Card game is a recurring type of minigame in the Final Fantasy series. Playing them is usually always optional; the only exception is the card tournament in Final Fantasy IX, but the player does not need to win in order to proceed. The games can be divided roughly for two categories: card games designed solely for Final Fantasy, and real world card games adapted to a Final Fantasy theme.
Triple Triad is the first playable card minigame in the Final Fantasy series. The developers designed Triple Triad as a minigame the player can play any time there are suitable NPCs around to challenge, to take a break from the game's main story. The game has 110 unique cards to collect, depicting monsters, bosses, Guardian Forces and playable characters; level 9 and 10 cards are unique and often the means to acquire said unique cards are sidequests in and of themselves. The game has various rules and the cards can be modified into items; some rare items can only be obtained by refining from cards.
In 1999, following Final Fantasy VIII's release, Japanese games company Bandai produced a full set of collectible Triple Triad cards made up of the 110 cards as seen in the game, along with 72 artwork cards and a collectors' edition playing mat. The cards have since become a rare collectors' item.
Tetra Master is similar to Triple Triad in the regards that the player collects cards by winning them from opponents, finding them, or by winning them in card games. The cards depict various monsters fought throughout the game, as well as eidolons, magic spells and airships and naval ships, as well as several unique cards that fit none of the above. The cards cannot be turned into items and the only reward is the game itself: the player can attempt to collect all cards and receive the highest collector's rank by upgrading the cards via repeat play; when cards are used in play they sometimes upgrade their stats. The game has many random elements, from the arrows the cards have to challenge other cards, to card battle results and the layout of the game board. Collecting all the cards with the highest stats is considered among the most difficult challenges in the game, requiring tens of hours of gameplay.
The game used to have an online version available in PlayOnline that introduced a variety of features. The game also contained an original soundtrack and employed characters from Final Fantasy IX as computer-controlled opponents. The Tetra Master online service was discontinued on December 31st, 2010.
A real world version of Tetra Master was released for a short time in Europe and instead of buying booster packs, the player bought one set of the cards, every set including the same 120 cards, two ten-sided dice, a German manual, a double-sided playing board, ten yellow counters and ten red counters. The game plays largely the same as the Final Fantasy IX equivalent, but with a few modifications.
Blackjack is a minigame in Final Fantasy IX based on the real-world Blackjack card game. The game can be accessed at the end of the game, once The End screen is displayed and the "Prelude" plays by inputting a specific button combination.
The dealer deals out of two decks and stands on 17, and the game begins with a bankroll of 1,000. The Joker, Jack, Queen and King use images of Final Fantasy IX characters.
Serendipity Poker is one of two card games unlocked with the downloadable content episode Heads or Tails? where the player plays as Sazh Katzroy. The game works in the same way as standard poker, where players can stake casino coins if they think they have a better hand than the other players, or bluff in an attempt to make the other players think they have a better hand than they actually have.
Once a player loses all their casino coins in their buy-in stack, they are considered bust and must leave the table. When three players are bust, the remaining player wins a bonus 2,000, 20,000 or 200,000 casino coins depending on the initial buy-in amount. This means a player can obtain up to six times their investment by winning all the other players' casino coins and receiving the bonus payout. The player can also leave the table at any time, and their stack will be added to the player's casino coin total.
Chronobind is an original casino style game created for Final Fantasy XIII-2. It works like a clock puzzle with a gambling element, similar to the clock puzzles played in the Temporal Rift anomalies, only in Chronobind the player controls the hand of a clock using playing cards.
Triple Triad is playable at Manderville Gold Saucer.