Villainous Villain Deck Comparison: An Overview
Villainous is an interesting game. Within the confines of the rules, the players choose a Disney villain to take control of. In the base set there are six villains – The Queen of Hearts, Jafar, Prince John, Maleficent, Ursula, and Captain Hook – although expansions are said to be on their way. Each villain has their own deck. Those decks are comprised of Effect, Item, Ally, Condition, and Curse cards, and it is those decks we will be looking at today.
Recently, I wrote an article looking at the strategies available for one of the villains – Ursula – and this got me thinking. Ursula has an interesting split of cards, with 15 Effects but only 2 Allies, meanwhile she has 4 Conditions and she has a massive 9 Items. This makes her stand out, due to the tiny number of Allies, but the question is – how much does she stand out by? Well today, I thought we would do a bit of board game analysis and look at some of the numbers. Who has the most amounts of what and what does it mean for the game?
In this article we are going to take the villains one at a time to break down the different distribution of their cards, before doing a comparison. We’re not going to spend forever on each Villain, but will instead look at more of an overview (we’ll save the indepth stuff for individual articles). As I mentioned earlier, there is already a strategy guide for Ursula, so I will probably write the others in due course; however, this is looking at the overall relationship between the card distribution in the Villain Decks compared to one another.
Ursula’s Villain Deck
Let’s start with the easy one because we’ve already looked at it in detail – Ursula’s deck.
Ursula has, as mentioned before, a lot of Effect cards and Item cards, but not many Allies. In fact, Ursula only has two Allies – Flotsam and Jetsam. This is because Ursula doesn’t actually use allies to Vanquish enemies, but instead uses Items – the Binding Contracts – which have location specifiers on them. She then uses Effect cards to either move, or facilitate moving, Heroes to where she needs them to be in order to Destroy them.
Ursula also needs to churn through her deck in order to get to the Crown and Trident cards (both Items) and uses Effects to do so.
One quirk that will come up is how each villain has four Conditions. I don’t know why this is the uniform type, but it seems to be the same across the board. We’ll talk a little bit more about this towards the end of the article.
The Queen of Hearts Villain Deck
The Queen of Hearts doesn’t use many Items at all, but instead has the majority of her card focus around Effects and Allies. The reason for this is because the Queen of Hearts needs to get her Card Guards out in order to turn them into Wickets. Once they are Wickets, items attached to them are useless.
There are eight Card Guards in total, with the other Allies being an odd assortment.
The Queen of Hearts has a variety of Effect cards. She has three Take The Shot cards, the cards she needs to win the game. She also has two cards called By Order Of The Queen that instantly turn a Card Guard into a Wicket. These are really neat cards, and by getting two the Queen of Hearts can take a massive shortcut toward her victory conditions.
Prince John’s Villain Deck
Prince John has one of the most balanced Villain Decks; however, he also has one of the simplest victory conditions in the game. All Prince John needs to win is to start his turn with 20 Power.
What this means is that Prince John’s main tactic is actually within his Realm and, in particularly, at the Jail. He is the only character to systematically work towards his goal every time he moves since every space has Power on it. This means there is less emphasis on his deck as a primary objective generator, and more emphasis on it being defensive.
What this means is it seems to make the assumption that Fate will be played on Prince John a lot in order to slow him down. With that in mind he has a fair number of Allies, as well as items like Bow and Arrow to bolster the Ally abilities, in order to fight off pesky Heroes.
Going back to the “making the assumption Fate will be played on him” point, Prince John also has Warrant (an Item) and Beautiful, Lovely Taxes (an Effect) that give him power whenever heroes are played on him. Luckily for Prince John as well, it is impossible to block his 3 Power so it is fairly simple for him to just power on (pun intended) no matter what his hand is like.
Jafar’s Villain Deck
Jafar is apparently one of the most complex villains to play in Villainous to the point where he is not recommended for beginners. His goal, to start his turn with the Magic Lamp at the Sultan’s Palace and the Genie under his control, makes him a difficult character to master.
Jafar’s deck actually has a similar distribution to The Queen of Hearts – the only difference being that Jafar has more Items and 2/3 the number of Allies.
Since Jafar’s strategy revolves around the Magic Lamp there are a lot of cards that are based around the manipulation of Items. He needs to seek that out, and a far percentage of the effect cards can be used to lead towards it. The rest of his card revolve around Allies and moving Heroes/Allies. Hypnotise is an important card for Jafar and one he needs to conserve, especially for use with the Genie.
Maleficent’s Villain Deck
Maleficent has a somewhat unique Villain Deck in Villanous because she is the only character to have Curses. Curses are a series of unique conditions that Maleficent gets that a kind of a double edged sword. They are needed for Maleficent’s objective, but they can also limit her own play – Green Fire is one such example where it means heroes cannot be played on a location but Maleficent can’t move to that location in her Realm either. You get the idea.
Since Maleficent has a lot of pesky Heroes in her Fate Deck, she needs Allies to help defend her realm, as well as action cards to help banish Heroes who can, relatively easily, scupper her Curse plans due to the ability of Forest of Thorns.
Maleficent also has a really neat card called Vanish, which means she doesn’t need to move on a turn. It’s a great card, and makes Green Fire slightly better. Essentially, Maleficent does two things – fights and curses. Her game revolves strictly around those.
Captain Hook’s Villain Deck
Finally, we come around to our sixth and final Villain Deck – Captain Hook.
Hook has an interesting game because he actually relies on cards in his Fate Deck. Once other players realise this, they can get in the way of Hook’s game by simply refusing to play Fate on him. What this means is that, in theory, it would be easy for Hook to lose due to the stubbornness of other players.
To counteract that possibility Captain Hook has a few effect cards that have specifically been designed to manipulate the Fate Deck in order to get what he wants. These can help bring the Neverland Map and Peter Pan into play, unlocking his full realm and beating the pesky Pan to complete Hook’s objective.
What this means is that Captain Hook needs a good mixture of effects, in order to manipulate that deck, and allies in order to defeat the Heroes when they come into play. Likewise, he has a few items to strengthen Allies and make that task easier.
Looking at the Decks Together
So far in this article we have taken a very quick look at the Villain Decks and what they contain; however, there was a motive behind the analysis, and that is to look at the decks side by side to see how they compare.
When I started writing this article I didn’t know what to expect. That being said, we can now look at the decks to see how they differ, and from that we can determine to some degree what must be important to each deck.
There are a few really interesting things to point out when we see the decks side by side. The first is that there is the same number of Conditions across the six villains, meaning that the players can, in theory, interject or pick on each in equal amounts.
Next, we see that Maleficent has Curses, whereas the other players don’t. We also see that due to this, and due to the Queen of Hearts changing the nature of her Allies mid-game, the Queen of Hearts and Maleficent have distinctly fewer items than everyone else.
Ursula and Jafar, on the other hand, have the fewest Allies – both because neither really needs to fight. Jafar uses Hypnotise and Ursula has Binding Contracts.
Finally, we have effects, and those who have fewest Allies seem to have more effects (which makes sense), along with the Queen of Hearts who needs to Take The Shot.
It’s an interesting comparison and, although it doesn’t paint a full picture, it helps us understand a little bit more the ways the Villains play.
So, there we have it – a very quick comparison and analysis tonight. Where this doesn’t tell us the strategies it does give us some idea about how they play, and it’s kind of interesting nevertheless.
What are your thoughts? Do you have a favourite Villain to play? How do you find them? Let me know in the comments below.