Subscribe to our newsletter

Join our subscriber list to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered directly in your inbox.

How Disney Lorcana got my husband and I into our first Trading Card Game

I grew up in a family of gamers – from PC and console games to board and card games. As a child, I would watch my brothers play assuming the role of interested observer. In high school, they played a bit of Magic the Gathering and while I understood how the basics worked, I found myself too intimidated to pick it up.

Familiar characters get cool renditions in Lorcana – Cinderella as a Knight, and Giant Tinkerbell are just a few examples!

So when I found out that Ravensburger (the company who also makes the Disney board game Villainous) was creating a trading card game in partnership with Disney, I was pretty excited! Initial announcements shared that they were making a game with a ruleset that would be easy for the whole family to enjoy while also providing enough strategic elements for more seasoned TCG players. That sounded perfect for my family and I, because we were a mix of newbies and more experienced card gamers. Plus, who could resist playing a card game where your favorite princesses, villains, and even Mickey and Minnie Mouse battled it out? Sign me up!

Disney Lorcana launched last August 2023 in the US and Europe with its first set of 200-plus cards in The First Chapter, the second set, Rise of the Floodborn came out in November 2023 and third Into the Inklands just this February 2024. I eagerly picked up cards from all three sets and I have to say, I am hooked!

Booster packs come with 12 cards each, including one guaranteed holographic card.

The premise is straightforward – you are an Illumineer (a being with a unique ability to use your imagination to give it shape and form) in the wondrous realm of Lorcana, and you wield magical ink (great nod to Disney’s animation roots!) to summon new versions of Disney characters and items called glimmers to collect missing pieces of “Lore.” The goal of the game is to reach 20 lore first and is usually played by 2 players but can include more – I’ve played with as many as 4 players!

Starter decks are great ways to get into Lorcana as they come with ready to play 60-card decks, a guide on how to play, plus one booster pack!

To play, you need to create a deck of 60 cards. To make it easy for newbies like me, the first two sets of Disney Lorcana included pre-constructed starter sets with an SRP of $16.99 with 60 cards and a free booster pack, so you can play right away.

To get lore, players first draw 7 cards each, with the option to mulligan (basically, replace any or all of the cards in your hand) once at the start of every game. Then you take turns putting down cards, which all comes with a cost in Ink. Ink functions like Magic The Gathering’s Lands, but in Lorcana it’s the cards themselves that can be turned into ink, as long as they have the ink symbol. So you can turn some cards into 1 Ink by placing them into your Inkwell and then exerting them to play cards, much like tapping lands in Magic The Gathering.

The Anatomy of a Card: starter decks come with a pamphlet that teach you how to play, including the different elements of Lorcana cards.

Your deck is made up of 5 basic types of cards: Characters, which can quest for lore and challenge your opponent’s characters to stop them from questing, Items, which provide special effects, and Actions, which offer a one-time effect before being discarded and Locations, popular Disney setting that offer special benefits when you move to them. Unique to Lorcana are the Song cards, a type of card that characters can activate so you don’t have to pay any ink. This was a flavor win for me because what Disney movie is complete without its iconic tunes, and I dare you not to break out into song when cards like A Whole New World get played.

The game is basically a duel, with players putting down Ink and playing characters to quest for lore. Along the way, you’ll probably want to play some Actions or use your own Characters to banish your opponent’s characters to keep them from winning. Characters have a Strength or Attack value (the circle symbol) and a Willpower or Life value (the shield symbol), along with a Lore value to show how many lore they gain every time they quest – which can range from 1 to even 5 at a time!

Shift characters are more powerful versions of characters that you can play on top of weaker ones.

My family and I have been playing Lorcana for a few months now and I can say it has earned a regular place in our game nights. It’s a good way to introduce children to gaming and adding another fun activity for those slow family weekends.  

Here are the top 3 reasons why I think Disney Lorcana is a great fit for your family game night!

Simple rules that are easy enough for kids to pick-up

When I first got into the game, I was delighted to hear that parents were buying cards for their kids and cracking open packs together. Friends from the community shared that it was a fun bonding activity as their kids loved seeing their favorite Disney characters and heard that children as young as 8 were playing the game with adults and have fun!

A fellow TCG newbie in my family had the same experience – I introduced the game to my sister-in-law in one afternoon during a long weekend and after demonstrating a few rounds of play, she was playing along with us and even won a game in our very first Lorcana game afternoon.

… but complex enough for gamers

While the rules are easy to learn, the mechanics of Lorcana and the different card abilities allow for more strategy. For example, certain more powerful cards cannot be turned into Ink, so you have to decide how many of those to include in your deck. Cards also come in six different Inks similar to Magic The Gathering’s five colors – Amber, Amethyst, Sapphire, Steel, Emerald, and Ruby – each having different strengths and weaknesses. You can only combine up to 2 ink colors in your deck so it’s fun to figure out which colors work best for you.

Strong Disney IP

A huge part of the appeal of Disney Lorcana for me was of course, playing cards with my favorite Disney characters. All the cards come with original art so they’re really nice to look at. They also feature a variety of old and new Disney properties so there’s something for everyone to enjoy, from Steamboat Willie to Sorcerer Mickey from Fantasia, fan favorites like Frozen, and characters in movies from the Disney Renaissance in the 90s. And for those who loved Disney afternoon shows like Ducktales and Tailspin, they’ve also debuted in the Into the Inklands.  

The only downside of all this is that Disney Lorcana has yet to make an Asia release, so hunting down packs can be a challenge. Luckily, local games stores in Metro Manila are starting to sell booster packs and starter decks, so don’t be afraid to pay them a visit. Some stores are even hosting how-to-play gaming sessions on weekends, along with tournaments. And if you’re interested to learn more about the game and find out where to get cards or join a how-to-play, there’s the Lorcana Philippines FB page to help you out!

Your favorite Disney songs also make an appearance in Lorcana as powerful effects that can be activated by characters!