MARVEL: VILLAINOUS - INFINITE POWER
The VILLAINOUS game has, up until now, been about having fun with the Disney Villains we all love to hiss and boo at. The stylised playing pieces are not direct images of those Villains but instead are colourful artistic representations. The problem we have found with them is we each have our favourite character, which means we often play the same one each time we play, and this means we don't all get to experience the full possibilities of the game - which we really enjoy.
MARVEL VILLAINOUS: Infinite Power; takes a detour from the Disney tales into the Marvel Universe where the Villains are just as evil as those from Disney, but also have more far-reaching, and infinitely destructive objectives.
The selection of Villains for this game has caused a few minor murmurs amongst Marvel Universe fans. For example; TASKMASTER is included without yet being universally known - he doesn't appear in a major MCU movie until later this year when Black Widow arrives on the silver screen. If you like Marvel comics and films you may have heard of him. If you are a Marvel Universe aficionado you will already have a file on him, but if you are neither of the above and just like the films because they are action based with colourful super-heroes and gloriously gigantic villains then Taskmaster is very unlikely to be on any list of Marvel characters you could think of.
Apart from Taskmaster, Marvel Villainous gives us HELA ODINSDOTTIR (first-born daughter of Odin, elder sister to Thor, half-sister to Loki) who many of us first met in Thor:Ragnarok back in 2017. Then there is N'Jadaka (aka ERIK KILLMONGER - once aka Black Panther), ULTRON (the most recognised archenemy of the Avengers) and THANOS (possibly the most powerful super-villain ever).
If you have played Disney Villainous you will know the basics of the game. But Marvel Villainous is not a duplication of the Disney game with just villains from a different Universe. There are several differences in the play, the foremost being the FATE cards. In Disney editions each villain has their own personal Fate deck that the other players use against them, thus you only get Heroes and Allies from the same movie or film series coming along to foil the villain's plans.
In Marvel Villainous Infinite Power there is only one Fate deck, a shuffled stack of the adversaries, allies and heroes from every represented area of the Marvel Universe. This means that all villains in play are more likely to be up against heroes from areas of the Marvel Universe they have yet to be seen or discovered in - for MCU fans this will either be a travesty (sad and sorry if this does offend thee) or a delight (an opportunity to see how their favourite villains will do against before-unmet super powers.
Within the Fate deck are Event cards (landscape printing) which may be against the villains in general or against one specified villain. Players usually have to fight together to defeat/solve the events. This adds a little to the interactivity of the game, though in actuality more than one of the players I have enjoyed MARVEL VILLAINOUS with has said it felt mostly like four people each playing their own game.
The game play is basically simple. You have a hand of 4 cards taken from a shuffled deck aligned to the character you have chosen to play. Your character representation piece starts on the far left space of your personal board. (Note: each location space has been given a specific name that links the villain with their place in the MCU - it would have been neat had someone come up with good ideas for using each location during play, not just using one here and there where a hero or ally must be positioned).
On your turn you move your character onto any location space in their Domain (your personal board is called a Domain) and can then activate any/all of the four Actions allowed by that location. Sometimes Fate cards will be played against thos spaces and the played Fate card will overlay the top 2 possible Actions making them unavailable until the Fate card has been removed - usually by defeating it in a combat of power. Combat is the MCU is fast, furious and frenetic. In this game it is simply a matter of the attacker being a blocking device that has to be removed by the defender having a larger force against it.
There is very little player interaction (which gives credence to the idea that each person is playing their own game against the AI of the rules and mechanics), generally occurring when someone chooses the Fate action and plays a Fate card from the Fate deck onto an opponent. Playing of Soul Markers onto Fate cards attached to an opponent helps Hela but doesn't really affect the opponent.
VILLAINOUS the game series does give off that air. Each player has their own mission to complete to win, and some of these are nowhere near as difficult as others. I'm not saying that they aren't doable or that there is one or more characters who hasn't a chance of winning, but I am saying that some characters have an easier winning possibility, especially if the cards run for them. There is quite a reasonable amount of luck required as far as the Missions go.
On our last play through I controlled Killmonger. His objective is to take control of the Mines and relocate two Explosives to any opposing domain. The 'explosives' are cards in his personal deck. He needs to relocate 2 of these but there are only 3 in his deck. If they get stuck near the bottom of the deck they are a long time coming out. If they come out early then the player could be stuck with one or two of them in their hand of four, making their game revolve around having just 2 playable cards per turn as the Explosives cannot be used on receipt, the other two parts of the Objective have to be completed first and in order. With luck one of the easiest villains to win with.
Hela's objective is truly difficult as she needs to have a combination of 8 Allies and Soul Marks in play. It isn't getting the allies as much as it is receiving and placing the Soul Marks on opponents, and getting them to stay there long enough to count. Hela can be thwarted by the other players ensuring there is an opposing charcater/hero at Odin's Vault (luck of Fate cards required as well as remembering to place the best card when possible).
Like the other Villains, Tasky has a personal board with four locations. Luck of the draw!
Four allies at four locations: To complete his objective/task he needs one of his allies to be at each of these places.
There are four special extra thick cards that are stacked next to the Ultron player. These are'Transformation':
Play a Sentry search for any card in your discards and return it to your hand.
'Optimization': Treat Play a Card spaces as Relocate on your personal board.
Ultimate: Before moving Ultron to a new location you gain one power.
Age of Ultron: Reveal this and win the game.
Objective: Collect all six Infinity Stones. Probably as hard as, or slightly more difficult than, Hela. Thanos has to wait until an Infinity Stone appears in another players Domain and then have enough power to send over allies to defeat whoever is holding the stone. Stones may take forever to arrive in the game.
MARVEL VILLAINOUS INFINTE POWER is not designed to be integrated with DISNEY VILLAINOUS. It is possible to do this of course, but really not recommended. There are many other Villainous characters that could be used to expand the playability of MARVEL VILLAINOUS INFINTE POWER, so hopefully some of these (see below) will soon be available to keep player's fresh into the game and away with mulitiverse tyranny and evil.
Ivan Vanko/Whiplash. Emil Blonsky/Abomnation. Malekith (Dark Elf). Dormammu. Laufey. Ronan. Kaecilius. Alexander Pierce. Ghost. Darren Cross/Yellowjacket. General Ross. Yon-Rogg. Mysterio. Aldrich Killian. Ego. The Winter Soldier. Helmut Zemo. Justin Hammer. Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger. Red Skull. Trevor Slattery/The Mandarin. Adrian Toomes. Loki (okay hands up, who really, really wants Loki to be one of the first expansions villains?). This list was found on Collider.com
MARVEL VILLAINOUS INFINTE POWER is enough of a different game to DISNEY VILLAINOUS to make is collectible if you like to own series of games. It is aimed at fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, rather than comic-book aficionados, and has used a fair amount of artistic license to mould the villains into the framework of the game-play. Personally I am happy to play either Marvel or Disney Villainous but can understand why there is some separation of selection between players.
MARVEL VILLAINOUS INFINTE POWER can be found online for £21.95 + p&p at Rogue Games and Amazon.co.uk for £24.99 inc p&p