Star Wars Villainous vs Disney Villainous - is the new board game worth getting?

Disney Villainous and Star Wars Villainous
(Image credit: Future)

Should you bother with Star Wars Villainous if you've played the original Disney version to death? Considering the cost of living crisis (I'd appreciate not having to go through any more 'unprecedented historical events', please and thanks), it's a fair question. Are we looking at a palette swap here, or is it different enough to warrant a look? I've been hands-on with the new board game and came away excited to play more.

Essentially, this feels like a smart update to the formula Disney Villainous (which I consider to be one of my favorite board games) introduced back in 2018. I'd say it's better than the more recent Marvel Villainous, too - it adds subtle but significant changes that make Star Wars Villainous a fresh challenge for players both old and new. 

Star Wars Villainous vs Disney Villainous - what's different?

Disney Villainous vs Star Wars Villainous boards, cards, and tokens

As you'd expect from a Villainous board game, the attention to detail here is second to none (Image credit: Future)

While the two games are similar on the face of it (they both feature classic baddies going head to head in an effort to complete objectives), there's plenty that stands out here. Yes, the character mechanics are distinct and board icons have been changed to better suit the Star Wars aesthetic, but the addition of vehicles provides a bigger change than I expected. These are placed into the 'Deep Space' slot at the end of each player's board, and they act as bonus locations with their own actions and special rules. And sure, that's cool. However, it's with the Fate deck where things get spicy. This includes hero ships that can really throw a spanner in the works; besides boasting powers designed to wear you down, they reduce the number of cards you can draw if they're the only vehicle in your Deep Space area. This adds a fresh dimension to proceedings and has a lot of potential for messing with a rival's best-laid plans. 

It's an extra, welcome layer of tactics that affects the game's flow in a good way

Ambition might be the most significant update to Star Wars Villainous for me, though. This is a new mechanic much like Power from the Disney version (which is known as 'Credits' here), only it's earned at the beginning of your turn or through special Villain cards. These can be spent via Ambition icons across the board and provide ways to draw the cards you need, remove pesky Heroes, or otherwise give yourself the upper hand through skulduggery. One of the character's Ambition abilities lets them remove all Fate cards from a space at once, for example. Meanwhile, another - Darth Vader, in this instance - can kill off an Ally card to gain Ambition points. It's an extra, welcome layer of tactics that affects the game's flow in a good way.

Disney Villainous vs Star Wars Villainous - which one is better?

Disney Villainous vs Star Wars Villainous cards and movers

Star Wars Villainous movers have a battered, 'fallen grandeur' look that fits the franchise's lived-in feel, while the Disney equivalents are more clean-cut (Image credit: Future)

For me, the answer to this question comes down to how much experience you have with Villainous. Both are excellent overall, but I'd say the original Disney version is better if you're a newcomer to the franchise. It's a little more straightforward and there's less to grapple with.

Long-time fans will find the Star Wars version to be a revitalizing breath of fresh air, though. The addition of vehicles and Ambition provide smart metas that give players something new to learn, and five all-new characters (with strategies we've not really seen from the series before) provide a fresh challenge. It's familiar, yet distinct.

The gameplay powering each character feels true to their inspiration

Devotees of a galaxy far, far away will also appreciate the attention to detail here; the design quality of Star Wars Villainous is every bit as good as its Disney predecessor. Along with gorgeous, painted artwork that recreates iconic scenes from the series, there are enough references to sink a Star Destroyer. To give you an example, Asajj Ventress from the Clone Wars has to complete missions pulled directly from the animated series (including the capture of 'Stinky' the Hutt, Jabba's son). 

Similarly, the gameplay powering each character feels true to their inspiration. Asajj emphasizes defeating heroes, and she needs the magical Mother Talzin to power up her allies. At the other end of the scale, Kylo Ren has to avoid being tempted by the Light side of the Force. They're fun and thoughtful.

In short, I'd say they're at least as good as each other - you won't be disappointed if you decide to buy Star Wars Villainous when it joins other board games for adults this July 31.


Buy Star Wars Villainous if:

  • You've played Villainous before
  • You want a new challenge
  • You love Star Wars

Buy Disney Villainous if:

  • You've never played Villainous before
  • You want something simple
  • You prefer Disney

For more advice on tabletop gaming, be sure to check out the top board games for 2 players, these board games for families, and the best cooperative board games. As for other comparisons, we found which version wins in the battle of Betrayal at House on the Hill 3rd edition vs 2nd edition.

Benjamin Abbott
Tabletop & Merch Editor

As the site's Tabletop & Merch Editor, you'll find my grubby paws on everything from board game reviews to the latest Lego news. I've been writing about games in one form or another since 2012, and can normally be found cackling over some evil plan I've cooked up for my group's next Dungeons & Dragons campaign.