Review: Villainous Despicable Plots (Ravensburger) – English

In Villainous: Despicable Plots, players take on the role of nefarious characters plotting evil schemes. These evils do have a certain degree of bad. There is a difference between conquering the earth with an army of the undead as opposed to plotting to get one of your two daughters to marry a prince. Marrying off people really isn’t something suitable for these times…

Setup and goal

For Villainous veterans, I don’t need to explain the game, but for newcomers: In Disney Villainous, each player takes on the role of a well-known villain, bad person or annoyance from the best-known and lesser-known Disney cartoons. For example, in Despicable Plots, you get to play with the Horned King from the Black Cauldron, the evil stepmother Lady Tremaine from Cinderella or Gaston (not a villain at all, just the hero, well at least according to himself…) from Beauty and the Beast. In the other Villainous sets, you can choose from a whole bunch of other bad guys to play with. You can even mix the different sets together, allowing everyone at the table to play with their favourite villain.

At the start of a game of Villainous, each player chooses one of the available villains and takes the corresponding player board, a deck of cards and a sturdy plastic pawn. Each player also receives their own deck of Fate cards (the white cards) featuring the heroes from the relevant Disney film to hinder a villain’s evil arts. On the table, the power tokens (the money) are placed. The players are now ready to play.

Each villain in Villainous has its own personal goal. In the game, each player tries to be the first to complete his or her nefarious plan to win. How do players fulfil these goals?


Each player has a personal deck of cards and a player board depicting actions. Each turn, a player moves his/her pawn to a different location on the board and may perform the corresponding actions. Often, this allows you to play cards or use effects of cards. There are different types of cards. These include allies, which you can play for their effects and to defeat good guys, and objects, to improve allies or effects. By taking turns performing different actions and playing cards, you slowly creep towards your goal. The player who fulfils his/her goal first has won.

Fortunately, in Villainous, you can thwart each other to ensure that the one player at the table does not manage to fulfil his/her goal the fastest. Whenever a player performs a fate action, he/she may take two cards from this pile and often use it to the detriment of his/her opponents. Each villain has unique heroes and items that try to stop him or her, and each villain has to get rid of these heroes in a different way.

Which baddies can players cosplay as in Despicable Plots?


Gaston, as a true good guy – with quite a bit of misogyny – tries to win the heart of a girl who wants nothing to do with him. To Gaston, every woman is a damsel in distress that he has to save from a monster, but he doesn’t realise that he is actually the monster. Gaston is ignorant, sees himself as the hero, is arrogant and everyone loves him. A formula for (unwittingly) vicious success and which is all too realistic.

In Villainous Gaston tries to clear all obstacles out of his way to hopefully win Belle’s heart. Those obstacles? The Beast, Belle’s father and, of course, Belle herself. Gameplay-wise, Gaston tries to play and beat cards that allow him to remove obstacles (chips on the game board). Gaston often comes face to face with strong heroes (from the fate cards), but if Gaston manages to defeat these heroes, he can remove obstacles. For the opponent playing these fate cards, this is often a tactical consideration of whether or not to play these cards, as you may be throwing a strong enemy into the battle ring, but at the same time giving Gaston a chance to prove himself. No one’s slick as Gaston. No one wins like Gaston.

Lady Tremaine

This lady is probably the ‘ultimate’ example of the stereotype of the evil stepmother. Lady Tremaine marries Cinderella’s father and treats her stepdaughter not as a bonus child but as a house slave. Cinderella works het butt off while her ugly stepsisters receive all the praise from their mother. When the local king organises a round of royal speed dating (a grandiose ball) to help his handsome son find a wife, Lady Tremaine is quick to put her daughters to take up on the call. Unfortunately, the prince only has eyes for the beautiful Cinderella.

Lady Tremaine must ensure that her daughters attract interest at the royal ball. To do this, she must first clear the ballroom with an invitation from the king, then hoist her daughters into a ball gown and get their (too big) feet on the dance floor. If the glass slipper is present, her nefarious plans will not succeed. Lady Tremaine cannot take out heroes with a vanquish action, but only with special effects of certain cards.

Horned King

The Horned King of now classic (and slightly forgotten) Disney film The Black Cauldron is trying to find the titular magical cauldron at all costs, so he can revive his dead soldiers into an army of evil undead: the Cauldron Born. With this army full of corpses, the Horned King wants to take over the kingdom Prydain and wipe out all living creatures….

To win, the Horned King must have a Cauldron Born in four different locations. To achieve that goal, the Horned King must first find the Black Cauldron, manage to activate it and convert dead soldiers to the aforementioned Cauldron Born. Other players can thwart the Horned King’s plans considerably by using the different Fate cards. The cute little pig Hen Wen can prevent the Horned King from guy performing any effects, the creature Gurgi can sacrifice himself to deactivate the Cauldron and with the frightened Bard, players can lure the Cauldron Born away to delay the King’s plans.


Since each baddie in Villainous has its own objective, each one offers a completely different playing experience. It sometimes feels like each player is playing a unique game with the same basic principles. As a result, every game of Villainous feels unique and the replayability is great. Direct interaction between the different heroes is not at the forefront. You can thwart each other by playing Fate cards, but that is basically the limit of player interaction. Players who want more confrontation can try their luck with Marvel Villainous. What about Despicable Plots?

Despicable Plots adds three new characters to the already very varied Villainous game. Once again, the three characters are very thematically implemented, so the objectives and various cards, which players have to complete and use respectively, are very much in line with the films. Both Gaston and the Horned King are characters where interaction is a bigger element, for these characters it is sometimes almost necessary for another player to play the Fate cards so that you can meet the conditions of your goals, but at the same time these cards can really well thwart your plans instead of these cards just (temporarily) getting in the way. This further invites direct confrontation, similar to the Marvel version. Are you already a Villainous fan? Then it’s a given to add this set to your collection. The advantage of these sets with 3 baddies, is that you can also play them as a standalone game apart from the ‘base set’ making it a relatively inexpensive way to get acquainted with Villainous.