I remember back in my high school days that no matter how hard you try, there’s always someone you just can’t get along with. And then sometimes you get paired with that person for a group project. Forcing you to play nice with them to get the best grade.
The Villainous board game is a lot like that. You have your own set of goals to complete and if you play too aggressively, you’ll draw attention to yourself and end up losing. But at the same time if you don’t work enough on your project, then you’ll get a failing grade.
In this guide, we will only be covering the initial release The Worst Takes All. Look out for other expansion packs if you want a lot of different play challenges.
1. Best Captain Hook Strategy
What to Focus on:
- A large group of Allies to take on Peter Pan
- Discarding your Fate deck as quickly as possible
Most of his allies are pretty weak, capping out around 2 strength. Luckily, he comes with a lot of boosting-type cards that can raise their strength. Use the Cutlass cards to add strength to the Boarding Party or Swashbuckler.
If you draw Pirate Brute early on, I would use the strength-boosting cards on them instead. Save cards like Mr. Starkey, Smee, and Aye, Aye Sir until you’re actually facing off against Peter Pan.
The cards Worthy Opponent, Give them a Scare, and Obsession help you the most in attaining your goal. If Hook is at certain locations, he gets to have an additional action move. This includes the Jolly Roger, Skull Rock, and Mermaid Lagoon.
Peter Pan has a strength of 8 You will have to rely on boosted Allies in order to win.
Many of the Heroes in your Fate deck are strong. Try to get to your goals before the other players notice you’re chugging ahead or it will be a quick loss for you.
Related: Ultimate Catan Strategy Guide
2. Best Jafar Strategy
What to Focus on:
- Find the Magic Lamp and Scarab Pendant
- Go through your deck at a reasonable pace
You don’t have a ton of useful Allies on your own. You will have to rely on sacrificing your own deck Allies to gain Power. Search your deck for specific cards. Scrying, Necessary Sacrifice, and Gazeem cards help you do this. Then you will have the Power you need to buy Hypnotize.
Use the Streets of Agrabah location to discard cards as fast as you can. Switch back and forth between this location and the Oasis for Power to have the best outcome. Use Iago to transport the lamp around the map as needed.
Early on in the game, people may not Fate you, but once they do, you will want to have the resources to convert those Heroes into valuable Allies. Once you have Aladdin or Abu in your arsenal there isn’t much left to stop you from your goal.
Ignore defeating Heroes for the most part. Each of the Heroes has different abilities and boost each other well. Only defeat enemies that are truly getting in your way or curbing your progress too much. Jasmine will stand in your way if you try to get too far ahead.
You will also need a Hypnotize card to control the Genie. If you don’t have any of these cards left, use Snake Staff or Deception. Try to counter your opponents from making Genie stronger before you can capture him.
If Genie is drawn to the Cave of Wonders before you capture the lamp, then he will gain 2+ strength making him level 8. This is bad news especially if you burned through Ally or Effect cards to get to this point. It will be hard to win.
Related: Tiny Towns Strategies for more consistent victory
3. Best Maleficent Strategy
What to Focus on:
- Bide your time and build up your hand
- Place Curses and gain Power without drawing attention to yourself
Maleficent has one of the most straightforward conditions to win in the game: Curse four locations. Due to this ease, your Fate deck is stacked heavily against you. Any wrong move or lost card could cost you greatly.
Use Vanish to stay in one location for two turns. Use the Raven to get an extra move each turn. Play a couple of Curses early on. I would choose the Briar Rose Cottage and Forbidden Mountains.
The most useful location on your board is the Forest. Try to use Vanish to stay here as long as possible building up the Power you need to buy curses. Every time you play a Curse, there’s always a drawback to it. Think about where you’re placing it.
Keep King Stefan’s Castle open until the end as you will need it to vanquish Heroes. Once you feel like you have enough power, sit in this location and make sure the other three locations are cursed. Curse this location last.
Alternatively, you could stack your Curses in one location where they’re protected by Green Fire until you can Curse every location at once. Also, think about stacking Curses and Allies in the same location for better protection. For example, Green Fire and the Raven.
Try to use the Spinning Wheel as much as you can. You earn extra power when you defeat a Hero. Use the Staff card to reduce the cost of your actions.
Some cards from your Fate deck you need to be aware of are King Stefan, Merryweather, and Prince Philip. If any of these cards are played, take them out quickly.
Related: Jenga Strategies to avoid toppling the tower
4. Best Prince John Strategy
What to Focus on:
- Gather Power quickly
- Avoid defeating Heroes
If you already have any Warrant cards, place them in as many locations as you can starting with Friar Tuck’s church.
Most of the Hero cards are focused on stealing your power and preventing you from gaining more power. All of the Fate cards play well off of each other, so you will have to be crafty to sneak around their effects.
Heroes like Lady Cluck and Little John may not be worth the investment to defeat them.
If Robin Hood or King Richard appear, you will want to defeat them quickly. All the other Heroes can be ignored for the most part. Hold on to Beautiful, Lovely Taxes until there is a significant amount of Heroes on the board to maximize your gain.
You will spend a lot of time hopping between Friar Tuck’s Church and the Jail. This will help you gain Power while also being able to Discard and find the cards you need from your deck.
Hang on to the Sheriff of Nottingham and Sir Hiss as they are valuable Allies. If you find the Golden Arrow or King Richard’s Crown, you’ll want to use those. Use the Intimidation card on top of the Sheriff of Nottingham for best results.
If you find Greed or Cowardice, even though they are conditional, I would still hang on to them if your hand allows it. Greed helps deter other power-hungry players from gaining too quickly. Cowardice helps give you an Ally for free.
It’s a good plan to hoard extra Power and keep it hidden from your opponents. That way if they try to Fate you in your last turn, you should have more than enough power to still win.
Related: Exploding Kittens Strategies to not get blown up
5. Best Queen of Hearts Strategy
What to Focus on:
- Have a Card Guard at every location converted into Wickets
- Discard your deck while stacking Power
To win as the Queen of Hearts, you will have to have your Card Guards turned into Wickets but also have the highest combined score of these cards against the next five of the deck.
There are a few ways to look at this. The Card Guard Club and Diamond suits are cheaper to play than the Heart or Spade suits, but they are weaker in power. I wouldn’t stress too much about which Card Guards are played in the beginning.
But as you play through you might consider using some of your Guards to take out Heroes as well. Then you can shift them around until you feel like you have the highest score possible.
If you find Very Merry Unbirthday, play it immediately. If you have the cards By Order of the Queen, you can convert two Card Guards at the same time. Stack this with the Stopwatch for even better results.
If Alice or the Cheshire Cat appear on the board, you will want to take them out. You need to take care of Alice because you cannot move cards or items around anymore making it very difficult for you to achieve your goal.
Taking out the Cheshire Cat is important because he converts your Wickets back to Card Guards, but when you defeat him the opposite becomes true.
If there are a lot of Heroes on the board blocking your actions, consider shrinking them so they only take up one spot.
Remember your goal is to get Guards converted into Wickets as fast as possible. And then use Take Your Shot so that you can win. Defeating any of the other Heroes is just a waste of time and energy.
But if the Heroes are giving you a hard time, play Tweedledee and Tweedledum and then stack Spear cards on them until they are level five. They will be able to take out any Hero that comes your way.
Related: Complete Clue Strategy Guide
6. Best Ursula Strategy
What to Focus on:
- Get the Crown and the Trident to your Lair
- Discard your Fate deck quickly
To play as Ursula, you will have to be strategic in your goals. She needs a lot of time to set up so you will have to stifle the competition with Fate cards.
Useful cards include Opportunist to help you get back discarded cards, and Arrogance to get through your deck faster. Use Eric’s Ship for the Discard action and to have the ability to Fate the other players. Or stick to The Shore to have the option to gain more Power and Discard.
She can’t destroy Heroes in a traditional way and uses Binding Contracts instead. You only get four Binding Contract cards. You’ll want to save them to deal with Ariel, Eric, and King Triton. Save the extra in case one of them is revived after being defeated. And that’s only if you want to spend the time and energy to defeat any Heroes.
A lot of your time will be spent binding the Heroes and then moving them to locations out of your way. You can even stack them at one location that’s the least desirable.
However, if Ariel appears, then you will have to deal with her. As long as Ariel is on board, you won’t be able to move pieces like you need to. To get around this, use cards like Whirlpool or Poor Unfortunate Souls to get Ariel to where you need to. Put a Binding Contract that matches that location and take her out.
If King Triton appears, he will take the Trident, forcing you to have to defeat him. Your Allies could be of some use here, but if you saved the Binding Contracts like you were supposed to then you should have no trouble.
If you’re really lucky, and you already have the Crown and Trident, make sure to lock it up at your Lair so you can win on the next turn.
Related: Photosynthesis Game Strategy
What is the Best Way to Win Villainous?
The best way to win Villainous is to study all of the Villains’ abilities and cards. Being more aware of what your chosen character can do and what your rivals might do is the best way to counter them.
Try playing as each character for several games to get the hang of what they can do. With each game, you’ll have a better understanding of the fastest way to achieve their goals. In each game watch how the other players play their characters, you might learn a thing or two.
And don’t be afraid to play nice while secretly netting a win.
Veronica is a Green Bay-based freelance writer and editor with extensive experience with board games. When not busy scribbling her thoughts, you might find her in her garden, hiking out in the woods, or exploring new food joints.
Veronica is a die-hard board game and chess hobbyist by night. She likes to try out new games and is always on the lookout to recruit new players for her game night (so beware!). When not playing board games or throwing darts, she is usually busy painting miniatures (or doing other nerdy stuff).
She is the CEO & Content Writer of Indoor Games Zone. She shares her expertise from years of playing chess, board games, and darts.