Collectable card games are great, aren’t they? Well, maybe not for me – I’ve never had the patience for buying random packs of cards and hoping that maybe there will be something useful in there – but loads of folk love them and even I enjoy the occasional game of Magic: The Gathering. I can also appreciate the enjoyment of deck building and finding a rare card in a pack. Great stuff!
Square-Enix, publishers of the Final Fantasy video game series (among many, many, many others) have recently put out their Final Fantasy Trading Card Game and it’s intriguing to me. I like the look of it and have read several reviews that make it sound like something that is at least worth a trial run.
That said, there’s one game from Square-Enix’s past that I would much rather have seen revived and distributed as a CCG – hell, I’d even have bought in! This game is Triple Triad, the card game featured in Final Fantasy VIII.
Although originally included in FFVIII, Triple Triad has seen other revivals and publications. There was, at the time of FFVIII‘s launch, a physical set of cards that could be acquired. These now sell for ludicrous amounts on eBay. A mobile app was also put of by Square-Enix and the game has also been included in an update patch to the MMO, Final Fantasy XIV.
To give you an idea of what the game is, here is a really good video from Graehl Gaming that looks at the game from the point of view of an FFXIV player. Remember, FFXIV does have a very different visual style to the original and has slightly different rules, but both are essentially the same game and the video is a very useful illustration:
There have also been a number of unofficial interpretations of the game. There have been several websites that have allowed you to play the game, often using custom decks and rules, as well as many apps that emulate the rules. I myself helped run one of these sites for a while and love making little decks for these sites. Here are a few of my own cards that I made for these sites:
Now, these cards are of several different styles, coming as they do from 5 different games, but this does highlight something that Square-Enix should consider in regard to this game. The art is already done. This is true of the FF: TCG cards too, of course, but it’s worth mentioning. They have decades of material to draw upon and the cards are rather easy to put together, consisting solely of a set of backgrounds, templates, numbers and elemental symbols. The cards do not carry their own special rules, just unique number combinations. I suppose that in expanding the game into a more commercial product, more rules could be added, either by putting text onto the cards or by using symbols to denote special actions or the like.
Although I have personally not done so yet, there are many people who have created their own sets of cards already, either from the original images or through their own designs. I write an infrequent blog entitled Triple Triad Cards, where one contributor, Jay, has created sets of Dragon Warrior and Super Metroid cards (Feb 2021: Dead links removed). Here are a few previews:
The designs are really simple, but are very effective, and he’s had a go at printing up a set for himself. I think they turned out rather well:
I suppose my smaller cards, designed for online versions of the game, could be used with a little adjustment, printed to the same sort of size as the smaller cards used by Fantasy Flight in several of their board games. I’ve done this size before in a customised version of The Resistance.
Back on topic, even a licensed version of the game using another company’s IP would be great. I just really want to see a card game that I love back out among the people. The popularity of the app and FFXIV versions should prove that the game itself is compelling and even if the online communities that once thrived around the game are now dead, the fact that they existed at all does prove that there is something to this design.
With the big investment that has been put into Final Fantasy Trading Card Game, I don’t see this happening any time soon. Perhaps this is a candidate for my next print and play project? We’ll see.