Disney will release a new card game to take on Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon

Disney may be the king of theme parks, broadcast television, and major motion pictures, but when it comes to trading card games, the House of Mouse has to tread carefully. Magic: The Gathering and the Pokemon trading card game they have dominated the industry for decades, each of which is a billion-dollar franchise in its own right. Now, Disney has teamed up with a powerful new ally: Ravensburger, a 139-year-old game publisher. The new joint effort is called lorcan disney, a collectible card game for the whole family. The first sets are expected in the second half of 2023.

Most board game consumers will recognize Ravensburger from its popular line of Disney-themed strategy board games called Disney Villainous. That series began in 2018 and now contains nearly 30 villains from across the Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars universes. With lorcan disneyRavensburger says he wants to take things to the next level.

“The basic idea is that there is this place called The Great Illuminary,” said brand manager Ryan Miller, a Wizards of the Coast veteran who also helped design the gameplay for lorcan disney. “It’s a treasure trove of all the Disney songs and stories that have ever been made, all the characters, and it’s where they’re recorded. Players take on the role of an Illumineer, this powerful sorcerer who has the ability to bring these characters to life off the page. [Players will be] bring together a band of your favorite Disney characters to adventure into this world.”

The collectible game will feature a “modern storybook” art style, North American Game Director Cassidy Werner said. Shane Hartley, creative director of global games, said it “was inspired by the storybook openings of classic Disney movies and features visible line work and vibrant color washes” and “blends traditional hand-drawn qualities that you see in fairy tale books with the new techniques.”

The game will also include all the flourishes that trading card fans have come to expect from top-of-the-line releases.

“You know those little paint chips people sometimes get when they’re painting their house?” Ravensburger’s Werner said. “[Our art director] has one of a manufacturer of different card foil treatments: holographic with an ink spill or with a star. Yeah, he kicked me out of his office the other day. I’m kidding, but I could sit there for hours looking at the pretty things. I would say that as a person who collects Pokémon cards, especially shiny Eeveelutions, I am very excited. I can’t wait to add more cards to my collection. I think other Disney collectors will feel the same.”

Meanwhile, Ravensburger North America CEO and Global Head of Gaming Filip Francke spoke about the broad implications of the partnership.

“East [game] it is probably the biggest potential that Ravensburger has ever looked for,” said Francke, “and therefore also probably the biggest investment that we have ever made in any kind of project and initiative.”

“We know that by entering the TCG market, you are inviting players on a journey of many years,” Francke continued. “We don’t take it lightly. This effort is a multi-year series [of releases]. It’s something that Disney has never really allowed. [collaborator] to do. So the trust we built with Disney […] I think it allowed us to get to a point where we both, strategically and commercially, had the confidence to say, ‘Yes, let’s dare to do this together.’”

People will have to wait a bit longer before they can preview the actual game, but Ravensburger told us that their goal is to create the most welcoming trading card game. So how will the game stack up against its closest and notoriously ruthless rivals?

Magic, I would say he has a very high level of competition,” Miller said. “People love that. Magic. We have withdrawn from that. I wouldn’t say we’re cooperative in any sense, it’s definitely a strategy card game. But I would say that we have reduced the level of confrontation, because we feel that that will attract a lot more people. So if you think [of] chess as the highest level of confrontation you can get we’re a lot of notches behind that because we want people to have fun […] with these characters that they love so much”.

Fans will get their first look at the cards during the D23 expo in Anaheim, California. The fan-focused event kicks off on September 9.

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