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Columns: Shuffle or Boogie

By Victor Barreiro Jr. on February 27, 2015

Shuffle or Boogie

If you’re reading this now, you’ll probably note that Patch 2.51 came out around two days ago (possibly three when this goes live). It seems many people are enjoying the game’s new features, namely the Manderville Gold Saucer and all its wonders.


The big draw, however is in two big attractions that plan to eat up time and money among Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn revelers: The Triple Triad and Chocobo Racing.

This week, let’s delve into Triple Triad a bit and discuss what makes this popular card game a hit with Final Fantasy fans.

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What is Triple Triad?

Triple Triad is actually a long-standing card game that did not originate in Eorzea. It’s a card collection and dueling meta-game that is spread across the world Final Fantasy VIII.

The mechanics of Final Fantasy VIII’s Triple Triad have been adapted to the world of Eorzea, with the cards of Eorzea using the characters and creatures of FFXIV as the card’s backgrounds.

How Does It Play?

Cards have four numbers on them signifying the strength of sides of the card. You place them on a 9x9 grid in an attempt to convert opposing cards (red) to your color (blue). The side with more cards of a particular color after the grid has been filled will win the match.

That seems simple enough, but one wrinkle in the game is that Eorzea has regional rules in place that change how you play.

For instance, a “Plus” rule allows users to convert cards on adjacent corners if the sums on the sides of the cards are equal. So if you have two cards on opposite sides of the board and you throw a card between them, and the sum of the sides touching the card you just placed are equal (both equal 7, for example) then you convert both cards to your color.

Different rules will be in play against NPCs in different locations, and will change with each Eorzean day. In other words, the game of Triple Triad is essentially math-based tic-tac-toe with a bit of luck thrown in for good measure.

Best of all, the game itself technically should not cost you a dime, if you play your cards right. Every game costs a set amount of wagered Manderville Gold Saucer Points (or MGP), and winning nets you more MGP and the possibility of a new card from playing the game.

The Metagame

Of course, there’s also a long-term hurdle for Triple Triad fans (or in my case, a potential addict) to surmount, and that’s the inclusion of card limitations for the deck of five cards you get to use.

Basically, it the following restrictions to the cards you can play are as follows:

Less than 30 Cards: Allowed one card with a rarity of two stars or higher

Between 30 and 59 Cards: No restriction on cards with a rarity of two stars or less; Allowed one card with a rarity of three stars or higher.

60 Cards or More: No restriction on cards with a rarity of three stars or less; Allowed one card with a rarity of four stars or higher.

In other words, there’s a number of metagames going on now. The first is to find which people can be fought for cards, and to list what cards they offer. The second is to determine strategies to maximize wins with specific cards against particular opponents. The third is to break the 30-card and 60-card barriers so you can use stronger cards for your possible fighting decks.

The FFXIV subreddit ahas been an interesting place the past few days as a result, with players sharing information for a data compendium and spreadsheet for the purpose of making it easier for all Triple Triad fans to get their shuffle and boogie on..

Better still, someone’s already come out with a strategy on the forums for getting past the initial 30-card barrier.

Is It Worth Coming Back to FFXIV: ARR for a Card Game?

That depends entirely on you. Personally, I want to keep going ahead with the story and leveling characters up, but variety is the spice of life, and for people who have dedicated their days and nights to keeping Eorzea safe, what’s a little game of cards for some joy?

Speaking of which, Square Enix did announce a Welcome Back Campaign for “Users who have previously purchased and registered FINAL FANTASY XIV and whose service account is set as inactive during the campaign period.”

Instead of a weekend as their banner states, users will get a full week to try out the game again, along with visiting the Gold Saucer.

You’ll need the breadcrumb quest, however, to get passage to Gold Saucer, so visit Ul’dah’s Steps of Nald and look for a Well-Heeled Youth. He’ll give you a free pass to an airship to the Gold Saucer. Just follow the breadcrumb quests, and you’ll be introduced to minigames, the Cactpot and Mini Cactpot lotteries, and other things of fancy.

Next time, we’ll talk about Chocobo Racing. Keep checking out MMORPG.com, and as always, do look forward to the next write-up. Cheers!

Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains the the Landmark/Everquest Next and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn columns for MMORPG.com. He also writes for news website Rappler (Rappler.com) as a technology reporter.