The two companies responsible for popular trading card game Lorcana have teamed to create a new board game full of princess power. Ravensburger will ply its more traditional tabletop skills on a Disney-branded design called Chronicles of Light: Darkness Falls (Disney Edition).
While the name might be uninspiring and a bit too brand-happy - slapping ‘Disney Edition’ on the first entry kind of screams franchise ambitions - Ravensburger also chose to highlight the girl power on and behind the box. The all-women design and illustration team have created a cooperative board game starring four Disney and Pixar heroines - Moana, Violet from The Incredibles, Belle and Robin Hood’s Maid Marian.
Players will embody these four characters to protect the Realm of Light from an encroaching darkness, according to a press release from Ravensburger. Don’t expect any crossover with Lorcana or the Disney Villainous games, as this particular world of light and sinister shadow are distinctly different from the Floodborn and other villains - this feels like a missed opportunity given both aforementioned titles’ massive popularity and especially Lorcana's broadly sketched and mysterious setting.
“As we’ve seen time and time again with games like Disney Villainous and Disney Lorcana TCG, bringing Disney heroes and villains into one shared universe reignites powerful nostalgia and provides a platform to bring friends and families together in an immersive and highly creative experience,” said Lysa Penrose, Ravensburger North America’s head of new games marketing. “We know how imaginations ignite when you bring Disney storytelling to life in board games, and we can't wait for you to see what happens when Disney Princess characters and other Disney heroines join forces and take center stage."
Apparently they can wait a little longer than this announcement because details on how Chronicles of Light: Darkness Falls (Disney Edition) plays remain slim. Meant to introduce players to a more RPG-centric style of play, the title boasts “role-playing, storytelling, cooperation and the approachability of a board game format”, as the crystalline versions of the princesses (and Violet) form alliances, undertake quests and ultimately fend off this unnamed darkness.
Will this be something akin to Red Raven Games’ Sleeping Gods with its open world and item-based quest system or more like Plaid Hat Games’ series of unique player boards and guided storytelling? The press release drops catchy buzzwords such as “immersive” and “modular board”, and there’s mention of “diverse missions”, creatures, items and familiar faces from Disney and Pixar films popping up. It’s a soup of interesting ideas without any clear vision of what to expect, for now.
We're left pondering a strangely disappointing pitch despite a strong pedigree between Ravensburger and Disney (Lorcana is an excellently designed TCG) and the exciting chance to see what a group of talented women can create in an industry long dominated by men. This feels less like an anticipatory teaser and more like a dinner bell for established Disney fans.
Lorcana and Disney Villainous have proven that massive corporations don’t always necessarily produce soulless, branded cash grabs, but Chronicles of Light: Darkness Falls (Disney Edition) feels as though it’s been done dirty by this first peek. Ravensburger plans to show more of the upcoming board game at conventions and events later this year - let’s hope my pessimism proves unfounded.