© 2024 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Marvel Snap is a new virtual card game with real strategic decisions

Sam McConnell

I don’t play many games on my phone, but lately I’ve been pulling mine out for a new virtual card game called Marvel Snap.

It’s a really simple, fast card game. The field of play consists of three “locations” where you can place cards. From a deck of 12 unique cards featuring Marvel super heroes and villains, you start out with a hand of two. Each card costs a certain amount of energy to play and adds power points to their location. If you have more power at a location than your opponent after 6 turns, you win that location, and if you win two out of the three locations, you win the match. A match is done in only three minutes. Strategy comes down to what cards you put in your deck, and what extra abilities they might have.

I’ve played lots of collectible card games in the past, like Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, and Hearthstone, but I’ve mostly fallen away from them because they fall into a “pay-to-win” trap, where if you have enough money, you can just buy the most powerful cards and be more competitive than people who can’t afford to do so. Marvel Snap, instead, meters out new cards to you slowly and randomly, and you can’t really pay to speed that up. The deck the game gives you to start isn’t even that bad.

In fact, the game’s monetization barely affects gameplay at all. Most purchases are strictly cosmetic. I’ve been playing off-and-on for a few weeks, and I’m not even really sure what one would want to spend money on at all in this game. I’m looking for the hook that mobile games usually have to get people to dump their wallets into it and… I’m just not finding it. Which, for a free-to-play game like this, is generally a really good thing.

Being able to get in and play a complete game, with real strategic decisions, against another person in three minutes is the real draw for me. Sometimes, that’s all I have time for.

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.