Marvel Snap is one of those games that makes time pass at an accelerated rate. It’s easy to get sucked in, playing game after game until half your day has slipped by. One of the reasons it’s so easy to get absorbed in the game is how deep the strategy well is. The game is so impressively intricate, that it’s taking home the Shacknews Award for Best Strategy Game of 2022.
What’s great about Marvel Snap is how deceptively simple it is on the surface. There are three locations, and with the twelve cards in your deck, your goal is to be winning at two of these locations. Each card has its own power value and an energy cost required to play it. Figuring out the proper combination of cards to outscore your opponent and win is a challenge enough, but that becomes far more challenging as new cards are acquired.
Most cards in Marvel Snap have an ability that happens “On Reveal” or is “Ongoing.” On Reveal abilities happen once, when a card is played. For example, Shang-Chi destroys all enemy cards at a location with nine or more power. Ongoing abilities are active for as long as a card is on the board. Take Armor, for example, whose Ongoing ability prevents cards at that location from being destroyed. Mix and matching these cards to find combinations that perfectly complement each other is the true appeal in Marvel Snap. There’s nothing like unlocking a new card, reading its ability, and having the sudden realization that a card that sat unused in your collection is suddenly powerfully given its pairing with your new card.
The locations themselves in Marvel Snap also add another wrinkle to strategy. Each of them has its own ability that forces players to think on the fly and readjust. This includes Bar Sinister, which creates three additional copies of whatever card you play there. There is also the Bifrost, which shifts every card on the board one spot to the right after turn four. Some of these locations will complement your cards, while others will hinder their playability.
No matter how many hours you sink into Marvel Snap, it feels impossible to scrape the bottom of the barrel of every possible card combination and strategy. There is always a way to counter enemy decks, or improve your own. With all that strategy goodness, Marvel Snap is one of the year’s best.
Check out our Year of the Games: 2022 article to see all of the other Shacknews Awards that have been announced so far.