Disney Villainous: Sugar and Spite review — Bravo! Bravo!

Disney Villainous: Sugar and Spite, from publisher Ravensburger, is the 9th box to carry the Disney Villainous name or a whopping 16th if you count the Marvel and Star Wars spinoffs. That’s a lot of Villainous. 

All of that content begs the question, do we really need more? I can’t answer that question for you personally, but I can tell you why I think Sugar and Spite is a fantastic expansion that anyone who loves the Villainous system should at least take a look at. 

Collectors of the game will likely pick this up without hesitation. You can’t be this deep and stop now… right?  For the more discerning gamers out there, you might think you have enough content for the game already or prefer to select the boxes that have your favorite characters. Sugar and Spite is part of the new Expandalone series that features just two characters but at a lower price point. The idea is that you can more easily try out the game for the first time or add characters at a more affordable and manageable level. 

If you are in the first-time category and have found your way to this review, welcome! I’m so glad you’re here and checking out this amazing game! Just for you, I’ll go over what Villainous is before jumping into the specifics of this box. 

Disney Villainous is a card game where players take on the role of a Disney Villain and attempt to fulfill their unique win condition before anyone else. Turns consist of moving your Mover, which is a fancy way of saying character piece, to a new location within that Villain’s realm. The locations are all iconic scenes from the villain’s movie and feature a number of action symbols. Once you move to a location, you get to do all of the action there in any order you choose. Actions are things like playing a card, discarding, vanquishing (meaning triggering a fight between your allies and heroes that are in the same location), getting money that is used to pay for playing cards, or Fate, which is a way to play thematic hero and action cards onto an opponent’s board to cover their action spaces and disrupt their play. Players will take turns moving and performing actions until someone achieves their win condition.

So, who are the characters in Sugar and Spite? King Candy from the movie Wreck-It Ralph and Shere Khan from the classic Jungle Book. I’m a fan of both of these movies but if you don’t share my enthusiasm for video games and singing monkeys, don’t tune out just yet.

Let’s start with the really exciting part of this box. King Candy plays like no character we have seen before. When you look at his player board, you will immediately see that something is very different. Instead of the standard four locations that every other villain has, King Candy has a figure-eight racetrack. Rather than moving to a new location each turn, you will advance on the track between one and four spaces and then activate the action symbol that you are on, as well as the one on either side of the King Candy mover. 

Does that mean King Candy isn’t impacted by Fate cards since he doesn’t have locations? No, they still work exactly the same. Fate cards can still be used by your opponent to cover the actions on the top of the board and place heroes within one of the four spaces where a location would normally be. King Candy still has to count spaces on the track that are covered but may end up with no action to perform. 

To win the game, King Candy needs to find Vanellope Von Schweetz and play a Glitch on her. Doing so will trigger the Race. King Candy and a token representing Vanelope are reset to the starting line and the Race begins. King Candy must get around the track before Vanelope to win the game. If she wins, the Glitch is removed and King Candy will have to try again. The majority of the ally and hero cards within King Candy’s decks involve moving either racer extra spaces forward or backward or slowing them down in some way. Notably, King Candy only has one Vanquish action space on his entire track so dealing with Heroes can be difficult if you let them build up.

Somewhat less exciting, but with some interesting flavor, is Shere Khan. If you’ve played other Villainous sets, Shere Khan is going to feel pretty familiar to what you have seen before. His win condition is to defeat Mowgli while there are no fire tokens on his board. The fire tokens are another new mechanic to the system. Through Fate cards, the other player(s) can add fire tokens to Shere Khan’s board, covering up any action space. That includes actions in the top or bottom row. Effectively, you could double cover an action in the top row with a fire and a hero or cover bottom-row actions in a way that has never been possible before. Shere Khan is far from defenseless though. Kaa is a powerful ally that can be used to defeat heroes over and over again with his seemingly boundless coils and hypnotic eyes. Shere Khan also has access to King Louie and an army of Monkeys that are all too willing to pounce on those pesky fires and put them out. 

Outside of the fire tokens, Shere Khan plays like a normal villain from other sets. He moves from location to location and needs to find and defeat his thematic counterpart, Mowgli, while adhering to some conditions. Even Kaa defeating heroes without being discarded by shedding item cards has been seen before. As usual, the card abilities and artwork are oozing with theme and movie moment callbacks. Despite playing out similar to many of the other characters, the cards feel alive with your favorite scenes and childhood memories. Therein lies the real strength of this game anyway. 

I don’t own all of the Villainous content, but I do have a lot. So much that I’m trying to figure out how to make it take up less space on my shelf. I would fall into the category of people that are happy with the amount of content I have and maybe even feel like I have too much. I’m a sucker for the classic Disney movies though and was intrigued when I saw Shere Khan was going to be in the box. Maybe not enough to want to get the set. When I saw the King Candy racetrack, that changed. While I like Wreck-It Ralph, it is by no means one of my favorite Disney movies. It’s solidly entertaining but not an evergreen like The Jungle Book is to me. What I do love, is innovative board game mechanics. I had the opportunity to interview Mike Mulvihill, the director/designer for this set, before it came out and his excitement for the new mechanics was hard to ignore. Changing up the way you move to select actions may seem minor but the blend of theme and new ways you have to consider and plan out your actions is a really fresh injection of strategy into the game. It could have been a huge blunder but ends up working out really well. 

Production quality is unchanged from previous sets. The Shere Khan mover is perhaps a bit less abstract than normal but looks great. The artwork is fantastic as usual, down to the icing and sprinkles coating the inside of the box. Being an “Expandalone” box, it comes with everything two players need to play right out of the box. I have always felt that the cards could be a bit thicker or perhaps a nice linen finish given the amount of shuffling required but realistically they are pretty standard to what you get in other retail games. The box is the same size as the three-character expansions, which I understand from a production and marketing standpoint, but the shelf space is a real problem if you are as invested as I am in this game. 

As we come to the finish line, I would definitely recommend Sugar and Spite. Either as a starting point or an addition to your collection, you can’t go wrong with this one. The new mechanics are integrated so well and both characters have really fun supporting casts and interactions with their Fate decks. If we continue to see Ravensburger innovate on the format with future sets, I guess I’ll just have to keep making room on the shelf.

Lead Tabletop Editor | [email protected]

A life long video gamer, Mark caught the Tabletop itch in college and has been hooked ever since. Epic two player strategy games are his favorites but he enjoys pretty much everything on the tabletop, just no Werewolf please. When he gets a break from changing diapers and reading bedtime stories he can usually be found researching new games or day dreaming about maybe one day having time for a ttrpg. Some of Mark's favorite games are Star Wars: Rebellion, A Feast for Odin, and Nemesis.



Disney Villainous: Sugar and Spite

Review Guidelines

Sugar and Spite races ahead of other expansions in the series with innovative new mechanics for both characters. The racing system that King Candy utilizes is a must-try for fans of the game. Shere Khan may feel familiar but has his share of new bits that combine with being a true Disney Classic to be worthy of this new set.

Mark Julian

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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