marvel snap removes one of the biggest obstacles that keeps me from playing card games – a whole series of complex rules that I have to learn before I can start playing. It’s not that wonder Instantaneous is not complex — it is. But that complexity slowly reveals itself, thanks to a lengthy but cleverly disguised series of tutorial matches.
On the face level, Marvel Snap is a very simple game, which makes it easy to get started without any prior knowledge: just win at least two out of three slots on the board by raising the numbers. If you play cards in a spot with higher attack numbers than your opponent, you win that spot. Along with this simple premise, Second Dinner slipped into complexity in a smart way, slowly introducing players to more complex maps and mechanics. I was amazed at how quickly I started to feel like a card-carrying brain.
The way Second Dinner does this with marvel snap is to use hours of robot games, at least up to level 30, to introduce new mechanics. You start with a pre-built deck that’s relatively small at 12 cards, and you gain more cards as you play. In these early games, it’s easy to win even if you only pay attention to power levels, which are the numbers that add up to win you at each of the three board slots. Having a space to play with simpler cards and learning how they work by trial and error – without much consequence – is essential, and you feel like you’re skipping the boring stages of learning, because you’re just playing games. And the games are fast-paced with just six turns per turn, meaning you can play plenty of games in the early stages before moving on to human players.
New cards occasionally appear in your opponents’ decks as you also progress by unlocking your own. It’s an easy pace to get to know the cards and what they do before playing them yourself. There’s a ton of variance in the maps themselves, and the playable locations also expand what’s possible for strategy. Basically, however, each of these cards has one major thing in common, which is that they all have power and energy requirements. Beyond that, cards can have different abilities or special effects listed at the bottom. It is easy to understand how these cards work; the hardest part is learning how to make them work so you win.
marvel snap eliminates much of the excess in card games and hits straight into the zone which makes card games fun. The second dinner put a lot of thought into what to leave behind. Developer Ben Brode, known for his work on Blizzard Entertainment’s hit card game Foyerdiscussed the decision to retain marvel snap Easy. One of those ways was to keep the bridges small.
There is no “tempo” in Snap. You don’t “lose control of the board” by not playing a card early. It might not be the best, but you’re definitely not doomed. But those comments about having nothing to play in turn 1 were so frequent that we knew it would be a problem.
—Ben Brode (@bbrode) October 25, 2022
“Deck building is one of the hardest things for players to do in card games,” Brode wrote on Twitter. But, he added, a smaller deck usually means less variance. The team removed the option for a “mulligan”, which would allow players to draw a new hand, to fix this – you have to play with the cards you start with. It gets you thinking creatively, especially if you get left out of a few corners due to energy levels.
“There is no ‘tempo’ in Instantaneous“, Brode continued. “You don’t ‘lose control of the board’ by not playing a card early. It might not be the best, but you’re definitely not doomed.
With marvel snapParticularly important are the small hands of and the lack of mulligans, the locations on the board – they create unbiased chaos. It’s the luck of the draw, making things always feel fair when stacked against your particular deck. There’s not a ton lost if you lose a game, which encourages you to play around with how the cards work with each other and with those slots. The worst thing that can happen is that you lose a few minutes and maybe a few cubes. (Cubes are used to level up, but they don’t come into play until you’ve played the game a bit.)
I’ve never been so much into a card game before, and that’s because I really learn something from every game – a new way to play a card that I hadn’t considered, or how to use a slot to my advantage, even if these lessons come at a loss. It’s not terrible to lose, knowing that I can easily play a few more matches without it taking up a lot of my time. The thing is, however, that he Is feeling really good about winning, especially when you pulled off a weird move that shouldn’t have worked. I can very easily imagine my opponent marveling at the intelligence of my moves, even if that’s just what’s going on in my head.