Tetra Master is a game that was available to play from the PlayOnline service on PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Windows. The service was launched on May 16, 2002 in Japan, and in October 28, 2003 in North America and Europe. Tetra Master is a collectible battle card game and based on the card game Tetra Master in Final Fantasy IX. The game features 250 cards from Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy X. The service cost an additional ¥100 JPY a month (¥105 JPY including tax), €1 EURO, £0.70 GBP, or $1 USD on top of the PlayOnline service price. The Tetra Master online service was discontinued on December 31, 2010. The game has no offline component and thus can no longer be played.
The minigame in Final Fantasy IX was originally called "Quad Mist" in Japanese versions, with its name written in English text in the center of the board. The name "Tetra Master" used in the English localization of Final Fantasy IX is the name of this minigame in both Japanese and English.
Upon creating a Tetra Master account, players were prompted to join one of three groups: the Warriors Guild (ウォリアーズ・ギルド, Woriāzu Girudo?), which specialized in weapon cards with high offense; the Voyagers Guild (ヴォエジャー・ギルド, Voejā Girudo?), which specialized in airship and building cards with high defense; or the Summoners Guild (サモナーズ・ギルド, Samonāzu Girudo?), which specialized in eidolon and magic cards. This changes the cards that can be obtained from the card shop and from CPU opponents. This was intended to encourage trade between players since they would not have been able to obtain every card by themselves.
Players accumulated currency and leveled up their cards as they played the game. Winnings could be spent on themed booster packs containing random cards or used at auctions to bid on specific pieces. Like the original minigame, a victorious player could claim a card from the opponent's hand. In three player matches the winner could take a card from each opponent and the runner-up could take a card from the least successful contender.
The game features 250 cards. 150 of these are from Final Fantasy IX, many based on the cards in the game albeit with different designs, and another 100 cards from Final Fantasy X.
Players may own multiple copies of the same card, and due to the nature of the game these cards will vary in stats and arrow positions.
The player can create preset decks to use in a game, with two deck sets containing five decks each.
The card type (Physical, Magical, Exploit, Assault) cannot change on a card, and are listed on a card has P, M, X, and A respectively. The other values of a card are Offense, P. Defense, and M. Defense and can increase by using the card.
Stats are listed in two ways:
- In the Card Data section when the cursor is over the card. Stats are out of 100.
- On the card itself. Values on the card are divided by ten and rounded down, while a value of 100 is shown as a star.
For example, a card with an Offense of 100, Type of Exploit, P. Defense of 65, and M. Defense of 59 will display the text "☆X65" on the card itself.
A card can have 0-8 arrows bordering it on its edges and corners. Arrows are used to engage other cards. Stats are used to determine the outcome of card battles.
In the card menu, the cards are represented with an icon depending on the category it falls under. These include the categories from the original game, and an additional one for characters.
- Monster (モンスター, Monsutā?)
- Magic (召喚獣, Shōkanjū?, lit. Summoned Monster)
- Item (武器, Buki?, lit. Weapon)
- Place (建物, Tetemono?, lit. Building)
- Character (キャラクター, Kyarakutā?)
Setting up a gameEdit
After selecting Play from the main menu, the player can select a game lobby. The lobbies are divided based on language and referred to as "zones".
At the time of closure, the English zones were:
- Mermaids' Dreamworld
- Dragon Kings' Dance Hall
And the Japanese zones were:
- 亀が空を飛ぶ島 (Kame ga Sora o Tonbu Shima?, lit. Island of Flying Turtles?verify)
- 孔雀達の桃源郷 (Kujaku-tachi no Tōgenkyō?)
Each zone has rooms such as "Freewheeler Room", "Novice Hall", "Veteran Arena", "Master Arena", and "Player Showdowns".
Each room has sixteen tables where games can be played. Players in a room are listed on a member list. Players can pick a table marked "Empty" and set up the rules for a game, or join a game at a table marked "Join". Players may observe a table marked "Playing" if the tables set-up allows it. A table marked "Setting Up" is reserved while a player sets up its rules.
If one wants to play against a player they can make a "Reservation". Even if one wants to play against a computer-controled opponent they must set up at a game at a table in this way and select "VS. COM".
When setting up a game at a table, restrictions can be set up for the table, including setting a password to enter, whether observers are allowed to spectate the game, and the level of cards allowed to be used in the game.
Game rules can also be toggled. These are:
- Wager - The amount of money bet
- Double Up - Two or three player
- Chance Blocks - On/Off, whether Chance Blocks may be placed no the field at the start of the game
- Special Tiles - On/Off, whether Offense Up, Defense Up, and MAX Arrows! may be placed on the field at the start of the game
- Rotating Blocks - On/Off, whether Rotating Blocks may be placed on the field at the start of the game
- Time Limit - The amount of time one can selecting their hand, and on each of their turns
- Quitting - The forfeiture rules when quitting a match
Tetra Master can be played two-player (on a 4x4 board) or three-player (on a 5x5 board) with 0-7 spaces being randomly filled in with special tiles. The colors of players are blue, red, and green.
When setting up a "VS. COM" game, the player must choose opponents. Computer-controled opponents are based on character from Final Fantasy IX and have set values for average card rank and wager.
Turn order is randomized. Players take it in turns to place their cards. The game ends when all cards are placed. The order of victory is decided by which players has the most cards of their color on the board.
Three things may happen when placing a card on the board. It may capture another card, it may enter a card battle with another card, and it may trigger special tiles.
A card is captured when a placed card has an arrow pointing to another card, and the other card does not have an arrow pointing back.
Card battles are engaged when a placed card has an arrow pointing to another card with an arrow pointing back. The winner of a card battle flips the opposing card to its own color. After this a "Combo" can be triggered where all cards pointed to by the captured card also have their color changed to the winner's color.
A Perfect is scored when all the cards on the board are one player's color.
The "Range" option can be enabled to view the percentage chance of winning a card battle.
The player in first position can choose to increase a card's stats, and one of its three stats at random is increased.
If trade rules are on, players can pick a card from every player they victored over. This means in a three-player game, the first player will take a card that ended the game in their color from both other players, and the runner-up will take a card that ended as their color from the loser. With a Perfect, the winner takes all cards. In a VS. COM game, this rule is always on.
A game can be exited at any time. If the rules dictate it the player may forfeit all five cards to their opponent. In a VS. COM game this will cause you to lose all five cards.
A card initiating a card battle uses its Offense stat. If a card has the Physical type it targets the opposing card's P. Defense, if it has the Magic type it targets the opposing card's M. Defense, and if its type is Exploit it targets whichever of the opposing card's P. Defense or M. Defense values is lower. If it has the Assault type then instead of Offense, the card uses its highest value of any of its three stats against the opposing card's lowest value of its three stats.
The card with the highest stat in the battle has the highest chance of winning, however an element of randomness is used to make the result not guaranteed.
The winner of the card battle flips the loser of the card battle to its own color.
A gray stone block. Cards cannot be placed on here.
- Chance Block
Tiles with a question mark. Placing a card with an arrow pointing to one of these tiles with an arrow can cause a random effect. After being used, the block breaks and becomes an available tile.
- Power Up: Garnet adds ten points to all stats on all cards belonging to the color of the interacting card for the remainder of the game.
- Power Down: Grim Reaper removes ten points to all stats on all cards belonging to the color of the the interacting card for the remainder of the game.
- Color Shift: Oglops change the color of all adjacent cards.
- Scramble: Aero randomly moves all placed cards on the field to new positions. Cards whose stats have been increased by a special tile keep those stat increases at their new position.
- Rotating Block
Each turn a rotating block points in one of the eight directions at random. Interacting with the block causes it to shoot an electrical blast along that direction and capture any cards in its path for the player that interacted with it. When striking diagonally, the blast wraps to the other side of the board, e.g. a block in the top-right position (5,1) pointing down-right will strike (1,2), (2,3), (3,4), and (4,5). However, the length of the strike depends on the offensive value of the interacting card.
- Offense Up
Activated with Special Tiles, Offense Up is a sword tile. If a card is placed on this tile its offense value is increased by 2-5x for the remainder of the game.
- Defense Up
Activated with Special Tiles, Defense Up is a shield tile. If a card is placed on this tile its defense values are increased by 2-5x for the remainder of the game.
- MAX Arrows!
Activated with Special Tiles, MAX Arrows! is eight-pointed star tile. If a card is placed on this tile arrows it is given all eight arrows for the remainder of the game.
The computer-controlled opponents name and image are based on characters who appeared in Final Fantasy IX. These include major playable characters to minor NPCs.
Cards may be traded at the end of a game. Players can pick a single card from each player they victored over which was their color at the end of the round. If a player gets a Perfect they take all the cards.
A Card Shop exists in the game where players can buy and sell their cards to other players. They can also buy card packs.
An Auction exists where players can auction off their cards to the highest bidder.
Players can spent prize points to purchase cards at the Prize Center in ranking.
Players are ranked by their money and by VS. Ranking. The top ranked player has their deck purchasable in the Card Shop by everyone.
The game contained an original soundtrack.