Games are good for moments of reflection – a very specific kind of thinking anyway. You could call it the “well, that didn’t work” moment. In games, we’re reworked, so if an approach doesn’t work, you need to rethink it. Instead of, for example, in real life, where I try the same failed approach again, but more grumpily.
Card games are particularly good at this, and Marvel Snap is a particularly good example of a card game that is particularly good at it. Every time I lose a game – and I lose all the time – I spend a few pleasant moments figuring out what went wrong, revising my deck, and swapping cards. There’s a reward for being bad at the game. How nice.
The funny thing is that I’ve always found deck building to be really overwhelming. In Hearthstone, for example, I never created a deck from scratch. I just slowly turned old decks that weren’t working into new decks that weren’t working, one card at a time, until the sheer volume of bad micro-decisions messed it all up, like termites undermining a house little bites at a time .
But with Marvel Snap – and things like Clash Royale – deck building is a real part of the fun. I can handle it with only eight cards. In addition, I can go from optimizing to testing very quickly. And that path leads to combos.
Speaking of combos, since those moments of reflection are really moments of looking very, very closely at the game design itself, it’s no surprise that I noticed things about Marvel Snap that I wouldn’t have otherwise, which brought about the slower, more daydreaming part my spirit with.
Example: My new favorite card is Hobgoblin because Hobgoblin is literally the worst. 5 cost, -7 power, and the moment you play it, “your opponent gains control of it.” You’re basically hurling -7 at your enemy’s house.
And that got me thinking. You don’t often directly damage your enemies in Marvel Snap. You and your rival play to gain control of two of the three areas on screen, but it’s not like Hearthstone where you beat your cards and beat your hero every turn. It’s a softer game in that respect, which is why I might find it less toxic than Hearthstone. And that’s why I feel even more like an idiot when I wrap a card like Hobgoblin.
But every idiot gets his comeuppance. I was playing Hobgoblin last night and accidentally used it on Kamar-Taj where On Reveal effects occur twice. Hobgoblin sailed to my enemy’s side as planned, but then the On Reveal effect kicked in again and Hobgoblin returned right to my side. Probably where Hobgoblin belongs. And of course that left me with a lot to think about.
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