This week, Disney has revealed their first details about Lorcana. As someone who loves Disney and loves TCGs, this obviously excites me. As someone who is planning to release a TCG in roughly the same time window, I know I have some challenges ahead of me, but ultimately I still feel good about my game coexisting alongside Lorcana just the same as MTG, Yugioh, Pokemon, etc. As someone who envisioned a future where Yor is amazingly successful and eventually could have done a crossover with some Disney-owned properties, I'm a little saddened because that seems less likely now, but that's ultimately makes no difference in my vision to create a meaningfully new and different (and hopefully better) TCG. There are of course, some similarities already I'd like to address. Both games will contain pirate characters and "Robin Hood" characters. I have no problem with this - obviously Disney has significant characters in both of those archetypes, but I'd like to get ahead of people possibly thinking that similar characters and themes in Yor derive of Lorcana or Disney in general. The 4 factions for the base game - Pirates, Knights, Cowboys, and Sherwood - are based on the "Great Adventures" toys I played with as a kid. I have many ideas in development, both lore and mechanics, for these factions and I won't be changing those ideas because some of them have similarities to some Disney properties. (Worth noting - Robin Hood as a character is public domain as far as I know, I just have to make sure mine isn't a fox, and it isn't.)
Obviously, I don't want to infringe on any of Disney's IP. I had been cautious of this in my ideation of the game from the very beginning, long before anyone knew Disney was making a TCG, but I will be doubly cautious now. I definitely do not envy anyone who has had to enter a legal battle against the mouse...
Before we saw the cards, I had been curious what sort of game Lorcana would be. The two big players in TCGs have been Pokemon and MTG, and each has a player base with different primary motivations; A significant number of people who own Pokemon Cards own them because of a love for Pokemon characters and Pokemon as an IP, and to those people the cards represent more of a piece of cool and rare artwork of their favorite characters rather than a component with which they can play a game; meanwhile MTG is often the opposite - players' desire for - and valuation of - cards is far more derived from their mechanical effects in game, on average.
If Pokemon's strength is its IP and MTG's strength is its gameplay, I had predicted Lorcana would be closer to Pokemon. Disney's combined "strength" of IP is head and shoulders above every other company on earth. Disney also tends to cater to a younger audience, which is why I didn't expect Lorcana to be nearly as heavy and gameplay-focused as MTG. Now that we've seen the cards, the similarities to MTG are much larger than I would have predicted. Obviously, there's still a lot that we haven't seen of Lorcana, so there are many different ways the game could play that can't be predicted based solely on what we've seen. Ultimately, I hope for a future in which Yor and Lorcana are both great successes, as Pokemon and MTG were successful alongside each other in the past.
Foreseeing the possibility that some gameplay mechanics and fantasy themes end of being the same between the games, I'd not like to be accused of copying, so here's a list of some core gameplay concepts being developed right now that I have not shown publicly yet. I'd like this post to be a record against any potential future claims that Yor has copied anything from Lorcana.
The basic life resource in Yor is "treasure". Players must steal treasure from their opponent's "Kingdom" and bring it back to close the "Nexus" and win the game.
Each player's "Kingdom" is played in a diagonal grid pattern, with spaces between where their "beings" are played. The spatial relationship between cards is mechanically significant in a variety of ways.
Players may play "Gambits" and other cards face down under their "Beings" and use those face down cards as a response in certain combat situations.
"Being" can wield weapons that increase their stats or abilities, and can also use vehicles that do similar but also offer protection (with some limitations).
"Beings" that have attacked are temporarily off the play field until the next turn when they can be "Redeployed"
"Kingdom" Cards are kept in a separate deck with specific rules about how they are played, generally 1 each turn.
A player must sacrifice a specific type of "Being" called a "Nexian" to end the game.
Some lore concepts and plans:
The world of Yor is a world that exists in the mind of a kid playing with is toys. This is more like "Super Smash Bros" than "Toy Story."
Two areas for expansion are either other types of toys kids play with either today or in the 80's and 90s (This is where a Disney collab would have been super cool), OR different folklore, toys, and games from other cultures and parts of the world. I'm really excited about expanding into both of these areas.
Recurring characters in different expansions where "in-world" they are a different version a character from a different world in the "Multiverse" (A-La Marvel and earlier universes) and then removed by one level, they are a different kid imagining the same character, or the same kid imagining his toy a different way.
Cards level up cosmetically as you use them.
Obviously, Yor is mechanically inspired a lot by MTG (as is basically every other TCG...). It appears as though Lorcana is as well. There will be inevitable similarities. I'll be working to make my game meaningfully different from MTG, not because MTG is bad but because I don't feel like there's a point in making a game that's too similar. Gary Vee often says that we live in a world of "and" not a world of "or", and I believe in that 100%; I think that Yor and Lorcana and MTG and Pokemon and Yugioh will all coexist in the future, and its going to be great. (PS if anyone from Disney is ever reading this... please let me do a Kingdom Hearts crossover I'll never ask you for anything else ever again!)