17 October 2022
This is the Way
Villains are almost unquestionably the most interesting part of any story, and whilst sometimes their motivations can seem a bit wooden, thank goodness there’s always another film available to flesh out the villain’s backstory completely. Arguably, Darth Vader got three (plus various seasons) to truly try to make him the worst, but it’s no surprise that when you’re playing a game, it may be that you want to be the villain. Villainous has been offering us this from the Disney franchise for some time, with Marvel Villainous doing the same (but Marvel, of course) and it seemed only a matter of time until Star Wars was given the same treatment.
First impressions – captured on our YouTube channel – were great. The characters span different caveats of the Star Wars extended universe and agreed canon, with mostly obvious, though relatively current, villains. Darth Vader is of course, front and centre, but you also have Moff Gideon, the dark saber wielding, Grogu hunting baddie of The Mandalorian. Then there’s General Grevious, from the prequel trilogy (and Clone Wars), and Kylo Ren, of the sequel trilogy. The biggest curve ball is arguably Asajj Ventris, who comes from the Clone Wars series, and is a Night Sister Padawan turned Sith trainee and bounty hunter, an impeccably cool villain, whether you’re familiar with her or not. Immediately spanning the Star Wars Universe means there’s something for everyone, from the die-hards (my household: home to a cat named after a no-longer-canon-unless-you-count-his-ship-showing-for-about-a-second character from a Star Wars video game – points to you, if you know) to those who only know the heavy breathing version of Anakin.
The game itself is frankly, just another Villainous game. If you’ve played one, you know how it works. Characters are asymmetric and you’ll need to complete your own goals whilst trying to mess up your fellow players – Darth Vader must corrupt Luke, Asajj Ventress must complete missions, General Grievous must collect light sabers, etc. It would be compatible with Disney Villainous, if not for the new mechanic surrounding vehicles and the tokens you use. Both you, and your opponent, can play cards into Deep Space, with bonus’ or penalties depending on their status. It’s an interesting addition, not one I dislike, but I don’t love it either. I like that they’ve added something that makes it new, something that thematically makes sense (spaceships fighting), but equally, thematically it doesn’t make sense - not every ship should be able to destroy a Star Destroyer – and there were some occasions where it felt mechanical rather than strategic.
In being “just a Villainous game”, I knew there was a high chance I’d enjoy it, as I have previous iterations. It is nice, to be able to pitch a game that has its own shelf appeal, and which doesn’t have a rule book roughly the size of a small fridge. It’s relatively quick to learn for newbies, easy to play, but competitive enough you don’t feel like you’re wasting your time. The biggest thing to learn is how best to slow down your fellow player depending on what their goal is, which was frequently the cause of my defeat in the beginning.
Whilst I’m unimpressed by the strange effects they decided to use within the tokens, after a winning streak with General Grievous (collect eight light sabers) and a regular request to play again, this game is a truly easy sell.
PLAY IT? YES
A cosy Star Wars themed night in beckons.
Try this if you liked Disney Villainous…
It’s the same concept with a few tweaks and some exciting characters.
Designer: Prospero Hall, Michael Mulvihill
Time: 50 minutes
What’s in the box?
- 5 Villain movers
- 5 Villain decks
- 5 Fate decks
- 2 Special tiles
- 5 Reference cards
- 5 Sectors
- 5 Villain guides
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