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Triple Triad is the name of the card game you will encounter while playing Final Fantasy 8. This sub-game is a completely optional part of the game, but has the potential to open up advanced magics and other items. Other than playing cards just for fun, you can use your GFs abilities to refine cards into items, which can be further refined into various magics. You can also learn the Card combat ability allowing you to turn an enemy into a card. There are dozens of rules and variations of Triple Triad that you will learn throughout the Final Fantasy VIII as you go from place to place. Here is a summary of those rules and variations.
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Card Selection and Viewing Variations
Random: Not a very nice rule for anyone, Random selects cards from your deck for you. If you keep nothing but good cards, this can work to your advantage. If you hang on to every card you get, you could very well end up with your worst cards randomly matched against our opponent's best - and that just sucks.
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Here are some of the more advanced play rules and variations you'll encounter in the game. For basic rules and play strategy, see this Final Fantasy VIII Triple Triad Guide.
Same: When the Same rule is in play, if a card is placed and two of it's sides are equal to two adjacent cards then Same occurs. Note: one of the other cards involved can also be your own.
Plus: With the Plus rule in play, the value on the sides of your cards is added to the value on the sides of your opponents cards that it is adjacent to. If the sum of the sides adds up to the same number, then your opponents cards are flipped. For example, if you place down a card with a 1 on the left and a 6 on the right, and the 1 is adjacent to a 9 and the 6 to a 4, then both of your opponents cards will be flipped, instead of just the one with a 4 (1+9=10, 6+4=10).
Combo: With the Combo rule, cards that are flipped with Same/Plus/Samewall/Pluswall can also flip opponents cards adjacent to them if the side has a greater value. This is a complex and dangerous rule that requires extensive forethought in gameplay.
Same Wall: With Same Wall, the wall (edge) of the board is given the value of A. This means that it can be used with the Same rule in a more clever way. Basically, you can activate Same with only two cards down on the board by placing a card with A adjacent to a wall, with a number side matching your opponent's card.
Plus Wall: With Plus Wall, the wall (edge) of the board is given the value of 10. Much like with Same Wall, you can use this edge to your advantage when trying to make a Plus occur, as this edge counts as if it were an opposing card edge.
Elemental: With the Elemental rule in effect, element icons are randomly placed on the game board. If you match up the element in the space with the element on the card placed, each of the card's edge values will be increased by 1. However, if you place a card in an elemental space that does not match, each of the card's edge values will be decreased by 1.
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Trade rules govern how cards are distributed after a game. One way or another, if a game is anything but a draw, cards will be exchanged. If you lose you're going to lose cards - if you win, you're going to gain cards. Trade rules can be helpful, or very dangerous.
One: The winner of the game gets to select one of their opponent's cards to take.
Diff: Standing for "Difference", the winner gains cards equal to the difference in the final score. For example, if the final score is 6-4, the winner takes two cards. If it is 7-3, the winner takes 4, etc.
All: Trade rule All is a very dangerous rule, though it can work very much to your advantage - as long as you win. The winner of the game takes all the cards their opponent used in that game.
Direct: With Trade Rule Direct, regardless of who lost or won, each player takes all cards that they own at the end of the round. This rule is terrible, because even if you win, there is still a chance your best card is going bye-bye.
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Learning New Rules
At the start of the game, the typical setup for Balamb card games is Open, One. This means that you'll be able to see each others cards, and the winner will get to take one card in trade. New rules and variations are learned by traveling to different areas and playing against the locals. At the start of any game, you have the opportunity to cancel the game if the rules are not what you want. You need to be careful about what rules you are learning, because once you learn a rule you can then spread it unintentionally. In Balamb, you have the opportunity to learn new rules by challenging the Queen of Cards, standing near the train station.
Much like how you pick up rules by playing people in other areas, you can spread the rules you have learned by playing the locals using the rules you've picked up.