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Marvel Villainous: Twisted Ambitions

Twisted Ambitions is the most recent addition to the Marvel Villainous series of games from Ravensburger. Like the Disney Villainous series, each of the boxes is playable as a standalone game but can also be treated as an expansion to the core Marvel Villainous game (Infinite Power). Likewise you can also mix and match the Marvel Villainous expansions. What you can't readily do is mix the villains from the Marvel series with those from Disney Villainous, tho' as we observed in our review of Infinite Power, it wouldn't be an impossible task to devise the house rules needed to pit your Disney characters against those from the Marvel universe.

The three Marvel super-villains in Twisted Ambitions are Doctor Octopus, Kang the Conqueror and Titania. As usual, the Prospero Hall design team with Michael Mulvihill and Scott Rogers has put together three very asymmetric characters, each with their own distinct win condition and style of play. To win, Doc Oc has to complete 'schemes': objectives on some of his cards that require specific combinations or events in Doc Oc's 'domain'; for example, having no hero cards present at any location. Titania is always looking to fight heroes because that's how she 'levels up' so that she can win the game in a final showdown against She-Hulk. This means Titania will likely be playing cards to actually summon heroes to her domain and even buff up their strength so that defeating them gives her a level up. By contrast, Kang the Conqueror's win condition involves him 'conquering' locations in other players' domains. His play involves seeding cards into other players' decks. Because each character's cards have their own distinctive backs, Kang's cards seeded in another deck stand out like a sore thumb: the other player can see them coming. That doesn't spoil the game - arguably it only adds to the creative tension - but if you want to avoid it, you might want to consider sleeving cards in opaque-backed sleeves.

We've enjoyed playing all three of the Twisted Ambitions villains; albeit we've mostly integrated them with the core game so pitted them against villains from that set rather than just against each other. Mostly that's because we enjoy the variety but it's also because, tho' all the Marvel Villainous games are playable with two or three players, we've come to prefer Marvel Villainous as a four-player game.

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