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Disney’s Lorcana is just Magic: the Gathering, but with a couple things fixed

Disney’s Lorcana comes out later this year, and card image teasers made it look like a near-exact Magic: the Gathering clone. Now the quick-start rules are out, and it is *definitely* a shameless Magic clone. But the few differences it does have are genius, the most important one being:

Land and Mana Screw

I once invented a format where you could play Magic using any random pile of cards. You’d draw 7, and then you could devote any one of them to being an “omni-land”, once per turn, by placing it face-down. It could tap for any color mana. This solved mana screw because you never have to miss a land drop. But it also introduced a new layer of strategy, because do you commit your 7-drop creature to being a land early to get going faster? Or do you actually need to hold onto that 7-drop to win with it later? So you have a strategic choice to make about which cards you commit to being land and when. 

And that is exactly how Lorcana works.

Summoning Sickness

Mana is “ink” and creatures are the “glimmers” of characters, and when you play them, you have to wait a turn “for the ink to dry”. Lol! At least it makes more sense than Summoning Sickness.


In an amazing example of Disney-fication, you do not attack and kill your opponents like you do in Magic. Instead, your creatures “go on Quests to gather lore”. They tap to gain you Lore points, and when you have 20 you win. So it is basically the same, just worded differently. But Quests cannot be blocked. Instead, by way of defense, any “exerted” (tapped) creature can be “challenged” (fought) by another creature. And damage is dealt like Wither, so creatures accrue -1 tokens until they are finished off. So you can’t directly attack your opponent, but if they use their creatures, you can damage them.

Color Pie

Lorcana has six colors: Amber, Amethyst, Sapphire, Emerald, Ruby, and Steel, which is like Magic’s 5 along with artifacts.

When you enter a card into your inkwell to serve as land, obviously all the card backs will look identical, so how do you keep track of the different mana types? Well, once you’ve built your deck you don’t have to. Mana/ink is just mana/ink. But the color distinction is important in deck construction because of this rule: each deck can only contain one or two different ink types. That’s it!

Honestly I think I like Magic’s way of handling colors and variety better, but there is really something to be said for the removal of the possibility of mana screw – famously one of Magic’s least popular components.

Card Types and Songs

Lorcana has Characters, Items, and Actions, and, interestingly, another card type called Songs. A Song is an action, however it can be cast with Convoke if you control a Character with mana value equal to or greater than the mana value of the Song you’re trying to sing. In other words, they sing the song for you! That’s pretty neat – fun and flavorful.

It’s the same exact game

Each turn in Lorcana even begins with Untap, Upkeep, Draw, only it’s called the even cuter: Ready, Set, Draw! 

You start by drawing 7 cards. You can then mulligan. You don’t draw if you’re going first. Decks are 60 cards. I mean, they could’ve changed *some* of these details just to make it look and feel a little different. But they didn’t.


I have to say that for the very reason that Lorcana looks like such a blatant ripoff of Magic, I am all the more excited to try it!

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Sabacc Rules – Corellian Spike

Have you ever wanted to play Star Wars Sabacc just like Han and Lando? Well now you can! With my custom homebrew rules, you can gamble away your very own starship just like the iconic heroes of ill repute that we all know and love.

Sabacc is a gambling card game very similar to poker, only instead of trying to win by assembling a particular card combination, a Sabacc deck is made of positive and negative numbers, 1 through 10, and all you’re trying to do is put together a hand that equals zero.

But don’t let the simplicity fool you! The addition of rolling the Sabacc dice inserts a nice degree of randomness and chaos that makes betting and bluffing even more fun.

Step 1 – Deal

  • Players ante 1 Credit to join the hand. The dealer shuffles the deck and deals 2 cards face-down to each player, then turns up the top 3 cards of the deck – the flop. (Players can see how many cards are in each others’ hands.)

Step 2 – Play

Starting with the player to the dealer’s left and going clockwise, each player chooses either to:

  • Draw from the deck, and then, optionally, to discard one card from their hand (face-down), or to…
  • Draw from the flop, and then, optionally, to discard one card from their hand (face-down). When a card is taken from the flop, the dealer turns up a new card from the deck to replace the one taken.

Do this step 3 times.
For games with 5 players, do this step only 2 times.
For games of 6 or more, do this step just once.

Step 3 – Bet

  • Starting again with the player to the dealer’s left, players may bet on the hand until all players have either folded, matched the current bet, or put in all of their Credits.

Step 4 – Dice

The dealer rolls the dice:

  • If the results are different, nothing happens.
  • If the results match, all players discard their hands (face-down) and the dealer deals them a new hand with exactly the same number of cards as they discarded.

Step 5 – Reveal

Players reveal their hands simultaneously and the hand with the total closest to zero wins.
Settle ties in this order:

  • First: More cards beats fewer cards.
  • Second: A positive score beats a negative score.
  • Third: The furthest card from zero wins, with a positive beating a negative.
  • Fourth: The greatest spread wins (the span between highest and lowest cards, with negative being lower than positive).
  • If there is still a tie, the pot remains and new game is played to determine the winner.


  • Use the dice to indicate who’s dealer.
  • Keep the deck on one end of the flop and the discard pile on the other to avoid confusion.


To acquire the game supplies (the deck of cards and Sabacc dice), I recommend Hasbro’s Star Wars Han Solo Card Game. It’s fairly cheap and of surprisingly decent quality. Plus the use of regular Earth numbers on the cards makes it infinitely easier to play with than the more expensive Galaxy’s Edge version.

You can also make your own Sabacc deck by shuffling together 2 decks of regular playing cards after removing 2 of the joker cards, all face cards, one full suit of hearts, and one full suit of clubs. You’ll be left with a deck of 62 cards that contains:

  • 2 jokers
  • 30 red-suited cards (1-10 three times)
  • 30 black-suited cards (1-10 three times)

The black cards are your positive numbers, the red are negative, and the jokers are zero.

Since there are six different symbols on the Sabacc dice, you can just use 2 regular six-sided dice.

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