Disney Lorcana, Explained: Story, Cards, and How to Play the Game

Treasure and protect the lore of Lorcana at all costs.
Published On August 01, 2023

Disney Lorcana may need something like the famed Charizard card to pull through, but everything leading up to the release suggests that Disney is preparing to play the long game. Photo by Unsplash

Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon TCG have long dominated the trading card industry — each a billion-dollar franchise on its own. With Lorcana, Disney attempts to create a similar fan-following, possibly even hoping for its own “Charizard card.”

The first cards for Disney Lorcana were revealed at the D23 Convention last September. The First Edition cards quickly surfaced all over the internet, even fetching exorbitant prices in some cases.

  • Disney has collaborated with Ravensburger, a 139-year-old German game company best known for tabletop games like Calico.
  • The two companies previously came together for 2018’s Disney Villainous — a tabletop game allowing players to step into the shoes of Disney’s most infamous villains, the likes of Captain Hook, Maleficent, and Ursula.
  • Ravensburger’s North America CEO Filip Francke says that Lorcana is “probably the largest potential that Ravensburger has gone after,” adding that it has also been their “largest investment” on a single project.

Lorcana launches on August 18 at local game shops and Disney parks, coming to other retail stores and shopDisney starting in September, reported IGN.

  • Due this fall, Disney Lorcana: The First Chapter will be the first set of the series, first unveiled at D23.
  • The company initially shared seven cards, featuring Elsa, Captain Hook, Maleficent (dragon form), Cruella De Vil, Robin Hood, Stitch, and a special Mickey Mouse card called “Brave Little Tailor.”
  • Prominent artists were hired to create the key art for these cards, including Nicholas Cole, John Loren, and Luis Huerta.
  • The expo-edition cards were special editions meant to be included in the First Chapter anyway, but some people have been charging up to $10,000 to lure in collectors.
  • The Disney Lorcana TCG Companion App launched earlier this week, containing the full catalog of cards to track your collection and even build potential decks.
  • The first chapter will be released in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg (Benelux), according to IGN.

Over 200 game cards will be available at launch, including 60-card starter decks, booster packs, game tokens, and a collectible set called the “Illumineer’s Trove.”

A still from The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2 showing Yennefer.
One of the seven cards for Disney Lorcana revealed at the D23 convention.
A still from The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2 with Geralt battling some soldiers.

The Brave Little Tailor card is based on Joe Grant’s Academy Award-nominated adaptation of “The Valiant Little Tailor” starring Mickey Mouse.

Images by The Walt Disney Company

Win Conditions, Ink, and Reading the Cards.

Ever since the unveiling, Disney fans have had one question on their minds: just down do you play the game?

“What we wanted was something that was accessible,” said Disney Lorcana co-designer Ryan Miller to Polygon. “It’s generally got concepts and things that are easy to pick up for folks who’ve never played this type of game before — and that bore out in our early playtests,” he added.

  • The players take on the role of “Illumineers,” summoned by the “Great Illuminary” to create glimmers of Disney characters and items to add to the Lore of Lorcana.
  • The goal is to capture “lore” — gathered by sending summons on quests. Each player starts with 0, with the first to accumulate 20 lore winning the game.
  • Alternatively, a player may also win by default if all opponents have no cards left in their decks after drawing a card at the beginning of each turn.

Reading the cards gets pretty simple once you recognize the key elements. Each card includes the character’s name, stats for attack and defense, and the cost of bringing a card into play. There’s also some italicized flavor text to give the character some spunk.

  • “Ink” is the currency of the game, the cost of bringing a card into play — indicated in the top-left corner of the card.
  • Managing Ink is what lets you run the play. TCGs don’t just let you play a card or ability at will, but rather have a cost associated with each action. That’s the purpose Ink serves.
  • You convert the cards in hand into Ink, with each card assigned one of six ink colors — akin to elements you find in other games. Cards that can be turned into Ink have an ornate circular symbol around their cost — called the “Inkwell” icon.

Measuring up to the hype is always an arduous task, especially so for Disney Lorcana since the result resurgence in the popularity of Pokémon TCG. But of course, what better way to get people to dish out money than nostalgia, something Disney has an abundance of.