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How ‘Marvel Snap’ Is Making Me a Better Gamer

Cover image of Marvel Snap.

I’ve never been a big card game player, whether the cards are digital or physical. I’ve dabbled in Magic: the Gathering and joined the occasional poker game, but something has always kept me from really getting into card games—or, really, any type of gaming. But my newfound love of Marvel Snap is helping me understand why—and honing my gaming skills in the process.

What is Marvel Snap?

Marvel Snap is a digital card game, available as an app for your phone. The object of the game is to capture locations by building a more powerful team of superheroes than your opponent. Each character has their own card, which is assigned a number of points to show how powerful they are. Although many cards have special abilities, the winner is determined by simple math: If my team has a combined total of 20 points, and yours only has 19, then I win the location. Players can also “snap” by betting that they’ll win a match before the game is over, giving their opponent a chance to forfeit.

The game isn’t perfect, of course. The training mode is long and not obvious, so it’s hard to know if you’ve graduated from playing bots to competing against actual people. There are also tons of bonuses and in-app purchases that are nowhere near as fun as the actual game, but you have to slog through them in order to build more powerful decks.

But overall, the game is light, quick, and fun—which makes it perfect to casually dip into when you’re waiting at the bus stop or fleeing the dumpster fire that is social media. And it’s exactly that low-stakes vibe that’s finally giving me some confidence in my gaming skills.

Related: All Variants in Marvel Snap Explained on Upcomer

Marvel Snap is a perfect game for non-gamers

Unless you’re the most hardcore of gamers, you’re probably familiar with the unique kind of dread that comes from competing against seasoned players. You show up with your liter of Sprite and the promise of a fun evening, only to find out that you’ve committed to several hours of struggling through a game you barely understand, against someone who’s apparently studied the rulebook like the Talmud.

Once, I was suckered into a hellish eight-hour D&D session that was nothing but combat. I didn’t know what I was doing, my character got slaughtered over and over again, and the vast majority of my time was spent waiting for a dozen other players to carefully tweak their battle strategies. By hour two, I wanted to claw my own face off, but little did I know that I still had six hours of torture to go.

Thanks to experiences like that, I spent years doubting my own skills as a player—despite the times when I won rounds of Dominion or went home with poker winnings. It’s hard to trust yourself when you’ve got Capital G Gamers correcting your every move and then wiping the floor with you anyway.

By contrast, Marvel Snap has given me space to start trusting my instincts and taking risks when I play. The time limits keep me from second-guessing myself, and the tier system, in which online players are matched based on their time playing the game, keeps the playing field more or less even. My smartphone has ruined my life in a lot of ways, but at least this kind of casual gaming is giving me enough breathing room to realize that I don’t suck as bad as I think I do.

You probably won’t find me at a Magic: the Gathering tournament any time soon, but mini card games on my phone? That I can get into.

(featured image: Marvel/Second Dinner)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and watches Marvel movies. You can check out more of her writing at, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.