favorite villain to play as?
Mike M: That’s like asking who my favorite child is!!! I go back to her a lot – but I love playing Madam Mim! She was so fun to create, and I just love every aspect of her. I’ve had a ton of fun playing the new Prince John, and from an old-school standpoint I love both Lady Tremaine and Ratigan.
Why is it more fun to play the villain?-Mike Mulvihill, Lead Designer of the Villainous Franchise-
Mike M: The Villains never think they are the Villains – the assumption is that their plan is perfectly fine, and the Heroes are annoying pests ruining everything. Their confidence and planning are awesome and sometimes it’s cool to play characters with that much confidence…. plus, Disney Villains are so iconic.
Thank you, Mike Mulvihill, the Villainous team, and Ravensburger, for the incredible interview and opportunity. We hope you enjoyed learning about Disney Villanous as much as you have playing it.
Disney Villainous “Introduction to Evil” Disney100 Edition is exclusively available at Target for the MSRP of $34.99.
The standard Disney Villainous base game is available everywhere board games are sold.
About Disney Villainous
Original Release: 2018
Designer: Prospero Hall
You are the Villain! Command your henchmen, defeat the heroes, and enact your evil scheme. In Villainous, the story-based gameplay allows players to experience events from the classic Disney films, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan in exciting new ways. Each Villain plays differently, offering rich strategy to explore, surprising combinations to discover, and plenty of replay value.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the Disney Villainous! Who is your favorite villain? How do you strategize to achieve your devious objectives? Which version is your favorite? Share your game night pictures and experiences with us on social media!