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Ready To Celebrate Disney Lorcana’s 1st Anniversary?


Are you enjoying playing Disney Lorcana, the trading card game based on Disney Characters that launched in August 2023? I am and I would say I am having a lot of fun playing this game. I also must admit that playing Lorcana proved to be much more interesting that I ever expected when I bought my first starter deck. I know I am not the only one still feeling excited for this game as recently proved by the fact that 2048 tickets to each of the two first regional Challenges sold out in just a few minutes.

I think there are a lot of reasons people love this game and, surprisingly, it is not just because of the lovable Disney characters and the nice background lore of this TGC. Personally, I think the gameplay itself and the multiple ways you can enjoy Lorcana are two great reasons this game is so interesting but there are surely many other reasons for it. Considering we are heading to celebrate the very first anniversary of the game, I thought it would be good to point out the three main aspects that I believe make Disney Lorcana such a great game (in no particular order).

First: Strategic and yet Balanced Gameplay

Having played Trading Card Games a lot and being an avid Boardgames player, I always judge a game on how fun and interesting it is to play it. Lorcana has the obvious great advantage of being based on Disney movies characters and stories and this aspect alone surely brings a lot of fun to the game. I lost count of how many time I cited part of a movie or mumbled the lyrics of a Song while playing the related cards. I also find very enjoyable when you play some very vicious villains side by side to other brave heroes from Disney movies as it feels like you are creating an alternate movie universe.

On the other side, Disney Lorcana proved to be a very well designed game also from a strategic and gameplay point of view. At first, the game can look quite straightforward to play due to its very clear and easy-to-learn rules. However, players soon realized each card ability and the interaction among cards can generate a lot of complexity as in a classic TGC. Knowing what to play and when becomes therefore very important if you want to beat your opponent and players need to learn how their decks work. One of the angles I love the most is how each decision a player takes can have massive impact on the game. Should I put this card into the Inkwell or the other is better? Do I Challenge a character or do I Quest and let my opponent challenge me? Will my opponent pull the card they need next round?

Interestingly, even if the latest sets brought a lot of different strategies to this game, Lorcana is still quite balanced at the moment and remains very easy to learn. I think these are two very important points in a card collectible game as they provide the opportunity for new players to join the fun without the need to learn or collect tons of cards right away. Most important, a balanced game allows players to find their own way of playing and to put together their own deck knowing that they will have fun and a fair chance to win no matter what. There are of course some decks that are more consistent and that topped more frequently the competitive events but the variability is much higher than in other Trading cards game and this is definitely great!

Second: So many ways to enjoy this game

When the first set of Lorcana came out last summer, Ravensburger also spent a lot of efforts in promoting a friendly style of organized gameplay. The “Disney Lorcana League” includes weekly events in which players can get two points for winning a game or one if they lose it. Everyone can play as many games as they want during each event but you can only collect a maximum of 10 points per week. At the end of each “season” of 4 weeks, players can get Promo cards, Pins, Lore trackers and, recently, Unique Card Sleeves.

I enjoyed a lot this style of casual format which allows players to participate as their own pace but to still get prizes to celebrate their achievements. Most important, this format is quite approachable for new and young players as they can join at any time and have fun within a very welcoming community. I am quite happy I am sharing my passion for this game with my son but the best part is that I am not the only one. As an example, there were 8 kids under 13 years old at last tournament I joined and most of them were also very good players!

Of course, Disney Lorcana also has more competitive events now. Starting in April, we had in fact the first “Into the Inklands” Set Championships that featured Stitch Rockstar Enchanted cards and Playing Mats as prizes. These are made available by Ravensburger specifically for this occasion and are incredibly well made and also quite valuable. In May, we will also have the first Regional events in Lille and Atlanta with more than two thousand players competing against each other for the title of Champion and a place in the National tournaments. If you are interested, keep an eye out for the UK Regional tournament that will be held in Birmingham in September.

In addition, I think it is important to flag that Disney Lorcana is a game designed to be also played in more than just 2 players. In fact, each set includes a number of cards with abilities that affect “each opponent” and that are much more valuable in a multiplayer game. During the last months I enjoyed a lot of free for all Multiplayer games but also 2 vs 2 team games (2 Head Giants) and many other variations including Shift Leader etc. Although most of this playing modes are made by the community and may share similarities with other TGC, I am quite happy Ravensburger designed the game to be played this way since the beginning. Further to this, we know the next set releasing in May (“Ursula's Return”) will also include a first set to play the game cooperatively against a single boss. This seems not only a great new way to enjoy this game but also a very good option for more experience players to teach and coach new players. I am also very curious of what is hidden inside the envelop included in the set with the prizes for beating Ursula.

Third: And the best is yet to come

With respect to other TGCs, Disney Lorcana does not have a lot of history as it is (almost) just one year old. On one hand, much seasoned games will likely have a well established player community and competitive structure. It is also usually quite easy to find a lot of information on how to collect or build decks and what errors to avoid when playing them. This is definitely a plus but, on the other hand, new players may feel the challenge of “catching-up” with the history of the game and with the more experienced gamers who are familiar with all the cards released in the past 20 years.

Being a new game, Disney Lorcana does not have a lot of history and this can surely ease new players into the game. Conversely, the game is so young that it has a lot of potential to grow in multiple directions and every new set brings something fresh to the game. For example, we all thought the second set would just bring a new keyword (“Resist”) but it actually added a few interesting mechanics like the bounce one, that is the cornerstone of some of the most competitive decks. The third set completely changed the game by adding the Location cards and we are all looking forward to see how the new “Sing along” Songs and Shift mechanics will impact the game once the fourth set releases.

I do appreciate that it may feel difficult to keep up with a game that changes progressively every time a new set releases but I think this is also a great aspect of Disney Lorcana. Every time the game evolves, cards you ignored in a set may suddenly become quite useful as players find new opportunities to make good strategies and efficient combos. To a certain extent, this is true in almost all TGCs but, as Lorcana is such a young game, every set feels like a Whole New World with so many new things to explore and enjoy that the fun never really ends. And yes, I am surely a big fan of this game 🙂