I’ve been playing Marvel Snap for months now, and there’s a particular card that has been blowing my mind a bit. Agatha Harkness takes over your hand and plays your cards for you. She essentially turns the game into an auto-battler. And since I first encountered her, I’ve been trying to work out how she goes about all this, and why she’s in the game in the first place. [Unsurprising spoiler: my theories were deeply incorrect.]

Rather than go online and google the answers, I spoke to Ben Brode, the co-founder and chief development officer at Second Dinner, the creators of Marvel Snap, and the former game director of Hearthstone. Everything he told me was fascinating, so this is quite a long interview. And even if you already know how Agatha works, I do think it’s worth reading what Brode has to say about the design and all the other points we touched upon.

Also: super quickly, Marvel Snap is that rare game that I think makes players feel a bit like game designers themselves. As players create decks and synergies, they’re really starting to reprogram how they want the rules of the game to work for them. Speaking to Brode I was struck again and again by the sheer love for the minutiae of design that came through in everything he said.

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