- “I am the Queen of Cards. I travel all over the world to monitor and enforce the various card rules.”
- —Queen of Cards
The Queen of Cards (カードクイーン, Kādo Kuīn?) (named Ishtar in the French version) is a non-playable character in Final Fantasy VIII. A master of Triple Triad, the Card Queen controls regional rules and is part of a sidequest to obtain rare cards. Her real name is unknown.
The Queen grew up in the Dollet Dukedom, where her father works as a painter of new Triple Triad cards. Having been raised around somebody so prominently associated with the game, the Queen easily became an expert player. By the start of the game, she is one of the leading card players in the world. Although first found idling near the train station in Balamb, the Queen is constantly on the move, traveling from town to town in search of challenging opponents. Her card skills are so respected that any new rule she adopts soon spreads among the populace wherever she is playing.
The Queen offers the player the ability to pass on a new rule to a region for the price of 30,000 gil. She will also offer to combine rules, like any other Triple Triad player.
The Queen of Cards is the only one who can influence the trading rules; each time she is played, one of the four trading rules (One, Diff, Direct, or All) is selected and the most recent trading rule used in a game with her may sometimes spread. It is not necessary to play her, simply challenge her then quit at the rule screen. The trade rules will degrade after a certain number of played games, so All, Diff and Direct will eventually become One. There are two patterns: All->Direct->Diff->One, or any rule straight to One.
Playing in a region where the Queen is located will refresh her rule. For example, if the Queen is in Balamb, last selected Direct, and the rule degraded to Diff or One, playing again in Balamb will eventually reassert Direct there. Additionally, playing in a region where the Queen is located has a chance to spread that region's rule to one other region, so playing in Balamb will have a chance of spreading Direct to Galbadia, Fisherman's Horizon, etc...
This allows for somewhat sophisticated rule manipulation. The player can challenge the Queen of Cards, accept a game with All, then purposely loose a rare card to send her to another region, say Galbadia. If she goes to the desired region, the player will be able to spread All to anyone who plays with Galbadian rules. Opponents do not have to be physically in the region with the Queen of Cards, they just have to play with that region's rules. In this manner, one can set rules for regions before even arriving there.
Again, it is not necessary to play an actual game. Just challenge the player, accept to see the rules screen, then quit the game. Repeat until the rule changes to All. The game counts each accepted challenge as a played game.
The Card QuestEdit
Although the Queen carries no rare cards herself, her father, the card painter, does. If the player is willing to lose certain coveted cards to the Queen, her father will be inspired to create a new one-of-a-kind card. In order to begin the sidequest the player must first get the Queen to move to Dollet. The Queen will change locations each time the player loses a rare card to her or wins one back from her. Once the Queen is in Dollet's pub, the player will be given a new option to ask about her artist father. They can then lose cards to her in order to get new ones.
When the player loses one of these cards to the Queen, she will say that it is a great card and that she is sure her father can create a wonderful new card from it. She will then move on to the next location. Once the new card has been created, the player must locate the Queen's son in order to win back the card they lost. The Queen's son is located in a house on the outskirts of Dollet (he is the little boy who keeps placing a bone in the artist's painting). The new cards created by the card painter, however, are distributed to the public and must be won from certain people.
|Lose||Gain||Receive card at|
|Mini Mog card||Kiros card||Deling City, held by a man in black on the shopping arcade.|
|Sacred card||Irvine card||Fishermans Horizon, held by Flo.|
|Chicobo card||Chubby Chocobo card||Balamb Garden, held by the cadet sitting outside the library.|
|Alexander card||Doomtrain card||Timber, held by the pub owner.|
|Doomtrain card||Phoenix card||Esthar, held by the President's Aide.|
By disc 4, the card quest has ended, regardless as to whether the player participated. At this point, the Queen has taken up permanent residence on the Estharian continent, just outside the southern border of the city barrier. She is found on the escape pod's crash site, which isn't visible on the map, but the party can enter it by stepping on the right spot. There, the player can challenge her to win the Card Quest cards if they may have missed or modified them.
Whenever the player wins or loses a rare card to the Queen of Cards, she will travel to a new region. Paying 30,000 gil to her prompts her to spread a new rule to the current region.
These regions are:
- Balamb Town - outside the train station.
- Dollet - Dollet Pub.
- Galbadia - Deling City Hotel.
- Fishermans Horizon - by the Save Point.
- Trabia - Shumi Village Inn.
- Centra - Winhill Hotel.
- Esthar - Esthar Presidential Palace.
- "Far Away" - Lunar Gate.
If she is in Balamb she will move to Dollet (37.5% chance) or Deling City (62.5%).
- Deling City → Balamb (12.5%), Dollet (12.5%), Winhill (12.5%), FH (62.5%).
- Dollet → Balamb (37.5%), Deling City (62.5%).
- Shumi Village → Balamb (25%), Dollet (50%), Lunar Gate (25%).
- Winhill → Deling City (37.5%), Dollet (37.5%), FH (25%).
- FH → Dollet (12.5%), Winhill (25%), Esthar (62.5%).
- Esthar → Dollet (12.5%), Shumi Village (25%), FH (12.5%), Lunar Gate (50%).
- Lunar Gate → Random area, plus she gives no hint.
- The quest is considerably easier if the player can make the Queen move only between Balamb and Dollet. This way they won't have to chase her around the world. If she goes somewhere else instead, the player can reset the game and try again.
- The cards she needs can be lost to her even before she requests them. For example, upon first meeting her in Balamb station, the player can lose the MiniMog card to her and have her move to Dollet. In Dollet, she will say she has already given the card to her father.
- That means that the easiest and fastest way to complete the quest is:
- Lose the four needed cards in Balamb on trade rule "All".
- Make sure she travels to Dollet.
- Abolish the "Random" rule in Dollet.
- Win Doomtrain's card in Timber pub.
- Lose it to the Queen in Dollet on trade rule "One".
- An actress wearing a garb similar to that of the Queen of Cards is seen during Laguna's acting career dream sequence. Here, the actress plays the role of a sorceress, and Laguna plays her Knight.
- If asked in Dollet about how rules are passed on, the Queen will reply, "The rules you're carrying our passed on as you travel to various regions", instead of "are passed on". This is corrected in other areas.