Ravensburger’s Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power is a solid game once you can get past the fairly steep learning curve.
The Marvel Universe features some absolutely stellar villains that continually bring the most powerful heroes to the brink of defeat. At the end of the day, though, they’re invariably best by the good guys. However, that all changes in Ravensburger’s Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power, in which players take control of some of Marvel’s most notable villains so as to lead them to victory. And while the game is quite solid overall, there’s a fairly decent learning curve players will have to overcome to get the most of their experience.
At the start of Infinite Power, 2-4 players each choose one of five villains: Killmonger, Taskmaster, Thanos, Hela or Ultron. Each of these villains has their own themed objective, which they’re tasked with accomplishing before their fellow evildoers. Additionally, the villains in play give all players different heroes to overcome and events with which to contend.
At the start of a player’s turn, they’ll move their villain onto a different part of the Domain board. Each location on the Domain board allows for a different set of actions, such as gaining power, playing cards and dealing a fate card down on one’s opponent. A player can do whatever actions are listed in a given location once. Generally, though, power spaces are the most important in the game, since the resource allows villains to play cards and achieve victory, though some — such as Ultron — need power more than others to win.
Infinite Power gives players a lot of options to deal with their opponents, with bringing heroes down on top of them using fate cards being one of the game’s key mechanics. Since a ton of these heroes have special abilities — some of which are designed specifically to stymie one particular villain — there are many different combinations that can come up in a game, which can lead to a lot of adjusting on the fly. There are also events. These powerful cards can do a lot of damage to one particular player or everyone in general by giving them particular conditions such as caps on the amount of power they can obtain in a turn or limits on their abilities. These can be difficult to deal with, but the rewards for overcoming them are solid, making it worthwhile to work with opponents for short periods of time.
Overall, the core gameplay loop is satisfying and quite deep, allowing for a lot of different outcomes and strategies without feeling too random. Playing fate cards allows one villain to block options for another, which can be absolutely devastating in some cases. This — coupled with the fact it’s hard to get power — helps Infinite Power feel competitive, and no one player ever really gets too powerful to handle.
The actual quality of the materials used to make Infinite Power is high, with the various boards and cards feeling study enough to endure a decent amount of use. The miniatures in particular are a nice touch and all have unique designs that make them stand out, while the cards are readable and well-marked, making them relatively easy to sort after a session concludes. Infinite Power‘s various materials feature art that, while not astonishing, is quite nice to look at, and there are obviously some good references in the game for fans of Marvel. Overall, Infinite Power is built to last, which is a good thing, because it’s going to take a few games to really get into the swing of things.
For players less familiar with this style of board game, Infinite Power may be a bit much at first, since there are a lot of different actions, goals and rules to learn. This, coupled with the fact that there are a lot of villain-specific mechanics, can make for a rather steep learning curve initially. Infinite Power is definitely one of those games where players should watch a few videos to really get the core mechanics down before they start. Even then, the sheer variety of characters and actions can make it hard to really develop a good, coherent strategy until a few rounds have gone by, resulting in some early frustrations. These issues are also sometimes exacerbated by rules and cards that aren’t as clear as they could be, though many of these problems can be ameliorated by really looking through one’s deck before play begins. Still, after a few rounds, Infinite Power becomes much easier to understand, so while there’s an initially steep learning curve, it’s not one that’s hard to overcome.
Luckily, once one gets the intricacies of Infinite Power down, the game is immensely satisfying to play, and it’s balanced in such a way that makes victories feel earned. Even when all seems lost, a player can turn things around with the right strategy and right cards, which means it’s pretty hard to feel prematurely defeated. Coupled with the high variability in terms of what can happen in a session, Infinite Power feels highly replayable, meaning those learning curve issues aren’t persistent.
Overall, Infinite Power is a fun game that fans of Marvel will really enjoy. While there’s a bit of a learning curve, once players have sorted out the basics, there’s a lot of depth and a ton of replayability to Infinite Power.
Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power is on sale now. A review copy was provided by the publisher.
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