Final Fantasy XIV - Triple Triad

I’ve recently gotten back into Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve been playing on and off since launch (I actually reviewed A Realm Reborn when it first came out) but I’ve never stuck with it for the long haul. I sort of bludgeon my way through it obsessively for a few weeks, then burn out and move onto other things.

Right now, I’m very much into it. I think it’s a great game, and it’s one of the few MMOs on the market to really hold my attention (and I’ve been looking for something to fill in the MMORPG void in my heart ever since I logged out of Lord of the Rings Online for the final time).

One issue I’ve been having is that I’m moving into ARR‘s endgame on my most recent character (I haven’t dipped my toes into the expansions yet), and I’m completely overwhelmed with how much stuff there is to do once you’ve hit level 50. Grinding dungeons for gear, seeking out cosmetics, collecting mounts and minions, grinding reputation, and so on. It would be cool to own a house too, but I’m not sure I have the attention span to keep up with something like that.

Final Fantasy XIV - Triple Triad

And, of course, while all this is going on, there are sinister plots brewing that I’m supposed to be taking care of. And I mean world-altering plots here. I’m supposed to be saving the world. So maybe I should get on that…

But the other night, I ended up casually stopping into the Gold Saucer (Final Fantasy XIV‘s ostentatious casino), and ever since then, I’ve had a Triple Triad addiction that just won’t quit. In case you’re unfamiliar, Triple Triad was a card game introduced way back in Final Fantasy VIII. The general premise is that you have a nine-tile grid, and you place cards that have numbers on all four edges. If you play a card with a high number on one edge that touches an opponent’s card with a lower number on the edge it touches, you flip that card and claim it. So you’ll be going back and forth in what I guess is a combination between tick-tac-toe and the war card game.

Final Fantasy XIV - Triple Triad

Different NPCs will play with different rulesets. Sometimes, you can see all your opponent’s cards. Sometimes you’re forced to play whichever card the game specifies at any given time (I honestly hate this rule). Sometimes, there are modifiers that increase the value of each card over time. Adapting your strategy to these shifting rulesets is part of the fun.

You start out with a meagre five cards, with which you’ll make your first deck. But after that, you can increase your collection by winning cards from other players (NPCs who offer a card you’ve not acquired yet will have a card icon over their head) or buying them using MGP, which is the Gold Saucer’s currency.

I was addicted to Triple Triad when I played FFVIII back in the 1990s, and it turns out, I’m still addicted to it more than two decades later. Triple Triad is tons of fun, and collecting every card is the sort of challenge I go nuts for. In Final Fantasy XIV, there are 326 cards to collect at the time of this writing, and it looks like they keep adding more. I’ll be at this for quite some time.

While I don’t usually get into pure card-based video games, I do get into card games presented inside of RPGs. I’ve never played the standalone Gwent video game, I spent hours and hours playing Gwent inside of The Witcher 3. In fact, the old Half-Glass Gaming podcast did an entire episode about that.

So Triple Triad is becoming my new Gwent.

I don’t know how long I’ll keep at Final Fantasy XIV this time around, but Triple Triad has really sunk its teeth in me. If I end up back in FFXIV for the long haul, it will completely be the fault of this massively addictive little card game.

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