For months, Ravensburger has been teasing early adopter Lorcana fans about the game’s rules and features. We’ve driven ourselves mad with each new card spoiled, trying to divine how the Disney-themed TCG will function. Some of those predictions, as you’ll see, were spot on. And some of them… Weren’t. The important part is that now we officially have the full “quick start” rules for Lorcana. Presumably, this is the insert that will come with preconstructed decks and other starter products for newcomers just picking up the game. It spells out the most important Things To Know about actually slinging ink and summoning glimmers.
The anatomy of a Lorcana card
Our predictions weren’t too far off on figuring out what each part of the card means. For players of other TCGs, the layout is very familiar. Newcomers to the hobby will find the important parts intuitive. Important, when you are starting from the ground up as a new game.
Obviously, you’ve gotta know what to do on your turn if you’re going to play a game! The phases of a turn in Lorcana are simple.
In the First Chapter of Lorcana, at least, there is no way to interact with your opponent during their turn. You do not get to respond to their plays. That means all you have to worry about is the order of your turn.
The “ready” step is essentially the untap step from Magic. We’ll get to readying and exerting cards in a minute.
Your main phase is where all of the action takes place. As you can see from the quickstart rules, there is no particular order for the actions you take during your main phase. This opens the door for some very interesting combinations and ability chains.
Making and Generating Ink
One of the most important things to look for on a card when you draw it is the ink cost symbol in the top left corner. This tells you two things: how much it costs to play and if it can be “inked.” Ink is the primary resource in Lorcana, and the rules reveal that you can only create one per turn at base. To make an ink, you reveal a card and then put it face down in your Inkwell. Once it’s there, it’s gone. It’s done for. You don’t get to look at it any more and neither does your opponent. To put it in TCG terms, the contents of the inkwell are not “public knowledge.”
Only cards with the thick, swirly border around their cost can be inked. That’s why the card has to be revealed before it’s put in the Inkwell. After all, nobody wants their opponent sneaking resources illegally! Some cards let you put additional cards into the Inkwell. Remember though, basic Lorcana rules only let you make one ink per turn. Use it wisely!
Some cards, like Let it Go, will put additional cards into the Inkwell.
Exerted and Ready
The first ink you make per turn comes into play “ready.” That is, it comes in upright, and you can use it right away. To use it, you first “exert” it. Once something is exerted, it cannot be used again that turn. (Unless something tells you to ready it. We’ll get there another day!) Exert the number of inks in your card’s cost, and you can put it onto the battlefield. Most cards enter play readied. Characters do not, unless the rules text on the card says otherwise. Their ink needs time to dry, so they cannot quest or challenge on their first turn out. Magic: the Gathering players will recognize this as summoning sickness. You have to exert most cards to use their effects and abilities, and every time you challenge or quest.
Like I said earlier, there is no limit under the basic Lorcana rules on how many times a card can be readied and exerted on a single turn. So long as you have a way to ready a card, you can keep using it in different ways! Some cards, like Moana of Montonui, let you ready other characters again on your turn.
A character can only “quest” once per turn. That means you can only use them to gain Lore once. Getting to 20 Lore is the whole point of the game, so keep that in mind when challenging and using abilities!
Most character cards have a series of white, diamond-shaped pips on the right side of their text box. This is the amount of Lore that character generates when they quest. Basically, you exert the character and increase your Lore count by that much. The first player to 20 Lore wins the game, so you will always be looking to get more. Questing is not the only way to generate Lore, but it is the simplest.
Some cards have effects that will make you lose Lore, so getting to 20 isn’t going to be as easy as it seems.
Challenging and Defending
Exerting a character, whether it’s to quest for Lore or activate an ability, leaves it open to challenge. On your opponent’s turn, they can choose to challenge any of your exerted characters with one of theirs. To challenge, you exert your own character and declare the card it is challenging. Both cards deal damage and take damage. If the damage taken is greater than the character’s willpower, it is banished and goes to the discard pile. If it is not banished, that damage remains on the character at the end of turn.
A character can challenge as many times as you are able to ready it. Just remember it will take damage back each time it challenges.
There are a LOT of nuances that aren’t included in the Lorcana quickstart rules. We’ll get into card types, keywords, and deckbuilding in other articles. Have a question about basic Lorcana gameplay? @ me on Twitter or drop a comment, and if I don’t have the answer, I’ll do my best to find it!