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Steam's summer sale packs a picnic basket with big deals — and new badges too

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Here's some of the best deals, plus how to collect this season's special trading cards

Steam's annual summer sale kicked off at 1 p.m. ET today, June 23, with hundreds of discounts offered until July 4. This season's big deals also come with a new set of trading cards for users to collect and display in users' public profiles, all tied into the summer picnic theme.

An FAQ on the sale page includes a complete guide to grabbing all 10 cards, with methods ranging from buying a game to exploring your discovery queue to, appropriately, trading for them. Here's a quick rundown:

  • Craft a game badge: For each badge you craft during the sale period, you'll earn a trading card. All badges made from June 9 until now also give you a card, as opposed to the usual coupon.
  • Make a purchase: You'll get one card for every $10 you spend on the sale. As of today, there are tons of major games available for a discount, including 50 percent off games in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, up to 75 percent off Assassin's Creed games and a price drop for Stardew Valley.
  • Explore your discovery queue: Level 5 Steam users can check out their daily discovery items up to three times a day, netting one card per time.
  • Trade for them: Self-explanatory.
  • Buy from the community market: You're likely to get duplicate trading cards during the sale period, so users are encouraged to offload extras on the market. You can pick up new ones there, too.
Collecting all 10 cards will let you craft the Summer Picnic Sale badge, which comes with a profile background and a special emoticon. There's also a foil version of this badge, which comes with extra Steam user level experience, along with a background and emoticon.

There's a new background and emoticon every time you upgrade the badge. Whether it comes with any other secrets, like previous seasons' sales have, has yet to be uncovered.

Here are a few of the sale's best deals to get you started on collecting those cards:
  • Stardew Valley: $11.99 (20 percent off)
  • Darkest Dungeon: $14.99 (40 percent off)
  • Doom: $35.99 (40 percent off)
  • Rocket League: $11.99 (40 percent off)
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut: $4.99 (75 percent off)
  • Mirror's Edge: $4.99 (75 percent off)
  • Dishonored: $4.99 (50 percent off)
  • Grand Theft Auto 5: $35.99 (40 percent off)
  • Shadow Complex Remastered: $9.99 (33 percent off)
  • Sonic Generations: $14.99 (50 percent off)
  • Sonic CD: $2.49 (50 percent off)
  • Sonic 3 and Knuckles: $2.49 (50 percent off)
  • Assassin's Creed Syndicate: $25.99 (35 percent off)
  • Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen: $20.99 (33 percent off)
  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number: $3.74 (75 percent off)
  • Payday 2: $5.00 (75 percent off)