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by bover_87

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Triple Triad Guide by bover_87

Version: 1.12 | Updated: 02/21/16

Title screen.

Version History

VersionDateNotes
1.1202/21/2016
1.1101/11/2016
  • Fixed some errors relating to card acquisition from the CC Group and QoC on Disc 4
1.111/14/2015
  • Added Card Rule RNG table to guide
  • Added "seven rules" abolish RNG mechanics
  • Various minor corrections
1.010/21/2015Initial release

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Introduction

This guide is designed to provide players with a comprehensive guide to the massive mini-game that is Final Fantasy VIII's Triple Triad. While many guides exist on the topic, the primary aim of this guide is to help you maximize your gains with the game and deal with some of the most common questions that arise.

How to Navigate This Guide

To navigate this document, there are two main methods for you to use. The first is to click links to be taken to more information on a topic. The other is to use the Search button in the right-hand corner of the site header if you want to look up a specific search term. Using Ctrl + F also works to search for a term, but only if it's on your current page (or you're using Single-Page View/Printable Version).

If you want to print the document, please scroll to the bottom of the page to find the Printable Version, made particularly for printing with no background colors and a simplified layout.

Triple Triad Walkthrough

Note that this walkthrough is not intended as a step-by-step guide to the game, but rather a guide to help you get the most out of Triple Triad as you proceed through the game. For a complete FFVIII walkthrough, follow the link below:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/ps/197343-final-fantasy-viii/faqs/72431

If you want to skip the walkthrough and jump right into the nitty-gritty mechanics, click here.

Triple Triad Walkthrough - Disc 1

Balamb Garden

When you gain control, speak to the guy near the 2F elevator to receive a Geezard Card, Funguar Card, Red Bat Card, Gayla Card, Gesper Card, Fastitacalon-F Card, and Caterchipillar Card. Generally, it's best to wait until after completing the Fire Cavern to begin playing Triple Triad (you'll also receive the Ifrit Card during this intro sequence). Before returning to Balamb Garden, go to Balamb and head for the train station (left at the fork in the center of town). Here, play the Queen (the woman in the distinctive white dress) and check her Trade Rule; if she uses All, great, quit and leave town, if not, keep quitting and retrying until she does. Be sure not to move her; we need her in Balamb for the moment. You can fight battles on the beach (make sure Quistis is with you, to help reduce the experience Squall will gain) to learn Card Mod (learn Card first, on Quezacotl).

Rinoa.Now return to Balamb Garden. There are two Rare Cards you can win: the Quistis Card (from any Trepie; there are some in the 2F Classroom, and one in the Cafeteria. The young boy doing laps in the main hall has the MiniMog Card. Don't mod the latter, we'll need it in a little bit.

Your next task is to begin building your deck. For basic card strategy, click here.

A word of caution before continuing: the following will make you insanely overpowered if you do it all. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on what you're looking to get out of the game. If you find the game is too easy, feel free to simply not Junction the overpowered spells, or not use the broken skills.

Now comes the real fun. Using the All rule, it's time to amass huge numbers of Common Cards. If the Trade Rule degenerates to One, feel free to just play and quit until it changes back to All, which it will do eventually if you're following the walkthrough (If you moved the Queen of Cards, unfortunately it will not change back to All.) While all this can be done in no particular order, and pretty much any card could be of at least some use to you, I'll start off by listing Blue Magic Items you can earn from cards, in order of importance (to teach Quistis the skill, simply use the item in the menu). The Level of the card will be listed after the refinement; in a bit I'll explain who plays which levels. All of the refinements use Card Mod, as a reminder.

Degenerator is highly useful from the beginning of the game to the end; it Ejects anything not immune (which means almost all regular, non-boss enemies).

Don't mod the Ifrit Card, we need it to obtain a Rare Card on Disc 2.

There's also a boatload of spells you can snag, which will make your life much easier. The needed magic refinement will be listed (since the beginning inputs are all Cards, you obviously need Card Mod for that part). Like the Blue Magic Items above, these are listed in order of usefulness, along with the rank of the Card. Especially Tornado is really powerful, even moreso considering you've barely even started the game (Junction it to Str and watch the fireworks). Flare is stronger still, but it's a major pain in the ass to accumulate the needed cards to refine it (you need a whopping 50 Ruby Dragon Cards to max someone out), so you might want to skip it, but feel free to grab some for casting. Tornado is by far the most important; the -aga spells do junction fairly well, but not as well as you'd expect (except on Elemental Junctions), meaning they're nice but the return may or may not be worth it. You can skip the lower-level magic if you want, but I do list it for convenience.

Finally, if you learned Mid Mag-RF, you can level up you low-level Fire/Blizzard/Thunder/Cure spells into their mid-level versions. This is less efficient than Card Mod, but if you feel like it, be my guest.

Another little "cheat" is modding Elastoid Cards (Level 5) into Steel Pipes (1 Steel Pipe per Card). These will teach your GF's the SumMag+10% while also unlocking SumMag+20% for you to learn. This isn't all that great, mind you, but there's little to no downside to doing this and the extra damage never hurt anyone, so might as well, right? If you have extra Elastoid Cards, mod them and hang on to the Steel Pipes, you'll be able to make use of them later in other ways. Don't go out of your way to get these cards, but if you're playing with All it's likely a few will fall into your lap.

While these are the best ones you can exploit at the moment, feel free to accumulate other types of cards; while you can't do much with them now, you will be able to in the future once you have more refinement abilities. Don't forget to Junction any new Magic to reap the full benefits of it.

The next question is whom to play. Generally, you want to play someone who plays only the level(s) of cards you're looking for. Lists of players follow:

  1. Level 1: All players in the Garden except for the boy sitting down in the library and Trepe Groupie #1
  2. Level 2: All players except random students walking the halls, Trepe Groupie #2, girl and black student in Library hallway, and girl in 2F Hallway
  3. Level 3: Most people in Garden
  4. Level 4: Trepe Groupie #3, Cafeteria Lady, all students in Library area (except Girl in Pigtails behind desk), girls in Dormitory hallway, girl in 2F Hallway
  5. Level 5: All Trepe Groupies, Gatekeeper, Cafeteria Lady, male student in blue in Library, girl in Library reading area

IRaine.f you're looking for something in particular, for Level 3 Cards Trepe Groupie #2 has the best and easiest set available, while for Level 4 Cards the student that randomly appears in the hallway to the Library is arguably the best source, while for Level 5 Cards Trepe Groupie #1 is best. If you're looking for someone who plays ALL cards level 1-5 (except PuPu, which no one will ever play), play the girl in the Library's reading room.

Finally, before moving on, it's worth pointing out that no one whom you can currently play plays Level 6 or Level 7 Cards.

Once you're done here, it's time to do the SeeD Exam. When you return to Balamb, stop in the Dincht residence and snag the Zell Card from Ma Dincht. After you're given the mission in Timber, don't leave the Garden. Instead, obtain Diablos using the Magical Lamp (talk to Cid to get it) and you'll also receive the Diablos Card as a Drop. Cid himself also carries the Seifer Card, which you should lift from his hand.

Now that we have a number of new GF's and their refinement abilities, it's time to milk the system even more. (Just like before, if you find the game is too easy, either skip some refinements or just don't use some of the stuff you've picked up). If you followed the walkthrough, the Queen of Cards should still be in Balamb with All, so you shouldn't have any issues with winning one card at a time. Another note (and this applies throughout the entire game, mind you, not just here) is that in some of the Card Mod chains especially, you may have an intermediate ingredient already instead of the Card (or other beginning ingredient); in this case you can just do the refinement directly with your inventory stock. The list follows, in order of usefulness and with refinement abilities and Card Levels marked (all chains start with Card Mod unless otherwise noted; Rare Cards are marked with *). All previously-available refinements can still be done also, in case you didn't do them.

Fire Cavern.Of the list, Triple and Full-Life Magic are two of the best Junction spells in the game (although Full-Life's horrible refinement yield really hurts its usage at the moment; there'll be more efficient methods to obtain it later though), while Meltdown gives massive increases when Junctioned to Vit-J. Pain is among the best Status Junction spells. Meanwhile, Quake is inferior to Tornado, but still gives massive boosts to stats, while Regen gives serious bonuses to HP-J especially. Death Junctioned to ST-Atk gives a chance to instantly KO an enemy in addition to giving big boosts to offensive stats. The others are useful here and there, but not as useful as the ones high up on the list.

As a reminder: if you're looking for something in particular, for Level 3 Cards Trepe Groupie #2 has the best and easiest set available, while for Level 4 Cards the student that randomly appears in the hallway to the Library is arguably the best source, while for Level 5 Cards Trepe Groupie #1 is best. If you're looking for someone who plays ALL cards level 1-5 (except PuPu, which no one will ever play), play the girl in the Library's reading room.

In addition, the following refinements can be done now, to prepare to craft the two best ultimate weapons in the game by the end of Disc 1. This is optional, but just another way to make yourself highly overpowered:

Finally, an important note: once you set out from Balamb, you will not encounter anyone who plays Level 5 Cards for quite some time, so be sure you have all of them that you need before leaving.

Back in Balamb, don't get on the train just yet. Instead, save first, then lose the MiniMog Card to the Queen of Cards (the one who gave you the All rule earlier) to start her quest. Speak to her afterwards; if she goes to Dollet, you're done, otherwise retry (use these methods if you're having trouble getting her to Dollet). In terms of cards, there's now nothing left to except board the train.

Galbadia Continent

As far as Cards are concerned, there's nothing of note to do until you're in the Forest Owls' base. Here, save first, then spread Open to Galbadia (use the methods here if you're having difficulties), the play Watts to win the Angelo Card, which Card Mods into 100x Elixir (I strongly advise doing this).

The Timber train.Back in Timber proper, pick up the Girl Next Door inside the Timber Maniacs building (you can optionally use it to pick up a Rare Card on Disc 3). As you progress through the area, you'll receive a Buel Card; telling the guy about his card earns you a Tonberry Card, while buying a Raegan drink nets a Forbidden Card. Either way, continue through the rest of the area.

When you leave Timber, board the train, but ride it all the way to Dollet instead of just to East Academy, and go down the nearby road to the town proper. Save in the hotel, the hard reset and reload your save. Use the procedure given here to spread Open, then return to Galbadia. Challenge the guard and refuse until he stops asking to mix rules, then play a game and quit. Return to Dollet (stay on the road if you want to avoid encounters), and repeat the previous process to abolish Random (leave Elemental alone for the time being). Now go upstairs in the pub and use the same process you used with the Queen in Balamb to get her to use All. Beat the nearby pub owner, then follow him to his room and play him again and snatch the . Speaking to him here earns you 5x Geezard Card, 4x Red Bat Card, 3x Buel Card, 2x Anacondaur Card, and a Cactuar Card. Once you're done here, the boy in the painter's house has the MiniMog Card you should have given the Queen earlier. Win it from him. Remember this location; it will be used throughout the Queen of Cards Quest to win back the cards you needed to give the Queen.

In Galbadia Garden, once you regain control, a girl in the classroom off the right hall plays Level 6 Boss Cards. Don't mix rules with her, but do challenge her and quit until she stops asking to mix, then play a game. Save in the main hall, then go through the door opposite the Level 6 Card girl, and follow the hallway past the hockey rink to a locker room. You'll see a boy in red here; he plays with Trabia rules, and gives us an easy opportunity to modify this region's rules, and it's the most important card region late-game. You'll want to spread Open and abolish both Random and Plus. Use the procedures here to do each step (do them in order); after a successful rule change, challenge and quit with the girl across the hall until she stops asking to mix rules, then play a game, then save in the main hall and repeat for any remaining rules. Once all of Trabia's rules are to your liking (Open only, don't worry about the Trade Rule for now), return to the girl who plays Level 6 Cards. As usual, don't mix rules, but you can now mod some decent cards from her, listed below (Energy Crystals also mod into Pulse Ammo if you have them lying around):

After you're all set, set out for Deling City. Here, in the shopping arcade, look for a man in all black across the street from the Junk Shop. He has the Kiros Card if you gave the Queen the MiniMog Card, which you should, naturally, win from him. Mod it into 3x Accelerator items, which are nothing short of awesome. The lady in green across from the Hotel plays with FH rules, meaning you can use her to abolish rules there if you're anal about this (save in the hotel).

Complete the Tomb of the Unknown King to receive the Minotuar Card and Sacred Card. Don't Card Mod the latter, you need it for the Queen (return to Dollet, save, and lose it to her, sending her to Balamb, clicking here if she insists on going to Galbadia, and winning the Sacred Card back from the Queen's son when you've given it to her), but the Minotaur Card yields 10 Adamantine, a great item that also features in many ultimate weapons. The rest of the disc has no new cards, so just work your way through to...

Triple Triad Walkthrough - Disc 2

During the Escape

The SeeD Graduation dance.In D-District Prison, there are three card players, but all of them charge fees and give prizes (in addition to the normal card exchange) if you win. Nothing they give you is of interest to Triple Triad directly, but the Character Report is missable, so do make a point to grab it on Level 10.

As Selphie's team, head to Deling City. Lose the Ifrit Card to Caraway, then take the Rinoa Card he will now hold. Complete the remainder of the sequence and the view switches to...

...Squall! Assuming you sent the Queen to Balamb before completing Disc 1, don't rush into Balamb Garden. Instead, exit and return to Balamb, and change her Trade Rule to All (it probably changed when you moved her). Return to Balamb Garden now. You won't be able to play any cards for the moment, so keep going until you complete the MD level. After this is done, you can commence with the CC Group Quest, but you won't be able to go past beating Diamond at the moment. Card Magician Joker also holds the Leviathan Card, though he tends not to use it very often. The CC Group also is your first chance to win Level 7 Boss Cards aside from the tedious process of using Card and getting lucky.

Once you reach FH, there's lots to do, so go do it. Save your game, then spread Open if you didn't do so in Deling City (any other rule changes will have to wait for now). Once you're ready to continue, head to the Mayor's House in the middle of the solar array. Dobe has the Quezacotl Card, while Flo will play the Irvine Card if you forked over the Sacred Card to the Queen on Disc 1 (if you didn't give her the card, you'll have to settle for doing it later).

Exploring the World

We pick up again after you leave FH. The most critical thing to do now is to complete the CC Group Quest. Card Queen Heart has the Carbuncle Card, while Card Master King has the Gilgamesh Card. There are several other sidquests, but only completing all the Chocobo Forests (for the Chicobo Card) and obtaining Odin from Centra Ruins (for the Odin Card). Don't Card Mod the former card (the Queen wants it), and you may want to win the latter on Disc 4 since it requires you to get Odin and, later, Gilgamesh.

The following refinements are new since we last checked in:

Now go to Balamb. Liberate it and then win the Pandemona Card. You should also hand the Chicobo Card to the Queen; you can win it back in Dollet as normal. The boy on the bench to the right of Balamb Garden's main entrance will now have the Chubby Chocobo Card, which mods into 100x LuvLuv G.

Your next stop is Trabia Garden. After the scenes, return and play Selphie's friend near the fountain for the Selphie Card, which you should Card Mod into 3x Elem Guard.

The only thing left to do on Disc 2 is to win the Cerberus Card from Cerberus, who's located in the main hall of Galbadia Garden. Be sure to fight it before taking on Edea, you won't be able to do this once you move to Disc 3.

Triple Triad Walkthrough - Disc 3

Quistis Trepe.When in Edea's House, you can win the Edea Card. Save outside first, and then play Edea and attempt to at least spread Open (or abolish Random). This can be a very tough game to win, so save before playing and reset if it doesn't go your way. You can also wait a bit and go back and forth using other regions to modify more rules.

On the White SeeD Ship, you have the option to give Zone the Girl Next Door magazine. Doing so loses you a unique item, but on the other hand you can win the Shiva Card and a Rename Card if you give it to him for free. None of these is unique, so I would just win the Shiva Card on Disc 4, but this is up to you.

Your next significant opportunity comes after going to FH. You can return to Seaside Station and play the old man to modify Esthar rules if you like (try to spread Open). In Esthar proper as Squall, play Odine and grab the Ward Card.

Up in space, there are two cards for you to win, but first you'll want to change the rules a little. Save your game, then keep playing games and quitting until a rule abolishes. If Random or Plus is abolished, great, go back and save, otherwise reset if something else is eliminated (it doesn't matter which rules you're carrying, since Lunar starts with all rules). Once you've gotten one of these out of the way, Piet has the Alexander Card (don't mod it yet), while Ellone has the Laguna Card (you must win it before speaking to her normally). There will be another chance to win the Alexander Card (but not the Laguna Card) later on Disc 3 if you run into trouble, so just try for Laguna's Card.

Back on earth, Piet will have the Alexander Card at the Crash Site south of the Esthar barrier on a small peninsula, assuming you didn't already get it. This is also another shot at sidequests. For us, the most important is PuPu's Quest; be sure to feed him 5 Elixirs after his UFO crashes to earn the PuPu Card. Do not mod or lose this card, there's only one in the entire game. The Queen of Cards Quest can now be completed as well, resulting in the Doomtrain Card and Phoenix Card falling into your lap (don't refine the Doomtrain Card until you've lost it to the Queen...yes, her father needs the card he just created to get an idea to make the Phoenix Card). In the Deep Sea Research Center, Bahamut drops the Bahamut Card, and Ultima Weapon the Eden Card. However, you should lave Ultima Weapon alone unless you absolutely do not care about collecting stuff on Disc 4, since it will make acquisition much slower if it's defeated. Also be absolutely sure you have the CC Group Quest finished, you really want its reward (and its main reward is on Disc 4, meaning you haven't even seen it yet).

Time for an update on Card Mods:

Irvine Kinneas.For those of you interested in buffing your party on Disc 4, there are two last things you should do before finishing off the disc. The first is to get all regions' rules to your liking. Open only is ideal, but Same Wall does nothing without Same also in effect, meaning you can use Same Wall to abolish rules easily. Be careful to think ahead while doing this; you need to have at least one region with rules not contained in another region at all times, so plan your abolishing manuevers carefully. If you're going for perfect rules (that is, nothing except Open anywhere, not even Same Wall), you'll need to move the Queen to Balamb and spread a rule there once all regions but one are down to Open only, then use that rule to abolish the other region's rule. The Student Skipping Class sometimes appears on the docks (leave town and re-enter if he doesn't) can then be used to abolish all rules from Balamb, after which re-spreading Open is trivial.

The second task is to get the Queen where you want her with All as her personal Trade Rule. Neither can be changed once you make the jump to Disc 4, so you should do this now. For region, Trabia or Lunar is best. Trabia is the best source of Rare Cards on Disc 4, meaning you'll be playing there a lot to win Rare Cards (though only one Rare Card can be won per game), while Lunar is the only one with a person who can play all Card Levels. Again, these are set in stone once you continue the game to the next disc, so do this now. Once you have her where you want with the correct Trade Rule, just leave her alone for the remainder of the game.

Once you're completely ready, it's time to storm Lunatic Pandora.

Triple Triad Walkthrough - Disc 4

Apocalypse.Assuming you prepared well, now is the time to truly reap the rewards of this great mini-game.

The first thing you'll want to do is to get the Ragnarok back. Take the middle portal to find yourself on the large island north of the Centra Continent mainland. Head to the northeastern section of the island and look for a mountain range. Go around it to reach Forest of Solitude. If you already solved it, great, otherwise complete the puzzle. Either way, ride the Chocobo out. Your goal is Kashkabald Desert; to get there, head to the southwestern edge of the island. Go into the shallows from the beach and cross to the main Centra Continent (you'll find a beach on the northern edge near Edea's House). From here, simply go to Kashkabald Desert on the eastern edge of the continent (where you fought Cactuars before the Ragnarok). There, you'll find the Ragnarok. There is also a portal here; use it to add a portal on the right side of the chain in Ultimecia's Castle (you can now return here whenever you like).

Inside the Ragnarok, the CC Group awaits, assuming you completed their quest. You can win unlimited amounts of Rare Cards from them (but you can only hold one at a time, meaning you must Mod the first one before they can play another copy), even Cards you Card Modded or missed. For more information about how this works, click here.

Here are the new possibilities open to you:

  • 2x Minotaur Card* > 20x Adamantine > Steel Curtain (GFAbl Med-RF) (Level 8)
  • Eden Card* > 3x Monk's Code > 3x Str Up (Forbid Med-RF) (Level 9)
  • Minotaur Card* > 10x Adamantine > 2x Vit Up (Forbid Med-RF) (Level 8)
  • 5x Irvine Card* > 15x Rocket Engine > 3x Spd Up (Forbid Med-RF) (Level 10)
  • 100x Cactuar Card or 100x Jumbo Cactuar Card > 100x Cactus Thorn > Hundred Needles (GFAbl Med-RF) (Level 3/7)
  • 10x Edea Card* > 30x Royal Crown > 3x Mag Up (Forbid Med-RF) (Level 10)
  • 100x Bomb Card > 100x Bomb Fragment > Bomb Spirit (GFAbl Med-RF) (Level 4)
  • 10x Rinoa Card* > 30x Magic Armlet > 3x Spr Up (Forbid Med-RF) (Level 10)
  • Bahamut Card* > 100x Megalixir > 750,000 Gil (with Sell-High) (Level 9)
  • Angelo Card* > 100x Elixir > 375,000 Gil (with Sell-High) (Level 8)
  • 10x Zell Card* > 30x Hyper Wrist > 3x Str Up (Forbid Med-RF) (Level 9)

Have fun with this one! Just note that some of these (especially the lower ones) tend not to the fastest way to acquire these items.

Playing Triple Triad

Triple Triad is FFVIII's card game, and a highly rewarding mini-game. The Queen of Cards and CC Group quests are closely related to Triple Triad; however, they are covered in their own sections, since they have their own mechanics that differ from simple Triple Triad play.

Basic Rules

To initiate a game, approach an NPC and press Square. If they play Triple Triad and you're "carrying" at least one rule not in effect in the current region, they will mention the regions whose rules you're "carrying," and ask to mix rules as they challenge you to a card game. If you're not carrying any new rules, they'll just challenge you directly.

On the Triple Triad screen, the special rules and Trade Rule in effect will be displayed, and you'll be asked if you want to Play or Quit. Quit returns to the field, while Play proceeds with the game. If you decide to Play, you'll be asked to select the cards in your playing hand (unless the Random rule is in effect), then be prompted to start the game.

Triple Triad is played on a 3x3 grid (hence the name). The players alternate turns playing one card at a time from their hand (a coin flip decides who goes first). The opponent's hand will be invisible to you unless the Open rule is being used. Each card has four numbers, one for each direction (up, down, left, right); if one of the card's numbers is higher than the neighbor card and it belongs to the opponent, the card captures it. The cards' sides rank from 1-9, with A being higher than numbers and the highest possible rank.

At the end of the game, the winner is the player with the most cards; cards are exchanged based upon the trading rule in effect for that game. Games can also draw, in which case no one is declared to have won.

Game Strategy

So long as the rules are reasonably in your favor, Triple Triad is actually very easy to win (the bigger challenges lie in actually finding Rare Cards and getting the rules for the various regions in your favor). No opponent is capable of using more than one Rare Card at a time, meaning their hands will be relatively weak, so playing high-level cards and keeping their vulnerable edges "covered" (i.e. either facing an edge or a card that was already played) should give you plenty of easy wins. Just watch for Combo rules, these can really mess you up fast if you're not paying attention.

Triple Triad Players

Another thing to take note of is card players themselves. First, every player belongs to a "region," which decides the rules used when you play them. Most players belong to the region in which they're located geographically, but there are a few cases of players using a different region's rules than the local rules. Each Triple Triad player also has a set of Card Levels of Common Cards (Levels 1-7) they can play, as well as a specific Rare Card in some cases.

Generally, if you're looking for a specific Common Cards, the ideal player to play is someone who only uses the Level of the card you want (or, if that's not possible, as few other levels as possible). This increases the chance of the desired card appearing in their hand (fewer possible cards to play means each card they can play has a higher chance of appearing). Obviously, you also need to make sure the player can actually use the card type you want.

Special Rules

There are also a number of special rules, which are not part of the base rule set. These rules are listed when you first challenge someone to a game of cards. Combo rules indicate rules that, when triggered, activate Combos, meaning they can capture additional cards neighboring any card involved in the combo (to Combo, the cards involved must have neighboring cards whose number they beat and are controlled by the opponent).

Open

Opponent's hand is visible.

Sudden Death

If game draws, a rematch is played immediately with the cards each player had in the control at the end of the game.

Random (Triple Triad)

The cards in your playing hand are selected randomly from your inventory.

Same (Triple Triad)

If two or more sides of a card laid have matching numbers and at least one of the matched cards is under control of the opponent, a Combo is started.

Same Wall

The edges of the game board are treated as having a value of A for the purposes of Same Combos. If Same isn't also in effect, this rule does nothing, but it can still be involved in rule spreading/abolition.

Plus (Triple Triad)

When a card is laid, its edges are checked for neighboring cards. Any neighboring cards have their edge values facing the card added to the opposite number on the played card (A is treated as 10 for this purpose). If two or more sides add up to the same value, a Combo is initiated.

Elemental (Triple Triad)

Elemental symbols are randomly placed on squares on the game board. Any card with a matching Element has its power on all sides increased by 1, while cards of other elements and non-elemental cards have their power reduced by 1.

Special Rule Discussion

Of these rules, only Open is truly beneficial to you (the AI seems to play as if it can see your hand whether Open is in effect or not). The other rules are easily exploited by the AI, giving it an advantage depending on the rule in question, meaning you'll want to abolish them if you want to use Triple Triad to its full effect. The rules, ranked in priority of abolition, are as follows:

  1. Random
  2. Plus
  3. Same
  4. Sudden Death
  5. Elemental
  6. Same Wall

Of these, Random is the worst; your hands will often be significantly worse than the opponents' late game if Random is in effect. Plus is also a serious pain; the AI is very good at exploiting it with higher-level players, and it gives a chance for the opponent to win even with much poorer cards. Same can be a little difficult, but if you're playing good cards the opponent will probably not be able to match your cards. Sudden Death and Elemental both have relatively little effect; the former just makes you replay the game with part of your opponent's hand, while the latter just slightly modifies some card values. Same Wall is a joke; even with Same it does almost nothing, although it's highly useful for abolishing other rules.

Trade Rules

Trade Rules differ from Special Rules in that there is always a trade rule in place, and the methods of changing Trade Rules are different than for Special Rules. The trade rule determines how cards are exchanged at the end of the game.

Trade Rule: One

The winner takes one card from the loser.

Trade Rule: Diff

The winner takes a number of cards from the loser equal to their margin of victory. If the winner won by more than 5 cards, he/she takes ALL the opponent's cards.

Trade Rule: Direct

Each side gets the cards it controlled at the end of the game.

Trade Rule: All

The winner takes all cards from the loser.

Trade Rule Discussion

Thankfully, Trade Rules are much simpler than Special Rules. All is better than Diff, which is better than One. Direct is a horrible rule, since it puts you at great risk of losing good cards, so try not to use it.

However, many FFVIII guides claim that Diff is better than All. The reason for this, as well as why this is false, will be discussed later.

Triple Triad Terminology

Several terms are used in this guide for clarity. They are listed below:

Carry Rules

This refers to the region (and thus rule set) which you last established as "yours" (generally the last place you played a game without mixing rules). Triple Triad players will offer to mix rules if you're carrying a special rule not present in their region.

Challenge

This means to simply approach a Triple Triad player and press Square to initiate the Triple Triad dialog. Unless otherwise specified, you should refuse to actually play the game (choose the negative option in dialog with the NPC).

Rule Screen

The initial Triple Triad screen with the funky music, after agreeing to play cards with the NPC. The rules of the game you're about to play are shown here.

Play (Triple Triad Term)

This means to press Square to initiate a challenge, and agree to play cards. At this point you'll be at the rule screen. Unless you actually intend to play the game against the NPC, you should Quit at the rule screen to save time.

Mix Rules

This means to play a game while carrying one or more rules not present in the NPC's assigned region. The game with mixed rules will contain all Special Rules from both regions. After the game, there's a chance that one of the rules in the NPC's region will be Abolished, or a rule from the region you're carrying Spreads to the NPC's region.

Soft Reset

This means to reset using the PlayStation reset combination (R2 + L2 + R1 + L1 + Select + Start all at the same time).

Hard Reset

Resetting using the Reset button on your PlayStation console.

Queen's Region

This is the region with which the Queen of Cards is currently associated. On Discs 1-3, this will almost always be the region in which she is physically present (unless she's about to move). On Disc 4, this will be whichever region she was associated with at the end of Disc 3 (it's not possible to change her region once you're on Disc 4).

Region Dominance

Dominance refers to how strong an effect a given region has in Trade Rule spreading. There is one dominant region, with all other regions having dominance of zero. Playing games in the dominant region increases its dominance (maxes out at 10), while playing in other regions decreases it. If the dominant region's dominance reaches zero, the region in which you last played Triple Triad becomes dominant, with a dominance of one.

Manipulating Special Rules

The primary challenge in Triple Triad is not the actual card game (with the rules set properly and even a modest card selection, winning is extremely easy), but rather getting the rules in the various regions to be more to your liking (for Trade Rules, click here). With that in mind, this section will first cover basic concepts and mechanics, then provide strategies for rule manipulation. If you want to skip the background explanations and go straight to the "how do I do it" stuff, click here.

Triple Triad Regions

A key concept in understanding how Triple Triad works is its region system. Every Triple Triad player (except the Student Skipping Class in Balamb Town, who has his own unique "region" whose rules cannot be changed) belongs to one of eight regions, each of which can have its own rules (Trade Rules also are handled by region). The regions are largely geographic, but occasionally you'll encounter someone who doesn't use the local rules and uses a different region's set instead. The interactions of regions and their rules plays a large part in Triple Triad.

The regions' starting rules, as well as where the Queen of Cards will be if she's in the region (Discs 1-3 only), are listed below:

RegionStarting Rules
Queen of Cards Location (Discs 1-3)
BalambOpenOutside train station
DolletElemental, RandomPub (upstairs)
GalbadiaSameDeling City Hotel
CentraSame, Plus, RandomWinhill Hotel
FHElemental, Sudden DeathRailroad Tracks, near Save Point
TrabiaRandom, PlusShumi Village Hotel
EstharElemental, Same WallEsthar Presidential Palace (by the elevator)
LunarOpen, Elemental, Same, Same Wall, Plus, Random, Sudden DeathLunar Gate (Hallway)

Mechanics of Modifying Special Rules

There are three special cases of rule changes that should be mentioned before beginning with discussion of the normal process. First, if a region has all possible Triple Triad rules, playing a game there will cause one rule (selected at random) to abolish with a 25% chance (this can be re-tried as often as you want until something abolishes). The most notable case of this is in Lunar, since the region has all rules by default, but this is also possible if you spread every rule to a region. This is not very exploitable, however, so I'm not going to cover this in any more detail. Second, the Queen of Cards can spread a rule to her current region for 30,000 Gil. This normally is pointless, but if you messed up at the end of the game and have a region stuck with a rule that you want to abolish, and the other regions won't work to abolish that rule (because they don't have any rules the region in question doesn't have), you can spread a rule (Balamb is most convenient for this due to the Student Skipping Class) and use it to abolish the unwanted rule. Finally, in Balamb's harbor, there is the Student Skipping Class (he appears randomly; if you can't find him, exit to the World Map and re-enter the town). He plays with his own rule set which cannot be modified (no rules), and will clear Balamb of all Special Rules if you play him (including Open, although, as we're about to see, it's easily spread using normal methods). He uses Balamb's Trade Rule, however, and has no effect on it whatsoever outside of the normal effect a Balamb player would have.

Aside from the above cases, to modify a region's rules, you must carry one or more rules from another region that the current region doesn't have, then challenge someone in the region where you want to change rules. (If you're spreading a rule, you must be carrying the rule you want to spread as well.) To change the rules you carry, simply play a card game without mixing rules (challenge and refuse, and keep doing so until they stop asking to mix rules, then play one time when they stop asking) in the region you want to carry. In addition to the obvious possibility of nothing happening, it's possible that one of the rules in the region abolishes, or that a rule you're carrying that the region doesn't have spreads. What rule spreads/abolishes is highly random, and often not the result you want, so saving beforehand is highly recommended.

To get more technical, when you mix rules, the game decides rule changes by selecting "randomly" (see the next section for more details about this point) one of the possible Triple Triad rules. In each check, Open has a 25% chance of being selected, while every other rule has a 12.5% chance of being selected. If the check returns a rule that can spread, it will do so. If not, the process is repeated up to twice more, stopping if a rule is selected in either of these checks that can spread. If the third check still returns nothing, the game will then check if the selected rule (that is, the third one picked from the list) can abolish. If not, nothing happens, but if it can, it has a 50% chance of being abolished. Open Spreading is the most common result by far if it's a possibility, but aside from that just about anything might happen. As another note, due to the mechanics, abolishing a rule happens relatively rarely compared to spreading, but if only one rule can spread, this limits the effect greatly.