'Disney Lorcana' Captured the Zeitgeist of Gen Con 2023 Through Both Fan Fervor and a Fiasco
Let it never be said that Disney fans don't enjoy waiting in line because Ravensburger's prerelease of Disney Lorcana
at Gen Con 2023 more or less provided indisputable proof that they do; even when line conditions become difficult. The legend of the Disney Lorcana
line at Gen Con 2023 will go down as one of the most epic lines in Disney as well as games industry history, capturing the zeitgeist of the show.
The story of line actually begins to form far before Gen Con with an array of plot points that lead up to the prerelease of the game. Shortly after the game was teased at D23, Collector Sets offered at the D23 event begin selling on the secondary market for $10,000 and above (see "Big Money on eBay
"). This was the initial seed that set the tone that this game was going to be valuable to both TCG and Disneyana collectors. Later in 2023, the game appeared high on the chart on the TCGplayer Top 25 Sealed Products Chart in early preorder (see "TCG Magic Makes its Debut
"), which also amped the enthusiasm over the prerelease. Then, Upper Deck's lawsuit against Ravensburger over the game (see "Upper Deck Sues
") fueled speculation that the initial supply of the game could be limited to the Gen Con prerelease if Upper Deck had managed to get an injunction slapped on the release of the game by August 14, 2023 (see "Motion to Dismiss Upper Deck Lawsuit
All of these events set the stage for Thursday morning at Gen Con in Indianapolis. At around 5-5:30 a.m. outside the convention halls, fans began to congregate outside the convention center's doors and then later moved indoors towards the doors near Hall F, near where the Ravensburger booth was located. There they formed a semi-functional line and waited patiently for Gen Con organizers to open the doors. However, despite the best efforts of both the waiting fans and Gen Con staff to control the situation, a monkey wrench was thrown into the works when a mass of other Gen Con attendees showed up behind the Lorcana
line to be the first in the convention hall.
When the hall doors opened, the initial orderly line queue descended into chaos when Lorcana
fans who had been waiting for Hall F to open were ushered into Hall H. A new line was formed by Ravensburger booth workers and the people who waited for hours prior in the initial line ended up somewhere outside of that queue in the new line, despite their earlybird efforts. While that was all going on, there was still a stampede of attendees coming through the doors; a group of people which spanned almost the length of corridor to the convention hall.
Once the new line was formed, it extended all the way around Ravensburger's booth, down the walls of the hall near the washrooms, and out the hall doors. This led to social media reports of a number of other problems as the day went on, such as verbal conflicts with people trying to cut the line, physical confrontations between emotional fans, and Ravensburger booth and security teams having to eject people from the line for various reasons. At some point towards the end of product sales at the booth, some fans on Facebook claimed that the tail end of the line was dismissed and then reformed again about a half hour later due to more product being available that day. Starter decks ran out shortly after the doors opened and booster boxes lasted till about 1-1:30 pm, despite fans being able to only go through the line once and buy one of each product type.
It seemed that both Ravensburger and Gen Con hadn't anticipated the level of Disney fan enthusiasm over the prereleased Disney Lorcana
, but this wasn't entirely their fault as TCG resellers and vest pocket eBay, Facebook, and Whatnot auctioneers seemed to have exacerbated the fan fervor on the floor by injecting an element of greed into it. A few of the TCG resellers there were offering around $300 for the $144 booster boxes at the show to anyone who wanted to sell theirs after waiting in line, which surely inspired a few people needing cash to fund their trip to Gen Con. There was also a Mickey Mouse Gen Con 2023 promo that attendees received with purchase that was being listed on eBay and Facebook group online auctions for around $1,500 on Thursday. By Friday, the price of the promo dropped to around $100 on these types of auctions.
On Thursday evening, after the dust had settled, Ravensburger and Gen Con released a joint announcement on Twitter regarding the Lorcana
lines (see below). They declared that attendees could begin waiting in an official Lorcana
stanctioned line at 6 pm on Thursday for the Friday opening of the convention at 10 am. The Friday line went smoother than the one on Thursday, and Ravensburger booth workers passed out coffee and donuts to the waiting guests, seemingly to make amends for previous day's events. The rest of the weekend's Lorcana
lines went smoothly, and beyond the first day's events, the Disney fans had their usual, semi-enjoyable line-waiting experience as they would at the Walt Disney theme parks (minus the attractions' scenery on the way to rides).
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