The games are short, and I love them for that. Magic: The Gathering is a game I like to play. I have to be prepared to give up a lot of time when I play a game. It is rare for me to play a game of Magic: The Gathering Arena because of the time involved. I remain a below-mediocre player because of this. One of the game's biggest selling points is that a match can be completed within five to six minutes, with the same thrill and strategy as a 30 minute game.

Second Dinner is an independent studio co-founded by Ben Brode and is known for its games. The language of the game is the same as that of other cards games. The cards have an energy cost, an attack value, and abilities that can be used at certain times. The life totals of my opponent's cards aren't being reduced by the win condition. I have six turns to use my cards to take control of two of the three zones. The fact that players take their turns at the same time, that you don't have to drain a set life total, and that you only have six turns to win makes it possible for me to play a full best of three game in one hour. It's easy to get sucked into completing battle pass quests and missions, and I found myself doing the "just one more game" thing instead of telling y'all about it.

The structure of a match is easy to understand. You have a hand of three cards and a single energy. You put the appropriately priced cards under one of the three zones on the battlefield. You and your opponent are revealed at the same time when you hit the end turn button. Whoever has the greater attack power at a zone wins that zone and whoever is in control of two of three zones at the end of the sixth turn is the winner.

I decided to just play one more game.

Strategy is important in the game, but it is not overwhelming, and you can easily find decent game winning plays. Special buffs, debuffs, or other effects are slowly revealed throughout the game, and each zone has space for only four cards. The interacting cards make formulating strategies very enjoyable.

The zone prevents cards from being played after the fourth turn. The zone was filled with low-cost, low-power cards. If you don't play a card in that zone on the next turn, Jessica Jones will add plus-four power. My opponent is stuck with a low value to control the zone while my card doubles its attack power and wins the zone as I play Jessica Jones on turn four. I have been playing Magic for 10 years and I still have trouble remembering that you usually want to play an instant speed card. I felt like I was playing chess when I watched my Jessica Jones play.

Screenshot from Marvel Snap featuring the game’s battlefield populated by three zones
What a typical match of Marvel Snap looks like.
Image: Second Dinner

There are cute little interactions when you play cards from the same series. The cards have nice animations for entering the battlefield. Spider-Man and Iron Man both use their repulsor hands. The game was made to make card abilities feel appropriate to their characters.

The rest of the game is what you would expect from a free-to- play game. There are missions to be completed to get to battle pass points. When you have enough of the little blobs that come with each match, you can use them to upgrade your cards and earn more cards. Thesnap portion of the game is something I don't like. You can double the number of cubes you earn if you progress to a certain player level. A cube does something. It's a good question. I am not certain. The game is named after a double-or-nothing gambling move. It might be more fun if you snapped something that gave you a significant buff. Cosmic cubes are points you accumulate to increase your player level, and snapping allows you to accumulate them faster than before. I can't dust my opponent with a game that references "the snap", that's what you mean. Nothing for a drop.

It is not a big deal compared to the rest of the game. With Second Dinner working from the length and breadth of the Marvel Universe for characters and zones, it seems like the possibilities are as wide as the Multiverse.