Triple Triad is a minigame from the Final Fantasy game serie. First introduced in Final Fantasy VIII, it offered a new and refreshing activity available whenever the player felt the need to take a break from the main game. Almost every NPC encountered could be challenged, allowing a challange almost everywhere. The cards needed to play Triple Triad could be obtained through various methods, such as dueling other players or defeating wild monsters.
The game reappeared several years later in Final Fantasy XIV, with a competely revamped artstyle and a new roster of cards. Its last official appearance was in the form of a mobile game, with a massive set of cards, still expanding to this day.
Triple Triad is a strategic card game played on a 3x3 board. Each player can create and customise a deck of 8 cards (more on that in the "Cards & Deck Building" section). Amongst them, 5 are randomly chosen at the start of each game. The objective of the players is trying to get more cards of their color on the board, whilst trying to flip the opponent's previously placed cards. When all the 9 slots have been filled, the player that posses the highest cards on the field is declared the winner.
Each card posses 4 values: up, left, right and down. Whenever a new one is placed on the field, the game checks whether an enemy card was already placed adjacent to one of its sides. In such a case, the values relative to that side, from each card, would be compared against each other (eg. If a card is placed under an enemy one, the former one's "Up" value will be compared against the latter one's "Down" value).
If the attacker's stat is greater or equal to the defender's power, the defender's card gets flipped, and its background color changes to match the attacker's.
Lastly, look out for the famous K. If the gameplay looks a bit too difficult, don't esitate to grab a few powerups...
The game's UI can be divided into 2 categories: the Game Setup UI and the in-game UI.
The "Game Setup UI" is comprised of a simple form. Each one of the 2 columns sets the parameters for a player. Starting from the top, the user can set the "Gamemode". Triple Triad can be played in 3 different ways: Player VS CPU, Player VS Player (locally) and, lastly, CPU VS CPU. Depending on which option is chosen, further input fields can become active or inactive: each player's AI level can be set only when the CPU plays in its stead (more on that later), and the Player 2's deck can only be set in the local PvP mode, otherwise the game chooses the Player 2's "Preferred/Default" deck (refer to the "Cards & Deck Building" section for further info on Default decks).
Atop the rightmost column, the "Player 2 search" field is present. After typing at least 3 characters in it, the database checks if a user exists with that letters and/or numbers pattern in its username. Every corresponding match (up to five) is appended to a drop-down menu to choose from. When one of the options is clicked on, that user's deck info will be loaded and displayed. In case a user starts the game with this field empty, or without a valid user, a random one will be chosen from all the available ones in the database. Moreover, if an opponent without a valid deck is selected, the deck info will be instead loaded from a "trusted" user.
Lastly, the "AI Level" dictates the accuracy at which that player's CPU will play. In this game, there are 2 types of AI behaviour: Random and Smart. The "Random" mode will play a random card in a ranom empty slot, without any type of evaluation or decision. On the contrary, the "Smart" mode will go through each available card and play the one that can flip the highest number of cards, in the best possible game tile. Every turn a random number between 1 and 100 is rolled. If this number is lesser or equal than the specificied AI Level, the CPU will use the Smart mode, otherwise the Random mode will be used.
To play a card, you need to "focus" it first. Whenever a card in the current player's hand is clicked, it gets focused and moved closer to the board. If a different card was already selected, it returns to its original position. A card gets unfocused either by selecting another card or clicking anywhere on the screen (apart from a free tile on the game board).
During the game, the player has access to three different buttons:
Slider Enabled/Disabled: this button enables or disables the in-game info slider that plays at the start of each turn.
Spinner Enabled/Disabled: this button enables or disables the in-game spinner that keeps track of whose player's turn the game is at the moment. Reccomended to turn off on lower end systems.
Immersive/Fast AI: this button toggles between the 2 different AI behaviours. The "Immersive AI" option simulates a "human" behaviour through the focus of a random number of cards, emulating thought and indecision. The "Fast AI" option instead skips this process and plays only the final card chosen by the AI logic process. Whichever behaviour is active doesn't influence what card is played by the AI at the end of the animation.
In order to play Triple Triad every user needs to create their own personal decks. This is done in the Deck Builder page, which is roughly divided in 4 sections/column of contents:
Deck List: in this section the user can select which deck they want to edit. At the end of the list, an additional "Add Deck" button can be pressed to create and fill a new entry. The currently selected deck is highlighted by a crimson shadow.
Deck Contents: this section contains the contents of the currently selected deck. The user can hover over each card's name to open its relative preview on the right side of the screen. To remove a card from the deck, the user has to, once again, hover over that card and click on the green arrow that pops up.
Collection: this section lists all the cards in possession of the active user. Hovering over the card's name, as before, opens the preview and shows the arrow to put it in the deck. However, every deck can only contain at most 2 copies of the same card. If such a card is hovered on, its arrow will be greyed out and not clickable.
Admin Panel: the rightmost element of the screen is the admin panel for the currently selected deck. After the page loads, the panel is invisible, and pops up whenever a deck button is clicked upon. Starting from the top, the user can set or update the deck's name. If this field is blank on submission, the old name is preserved, or a default one is assigned in case of a new deck. The first button directly underneath the text input is the "Set as Default" button. It is clickable only when a deck is valid (refer to the Submit/Save Changes Button), and allows the currently selected deck to be set as default. The default deck is the one used by the CPU whenever a player is challenged. However, a player can also not have a favorited deck. In this case the AI will choose of its own accord. WARNING:If the "Default Deck" gets edited, it will lose the preferred status. Always remember to set it again as Default after any change! The second button is the "Delete Deck" button. As the name implies, it removes the currently selected deck from the deck. This action is non-reversible. The button is (obviously) deactivated during the creation of a new deck. Lastly, at the bottom of the container, the "Save Changes" button is present. This element is interactible only if the current deck is "valid". A deck is valid if it contains exactly 8 cards, not one more or less. Whenever a change is submitted, set as Default, or gets deleted, the page reloads to show the modifications.
Regarding the Card Collection, each user gets 2 copies of the five weakest cards upon signup. To earn more, a player has to defeat the CPU in a P1 vs CPU match, with the P2 AI Accuracy set at 80 or greater. At the end of the match, the user will be able to choose one card to add to their collection from a list of 3, randomly picked amongst all the existing ones.