The Interesting Ideas Behind Marvel’s SNAP!

Last Updated May 28th, 2022

Well, former Hearthstone developer Ben Brode and his new company Second Dinner have finally revealed the big project that they have been working on for almost half a decade! It’s called “Marvel SNAP” the brand new Marvel digital card game, and it is full of some great ideas.

The general idea is you and an opponent both have ultimate power. You both have a cosmic cube that can let you do, ANYTHING. And your goal is to win all of your opponent’s cosmic cubes (this is how you grow on the leaderboard).

SNAP is unbelievably sleek. You only have a deck of 12 cards, each a totally unique card, and matches are done in a matter of minutes.

It takes a cue from the unfortunate flop Artifact believe it or not. Players play in a number of “locations” and their goal is to win two out of three locations. Cards in players’ hands have a power rating, and if you end up with more power at a location than your opponent, you win. However, locations reveal themselves slowly, only once a turn, and each location has a totally different special ability that might assist or hamper your efforts, so you always have to remain on your toes. For example, the Wakandan embassy gives extra power to cards in your hand, while the Avengers Compound forces people to play cards at that location on turn five. Whoever is winning two out of three locations at the end of turn six is the winner.

Cards are played with “power” which acts pretty much the same as Mana in Hearthstone. You start the game with a small level of power and your power grows every turn. Cards can have abilities that trigger when played or when the players take certain actions.

But the big thing here is that players play turns at the same time. You choose the cards you are going to play in secret and when the turn happens, both cards are played simultaneously, another reason why this game is super-fast.

It’s the card abilities that really shape up your strategy. You can play cards that directly destroy your opponent’s heroes, cards that buff each other, and even cards that clone themselves and affect the locations you are playing on. There are lots of chances for synergy but again you are doing this all in 12 cards decks with unique copies of every card.

Other than these abilities, cards don’t really attack each other. They just use their abilities to affect the board state. Each location can have four cards played to it for you and your opponent. In the end, it’s these cards that determine your power, and the higher power wins. It seems very simple but the synergies that these cards have made it quite complex. Simple to learn, hard to master.

There’s also a really interesting wager system that this game has baked into its gameplay. If at any time you choose to concede you only lose one cube, and your opponent only ever gains one cube, and this will be how the game ends most of the time. However, if you stay through to the end, trying to win, then the stakes for the game get bigger. The game gets SNAPPED and the stakes double for both players. Now here’s the catch. You don’t have to wait to the end to snap. You and your opponent can snap whenever you want during the game, raising the stakes.  This adds a poker style element to the game, where you can routinely raise the stakes and try to bluff people out of their cubes,

Locations are definitely a major part of the gameplay. You can play cards to locations before their abilities are revealed. Knowhere, for example, destroys any card played there. How do you take it? Well, you can play cards there before it’s revealed, or you can play cards that move other cards, or you can play cards that summon cards, which are not affected by the “when played” ability of Knowhere.

And all of this happens within a game timeframe of just a couple of minutes.

On top of all of this, it has the monstrous appeal of the Marvel IP behind it. The cards available include well-known names like Spider-Man and the Hulk, to deep cuts like Magick and Brood. And they are all illustrated by Marvel’s crack team of artists, with special guest artists doing variants such as pixel-art versions, 3D animated versions, and much more.

Unfortunately, it will still be quite a bit before Marvel’s SNAP! becomes available. However, anyone with an Android device can sign up for the beta! Be sure to check it out at the official website.