Lorcana Designer Ryan Miller Talks Favorite Cards, Design Advice, and More in Interview With Disney

Shannen Ace

Lorcana booster packs and Ryan Miller

Lorcana Designer Ryan Miller Talks Favorite Cards, Design Advice, and More in Interview With Disney

To coincide with the wide release of Disney Lorcana: Into the Inklands, Disney Parks Blog interviewed Ryan Miller, Brand Manager at Ravensburger and co-designer of Lorcana.

Interview with Disney Lorcana Designer Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller with Disney Lorcana booster packs

Disney asked Miller how his career began and he described how he designed his first game when he was 11, after his mom said he couldn’t play another roleplaying game. Miller used dice from family board games to put together his own game.

“I then began spending my allowance money buying games,” Miller explained, “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.”

Miller moved to Seattle and started out judging gaming tournaments, before working in retail stores and then as a Brand Manager. He finally became a game designer seven years after the move.

“When it comes to game design,” Miller said, “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?”

Three Into the Inklands booster packs

Miller shared his three favorite Disney Lorcana cards/card types:

  • 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.”

Miller said what he loves most about working on Disney Lorcana is 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!” he added. “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 asked Miller what is one thing he would want aspiring designers to know.

“The first rule of writing is to write — and I think that is very fitting for game design as well,” Miller said. “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 Lorcana: Into the Inklands starter decks and booster trays are currently available on DisneyStore.com. A reprint of Rise of the Floodborn will be available on DisneyStore.com on Friday, March 15, at 8 a.m. PT.

Watch our interview with seven Disney Lorcana designers:

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