"You want me to be the bad guy? Fine. Now I'm the bad guy."
Mother Gothel has a Hero, Rapunzel, that is always in her Realm. At the start of the game, Mother Gothel plays Rapunzel (who is printed on a tile instead of a card) to Rapunzel's Tower. If Rapunzel is defeated, she is not discarded, but instead moved back to her Tower. At the end of Mother Gothel's turn, Rapunzel moves one location to the right, if she can.
Mother Gothel also has a unique mechanic: Trust. It is tracked by Power tokens placed on her board above her Objective. Various card Abilities will cause her to gain or lose Trust - when she gains Trust, she takes Power from the Supply and adds it to her Trust, and when she loses Trust, she returns the specified amount to the Supply of Power Tokens.
Mother Gothel's Realm contains the following locations, from left to right:
- Rapunzel's Tower
- The Snuggly Duckling
- The Forest
- Play a Card
- Gain 2 Power | Play a Card | Move an Item or Ally
- Gain 1 Power | Discard Cards
- Play a Card | Fate
The following cards are in Mother Gothel's Villain deck:
- Royal Guard (×5)
- Duplicity (×2)
- Egomania (×2)
- I Love You Most (×2)
- Let Down Your Hair (×2)
- Misdirection (×2)
- Mother Knows Best (×2)
- Now I'm the Bad Guy (×2)
- Revenge (×2)
- Royal Rider (×2)
- What Once Was Mine (×2)
- Hair Brush
- Patchy Stabbington
- Sideburns Stabbington
These include 9 total Allies (Patchy Stabbington; Royal Guard; Royal Rider; Sideburns Stabbington), 4 total Conditions (Duplicity; Egomania), 14 total Effects (I Love You Most; Let Down Your Hair; Misdirection; Mother Knows Best; Now I'm the Bad Guy; Revenge; What Once Was Mine), and 3 Items (Crown; Hair Brush; Knife).
The following cards are in Mother Gothel's Fate deck:
- Everyone Has a Dream (×3)
- Aging (×2)
- Floating Lights (×2)
- Flynn Rider
- Frying Pan
- Hook Hand
- Queen and King
These include 7 total Effects (Aging; Everyone Has a Dream; Floating Lights), 8 Heroes (Flynn Rider; Hook Hand; Maximus; Pascal; Queen and King; Rapunzel; Shorty; Ulf), and 1 Item (Frying Pan). Rapunzel does not start in the Fate deck, but is played immediately to Mother Gothel's Realm; she is printed on a tile instead of a card to help the player remember.
Mother Gothel is a challenging and often even frustrating Villain to play as, because she is simultaneously the Villain who most needs to be able to improvise, and also the one who most needs to plan ahead. She is also the only Villain who can lose progress toward their win condition without even being Fated. However, if she can get her engine running smoothly, she can be a terrifying opponent, Fating often, and if she can overshoot to 12 Trust (which is highly possible), no single Fate can stop her. She has multiple tools for dealing with Heroes, and her bottom row of actions is the best in the game.
Right off the bat, the challenge in playing Mother Gothel is that, unlike most other Villains, she does not have a step-by-step formula to reach victory; there is no single card or set of cards she needs to win, with the means to reach her Objective distributed over a variety of cards. Her gameplay can, however, be defined as two goals, which must be worked on simultaneously throughout the entire game:
These two goals can't really be dealt with separately, as they tie into each other: if Rapunzel languishes in Corona, Mother Gothel will lose Trust every turn, and most of her ways of gaining Trust involve moving or defeating Rapunzel, or keeping her in her Tower.
The first thing to note is that Mother Gothel only has one Villain card that gains her Power: the Crown. Until you find it, you will likely need to visit The Snuggly Duckling and The Forest frequently in order to play anything, but you should not visit them exclusively; Mother Gothel has to Fate at least every other turn, otherwise she will fall permanently behind. That's not to say that you need to discard everything to desperately hunt for the Crown, it's just something to keep in mind.
So what should Mother Gothel discard for? You are not Jafar, hunting for the Magic Lamp, nor Ursula seeking the Trident. Even more so than the sea witch, Mother Gothel is the true opportunist, having to make use of what she has in hand. Very little of her deck can be considered discard fodder, and she can usually make do with what she has. Thence comes her need to improvise: every turn you need to ask yourself, how can I gain Trust and control Rapunzel with what's in my hand? If you ever answer "I can't do either", you should discard. To gain Trust, you might have Misdirection in hand, and therefore need to think a bit harder on how to get Rapunzel back to her Tower, or maybe you have Revenge, so you should play some Allies to a Hero's location. To corral Rapunzel, you might have Let Down Your Hair, or you could have a pair of Royal Guards that can Vanquish her. More than any other Villain, Mother Gothel has to work with what she is given, and play to her outs.
That said, there are some high-value cards to be on the lookout for. First and foremost is the Hair Brush, her single best Trust gainer. It's almost worth discarding everything else (but not quite) to get to this card, as finding it can make reaching your Objective magnitudes easier. However, a single Aging can discard it, and if you hunt for it while ignoring everything else, you may lose control of Rapunzel, and if you can't move Rapunzel anymore, you will lose all that Trust you gained. Next is the Crown, which as mentioned earlier is your only non-action way to gain Power. Both of those Items are priorities to play, as even if Aging comes around, even one or two uses out of them is worth their Cost, and if they are discarded, they should be the first things you grab with What Once Was Mine. After those Items, you should be on the lookout for Patchy and Sideburns Stabbington, who are your best tools for keeping Rapunzel in check. Though they are the most expensive cards in Mother Gothel's deck, they can send Rapunzel back to her Tower twice, through both their on-play Ability, and later a Vanquish, making them well worth their Cost. Finally, look for I Love You Most, which is the only single card that can gain you 2 Trust in one turn, as long as it is played optimally (and the Stabbingtons can help with that optimizing). That said, if you have no tools in hand to control Rapunzel, it can be better to opportunistically play these as you can for only 1 Trust, rather than holding out hope that you can draw into something, particularly if you have both of them in hand.
The key to succeeding as Mother Gothel is planning. Gaining 1 Trust per turn will take you ten turns, which is two turns slower than Prince John can take to reach 20 Power, and that's if neither are Fated, and assuming Mother Gothel can draw the right cards. What makes Mother Gothel terrifying, as well as satisfying to play as, is figuring out how to net more than 1 Trust in a turn. There are simple things, like playing Hair Brush, then playing Misdirection, then moving the Hair Brush, for a total of 3 Trust. Better still is moving the Hair Brush to Rapunzel, Vanquishing her with the Knife and Crown, then playing I Love You Most, for a total of 5 Trust, half of her win condition. As Mother Gothel, you should be constantly thinking multiple turns ahead, planning out how you'll control Rapunzel, and how you can combine cards together to maximize Trust output, including contingencies if you're Fated.
Remember that, absent the Hair Brush lasting multiple turns, Mother Gothel is a slower Villain, so you will need to keep your opponent in check. You should be visiting Rapunzel's Tower and Corona often, and though that means you have less Power and are missing out on double-play turns, at least the Tower can let you move the Hair Brush and Vanquish. As with most slow Villains, prioritize covering top Fate actions to reduce the amount of obstacles being sent your way. With any luck, you should be able to slow your opponent down just enough to eke out 10 or more Trust before they reach their own Objective.
Countering Mother Gothel is relatively straightforward, particularly compared to actually playing as her. Take away her Trust, send Rapunzel to Corona, and cover up the top row in Rapunzel's Tower, particularly with Pascal. If Aging comes up, prioritize her Items, then any Allies threatening Rapunzel.
|Mother Gothel |