I can see what’s happening.
And they don’t have a clue
They’ll fall in love
And here’s the bottom line
Lorcana is for YOU two
The sweet caress of cracking packs
There’s magic everywhere
And with all this Disney fervor
Other TCGs move out of the way!
I’m pretty sure that’s how the song went anyway.
Gen Con 2023 was the biggest Gen Con yet, and of the hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of games being shown off, there was one game that created more of a splash than any other. A frenzy. A minor stampede at one point. But was it worth the hype? Let’s dig into Lorcana, the new Disney themed TCG published by Ravensburger.
Despite some initial crowd management stumbles that can’t really be blamed on Ravensburger, the crowds at Gen Con were not dissuaded by the all day and sometimes even all night lines to get their hands on some Mickey Mouse cardboard.
If you haven’t played the game yet, you have to be wondering. Are Disney and Ravensburger just marketing geniuses, or is this game actually any good? Well the short answer is, yes, to both questions. I don’t think anyone can deny that Lorcana was a resounding success at the convention. The hype leading up to Gen Con was fueled by lots of online speculation and teasers from previous cons. With lines spanning the length of the convention center and forming up overnight, the fans were eager to get their hands on the game.
We had the opportunity to attend a scheduled demo of the game where an event employee guided us through a few rounds and then let us loose on two of the starter decks. Lorcana is a race to 20 Lore, the game’s victory points. Players will take turns adding cards to their Inkwell as resources, spending those resources to play cards to the table, and then using those cards to attack their opponents or to quest for lore. The first player to reach 20 lore immediately ends the games and wins.
Players have a lot of decision space in how they want to manage their board as well as their opponents. Mainly, this plays out by characters cannot be attacked unless they are exerted, but you have to exert them to quest and gain progress towards victory. When should you quest and make your characters vulnerable to attack? When should you sacrifice cards to take out your opponent’s exerted characters? Should you focus on questing for small amounts quickly for an early advantage or build up your play area to counter a later push? With the six different colors to choose from when deckbuilding, you can really tailor your deck to the playstyle that you want, even with just the first chapter available right now. As the card pool grows, the potential strategies are only going to get deeper and more diverse.
Lorcana shares a lot of similarities with other card games mechanically, and there is little completely new or innovative about the game. Where it really shines, however, is in the blending of theme and gameplay. There are numerous examples of card abilities that operate exactly as you expect that character to do, as if they climbed right out of your childhood favorite movie and onto the cards. One of my favorites is Gramma Tala from Moana; when she is banished, she becomes a resource for you for the rest of the game. Beast features artwork of him smashing up a room, and when he is played you banish an item as if he broke it. One version of Ariel is readied every time you play an item, as if she is energized to go check out a new dinglehopper or thingamabob.
Whether you are a collector or a player, Lorcana is off to a very promising start. We can’t wait to see what Ravensburger has in store for future chapters.
Disclosure: GamingTrend editors were invited to the Lorcana launch party hosted by Ravensburger where we received free food and drinks as well as sampling of Lorcana products. Our excitement for the game is genuine and we did purchase additional product ourselves. Ravensburger did not ask us to create any content and all of the views expressed in this piece are our own.
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.
Starting with the classic charm of the Nintendo Entertainment System, Mike ventured into the spell-slinging arenas of Magic: The Gathering. He later immersed himself in the strategy and storytelling of modern board games. His passion has taken him from digital realms to tactile tabletops, always in search of the next great game.