Exclusive Interview with Disney Lorcana Trading Card Game Designer

Meet the Designer of Lorcana Chapter 3

Let’s kick off your Friday morning with a little behind-the-scenes magic, shall we? Illumineers, it’s almost time!

Today, March 8, Disney Lorcana Trading Card Game: Into the Inklands will be available on DisneyStore.com and at select retailers nationwide starting at 8 a.m. PT. Disney Lorcana trading card game (TCG) is a popular card game that allows players to take on the role of Illumineers and wield magic ink to summon Disney characters (known as glimmers). The series, which debuted with Disney Lorcana TCG: The First Chapter, features more than 200 original pieces of Disney art making this game a delight for collectors and Disney fans.

Disney Lorcana TCG: Into the Inklands continues the story of Illumineers who are transported to the mysterious realm of Lorcana (The First Chapter). After accidentally unleashing a flood of ink (Rise of the Floodborn) that scattered lore among the realm, Disney Lorcana TCG: Into the Inklands tasks Illumineers with finding the missing lore and returning it to the Hall of Lorcana. Disney Lorcana TCG: Into the Inklands will provide gamers with the first opportunity since the game’s launch to have their character glimmers visit locations from beloved Disney stories including Motonui from Disney’s “Moana.” The new location cards are part of the more than 200 brand-new cards included in the launch.

To celebrate Disney Lorcana TCG: Into the Inklands launching today, I chatted with Ryan Miller, Brand Manager at Ravensburger and co-designer of Disney Lorcana TCG.

Image of Ryan Miller, Brand Manager at Ravensburger and co-designer of Disney Lorcana TCG.

Disney Parks Blog: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us for the Disney Parks Blog! Let’s start off with a brief history of you, your career, and how you ended up in this role today?

Ryan: My game design career started when I was 11 – a friend of mine at school told me about a game where you play characters like knights and wizards, explore dungeons, find treasure, and fight monsters and I was instantly fascinated. I got home that afternoon and told my mom, and she said I couldn’t play. Not to be deterred, I grabbed some dice from the family board game collection, got a pencil and a notebook, and got to work designing my own game. I then began spending my allowance money buying games and trying to reverse-engineer them to figure out what made them fun. It was a challenging hobby that I took with me through high school and my time in the U.S. Army. When I got out of the army, I decided that I should give game design a real try. I didn’t want to look back on my life and wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t tried. I moved to Seattle and accepted the first job that I could get – judging gaming tournaments.  

From there I worked my way into retail stores, then up to corporate as a Brand Manager. Finally, seven years after moving to Seattle, I got the very job I came to Seattle to get. When it comes to game design, I believe that the two main ingredients of a great play experience are love and attention to detail. I believe that when someone picks up a game and holds it in their hands, they should feel that love. They know that whoever made this loves it. I found the same philosophy at Ravensburger. A great team of talented and hardworking folks that really put a lot of love and detail into everything they do. Card games and Disney coming together? Where do I sign?  

Disney Parks Blog: Let’s get to some Disney Lorcana TCG questions – what’s your favorite card or item you’ve designed for Disney Lorcana TCG?

Ryan: Pick only one? How about three? 

  • Gramma Tala, Storyteller: I love, love, love Disney’s “Moana,” it’s my favorite Disney Princess movie from a musical standpoint, so I was really excited to design some cards from that movie. Gramma Tala’s part of the story is really touching, and I wanted her card to reflect that. When she is banished from play, she becomes a resource for you instead of going to the discard pile – she is always with you! 
  • Songs: This isn’t a single card, but a type of card. We wanted songs to be a part of the game, and after some back and forth I came up with the idea to allow your characters to sing your song card for you if you don’t want to spend the resources to do it yourself. It’s a fun way to weave them into the game play, as well as an interesting strategic choice.  
  • Belle, Strange but Special: I like this card that is based on Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” because it gives you a mini quest to complete, and if you do, the rewards are huge! Cards like these really help you build your deck by giving you a plan to carry out.  

Disney Parks Blog: I love “Moana” too! Especially Gramma Tala as she reminds me of my own grandma. What do you love most about working on Disney Lorcana TCG?

Ryan: It’s the people. The team I work with is such a wonderful and talented group of folks, and I’m really lucky to be a part of it.  

Also, the players! I love going to a game store during a Disney Lorcana TCG event and talking, joking, and playing with the players. The gamers, the couples, the families, the kids. I’m so grateful to be a part of something that adds so much fun and happiness to the world.  

Disney Parks Blog: I love hearing how passionate you are about the gaming community! I’m sure that means so much to them. Speaking of community, what is one thing you want aspiring designers to know?

Ryan: The first rule of writing is to write – and I think that is very fitting for game design as well. Design games, try them out, play them with friends and family, and learn what is fun and what is not about your game. Don’t worry about making it perfect, or even pretty, just playable. This process isn’t just for that game, it will help you hone your skills for every game idea you work on. Also, play lots of games, but play them with the eye of a designer. What is fun about them? What about it is appealing? What isn’t working? This is an important way for you to further hone your skills in design.

Disney Parks Blog: Ryan, thank you so much for your time today, this was truly a delight and I’m sure your story will inspire generations of players and future designers to come. Now one last question – if someone were to invite you to a game of Disney Lorcana TCG, are you up for the challenge?

Ryan: I love playing Disney Lorcana TCG – count me in!

You can find Disney Lorcana TCG: Into the Inklands now on DisneyStore.com and select retailers nationwide. For even more Disney Lorcana TCG fun, be sure to stock up on the DisneyStore.com reprint of Disney Lorcana TCG: Rise of the Floodborn on Friday, March 15 at 8 a.m. PT.