From Disney and Ravensburger games comes Lorcana, a trading card game(TCG) about pitting Disney characters familiar and strange against your opponent to collect lore and become a master Illumineer.
Before we get into how to play Lorcana, let’s talk a bit about the heart of the game, the cards. A TCG with ugly or poorly formatted cards isn’t worth much, after all.
Fortunately for us, rarely does Disney do things by halves, and this is not one of those rare times. Lorcana cards are gorgeous, varied, and clear to read. Once you know the rules themselves it’s easy to figure out what each card is and what it does. The art is all good and distinct enough that you’re never uncertain of what you’re looking at. And if you just want to collect the cards, you’re going to have a very pretty binder at the end of it.
Quality-wise, the cards are solid. Durable, light, they don’t stick together, fine enough for something you have to hold multiple of in your hand for minutes on end to play with.
All in all, Lorcana is a very high-quality TCG in terms of the cards themselves. Now let’s talk about the game these cards are for.
How It Plays
Of course, the first question asked of any new TCG when it debuts is ‘How similar is it to Magic The Gathering?’. Unfortunately, I have never played Magic, so I can’t answer that question. But I can tell you how to play Lorcana, so I’ll do that and you can draw your own conclusions.
To start with, you’re going to need a sixty-card deck to play with. This can be acquired through one of the prebuilt starter decks (pictured up top, actually) or through booster packs and the like. You then draw seven cards into your hand, and set up the Lore tracker.
The goal of Lorcana is to collect twenty Lore Points. The starter decks come with an official way to keep track of these points, but anything will do so long as both players can see it.
In order to play cards, you need to build up the Inkwell. You do this by playing cards facedown on the bottom of your side of the table (the starter decks come with a mat for organization purposes, if that’s your fancy), and the more ink you have the more powerful the cards you can play.
Lorcana has three types of cards. Characters, Actions, and Items. Characters are the crux of the game, and how you gain Lore Points. Actions are boosts and gameplay twists, and can only be used once. Items are similar but can be used multiple times. In addition, Characters cannot act on the turn they’re played, while Actions and Items can.
Once a Character can act, there are a few options for what to do with them. The first option is Questing, which is how you get Lore Points. This is fairly simple. Every Character card has a certain number of Lore symbols on the side of their text box. You turn the Character to the side to Quest, allowing you to get Lore Points equal to the number of symbols on their card, then turn them right side up the next turn. Of course, your opponent is also after Lore, so you can make them fight each other by Challenging another Character. Characters can only be Challenged after they’ve been used to fetch Lore that round though, however, damage will linger.
Lorcana also has abilities, for Items and Characters. Item abilities require you to use a certain number of cards in your Inkwell, while Character abilities are innate.
This Belle card, for example, can be used to gain two Lore Points, to Challenge for two points of damage, and makes using an item cheaper (by one Ink card) whenever you use her to get Lore.
All in all a fairly straightforward TCG, but with plenty of room for nuance and strategy.
As a Disney fan and as a casual fan of TCGs, I quite enjoyed Lorcana! Honestly, the biggest detriment to me continuing it is the same pitfall all TCGs have, finding someone to play it with. Still, it’s a fun, well thought out and well-put-together TCG, with good art, well-made cards, and straightforward but nuanced rules. If I can manage to find it, I look forward to playing it!
If you’re interested, Lorcana can be found at your friendly local game store, in a variety of different packs that all range in price. Take a look and get in on the fun!
Images courtesy of Ravensburger and Disney
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