The trading card game (TCG) scene is about to get a familiar face, or perhaps many familiar faces given how popular Disney’s movies are.
At D23, board game company Ravensburger and Disney officially unveiled Lorcana, a new Disney trading card game featuring many of the company’s iconic characters, from Mickey Mouse to Elsa from Frozen.
For years, the trading card game scene has been dominated by the likes of Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon. But will the combination of Disney characters with the game design know-how of Ravensburger be enough to break into such a competitive field?
IGN spoke with Lorcana co-designer and brand manager Ryan Miller, a veteran card game designer, about how Lorcana came to be and what to expect from a competing Disney TCG.
Disney Lorcana D23 card
“Our work on the Villainous game series has helped us create a great relationship with Disney, as well as with Disney fans,” Miller says of the company’s other collaborations with Disney. “The love and attention to detail we put into these games has shown the fandom that we truly understand and honor these characters.”
Ravensburger was able to leverage his existing relationship with Disney, having already designed a series of popular board games focused on the villains of the Disney universe. But a TCG is a completely different story.
“We designed the game to be easy to learn so that people who haven’t played a TCG before will be able to pick it up, but also have enough strategic depth to appeal to the seasoned TCG player,” explains Miller. “This approach has informed our design and development process, as all playtesting and stress testing of the cards has been performed by veteran TCG players to ensure that there are many combinations, synergies and decks to be found in each set.”
The bonus of having the Disney library to work with, Miller says, is that players “can intuitively put together a deck of their favorite characters and still have a fun, engaging experience.”
Lorcana’s D23 unveiling has already been a huge success, with cards from the event already selling on the second-hand market at huge markups. The seven promotional cards sold at D23 will be available in the starter pack when Lorcana is released in late 2023, but D23 attendees were able to obtain foil variants of these cards.
This has led to some concern that Lorcana could become a collector’s game, but Miller says that there won’t be cards that will be exclusive to events and cons.
“I don’t like to say ‘never’ when I’m working on a trading card game, but here I go: We’re never going to make a promotional card or a collection that you can’t also get out of the regular product,” Miller tells IGN.
“The treatment of promotional cards may be unique, such as the foil treatment or in the case of D23 Expo, D23 Expo badges, on the collector’s set, but the characters and game mechanics of these cards will be in the regular set.”
Miller says the goal for Lorcana is for the game to be an “opt-in experience, not a forced experience”, so that players will have access to all the mechanics available in the game through the default product without having to travel to cons or events.
For now, Lorcana is focused on characters from Disney animated films, and that library contains many popular characters and “deep cuts” that Ravensburger can draw on. So don’t expect Marvel or Star Wars characters just yet.
Matt TM Kim is IGN’s news editor. You can reach him @laloftd.