Disney Lorcana: Into the Inklands is the game’s best expansion yet

It's going to be tough for Ravensburger to top Into the Inklands and its featured franchises.
disney lorcana into the inklands review morph

Disney Lorcana expansions Into the Inklands and Ursula’s Return have already landed in other territories, but Australia and New Zealand are just now catching up. Into the Inklands launched in late June locally, and Ursula’s Return is set to arrive on 13 July. If you’ve yet to get into Lorcana, this dual release is the perfect opportunity – because Into the Inklands has ushered in a golden era for the Ravensburger/Disney TCG.

By far, it’s the most transformative and well-themed set of Lorcana – and more to the point, it introduces two of Disney’s best films to the TCG format: Treasure Planet and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Here’s the thing. Both of these films performed poorly at the box office, and so they were considered “bombs” for years. They’re rarely featured on Disney merch, in crossover tie-ins, and at Disney Parks. But they remain beloved by their loyal fans – particularly those adults who saw them while they were young.

Atlantis is an entrancing adventure film, filled with an array of delightful, wonderfully-designed characters brimming with personality. Treasure Planet is a gorgeous, bright-eyed film with some of the most imaginative visuals of modern animation. Both are fantastic films, and both feature in Into the Inklands, across an array of Hero, Item, and Location cards.

Read: 9 Disney franchises that need to be in Disney Lorcana

On the Atlantis side – Kida has multiple Hero cards, and special showcase variants. Milo gets his own explorer and cartographer cards, and a King of Atlantis card. Audrey, Joshua, and Helga also get their own cards, as do other characters.

Into the Inklands also heavily features Treasure Planet, with Jim Hawkins getting multiple cards, alongside Morph, Captain Amelia, and John Silver.

into the inklands disney lorcana
Image: GamesHub

As someone who’s been in love with Atlantis and Treasure Planet for years, it’s fantastic to see both films recognised and included in Disney Lorcana. Likewise, it’s neat to see the folks of Duck Tales slip in here, with lesser characters like Magica De Spell and Gyro Gearloose getting a chance to shine in this set.

Locations shake up Disney Lorcana

Beyond including a great array of new, cult characters, Into the Inklands also changes up the Disney Lorcana format by introducing a new card type: Locations. These can be played to the board, and function a lot like Heroes, but with some alternative mechanics.

Certain characters will gain benefits by journeying to a location. Sometimes, locations will also have specific benefits for characters at that location. These card types also help you gather lore, in a passive way. As long as they’re on the board, they’re earning lore with each turn.

While you will need the correct deck composition to take full advantage of the game’s new location cards (the pre-con decks have everything you need), they’re a great way to enhance matches – and to give Disney Lorcana a sense of place.

disney lorcana
Image: GamesHub

As in the above example, Minnie Mouse being placed on Agrabah does nothing specific. Agrabah earns two lore with every turn, until it’s banished. But if Minnie were to be placed on Motunui, and then she were banished, she would instead be reincarnated – players can put her into their inkwell facedown, and exerted.

Playing with the Moana/Scrooge Into the Inklands deck, I chose to put Minnie on Agrabah for thematic reasons – I think she’d love to go shopping in the Agrabah market. This particular combination of cards doesn’t provide any specific enhancements, as mentioned, but with locations in play, you can tell stories within Disney Lorcana. Rather than floating in a void of Ink, you now have tangible places to send your characters. Challenges could take place in space, at Casa Madrigal, in a lovely Grotto, or in the Sorcerer’s Tower (don’t touch the mops!).

Locations are also very clever by design, as while they allow for passive lore generation without the need to send Heroes on quests, they’re also much weaker – so it’s another thing to think about. You’ll want to deploy lands to accumulate lore fast, and if your opponent places lands, you’ll need to think about banishing them as soon as possible. Leave Locations in play for too long, and you may lose your lore advantage.

Ursula swirls the pot

With the addition of Ursula’s Return, Disney Lorcana also gains an entirely new set of lands, each of which has its own unique benefits and strategy. That’s not to mention the set also includes a bunch of new ocean-themed Little Mermaid and family-themed Encanto cards that shake up gameplay, and add new franchises into the mix.

Ursula’s Return isn’t as transformative as Into the Inklands, as it only really adds new cards with alternative Shift payments, but it’s still a great addition to rounds of Disney Lorcana. Many of the cards in this set allow for unique strategy on the battlefield, with some new Shift costs requiring sacrifice and clever thinking to get ahead.

Read: Disney Lorcana review – Pure tabletop magic

Personally, more rep from The Little Mermaid doesn’t excite me much, but I will say cards like the Vanessa-starring ‘Ursula, Eric’s Bride’ allow for some very clever plays, particularly if you’re across the benefits of Shifting. Like Ursula herself, this set is very tricky, and it’s great to see Lorcana add in layers for players looking to complicate their journey to victory.

Between Into the Inklands and Ursula’s Return, Disney Lorcana is starting to get very spicy, with layers of complexity for players looking for some added challenge. The more the game grows, the harder it will be to keep track of its ever-evolving mechanics – but for now, it remains approachable for newbie players, with optional levels of difficulty for more experienced players. If you’re keen to get your start with the game, now feels like a magical time to jump in.

Disney Lorcana: Into the Inklands is available in Australia and New Zealand now. Disney Lorcana: Ursula’s Return launches on 13 July 2024.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.