Marvel Snap is bringing over 150 characters from the Marvel multiverse to the realm of card battles with a focus on short matches and bluffing.
Lead developer Second Dinner, the studio founded by Hearthstone veterans including former game director Ben Brode, unveiled the game earlier today, following up on a brief teaser video that the Marvel Twitter dropped yesterday. It's joined by multiplayer specialist Nuverse, which worked with Second Dinner throughout development.
Marvel Snap is coming to PC and mobile later this year; it's described as a "mobile-first" but not mobile-exclusive free-to-play title, and the initial PC offering will apparently be an early access version.
Second Dinner says it's leaned into small decks, short matches, and tricky board states. Matches apparently average around three minutes, and the rules of the game seem simple: build a deck of 12 unique heroes and position them on a board split into three lanes with different effects.
Lanes may buff or debuff the cards placed there, for instance, or trigger more dynamic effects like shuffling or destroying some targets. Each lane is based on a location plucked from Marvel stories, and there are already over 50 unique locations with their own effects. You win by taking control of at least two lanes, seemingly by stacking more power in them.
The kicker is that there's no turn order in Marvel Snap. As Brode explained in the gameplay reveal, both players' turns occur at the same time, so you're constantly taking actions and trying to outfox each other. There are still distinct turns – some lane effects specify something that triggers on turn three, for example – they're just shared between you and your opponent.
There's also an eponymous, somewhat confusing Snap mechanic that lets you "double the stakes" when you're convinced you can win with your current lane setup – or if you think you can trick your opponent into believing that you can. There's a 'hold 'em or fold 'em' vibe to the Snap which sounds interesting, but it's still a little difficult to fit it into the context of the game.
The stylistic appeal of Marvel Snap is more obvious. With over 150 hero cards at launch, each with multiple art variations and bespoke effects, it certainly looks like a playable Marvel multiverse. Second Dinner says more cards and heroes will be added regularly through seasonal content drops. Senior production director Julia Humphreys stressed that "you can get every card in the game over time without playing anything."
Marvel Snap has decades of collectible card game experience and an enormous license behind it, so it'll certainly be one to watch. You can sign up for its closed Android beta on the newly minted official website (opens in new tab).
Marvel's Midnight Suns is another strategy card game in the Marvel universe, but it seems lighter on cards and bigger on strategy.