The easier it is to see which characters work well together and how knowing the unique abilities of various locations is important to winning matches, the more time you spend playing. The core of the game is that it encourages you to use your wits to beat your opponent. With a focus on who characters are, rather than how many points they are worth, the game suddenly becomes a pocket-size story machine that's always ready to come up with new ideas.

Two players have six turns to see who can accumulate the most points at three different locations, where cards with different costs and values can be placed based on how much energy players have accumulated As players gain more energy every turn, they can place up to four cards at each location, and once you get the hang of the basic mechanics, it doesn't take long before popular moves, like using Carnage to kill Bucky, become things you anticipate.

The Bar with No Name is located in the world, so you don't need to know anything about it to win a match. When you can play cards with a bit of understanding about how their values, powers, and even art are reflections of details from the deep catalog of comic books and stories adapted from them, the game becomes a lot more exciting. The card's ability to transform one location into another is a nod to the House of M storyline, which served as the basis for Disney Plus

The Infinaut is so large that if he were able to enter certain planes of existence, he would destroy them all. By making the Infinaut powerful but limited by a requirement that players not put down any new cards prior to the turn, you can create a card that feels like you're giving your opponent the middle finger.

The matches are similar to narrative puzzles.

Beating opponents is the fastest way to get new cards without spending money, and developing a large, varied collection of characters is key to building strong decks. It can be cool to look at a spread of cards not just as a battle between two players but as a multi-act story playing out across the fictional universe when you lose a match.

Similar to how superhero movies and action-adventure games like Sony's Spider-Man titles can feel like comic books brought to life, the way in which Marvel Snap matches come into focus is like a narrative puzzle being put together piece by piece. At the beginning of every match, there is no reliable way of knowing which three locations the game will spawn or which cards you will draw from turn to turn, meaning that sometimes you have to guess and have faith that sending Quicksilver into the unknown is going to work out. Sometimes those unknowns end up being revealed as places with strategy-ruining side effects and it can be frustrating to watch them derail your plans for victory.

It can be fun to take a step back, appreciate the wildness of the scenarios woven into the matches, and think about how those stories might play out as more linear narratives. We all know what it looks like when the Avenger's meet up in New York to save the world from aliens or how Charles is going to send child soldiers into battle.

You don't usually see situations like Uatu the Watcher teaming up with Jessica Jones and Ka-Zar of the Savage Land to fight Rocket Raccoon and Thor's long- lost sister, but that's exactly what happened in the movie. That sentence might not make a lot of sense to people who are not familiar with the characters in the movie. If you've ever read a comic book, you'll know that almost every match ends up playing out like a ridiculous issue of a comic book event, where heroes and villains are thrown into strange situations just for the sake of it.

The best superhero stories are more than just a bunch of characters and settings in a comic book. The realities of larger-than-life figures who embody our hopes, dreams, and fears are created by artists, writers, and other creatives. The game isn't really trying to replicate all of that. It can work as a quick dip into the multiverse that leaves you inspired to read some comics and make your own.