Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 2-5
Amount of time to play: 30-60 min
Age requirements: 9+
Set-up time: minimal
Villagers and Villains is a card game in which you play a mayor. You must hire citizens, construct buildings and recruit heroes to protect your village from monsters. After someone has nine cards in play the games ends. You total your VPs, add a few bonuses and proclaim a winner.
The four types of cards to add to your village are: Buildings, Citizens, Heroes and Challenges. Buildings might grant you a special ability, Citizens earn you gold (and also might grant special abilities), Heroes are needed to defend your village and Challenges are what the Heroes need to defend against.
Each turn of Villagers and Villains is made up of six phases. They include: Recruit, Defend, Pillage, Earning, Build/Hire and Reset.
In order to get cards to add into your village you need to Recruit them. Six cards are drawn from the draw deck and placed face-up in a line next to it. The card furthest from the deck is numbered one continuing up through six (which is closest to the deck). You pick the card you want to Recruit but to do so you must roll that number or higher on a six-sided die. Failure to do so gets you the card in the first slot. Each player will Recruit one card. It gets easier to get the card you want (if it is still there) since there will be less cards which requires a lower roll. You may also purchase another roll for one gold (prior to making any Recruit rolls).
Next you will need to Defend if you recruited a Challenge card. You get a town defense and each hero in your town can roll against one Challenge too. If you roll their defense or higher, the Challenge goes into your hand. Defeating Challenges will get you some gold and at the end of the game there is a bonus for the mayor with the most. If you have Challenges in front of you at the end of the game they are worth negative VPs.
During the Pillage phase, if you did not successfully defend your village, most Challenges make you forfeit gold to the bank.
The Earning phase gets you gold from the bank based on the citizens in your village. Each turn you may spend your gold to Build or Hire one card from your hand. Lastly you Reset the six cards next to the deck. Remove all old cards except for Challenges which slide toward the first slot.
There is a King’s Favor token that is randomly set on one of the cards during the Recruit phase. It adds a one-time use ability to help you depending on what phase you play it in. One spend it is put randomly on a card during the Reset phase.
After someone has nine cards in their village the game is over. You tally the VPs of the cards in your town. You get a bonus if you have the most Heroes, total cards in your village or Challenges in our hand. Some Citizens and Buildings pair together and you get two VPs for each pair in your village. Once all these bonuses are added the player with the highest score wins.
Villagers and Villains is a fun card game that is easy to teach and learn and quick to play. You have a few different paths to victory, and even though there is luck involved you have the means to lessen its impact.
The game and art look great. The rules are easy to understand and you can be playing this game within 20 minutes of buying it.
I really like the recruit mechanic. Having the option to buy more rolls can help you get that card you really want. Having to take the card in the first slot (which tends to be a Challenge after the Reset phase) can make things tense or at least risky.
You also have the option to hire Heroes and take Challenges on purpose. Killing them get you gold and having the most Heroes and Challenges can get you some nice bonuses.
No matter what you’ll still have to play what you get. The above strategy can work but if you end up not getting many Heroes you could be in a tough spot. So you’ll need to tweak your approach based on the cards you get.
Villagers and Villains has a slight race element to it as players rush to build their 9 cards first. Again there is a bonus for having the most cards in your village and you won’t want to be left behind.
If you want a fun card game that plays in under an hour and is very accessible, try out Villagers and Villains. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 3 out of 6
Luck 5 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 3 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 4 out of 6