At Gen Con 2023, we sat down with Ravensburger North America CEO Stephane Madi and talked about the company’s strategy for Disney Lorcana, and related topics (see “ICv2 Interview: Stephane Madi”). We followed up with this e-mail interview at the six-month mark after launch to get an update on the progress of the game, plans for the future, and other topics.

ICv2: When we spoke last August, we talked about the different customer segments you were targeting for Disney Lorcana. How did the two big communities you targeted, Disney fans/collectors and TCG players, respond to the game initially?
Stephane Madi: The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Not only is the gameplay well received by established gamers and TCG enthusiasts, but we’ve also received an incredible amount of feedback from retail partners that Disney Lorcana TCG has increased audience and interest in TCGs by bringing new Disney fans and collectors to the game.

How has the response of those two groups changed since launch?
We couldn’t have hoped for a better result. It's hard to count the number of players who have told us that Disney Lorcana TCG has given them a chance to share their love of the hobby with their families, or how it’s brought a number of new faces to organized play events. Of course, from players to fans to collectors, everyone loves the gameplay and art. We believe (and have heard from our partners and players) that Disney Lorcana TCG has grown the size of the TCG pie, as opposed to taking a piece of it.

How has the response differed, if at all, by channel?
Hobby clearly dominates, which has always been our hope and intention. From the very beginning, we have anchored our brand to partner FLGSs; these local stores are the heart of the community and give fans not only a place to play Disney Lorcana TCG, but also engage with others around the game.

There are a few other very important brand channels that help us capture the attention of potential newcomers. This includes the immersive Disney shopping experience at the Disney stores and parks, and the in-store “hunt” for collectible items across various national chains and mass retail.

Additionally, e-commerce has given us the ability to ensure fair distribution of products through online queuing systems.  All channels are essential for meeting our diverse players where they are.

Are you making any changes to the breadth of distribution going forward?
We do make the regular adjustments that are standard across all of our games, but nothing that would qualify as a meaningful change to the existing strategy. 

From a pure distribution point of view, everything since The First Chapter through the recently announced Ursula’s Return has been about establishing and refining operational basics like supply, partnerships, rules, organized play and other requirements. Moving forward, you can expect to see new, robust marketing and engagement activations, which we’re very excited to roll out with Set 5 later this year.

What is the current status of in-store play; can you share any numbers on number of stores, players, or other metrics?
In-store play is going incredibly well. Attendance has been fairly strong; according to our estimates, we have already achieved a 70% penetration rate of our 100% targeted in-store Organized Play partnerships. 

Up until this point, the approach has been about getting Disney Lorcana TCG into the hands of new players. Now, we are also launching our first championship kit with many of our registered O.P. stores participating, where attendance has been strong. It’s been a great start with many of those events taking place in the next few weeks.

Moving forward, we’ll focus on even higher engagement with our O.P. stores, event reporting, and continuous improvement. Bundled with strong marketing and product plans, our partnered stores have a lot to look forward to.

After aftermarket price surges that put the game out of reach for many players as it first launched, prices have calmed down as more supply reached the market.  Do you feel you’ve reached the proper equilibrium between too little and too much product in the marketplace?
Aftermarket prices are subject to many dynamics, and while they are hard to ignore fully, they are not primary indicators behind decision-making; they do help us a bit in the early days of a launch to understand how well we are meeting market demand. 

Our research indicates that there’s currently enough product out there for existing and new players to get their hands on, which means we’re getting the supply/demand equilibrium just right.

You’ve shipped multiple waves of the initial releases. What are your expectations for multiple waves, or reprints, of Disney Lorcana products going forward?
We did reprint The First Chapter once. It was not an easy endeavor, but we are very happy that we were able to make that happen as fast as we did to meet player interest.

We watch, we listen, and we act. Our North Star is and always will be the Lorcana fan and making sure Disney Lorcana TCG is the best game it can be. All reprinting decisions will continue to be made with that in mind and as of right now, we’re at a good equilibrium.

2024 was planned as a four-booster-set year. Are you planning additional products, for example holiday SKUs, to supplement the booster releases?
A very special SKU has already been announced for Ursula’s Return. Illumineer’s Quest - Deep Trouble is a co-op game where players can work together to defeat Ursula (see “New Cooperative Game”). It’s set to be the first of its kind in the world of TCGs. We can’t wait for fans to get their hands on that. We’ve also announced the new “Gateway” product designed to help new players easily learn and play Disney Lorcana TCG. Disney Lorcana TCG Gateway launches in August (see “’Disney Lorcana’ 2024 Lineup”).

As we have said before, there will be four set releases this year. Beyond that…Team Lorcana never ceases to surprise.

We’re doing this interview at around the six-month mark since the launch of Disney Lorcana TCG. What have you learned about the TCG business that you didn’t know at the launch?
I learned that one can never stop learning about the TCG business!

Looking beyond Disney Lorcana, what are Ravensburger’s most important board game releases for the hobby channel in 2024?
2023 was one of Ravensburger Group’s best years despite a subdued consumer market worldwide; the company’s turnover rose by 11.6% to €669 last year. 2024 should build on that success; we have a diverse array of new releases this year.

I’m personally a big fan of some of our titles that represent a return to core gameplay basics like HIT, Othello (see “Ravensburger To Distribute ‘Othello’”) and Mycelia (see “’Mycelia’”), but we also have Chronicles of Light: Darkness Falls (Disney Edition), a new novelty board game that incorporates familiar gameplay and characters with mechanics inspired by tabletop role-playing games (see “’Chronicles of Light’”). We’ve also got a fun new game called Oh My Pigeons that we expect to become a fan favorite (see “’Oh My Pigeons’”), not to mention new additions to some of our popular franchises like Villainous (see “’Star Wars Villainous’ Two-Player Expansion Format”) and Horrified.