A game of Triple Triad.

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.

Mechanics[edit | edit source]

Setting up and how to play[edit | edit source]

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 top left corner; each number corresponds to one of the four sides of the card. The ranks range from one to nine, the letter A representing ten. The top right 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.

Winning[edit | edit source]

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 the player and the opponent possess equal numbers of cards in 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[edit | edit source]

There are ten card levels. Level 1 cards have low ranks like 1's and 2's and 3's, while level 10 cards have 8's, 9's, and A's. The seven cards that Squall gets for free near the beginning of the game are level 1. Multiple copies of most cards in Level 1 to 7 can be kept, whereas the GF and character cards are one-of-a-kind.

Image Description
TTBiteBug.png Levels 1 through 5 are monster cards, usually possessing weak numbers. With the exception of the PuPu card, there is no limit to how many of each of these cards exist.
TTX-ATM092.png Levels 6 and 7 are boss cards, depicting various unique bosses met throughout the game. Like monster cards, there is no limit to how many such cards exist.
TTShiva.png 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. Most GF cards have two strong ranks and two weaker ranks. 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 disc 4, 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.png Level 10 cards are player cards, depicting the game's playable characters. 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. The player cards typically have three strong ranks and one weaker rank.

Opponents' decks[edit | edit source]

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, 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 don't play more than one rare card in a hand.

Rule variations[edit | edit source]

Special rules[edit | edit source]

Triple_Triad_Same_rule_from_FINAL_FANTASY_VIII_Remastered

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 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 can't 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, and if the player wants to e.g. abolish a specific rule from a region, they should save their game before playing any Triple Triad in the new region, and then try card games with mixing rulesets (still counts if quitting the card game before choosing he hand to speed up the process), and if anything but the desired rule abolishing 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. It is unknown what the rule did.

Rules per region[edit | edit source]

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.

The Balamb Town harbor has a plainclothes Garden student who appears randomly by the water front. If he doesn't appear, the player can leave the town to the world map and re-enter until he does. Challenging the Student Skipping Class to Triple Triad nulls all the rules at play in the Balamb region, as he 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.

See individual location articles for which rules are played in each location.

Region Rules
Balamb Open
Galbadia Same
Dollet Random, Elemental
FH Elemental, Sudden Death
Trabia Random, Plus
Centra Same, Plus, Random
Esthar Elemental, Same Wall[note 1]
Lunar Open, Same, Plus, Elemental, Same Wall, Random, Sudden Death
  1. Doesn't appear in games unless the player spreads Same to the region first, but the player can still "carry" it to regions

Trade rules[edit | edit source]

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.
Difference
(Diff)
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 in endgame (she's always at the crash site), but 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.

Quests[edit | edit source]

Obtaining all cards[edit | edit source]

After collecting 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.

Card Club[edit | edit source]

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 at Ragnarok during endgame and win every LV8-10 card they don't currently have in their inventory from them. This includes cards that have been modified into items.

Queen of Cards[edit | edit source]

CardQueen.jpg

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[edit | edit source]

FF8 Pupu.png

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.

Achievements[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

"Shuffle or Boogie"
Music

"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[edit | edit source]

Physical Triple Triad[edit | edit source]

A real version of Seifer's Triple Triad card, produced by Bandai in 1999.

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.

Fanmade[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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 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 on the PC

The card faces (but not their values) look different between the original PlayStation version and the PC version, the latter showing the full body of the subject for all but the LV10 cards. Final Fantasy VIII Remastered uses the PC version card faces. Siren's card still shows her original model Siren's card from Final Fantasy VIII Remastered rather than the censored one for the Remastered.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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