Sampling cards are doing pretty well in the modern day and age. Titles such as Hearthstone, YuGiOh, and Magic the Gathering have all established their own ties in the video game market, bringing the decades-old hobby to computers, consoles, and especially mobile. Enter Marvel Snap, a new challenger to the big-hitters with the word accessibility at its back in golden letters, and the team at Second Dinner Studios attempting to reconnect the spirit of an older, youthful card game.
Ben Brode, a flannel shirt aficionado from Blizzard Entertainment''s Hearthstone studio, has been assigned a new role as the studio''s head developer, while also producing an extensive inventory of content offerings. While the studio''s game has been hampered by seasonal releases and ongoing updates, might it make a hole?
What is Marvel Snap? Well, it''s a fastfire card game that involves each play filling out three spaces on the board, each with four card slots and their own active modifiers, ranging from buffs to cards played there. In six turns, both competitors must try and fill up these spaces with cards in their deck, with each card having a different power figure and abilities. It''s the perfect game for phones in my mind, very fast and easy to comprehend.
"We wanted to ensure that the mobile experience was accessible," Brode said. "We were attempting ourselves to develop a game that was super simple to learn, super fast, but still has a lot of scope," he added. 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.
This is because 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. What''s unusual about this is to force 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 set it in 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 thought were quite good, but after a few games prove to be quite good! It allows you to learn about the collection and become comfortable with deck-building."
Ben and the team are attempting to bring back a long-delivered card game experience, which was once uncovered on playgrounds and living rooms across the globe.
"When I was a kid we''d go down to a card shop or local comic book store and get a pack of trading cards, or even other card games. It was not a thing people did back then, it was rather about slowly collecting cads and building decks with what you had. It was such a wonderful time, and when we started the game, we decided to recreate the old-fashioned style of card game.
One of the advantages of Marvel Snap that the inner kid and comic book nerd will love will be the appearance of many Marvel characters. There are some fairly severe changes in there, each of which has been linked to a card effect that depicts the game''s history. "It''s very important to make a difference in life," Brode says. "Aside from a lot of being on the market, I always hope that Marvel Snap will expand its reach.
"Often times we designed cards top down, which means we''d sit down and thing ''what would Rogue do in Marvel Snap'' before selecting out what ability makes sense. Sometimes, we recognized that we needed an ability, like increasing the effectiveness of ongoing cards, so we''d find a character that matches the ability."
Brode described Zero as a great example, a card that removes abilities from other cards. He describes "combing through the Marvel encyclopaedia" for characters that are compatible with the effects.
For the sake of the writing, I wanted to ask Brode what he wanted for the game (aside from the seemingly "make a billion dollars" or "be the most popular card game out there." "With Marvel Snap, my objective is to increase the audience. When I was a kid, card games were so popular.
"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 finest way to enter the genre."