June 2023"), or just retailers asking me "Hey, you think this is going to be the next Magic?," I've done my best to address as many of these subjects as possible with what information I had about the game. The information pool I had to draw from about this game up to this point ranged from "not so much" and "maybe a little," until about a week ago when I actually received a box in the mail from Ravensburger that had physical product in it. Now, with about a week of singing Songs, challenging characters, and lots of questing under my belt, I can give some real details about what's going on with this game.
First of all, let's just address the overall quality of the product. The cards are really well done; they're printed on excellent cardstock and look great. I've seen a lot of TCGs since I started playing Magic: The Gathering in Unlimited edition, and there is absolutely nothing that disappoints me more than cheaply printed card games that carry major IP licenses. Lorcana does not suffer from this problem. I'm also delighted to say that the foil cards Ravensburger gave me with this bundle have lasted a whole week out of the package and have yet to become Pringles. This is a very good initial sign.
The gameplay was something that I had mixed thoughts about. The game was exceedingly simple to pick up and play, as the mechanics are a hybrid of a few TCGs, which include Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon TCG. The quick-and-dirty version of how to play this game is: players play cards from their hand face down to create Ink (resources), use the Ink to put characters in play, and exert (tap) the characters to try to generate 20 Lore before their opponent does. The premise is simple, and the character ability interactions are what add the complexity to the game.
I like that the designers have eliminated card timing issues, which often plague young TCGs, by making sure players can only play cards on their turn. I also like that there is some degree of strategic balance across the six Inks of cards (Amber, Emerald, Sapphire, Amethyst, Ruby, and Steel), and that the game is character-centered. As a Magic player, I enjoy casting little dudes and sending them off into combat to go kill my opponent. While I couldn't go send the little Disney characters off to kill my opponent, there was some level of satisfaction in being able to summon random minions from 101 Dalmations to go my make my Lore. The game is light-hearted and fun to play for Disney animation fans of all ages.
Speed and card draw are a winning combination in most TCGs, so this is nothing too out-of-the-ordinary, but I do think some of the cards that draw cards are too powerful (see "Song Cards") and create lop-sided effects. There are also a few cards that trigger two-for-one trades in Ink colors that can draw a ton of cards, which doesn't help the decks trying to make a comeback much. However, this set is The First Chapter, and I fully recognize that some of the cards designed for this set were also designed to interact with expansions down the road. Perhaps there will be more cards that speed up slower developing board states in future sets.
Now for the million dollar question: "Will this game sell at the retail and does it have longevity beyond the initial first few sets?"
The answer is a resounding "yes." The game is so very easy to teach new players how to play, and it is very fun to introduce to kids because they naturally adhere to the Disney characters. I can see Pokemon, Magic, and Yu-Gi-Oh! middle-aged adult players getting their kids into TCGs with this game because Lorcana's mechanics seem easy to pick up and teach if they have experience with those games. Also, on the collector side of things, the foil cards are gorgeous and there are plenty of rarities to find in booster packs. In general, this is almost a no-brainer for retailers to carry and support with organized play in their stores. I expect this game to be around for a number of years as long as organized play support is followed up on and retailers can get enough product to support their player bases consistently.
Click on Gallery below for full-size images of the Disney Lorcana media sample products!
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
Column by Jeffrey Dohm-Sanchez
Posted by Jeffrey Dohm-Sanchez on July 25, 2023 @ 8:37 am CT