Games are good for moments of reflection – a very specific kind of reflection anyway. You could call it the “Well, that didn’t work” moment. In games, we get do-overs, so when one approach doesn’t work, you have to think again. Instead of in real life, for example, where I just try the same failed approach again, but grumpier.
Card games are particularly good at this, and Marvel Snap is a particularly good example of a card game that is particularly good at this. Every time I lose a game – and I lose all the time – I get to spend a few pleasant moments figuring out what went wrong, choosing my deck, and switching cards in and out. It’s a reward for being bad at the game. So kind.
The funny thing is, I’ve always found deck building very overwhelming. In Hearthstone, for example, I never made a deck from scratch. I just slowly turned old decks that didn’t work into new decks that didn’t work, one single card at a time, until the sheer volume of bad microdecisions had plastered the whole thing, the way termites will undermine a house. little bit at a time.
But with Marvel Snap – and something like Clash Royale – deck building is a legitimate part of the fun. With only eight cards, it’s something I can get my head around. More than that, I can go from tweaking to testing very quickly. And that way leads to combinations.
Speaking of combos, since these moments of reflection are really moments of considering the game design itself, very, very closely, it’s not surprising that I’ve started noticing things about Marvel Snap that I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t had noticed it. brought the slower, more daydreamy part of my mind with it.
Example: my new favorite card is Hobgoblin, because Hobgoblin is literally the worst. 5 cost, -7 power, and the moment you play him, “your opponent gains control of this.” You’re actually throwing -7 into the enemy’s house.
And this has got me thinking. It’s not often that you directly damage your enemies in Marvel Snap. You and your rival play to gain control of two of the three areas on the screen, but it’s not like Hearthstone where you beat their cards and beat their hero every turn. In that sense, it’s a gentler game, which is possibly why I already find it less toxic than Hearthstone. And that’s why packing a card like Hobgoblin makes me feel even more of a jerk.
But every move counts. I was playing Hobgoblin last night and accidentally used them on Kamar-Taj where On Reveal effects happen twice. The Hobgoblin sailed over to my enemy’s side as I planned, but then the On Reveal effect kicked in again and the Hobgoblin came right back to my side. Without a doubt where the Hobgoblin belongs. And of course it gave me a lot to reflect on.