14 November 2019
It’s wicked, but wicked good.
Last year’s Villainous was a surprisingly ambitious treat, handing control of a classic Disney baddie to each player and pitting them in a race to complete their own movie-specific nefarious deeds first, whether it was Captain Hook vanquishing Peter Pan or Jafar fulfilling his wish of becoming a genie.
Wicked to the Core is both an expansion to that game, introducing three new characters into the rogues’ gallery, and a standalone game in its own right, ditching the main game’s unnecessary plastic cauldron for a smaller box and halving the maximum player count to three – arguably the game’s sweet spot anyway.
Snow White’s classic Evil Queen, the delightfully hot-headed Hades from the House of Mouse’s nineties riff on Hercules and – one for more younger players – Dr. Facilier from 2009’s The Princess and the Frog introduce even more welcome variety to Villainous’ winning asymmetric cardplay.
The beginner-friendly Hades is the most straightforward of the bunch, marching an army of titans across his board to Mount Olympus. Dr. Facilier and the Evil Queen, meanwhile, present more inventive mechanics for advanced players to get to grips with. The former gains an extra 'fortune' deck that has cards added and removed in a deckbuilding-lite fashion and must constantly struggle with opponents for control of a talisman, while the latter lacks a direct way to vanquish heroes, having to brew up poisoned apples by spending power tokens instead.
All three characters feel like worthwhile additions to the original roster, as well as offering a fair spread of experiences as a standalone game – though the full set is definitely still worth getting to try out all the character combinations.
As far as Disney sequels go, Wicked to the Core is more Simba's Pride than Return to Never Land. It’s wicked, but wicked good.
PLAY IT? Yes
Designer: Prospero Hall
Time: 40-60 minutes
Purchase the game here
This review originally appeared in the August 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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