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A game of Triple Triad.

Triple triad choose

The winner gets to choose a card or more from the loser.

The cards originated when a psychic named Orlan modified these tarot cards for games. The game became popular with soldiers passing time between battles. As its popularity spread, each region developed its own rules and picture variations.

Tutorial - FFVIII Info Corner

Triple Triad (トリプルトライアード, Toripuru Toraiādo?) is a popular card game in the world of Final Fantasy VIII available as a minigame. Designed by battle system planner Takayoshi Nakazato,[1] Triple Triad is a sidequest whose cards can be refined into items via Quezacotl's Card Mod ability. Many of the game's rarer items are most easily found by refining the cards.

According to the Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania, the card game was created by a psychic named Orlan who modified fortune-telling cards for use in a game, coining the name "Triple Triad."[2] Triple Triad was initially played among soldiers, but spread to the common people and by the time of Final Fantasy VIII's events, the game is popular among all age groups.

Triple Triad cards depict different monsters, bosses, Guardian Forces and playable characters who each have different stats. Cards are obtained by defeating enemies in battle (the chance for a card to drop is 9/256 or 3.5%), or by using the GF Quezacotl's Card ability to card the enemy. Depending on the current trade rule, the player can win cards off their opponents in Triple Triad games, and there are side quests that yield cards as rewards.


Setting up and how to play[]


Bomb, a fire elemental monster.

Triple Triad is played on a three-by-three (3x3) square grid of blank spaces where the cards will be placed. Each card has four numbers (known as ranks) placed in the top left corner; each number corresponds to one of the four sides of the card. The ranks range from one to ten, with the letter A representing ten. The top right corner of the card sometimes has an elemental symbol representing the card's element: Earth, Fire, Water, Poison, Holy, Lightning, Wind, or Ice. Pink cards belong to the opponent and blue cards belong to the player.

In a basic game, each player has five cards. A coin-flip decides who begins. The player who wins the coin toss may choose a card to play anywhere on the grid. After the first card is played, the opponent may play a card on any unoccupied space on the board. The game continues with players' turns alternating.



5 rare cards are in play, including 2 player and 3 GF.

To win, a majority of the total ten cards played (including the one card that is not placed on the board) must be of the player's card color. To capture a card, the active player places a card adjacent to the opponent's card. If the rank touching the opponent's card is higher, the opponent's card will be captured and flipped into the active player's color. A card can be placed on any open spot on the board. The player who goes second will have a card remaining in their hand and that card will count towards their ending score. Each player may play one card per turn.

A draw occurs if at the end should the player and the opponent possess equal numbers of cards of their color. Depending on alternate card rules, this can be defined by a sudden death scenario where the game continues until a winner is defined. The winner takes one or more of the loser's cards, depending on the trade rules in effect.

The game keeps score of the player's wins, losses and draws within the savedata, but the score is not viewable anywhere in-game. The figures overflow after 65,535 back to 0. A separate win record is kept for games played in certain areas of Balamb Garden (the trigger condition for the Card Club quest).

Types of cards[]

There are ten card levels, with higher-level cards generally having higher ranks. The seven cards that Squall gets for free near the beginning of the game are Level 1. Multiple copies of most cards from Level 1 to 7 can be kept, whereas GF and character cards are one-of-a-kind.

Image Description
TTBiteBug Levels 1 through 5 are monster cards. Level 1 cards have ranks up to 6 and total values ranging from 10-13; Level 2 cards have ranks up to 7 and total values ranging from 12-15; Level 3 cards have ranks up to 7 and total values ranging from 16-18; Level 4 cards have ranks up to 7 and total values ranging from 17-20; and most Level 5 cards have ranks up to 7 and total values ranging from 20-22. With the exception of the PuPu card, there is no limit to how many of each of these cards exist.
TTX-ATM092 Levels 6 and 7 are boss cards, depicting various unique bosses met throughout the game. Level 6 cards have ranks up to 8 and total values ranging from 20-23, while Level 7 cards have ranks up to 8 and total values ranging from 23-26. Like monster cards, there is no limit to how many boss cards exist.
TTShiva Levels 8 and 9 are GF cards, which the player can obtain by beating the corresponding GFs or by finding them from certain players throughout the world. Level 8 cards have ranks up to 9 and total values ranging from 23-26, while Level 9 cards have ranks up to A and total values ranging from 24-27. For optional GFs whose Triple Triad cards are won in battle, the player may acquire two of each card, but will only retain one. This may only occur if the player does not acquire the GFs until the very end of the game, after having won their cards from the CC group aboard the Ragnarok. If a player wins a GF card from a battle when they already had it, the second card never gets added to the inventory.
TTQuistis Level 10 cards are player cards, depicting the game's playable characters. Level 10 cards have ranks up to A and total values ranging from 26-29. Most of these cards are held by someone connected to that person; for instance, Zell's card is held by his mother and Rinoa's by her father General Caraway. For others, like Irvine, who have no obvious connections to other characters in the game, their cards can be harder to find.

Opponents' decks[]

Opponents have an infinite supply of cards and draw them randomly from a pool based on the cards' level; e.g. an NPC may be set to play cards randomly from Levels 2–5. Thus, if the player is looking for a specific card, and if an opponent plays any card from that Level, they will eventually play the card the player is looking for. Some cards seem to be played less than others, making them rarer, however. Opponents never play two of the same card in a hand. If the NPC has a rare card, they play it randomly. If they have more than one rare card, they usually do not play more than one rare card in a hand. However, no NPC card player starts with multiple rare cards, and will only possess multiple if the player loses theirs to them first.

The Card Club members aboard the Ragnarok use a unique card shuffling mechanic and can play any Level 8–10 card the player does not currently have in their inventory, regardless if the player already modified it. The CC players besides the girl standing to the left of CC Diamond will use Level 8–10 cards at random. The game shuffles the cards' location when challenging the CC members, and thus it takes longer than normal for a card game against them to start. This means that for most of the CC members to play a rare card, the player must have gotten lucky in that the card was shuffled to them, and then for them to choose to use it in a game. The left girl of CC Diamond ignores which member is supposed to have what card, and will play any card the player does not currently have in order from the first rare card the player lacks, using one rare card in a hand at a time. To be able to challenge the Card Club members aboard the Ragnarok, the player will need to have completed their sidequest before the point of no return, and during this time they use the same deck mechanics as any other NPC card player.

Rule variations[]

Special rules[]


Triple Triad Same rule from FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered

A series of special rules vary by region. Wherever the player first starts playing, they start with the rules of Balamb, which are simple. When the player challenges someone in a different region, the opponent may ask to play a game with both regions' rules. This will only happen if the previous region the player played cards in has at least one rule the opponent's region does not currently have. This "mixed-rules" game uses all the rules of both regions. One of three outcomes will randomly happen regardless of the player winning, losing, or quitting: a rule from the previous region not used in the new region may spread to the new region; a rule from the new region may be abolished in the new region; or, there may be no change. The player may choose not to mix rules by continuing to challenge the person and refusing the offer of a mixed-rules game; eventually, the opponent will offer to play a normal game with their region's rules only. Even if a region has every rule and the player cannot thus mix rules (Lunar region by default), a random rule may still be abolished after a few games when starting to play in that area.

Whether a rule spreads, is abolished A Triple Triad rule abolished from FFVIII Remastered, or there being no change is random. If the player wants to abolish a specific rule from a region, they should save their game before playing any Triple Triad in the new region, then try card games with mixed rules (quitting the card game before choosing the hand still counts and is useful to speed up the process), and, if anything but the abolition of the desired rule happens, reset the game and try again.

Types of rules are as follows:

Rule Description
Open Enables the player to see which cards the opponent is using.
Same When a card is placed touching two or more other cards (one or both of them have to be the opposite color), and the touching sides of each card is the same (8 touching 8 for example), then the other two cards are flipped. Combo rule applies.
Same Wall An extension of the Same rule. The edges of the board are counted as A ranks for the purposes of the Same rule. Combo rule applies. If the Same rule is not present in a region that has Same Wall, Same Wall will not appear in the list of rules when starting a game because it can have no effect without Same but it will be carried with the player to other regions, and can therefore still be spread.
Sudden Death If the game ends in a draw, a sudden death occurs in which a new game is started but the cards are distributed on the side of the color they were on at the end of the game.
Random Five cards are randomly chosen from the player's deck instead of the player being able to choose five cards themselves.
Plus Similar to the Same rule. When one card is placed touching two others and the ranks touching the cards plus the opposing rank equal the same sum, then both cards are captured. Combo rule applies.
Combo Of the cards captured by the Same, Same Wall or Plus rule, if they are adjacent to another card whose rank is lower, it is captured as well. This is not a separate rule; any time Same or Plus is in effect, Combo is in effect as well.
Elemental In the elemental rule, one or more of the spaces are randomly marked with an element. Some cards have elements in the upper-right corner. Ruby Dragon, for example, is fire-elemental, and Quezacotl is thunder-elemental. When an elemental card is placed on a corresponding element, each rank goes up a point. When any card is placed on a non-matching element, each rank goes down a point. This does not affect the Same, Plus and Same Wall rules, where the cards' original ranks apply.
Retry The Retry rule does not appear in the game but was dummied. The rule's purpose is unknown.

Rules per region[]

List of default rules per region. These are the starting rules; playing with mixed rules may spread rules to new regions, or abolish rules in a region, and the Queen of Cards can be paid to introduce new rules to a region.

Student Skipping Class in Balamb Town from FFVIII Remastered

Student Skipping Class.

The Balamb Town harbor has a plainclothes Garden student who appears randomly by the water front. If he does not appear, the player can leave the town to the world map and re-enter until he does. Student Skipping Class is the only card player who plays his own "rule set" (he plays with no rules) that cannot be modified; playing with him clears Balamb region of all special rules (including Open). Playing him has no effect on trade rules.

Region Area/Player Rules
Balamb Balamb Town, Balamb Garden, CC Jack in the endgame Open
Galbadia Timber, Forest Owls' Base, Galbadia Garden and East Train Station, Deling City, D-District Prison, Watts in White SeeD Ship Same
Dollet Dollet, CC Club in the endgame Random, Elemental
FH Fishermans Horizon, CC Heart in the endgame Elemental, Sudden Death
Trabia T-Garden Student in G-Garden locker room, Trabia Garden, Shumi Village, CC Diamond in the endgame Random, Plus
Centra Winhill, Edea's House, CC Joker in the endgame Same, Plus, Random
Esthar Esthar City, Lunatic Pandora Laboratory, President aboard Ragnarok, CC Spade in the endgame Elemental, Same Wall[note 1]
Lunar Lunar Gate, Lunar Base, Lunar Base Crash Site, CC King in the endgame Open, Same, Plus, Elemental, Same Wall, Random, Sudden Death
  1. Does not appear in games unless the player spreads Same to the region first, but the player can still "carry" it to regions

Trade rules[]

Trade rules dictate which and how many cards the winner can take from the loser.

They are as follows:

Rule Rank Description
One 1 Winner chooses one card from loser.
2 Winner chooses one card per score difference (2, 4, or 5).
Direct 3 Players take cards that are their color at the end of the game.
All 4 Winner takes all.

Every time a challenge is made there is a chance of a region's trade rule being changed. Rule changes, if triggered, are made when asking someone to play (by default, talking to a card player with Square), before going to the rules screen or playing through the game. Unlike with the special rules, trade rules change without any outside indication beyond what is shown in the screen when starting a game.

The current trade rule can be changed in three ways.

If the Queen of Cards is in a region, every challenge in that region (including to the Queen herself) has a ~1/3 (90/256) chance of the Queen's current region adopting the Queen's personal trade rule. Every challenge to the Queen will have a ~6/7 (220/256) chance of increasing or decreasing her personal trade rule by one step; this change would occur after the chance of changing the region's rule.

Second, every challenge has a chance of the dominant region's rule being adopted by a random region (possibly itself). The Queen of Cards will tell which region is currently dominant if one asks her about trade rules. The chance is ~9.76% (25/256) for every Dominance level the dominant region has. Playing in the dominant region (or an opponent from that region) increases that region's Dominance by 1, up to 10.

Playing in a non-dominant region (or an opponent from that region) decreases that region's Dominance by 1; if Dominance is 0, the current region becomes the new dominant region with a Dominance of 1.

Finally, every time Dominance is triggered (even if the random region is itself), there is a chance that a random region will adopt the One rule. Every challenge adds about 0-2.7% (0/256 to 7/256) to the degeneration chance. It resets when the chance is above 98% (250/256). If degeneration chance is at least 128 (50%), then asking the Queen about trade rules will have her tell that people are avoiding risky trades.

If the Queen is in the target region, it is easy to manipulate the trade rule. As long as the Queen's personal rule is set to the desired rule, the player can simply repeatedly challenge anyone else in the Queen's region (other than the Queen) until they offer to play with the desired rule. For regions other than the Queen's current region, challenges will cause the dominant rule to start spreading (and affect Dominance), but it is not as easy to reset the rule once degeneration occurs.

The Queen's region cannot be changed when towns become unavailable to visit at the end of the game (she is always at the crash site), and her personal trade rule cannot be changed either. Her region and trade rule for rule change purposes will be whichever ones she had at the point of no return.


Obtaining all cards[]


After having once held all cards, a star appears in the main menu.

The main quest of the Triple Triad minigame can be considered the acquirement of all cards, which gains a star next to the Card section in the menu. The player will need to undertake several smaller quests to get all the rare cards, as well as scour the world to obtain the common cards from either monsters or from other players. The star appears when all spaces in the card inventory are filled, but the player does not need to be in possession of all cards simultaneously.

Card Club[]

In Balamb Garden there is a group of elite Triple Triad players that call themselves the Card Club. The members' identities are a mystery until they reveal themselves to players they deem worthy. Their identities range from random NPCs wandering the Garden to people the player already knows.

If the player completes the side quest, they can meet the CC members again aboard the Ragnarok at the end of the game and win every Level 8-10 card they do not currently have in their inventory from them. This includes cards that have been modified into items.

Queen of Cards[]


The Queen of Cards can be first found in Balamb Town, but after the player loses a rare card to her/wins the rare card back from her, she moves to random towns around the world. If the player finds her and takes on her sidequest, they can find even more rare cards. The goal is to get her to move to Dollet where her artist father will create new rare cards that can be won from certain people in the world.

PuPu card[]

FF8 Pupu

PuPu is a blue alien whose flying saucer the player can encounter in fixed encounters around the world. Several things must be done in dealing with the alien to get its card. It is Level 5 and is the only rare card below Level 8.


Achievement icon for "Collector".

The player can earn achievements in the Steam version of Final Fantasy VIII. Playing a game of Triple Triad earns Card player; winning 100 games earns Professional Player; losing a rare card earns Loser; defeating every member in the CC group earns Cards Club Master; and collecting all cards earns Collector.

When the player has a full catalog of cards, a yellow star will appear on the right-hand side of the Card option in the menu. The star does not require the player to simultaneously have a copy of each card, just having held each individual card.

Musical themes[]

"Shuffle or Boogie" plays in Triple Triad matches. A piano arrangement is included in the Piano Collections: Final Fantasy VIII album.

"Shuffle or Boogie" plays in the music player in Final Fantasy XV after the player buys the Memories of FFVIII soundtrack from Hammerhead for 100 gil.

"Shuffle or Boogie" is one of the three tracks included in the Final Fantasy VIII Music Pack available as DLC for Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. It is also a battle music in the Dissidia Final Fantasy arcade version.

Other versions[]

Physical Triple Triad[]


Seifer's Triple Triad card, Bandai (1999).

See Final Fantasy VIII Carddass Masters Perfect Visuals for gallery of the cards.

In 1999, following the game's release, Japanese games company Bandai produced a full set of collectible Triple Triad cards. The set was made up of the 110 cards as seen in the game along with 72 artwork cards and a collector's edition playing mat. The cards have a blue side and a red side. Because the set was only released commercially in Japan and was not generally available in America or Europe, the cards have become a rare collector's item. Counterfeit versions also exist, but the one produced by Bandai is the only officially released Triple Triad collection.


On September 22, 1999, a CD-ROM titled "Final Fantasy VIII Desktop Accessories" by DigiCube was released containing desktop icons, wallpapers, screensavers, and an e-mail application. It includes a standalone edition of Triple Triad, which allowed players to compete against the computer or against one another via a local area network.[3] The player starts with a 13-card fixed starter deck and cannot choose their opponent in single-player mode; the computer opponent tends to have better cards than the player and so it is initially tough to get ahead.[4]


The game was for a time popular with many free third-party internet versions thriving online. These online editions often added new decks, and many had additional rule sets. An unofficial port of the original Final Fantasy VIII version also exists for Android phones.

A fan-made Triple Triad game called GL Triad for Microsoft Windows was developed by Rich Whitehouse and was released in 2008. The game requires an ISO image of the first disc of Final Fantasy VIII to run the software.

Behind the scenes[]

Director Yoshinori Kitase wanted to make a minigame that was playable anywhere. At the time the popular Magic: The Gathering had just come out and inspired the decision on a card game that everyone in the world played as a tradition or cultural element carried on, also contributing to the development of the world. The team wanted to add trading card elements as well as rule variations to make the card game more realistic. Kitase then picked Takayoshi Nakazato, planner for Final Fantasy VIII, to design the card game even though he was in charge of the battle systems with no initial plan for him to do a card game.[1]

Orlan Triple Triad in FFVIII

Orlan in the tutorial background.

Orlan, the psychic who invented the card game in the world of Final Fantasy VIII, is a reference to Orran Durai from Final Fantasy Tactics. In the Triple Triad tutorial one can spot a Black Mage in the background, with Orlan shown on the left and a warrior that bares a passing resemblance to Ramza, from the aforementioned game, on the right.

Behemoth card on the PS
Behemoth card in the remaster

The card faces for all but the Level 10 cards were updated in Final Fantasy VIII Remastered to match the Bandai deck, with the latter showing full renders of the subject instead of close-ups. Although Siren's summon model was modified, her card still shows her original model Siren's card from Final Fantasy VIII Remastered.



External links[]