Disney Lorcana‘s third set, Into the Inklands, approaches. The trading card game from Ravensburger puts the spotlight on Disney animation. Each of the two released chapters has altered gameplay in varying ways with new abilities and items. The most powerful ink combinations have mostly stayed consistent, just with new characters, items, and actions to fuel them. Players like me are settled in and comfortable with our preferred decks and strategies. But Disney Lorcana: Into the Inklands is here to shake things up with location cards and fresh mechanics to go with them. Ravensburger sent us Into the Inklands starter decks for review, and we like how the location cards morph the game.
Disney Lorcana starter decks come with 60 cards each. They’re meant for playing right out of the box, making them ideal for newcomers and for learning a set’s new mechanics. In Rise of the Floodborn, for me, that was learning how to use bounce abilities to maximize lore. Though I wasn’t sure of bouncing at first, I soon built an Amethyst and Steel deck around it. Here, the starter decks will help you learn how to leverage the location cards.
The Into the Inklands starter decks also introduce new movies and series to Lorcana. We have DuckTales and TaleSpin characters (Don Karnage!), a million puppies from 101 Dalmatians, and Kida from Atlantis. In a touch representative of the level of detail given to this game, the text on Kida’s card is only in Atlantean. Somehow, the Ruby and Sapphire starter deck includes another HeiHei card—someone at Ravensburger must be HeiHei’s number one fan.
This time the two starter decks come in the following ink combinations: Amber and Emerald and Ruby and Sapphire. Amber and Emerald leverages those million puppies I mentioned, bringing in super adorable Dalmatians that offer support. Like the Seven Dwarves in Rise of the Floodborn, the puppies play best when they have each other to rely on. Plus, there’s the silly ability of being able to have up to 99 copies of the Dalmatian Puppy – Tail Wagger card in your deck. The Ruby and Sapphire deck includes some teamwork making the dream work, too, through Huey, Dewey, and Louie. If you manage to play that whole trio, you have a nice array of levers to pull.
Each deck has two location cards each: Never Land (Amber), De Vil Manor (Emerald), Agrabah (Ruby), and Motunui (Sapphire). Certain characters have abilities that interact with the locations and showcase the boosts locations can offer. The Emerald Peter Pan can gain lore once per turn from moving to a location. When the Ruby Moana quests at a location, you can ready all other players at the location (which recalls the Amber Moana’s ability from The First Chapter).
These character abilities are on top of those a location may already have. Location cards have an ink cost, a cost to move characters to them, willpower, and a lore value. A player gains a location’s lore if the card is in play at the start of the turn; a location doesn’t quest like a character does. Location cards’ ability to go after lore alone makes the addition of the card type a game changer. To win a game of Disney Lorcana, a player must gain 20 lore. So, having another kind of card to help you do that—another card one’s opponents must challenge to remove—means changing strategy.
Aside from experimenting with location cards, two of my favorite cards in the starter decks are an inkable Emerald Robin Hood that delivers four lore for a cost of only six ink and an uninkable Ruby Simba card that delivers three lore for a cost of two ink. If I played an Emerald deck regularly, I would absolutely consider including four of those Robin Hood cards. The Simba card is like Pinocchio and Lilo from previous releases.
While some aspects of gameplay in Into the Inklands are familiar—using groups of characters for support, sometimes in ways that overwhelm your deck—the locations bring a breath of fresh air. Even if you enjoy the deck you’ve built and honing your strategy, it can feel repetitive. That also holds true if you’re playing the same competitors regularly. But the introduction of a card type and all that comes with it comes at the right time. Into the Inklands brings an exciting change to the world of Disney Lorcana, and we can’t wait to see how it plays out.
Disney Lorcana: Into the Inklands will first release at local game stores on February 23, 2024. Mass market retailers will get the third set on March 8, 2024.
Featured Image: Ravensburger