In a new Marvel card game, you kill Uncle Ben to get Spider-Man

Uncle Ben in Marvel Snap
(Image credit: Second Dinner Studios)

Marvel Snap is a new free-to-play card game set in everyone's favourite superhero universe, and it's got some considerable pedigree behind it. The game has been developed by former Hearthstone director Ben Brode’s studio Second Dinner Studios

, and is out now on mobile and PC. It goes for a shorter, more action-packed match experience than the likes of Hearthstone: games are over quickly, you play a lot of them, and it showers you with freebies.

One element of Marvel Snap has quickly attracted some attention, however: the Uncle Ben card (thanks, Kotaku). Lord knows who needs to hear Spider-Man's origin story at this point but, in almost all tellings of it, Peter Parker initially makes selfish use of his powers before letting a thief escape. This thief then goes on to kill Uncle Ben and, upon apprehending him, Spider-Man realises with horror that with great power etcetera etcetera.

These stories are now so overdone that it's easy to forget the primal impact that once had for the character, with the death of his beloved uncle proving the driving force for the young Spider-Man's character. This is now reflected in Marvel Snap by the Uncle Ben card, which uses a fairly common CCG mechanic: you put it down to get destroyed and replaced with another card.

Thus Uncle Ben is a 1-cost minion with the text "When this card is destroyed, add Spider-Man to your hand." So you put him down early, get him wiped from the board as soon as possible, and then you'll have the more powerful Spider-Man card to play with.

I'm really not sure whether this is so funny it's cool, or just another "press F to pay respects" moment. On the one hand videogames do suit this sillier side of comics, where all the characters are constantly dying and being brought back to life. On the other, I've never seen Uncle Ben's role in the Spider-Man mythos so starkly spelled-out: the guy just exists to die, over and over, and spark a Spidey appearance.

It's hilarious. Or is, at the very least, a weird old card: though apparently Marvel Snap is pretty great outside of this. What's especially odd is that, with a card like this, you'd typically combo it with a card that can destroy it for you: Carnage in this case. The first season of the game is Spider-Man themed and it's singularly odd that you can theoretically run a deck that plays out a little Spider-Man origin as you get it set up. You can try out Marvel Snap here.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."