Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power Review: Ushering in a New Era for the Villainous Franchise

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(Photo: Ravensburger)

Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power offers Marvel fans a chance to play as some of the most iconic Marvel villainous, vying and competing with each other while also working together to stop the heroes of the Marvel Universe. The Villainous franchise of games is one of the best "gateway" board games available on the market today - introducing advanced board game concepts like asymmetric gameplay while still appealing to casual fans through the use of various Disney villains. The newest installment, Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power, steps away from the animated franchises of Disney and brings several new concepts like events to an otherwise familiar Villainous formula.

On its surface, Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power plays out similarly to other players. Each player takes control of a villain (Thanos, Ultron, Hela, Killmonger, and Taskmaster) who has their own goal that they're trying to accomplish before other players complete their distinct goal. Each character comes with its own distinct board with four different locations, each of which has four different activities that a player can perform when they move there on their turn. Each villain also has a unique deck of cards with Allies, Items, Effects, and Specialities that are meant to help the player achieve their goal.

In previous installments of Villainous, each character also had a Fate deck that other players could use to impede that character from reaching their goals. Those Fate decks are replaced in Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power with a common Fate deck made up of a mix of common cards (which contain heroes like Captain America, Thor, and Captain Marvel) and cards specific to whichever villains are being used in that game. Some heroes are most effective against specific heroes (those cards have handy symbols to help players keep track), but a player can choose to send any hero after any villain whenever they draw a Fate deck.

Another new innovation found in Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power is the Event cards that also appear in the Fate deck. The Event cards are supposed to represent the "shared" nature of the Marvel universe that force villains to work together. There are two types of Event cards - common Events and Events specific to a single character - and each Event comes with a penalty that is active as long as it's on the board. Players can work together to clear an event by committing Allies to it, and any player who assists in clearing an event receives some sort of reward. It's a fun little touch, although Events can be more punishing to some players (like Hela and Taskmaster, both of whom rely on Allies to win) than others.

As with previous Villainous games, the key to winning Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power is how quickly you can cycle through your character's deck, grabbing the cards that you need. Some characters have to complete a series of tasks - Ultron has to upgrade himself three times before unleashing the Age of Ultron - while others have to collect a certain items or have a certain number of Allies in play. The most frustrating villain will likely be Thanos, who can only collect the Infinity Stones he needs to win by invading other player's domains and defeating their allies to collect Infinity Stones.

Although Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power takes a lot of its cues from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are a ton of deep cuts into the Marvel Universe that will appeal to longtime comics fans. Obscure characters like Leah and Butterball make appearances in the game, and the game should inspire players to pull out their phone and figure out where some of these characters appear. There's also plenty of room for expansions - Marvel Villainous has tons of villains to draw upon, and Prospero Hall has refined its character development to the point where there aren't any villains that are particularly easy or harder to win with. I know that this was a common complaint with the Disney Villainous games, but I don't think there are too many villains that players can't be mastered after a few rounds.

Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power is a fun evolution of the Villainous franchise and is one of the more accessible Marvel board games released over the past few years. Comic book and movie fans will love Marvel Villainous and will delight in playing supervillain over and over again.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power is available to pre-order on Amazon now for $34.99 with a ship date slated for July 26th. Ravensburger provided a review copy to ComicBook.com.

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