Ben Brode, Marvel's ex-Hearthstone designer, talks about why this new project is the best way to go in cardgames

Ben Brode, Marvel's ex-Hearthstone designer, talks about why this new project is the best way to go

At present, collectible card games are performing quite well. Titles like Hearthstone, YuGiOh, and Magic the Gathering have all established their own untapped positions in the video game market, bringing the decades-old hobby to computers, to consoles, and even mobile. Enter Marvel Snap, a new challenger to the big players with the word accessibility at its back in glowing golden letters, and the team at Second Dinner Studios attempting to regain the charm of an older, younger card game experience.

Ben Brode, a flannel shirt fanatic who worked for Blizzard Entertainment''s Hearthstone studio, is currently head of development for Second Dinner Studios. While the studio has a long list of content courses it''d like to sift through seasonal releases and ongoing updates, can it make a skeleton?

What''s the secret about Marvel Snap? Well, this quickfire card game is capable of filling out three sections on the board, each with four card slots and their own active modifications, from buffs to cards played there, to limits on what you can place there. In six turns, both competitors must try and fill up these spaces with cards in their deck, with every card having their own power figure and abilities. It''s the perfect game for phones in my mind, super quick and easy to understand.

"We wanted to ensure that the mobile experience was accessible," Brode said. "We were attempting ourselves to create a game that was super simple to learn, super fast, but still has a lot of depth," he said. The result of this balance is a game that starts of extremely simple for my money perhaps a bit too simple but gradually introduces its diverse mechanics and intricacies.

What''s interesting is it does so with a non-linear, collection-focused approach. As you collect and upgrade cards, you as the player work through a collection-level that acts as your only source of new cards. Not with money or in-game currency. This is to encourage players to play around with their new cards rather than throw them aside.

"So when you receive a new card, it''s an opportunity to place it on your deck, level it up a bit, and unlock additional things. So you get an opportunity to spend time with each card, cards you might not initially consider to be too good, but after a few games, it makes you more comfortable with the collection. "

This plays into a subterranean goal for Ben and the team: attempting to bring back a long-gone card game experience, discovered on playgrounds and living rooms across the world many years ago.

"When I was a kid we''d go down to a card shop or a local comic book store and get a pack of trading cards, and some other card games. It was rather about slowly collecting cads and building decks with what you had. "It was a fantastic time, and when we started the game, we wanted to recreate that old-school style of card game."

One of the advantages of Marvel Snap that the inner kid and comic book nerd will love will be the presence of many Marvel characters. There are some minor changes in there, which are often tied to a card effect that represents their background. "Everytime we came up with fun cards that match our abilities," Brode said. "With Marvel Snap, my aim is to increase the audience, and I''m confident that we will make a difference."

"Sometimes we designed cards top down, which means we''d sit down and thing ''what would Rogue do in Marvel Snap'' before picking out what ability makes sense. However, sometimes we knew we needed an aptitude, like increasing the effectiveness of ongoing cards, so we''d find a character who suits the needs."

Zero was cited as a great example, a card that reduces abilities off other cards. He describes "combing through the Marvel encyclopaedia" for actors that fit the effect.

I wanted to leave out my questions about Marvel Snap, as well as what he said of the game (aside from the obviously "make a billion dollars" or "be the most popular card game out there"). The answer reflects what he wants for the game, and what he wants for himself. "With Marvel Snap my ambition is to increase the audience. When I was a kid, card games were so much fun.

"One of my favorite things to do in life is to introduce people to things I love, and I love card games. So I can''t wait to introduce people to Marvel Snap, it''s the best way to start the genre."

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