To start, a player’s deck must consist of at least sixty cards, allowing up to four copies of each card within the deck. While decks can exceed sixty cards, it is generally recommended to play with the minimum number of cards for better consistency and control.
To begin the game, shuffle your deck and draw the top seven cards. On your turn, you can place a card facedown in your Inkwell to have it in play as an Ink. Most cards can be turned face down, except for those lacking the signature golden frame around their Ink cost. These facedown cards act as mana and are used to play the game.
Lorcana features three card types: Characters, Items, and Actions, each with their own subtypes. For example, Action cards may have the Song subtype. Subtypes modify certain card rules, allowing players to build strategies around them. Song cards, for instance, can be paid for by Exerting a Character with an equal or higher Ink value.
- To illustrate the game, we’ll use the following cards as an example: Mickey Mouse, Brave Little Tailor, Dinglehopper, and Let It Go. Playing these cards requires Exerting a number of Ink cards equal to the card’s Ink value. For example, Mickey Mouse requires 8 Ink to play.
- Exerting a card involves turning it sideways, similar to tapping a card in Magic: The Gathering. Once you have cards on the field, Characters have two default actions: Questing and Challenging. Questing involves Exerting the Character to add an amount of Lore equal to its Lore Value to your Lore amount. The first player to reach 20 Lore wins the game.
Challenging is the second action Characters can perform. The two numbers located in the middle right of the card represent the damage dealt and the damage a Character can withstand before being Banished (sent to the discard pile). Damage remains marked on Characters between turns and can be removed by certain card effects. Challenging occurs simultaneously, potentially leading to the Banishment of both Characters involved.
Characters can also have static abilities. For instance, Mickey Mouse has the Evasive ability, denoted by the keyword Evasive. The game includes various keyword abilities, all followed by explanations in parentheses for ease of play. Characters cannot be Exerted the turn they come into play, similar to the concept of summoning sickness in Magic: The Gathering. Furthermore, a Character can only be Exerted for one purpose; Exerting a Character to Quest and Challenge during the same turn requires another effect to Ready that Character. In contrast, Items can be used immediately upon entering the field, like non-creature artifacts in MTG.
Items possess abilities that produce various effects. For example, the Dinglehopper allows you to remove damage from one of your Characters by Exerting it.
Both Items and Characters remain on the field until removed by other means, while Actions produce effects that impact the field but do not persist. The Song Action mentioned earlier can be played by Exerting a Character with an equal or higher Ink cost, rather than paying its Ink cost.
The Specific Details:
Now that we have covered the fundamental card types and their functionalities, let’s delve deeper into specific details. As previously mentioned, a Lorcana deck must consist of at least sixty cards, with up to four copies of each card name allowed. This rule applies even when the cards have different variations. For example, Mickey Mouse and Mickey Mouse, Brave Little Tailor are considered distinct cards, meaning you can include up to four copies of each in your deck. Decks can only comprise cards of two different Ink colors, denoted to the left of the type line.
There are six Ink colors in total, each associated with a particular archetype:
- Ruby (Red): Fast and aggressive, excelling at dealing direct damage to characters.
- Emerald (Green): Highly adaptive, capable of retrieving cards from various zones.
- Sapphire (Blue): Focuses on playing and utilizing item cards.
- Steel (Grey): Strong defense and adept at Challenging opponents directly.
- Amber (Yellow): Skilled at buffing and protecting other cards.
- Amethyst (Purple): Utilizes abilities and actions to control the game state.
- Combining different Ink colors allows for intriguing play styles, and future sets may introduce two-colored cards.
In Lorcana, there are two ways to win. The primary method is to reach 20 Lore through Questing or other effects. This is the simplest and most common win condition. The secondary way to win is by causing your opponent to run out of cards before you do. This method is more challenging but possible. Similar to Magic: The Gathering, if you attempt to draw a card when your deck is empty, you lose immediately.
Although the game was designed for one-on-one play, it can be played with more than two players. Each player will have their own deck of at least sixty cards, which should be shuffled before the game begins. During the first game, you must keep the first set of seven cards drawn as your opening hand. In subsequent games, you have the option to alter your hand. To do so, place any number of cards from your hand at the bottom of your library, then draw the same number of cards. This hand alteration can only be done once per game. After modifying your hand, remember to reshuffle your deck.
Once all players have prepared their hands, randomly determine the starting player. The player going first does not draw a card at the beginning of their turn to balance the slight advantage of playing first.
During your turn, you have various options. However, before taking any actions, you must perform the beginning-of-turn actions commonly known as “Ready, Set, Draw.” The Ready step involves un-exerting all your cards. The Set step triggers any “beginning of turn” effects, and Characters played on your previous turn can start being Exerted during this step. Finally, in the Draw step, you simply draw a card from the top of your deck. Once you have drawn your card and any relevant effects have resolved, your first Main Phase begins.
The Actions You Can Take;
During your Main Phase, you can perform multiple actions as long as you have the necessary resources. Here are a few examples of actions you can take:
- Make a Character Quest to gain Lore.
- Have a Character Challenge another Character.
- Play cards by paying their Ink cost or alternate cost.
- Reveal a card from your hand and place it face-down in your Inkwell as an Ink, if applicable.
- After completing the actions you desire, you may end your turn. There is no maximum hand size, and unlike other similar TCGs, there is no specific “end phase.” The turn then passes to the player on your left in a one-on-one game or in a clockwise fashion during multiplayer matches.
It’s important to note that you can only take actions on your own turn. There are a few exceptions, such as triggered abilities that can be activated during an opponent’s turn. However, you cannot play or exert cards unless instructed to do so by another card due to an opponent’s action.
With all this information in mind, we eagerly anticipate the release of Lorcana and hope it finds success in your local game store.