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Carbon Ocelot's Final Fantasy 8 Walkthrough


Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4
SeeD Tests
Side Quests
Other GF
Card Game
Card Mods
GF Abilities
Refine Abilities
Item List

Single Page Version



Balam Card Club
Queen of Cards Quest[s] (N/C)

Why play cards?:
I'm glad you asked! Quezacotl's Card Mod skill lets you turn cards into items, which can be used or refined into things that can significantly help your characters throughout the game. For example, be sure to see the Weapon Upgrades section and learn how items you acquire through the card game will let you upgrade to a new weapon (you don't buy better weapons in this FF.)

Triple Triad Rules
The rules for triple triad are fairly basic. Throughout the game you aquire cards through various means. You can "Card Talk" to a character by pressing the 'A' key (PC Version) or Square button (Playstation). If that character plays cards, you will be given oppertunity to begin a game. The rules change from location to location, but the basics are the same. You win a game by flipping over more of your opponants cards then s/he flips of yours. Depending on the rules of the land, the winner gets one or more of the losers cards. The variable rules are:

  • Open. The open rule means that you can see the cards your opponant will be playing with. Be aware that s/he can also see yours. The open rule is very helpful for avoiding same/plus combos, and is an absolute MUST for beginners. Try to spread this rule early on if you're a novice. If you're a veteran player, you probably know what kinds of plays to avoid.
  • Random. This rule makes it very tricky to win battles. With Random, the computer will chose 5 cards for you that you will have to play with. Since some cards cannot be Card Moded without up to 10 cards, it's difficult to keep your deck stacked such that you control what cards are chosen. In fact, with the Difference and All rules, it's virtually impossible! Try not to let this rule spread! If it does spread, you should can eleminate fractional reserves of cards (e.g., you have 1 Chimera card so you need 9 more to get a full set of 10 to card mod) by acquiring 4 really low level cards, and losing on purpose. Your opponent will take the best card you played with, so if you play with 4 bite bug cards and 1 Chimera card, they'll virtually always take the Chimera.
  • Elemental. Some cards have an elemental symbol on them. If the square you play the card on matches that symbol, all point values on that card go up one. If you do NOT match that symbol, all points go DOWN, so be carefull if you are used to just playing a 'pattern' game - cards that did not previously match for "same" may match now.
  • Sudden Death. With this rule, if the game ends in a draw, you'll swap a few cards with your opponent and play again. I recommend avoiding spreading this one.
  • Same. When the Same rule is used, any card played with numbers that matches two or more numbers on adjacent cards with cause those cards to be flipped. When a card is flipped due to the same rule, all cards it can flip will be flipped, etc. Save your game and play with Same until you are comfortable with it.
  • Same/Plus. This is identical to same, except that instead of just matching the numbers on the other cards, you can also match the value that their numbers add up do. So if you play a card where the edges are 2 and 5 next to two cards whose edges are 7 and 4, the values add up to 9 and 9, and thus the two cards matching those edges will flip instead of just the 7 (which would flip because 7>2). This can get tricky, so save your game before messing with it.
  • Same/Plus/Wall. Treat this rule as the one above, but the wall now counts as a 10 (or 'A').
Trade Rules:
The Trade Rule in force for the current region determins how many cards you'll exchange with your opponent. When you start out, you'll be using the 'One' rule. Possible trade rules are:
  • One. With One, only a single card is traded. The winner chooses the card.
  • Difference. This rule allows the winner to chose as many cards as he won by. If you win by 5 or more points, this is effectively the same as the All rule below.
  • All. Yeah, you guessed it. Winner takes all cards. Ouch if you lose your good ones. Make sure you save your game before toying with this. When you pair all with random, you might end up losing several good cards because you can't win due to the random bad cards being injected. In this case, use the trick above to remove as many bad cards from your hand as possible before playing with the All/Random combo!
  • Direct. At the end of the game, whoever controls each card on the board wins that card. If your strategy in the game is to allow an opponent to flip a high value card so you can flip their other cards, you will lose the high value card they have flipped. Try to avoid this rule.
Different regions have their own combination of rules and trading rules, but if the Queen of Cards is in the region, you can get her to change the rules by paying her money. You can also get her to influence the trading rules by playing against her. See the Queen of Cards section below for more info.

Abolishing Rules:
When you first arrive in a region, you have a chance of either spreading a rule from a previous region or abolishing a rule from the new region. Or sometimes neither. For this reason, it's generally considered helpful to use this aspect of the game to your advantage to abolish rules by bouncing back and forth between regions with dissimilar rules. Most importantly, you want to get rid of the Random rule. Dollet, Trabia, Centra, and Lunar all start out with the random rule. By going from a region with a rule these don't have, you can possibly eliminate the random rule. Generally speaking, abolishing rules follows this patter:

  1. Come TO a city where you want to abolish a rule FROM a city with a rule that isn't yet spread.
  2. Save outside the target city
  3. Enter the city and challenge someone to a card game. You should see a note about combining rules from both regions. If you don't, you need to visit a DIFFERENT city first if you want to stand a chance of abolishing a rule.
  4. Accept the offering of a game using both rules, then press "quit" from the subsequent Rules screen. At this point you will either see no message, or a message saying a new rule has spread in this region, or a rule saying an exiting rule has been abolished. If the rule you wanted to get rid of is now gone, you're home free. Other wise, reload the game you saved outside the city and come back to try again.

Emulator's Note:
If you're playing on an emulator, it's quite a bit easier to abolish rules from various areas. For example, Trabia has the annoying Random rule. If you simply save your game outside the city (choose save from the menu - don't use the emulator here), then go into the city and play cards with anyone, they'll offer to play with any rules you know from another region. Just use the emulator quick save before offering to play. After agreeing to play with combined rules, you can quit from the Rules screen. Most of the time either a new rule will spread here, or an existing rule will be eliminated. If a rule spreads, simply load your quick save, then card-talk the same person, but decline to play immediately. Then quick save again, and repeat until either the rule you want eliminated goes away, or they stop offering to play with combined rules. If they stop offering to play with combined rules, you have two choices. Either reload your quicksave and find someone else to play with (then repeat the steps above as needed), or alternatively you can simply hard-reset the emulator and start the game over, then restore the save game outside the city and try again. Eventually you'll be able to nuke the rule you want. For the few areas where this isn't convenient, I'll offer suggestions that don't rely on the emulator in the appropriate spots. If you're trying to abolish the Random rule in Trabia at the end of Disk 3, here's a tip if the Esthar president is on the Ragnarok - you can play against him first, if you need to learn new rules, then go play into trabia. You can do this over and over, if needed to eliminate various rules.

Rules spread when you play games around the world. When you propose a game to a character in a new land, any rules from the previous land you played in may be new to him. He may suggest you play a game that combines rules from both area. Unless you just came from Balam (includes Balam Garden) I don't generally recommend this. Keep proposing games and eventually s/he will not ask to play with combined rules. To spread open, but keep other rules from spreading, I usually go back and play in Balam Garden after each new land I play in. In Balam, I always say no to anyone who wants to play with combined rules. Then when I go somewhere else, I say 'Yes' if they ask to combine the rules from Balam. If this confuses you, you can also pay of the Queen of Cards early on so she'll spread the open rule, if it's not already active in Balam.

That's pretty much it for the rules of the game.

Triple Triad Strategies

Being good at the card game really does translate to being better prepaired for the actuall game. Unlike some mini-games in other Final Fantasy games, winning lots of card games translates into better magic (and thus insanely high stats toward the start of the game), better gear (level up your weapons at the junk shops), and stronger GF (they can learn skills from the stuff you get when you card mod). Follow these hints to learn how to maximize your card playing ability.

Start early:
It's possible to acquire some good cards without having ever left Balam. Once you get your starter deck from the guy at the hallway of level two, head for the training center. Set Quezacotl to learn 'Card' and go hunting for Grats. When you get weak, head to your room and rest. (Save your potions and cure spells for later.) From the main entrance to the training center, head to the left and call Quezacotl when you encounter a heard of Grats. He'll usually kill grats in one shot, but you may have to kill them yourself with a good smack once in a while.

When he learns card, eneable it in the menu and have him move on to 'Card Mod.' Continue Grat hunting, but this time try not to kill them out right - if Quezacotl doesn't kill enemies on one shot, great! Otherwise, you'll have to hunt by hand. Hit them two or three times to weaken them, then card them. You'll get lots of Grat cards, but you should also get a few Shumi Tribe cards. These are increadible cards to aquire this early in the game. Try to get three of them if you can, then you can begin playing in earnest.

Round One:
Leave the arena, save your game, and take on the girl in the Library at the desk. When you get good enough that you can beat her with ease, go for the girls outside your dorm room, then the lunch counter lady (the one on the left). If you can beat all these easily, try Dr. Kadawaki and the guy by the entrance to garden (the one in the booth). If you can defeat these guys pretty much every time, you should begin to acquire some decent cards, and you will probably begin to develop a bit of strategy.

Round Two:
Head to the Library and go to the far right screen (a little study area). You should find a girl who says "Hehe... So you want to play with me?" She plays with some pretty good cards, so you can get some pretty powerful cards here. Continue until you can beat her with some frequency. After that, it's time to win your first Page 10 card - Quistis. Save first. ;)

Head to the Cafeteria and go to the back-right screen. You'll see a few guys you can talk to ("...the one in front, or the one in the back?") Card talk to the one named "Trepe Groupe #1" and beat him to acquire your Quistis Card. To beat him easily, I used: Shumi Tribe, Malboro, Wedge/Biggs, Elastoid and Wendigo. If you can't beat him on the first try, just keep at it. If you lose too many cards, restart from your save (you did save, right?!?) and try again. When you have it, save again and then look for the kid that's running circles around the middle of Garden. You can't miss him - he runs past on the screen with the directory almost every time. Card talk to him and win the Mini Mog card.

Side note: I used to think the mini mog card was only good for card moding, but there's a problem with that - you will not be able to complete the queen of cards quest if you do that. I'll just play the Queen of Cards the first time I get to Balam City and loose it to the Queen to start the side quest.

Moving up:

It's probably obvious by now, but they single easiest way to get powerful characters is to win and card-mod certain cards, and then use your GFs' magic refinement skills to turn those things into magic. Throughout most of the game, you'll be playing with 3 characters. You can also move magic between characters via the Magic submenu. What all of this means for you is that you can very early on in the game use the card game to make normal game play easy (I mean REALLY easy!!!) and the really tricky stuff possible. Put another way, if you want to get some of the most powerful stuff in the game, you're going to *have* to learn how to play the card game well. As an example of what the card game can do for you, before I have Squall (L17), Zell (L9), and Selphi (L8) get on the train for Timber, they all have between 3000 and 5000 HP. All three have 100 of the following high-level magic: Tornado, Death, Meltdown, Pain, Curaga, Regen, Zombie, Blizzaga, Thundaga.

And it's not just magic. Remember the Weapon Upgrades section? I upgrade Squall's weapon the moment I leave Balam Garden to go take the Fire Cave test.

I get a lot of email from people saying "It's so boring to play the card game for hours before I even play this game, why don't you just level grind?" My answer is: Go ahead!!! It's your game - play however makes you happy. For those of you who want to truely dominate - no matter what it takes, the card game is an easy (if a little time consuming) way to do it. Compare to other games where you have to play the same level 100 times and get everything EXACTLY right or you can't beat it. That really bugs me. But I'm not going to force you to do things *my* way. ;)

For example, if you get 50 Chimera cards, you can refine those into 100 Full-Life. Junction this to HP and a level 13 Quistis goes from 900 HP to 7700 HP.

Before leaving Balam for Timber is my favorite time to play the game. Here's what I like to do:

  1. Save outside the Town of Balam.
  2. Go in the town and play cards with the Queen of Cards until she plays a game with the Trade Rule 'All' or 'Diff'. That changes the trade rule for this region. If she wants to play with any other rule, I just quit without playing.
  3. After that, you can head back to Balam Garden and play against all the opponents listed here. Better yet, play against the guy squatting by the Dock, if he's there.
  4. If you are on your way to Timber for your first SeeD contract, be sure to leave Balam Garden after talking to Cid, then go right back in and take the elvator to the 3rd floor so you can card battle Cid for the Seifer card. It's one of the best cards in the game, so getting it early is a huge advantage.
By this point, I have the following 5 cards, which I can use to win 4+ cards virtually every game: Quistis, Seifer (or Diablos), Ifrit, Jumbo Cactuar, and Elnoyle. You can win a lot of really great cards from the guy at the Guard Shack this way.

If you like, you can have Squall, Zell, and Selphie wander around the fire cave card modding Bombs and Buels in order to try and get some Krysta cards so you can get Holy Magic. However, you'll be able to win a bunch of these cards from a somewhat easy opponent before too long, so don't bother if that kind of thing frustrates you. On the other hand, it can provide the AP needed to learn the HP-J skills for Quezacotl, Ifrit, and Diablos, which is handy for keeping your guys alive.

When I'm ready to move on from Balam and head to Timber for my first SeeD contract, the last thing I do is play cards againt the queen with Mini-Mog, and 4 terrible (I use Fastitocalon-F) cards. That makes it very easy to loose the Mini Mog and start the Queen of Cards side quest. Then I junction all the new magics I've picked up from playing cards. My favorite junctions are:
  • Zell: Ifrit & Siren w/ HP=Full Life / Tornado, Str=Quake/Flare, Mag=Death, Stat Atk=Pain, Stat Def=Esuana&Confuse, Elem Atk=Thundaga, Elem Def=Water/Shell
  • Squall: Quezacotl w/ HP=Full Life / Holy / Tornado, Vit=Regen, Mag=Pain, Elem Def=Full-Life/Shell
  • Selphie: Shiva & Diablos w/ HP=Full Life / Holy / Tornado, Str=Demi, Vit=Meltdown, Mag=Quake, Spr=Curaga, Elem Atk=Thundaga, Elem Def=Firaga/Bio
My guys are now 10+ times as powerful as they would otherwise be, and I haven't even left the island!!!

The best cards to card mod early in the game are:
Best Card Mods
Quantity Card Mods Into Refine With Refins Into Junction To
5 Abyss Worm 5 Windmill Quezacotl: T Mag-RF 100 Tornado Magic
5 Blitz 5 Dynamo Stone Quezacotl: T Mag-RF 100 Thundagas Elem Def/Atk
5 Snow Lion 5 North Wind Shiva: I Mag-RF 100 Blizzaga Elem Def/Atk
2 Fastitocalon 2 Water Crystal Shiva: I Mag-RF 100 Water Elem Def/Atk
50 Ruby Dragon 5 Inferno Fang Ifrit: F Mag-RF 100 Flare (F/L/I dmg) Str/Elem-Def
15 Hexadragon 5 Red Fang Ifrit: F Mag-RF 100 Firaga Elem Def/Atk
50 Chimera 5 Regen Ring Siren: L Mag-RF 100 Full-lifes HP
25 Torma 5 Life Ring Siren: L Mag-RF 100 Life HP
5 Mesmerize 5 Mesmerize Blade Siren: Life Mag-RF 100 Regen Vitality
3 Tonberry 3 Chef's Knife Siren: Life Mag-RF 30 Death (+ 10 below) Magic
3 Belhelmel 3 Saw Blade Siren: Life Mag-RF 10 Death (+90 above) Magic
10 Tri-Face 10 Curse Spike Diablo: ST Mag-RF 100 Pain ST-Atk
10 Gayla 10 Mystery Fluid Diablo: ST Mag-RF 100 Meltdown Vitality
5 Armadodo 5 Dino Bone Diablo: Time Mag-RF 100 Quake Strength
5 Blood Soul 5 Zombie Powder Diablo: ST Mag-RF 100 Zombie Status Def
5 Anacondaur 5 Venom Fang Diablo: ST Mag-RF 100 Bio St Def/Atk
5 Forbidden 5 Betrayal Sword Diablo: ST Mag-RF 100 Confuses St Def/Atk
4 Ochu 4 Ochu Tentacle Diablo: ST Mag-RF 100 Blind St Def/Atk
1 Vysage 1 Wizard Stone Various Level 3 Magic Various
1 Imp 1 Wizard Stone Various Level 3 Magic Various
80 Blue Dragon 1 Fury Fragment Supt Mag-RF* 100 Aura
* Requires Leviathan, which you'll get on Disc 2.

Who to play:
To make it easier to find some of the cards above, here's a helpful list of who to challange to win the cards you want.

Early in the game; while you are still in Balam:
  • Bandana Guy: Randomly appears one screen down from the turnstile (Two down from Balam Directory). Prefers: upper left corner, unless he can flip a card. Can win:
    • Adamantoise (3 = 1 Turtle Shell; weapon upgrade)
    • Armadodo (1 = Dino Bone)
    • Belhelmel (1 = Siren L Mag-RF into 10 Death)
    • Blitz (1 = Quezacotl T Mag-RF into 20 Thundaga)
    • Blobra (4 = Leviathan Supt Mag-RF into 40 Shell)
    • Blood Soul (1 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Zombie)
    • Blue Dragon (4 = Leviathan Supt Mag-RF into 5 Aura)
    • Death Claw (1 = 1 Sharp Spike; weapon upgrade)
    • Fastitocalon (2 = Shiva I Mag-RF into 50 water)
    • Gesper (1 = Quistis Blue Magic: Degenerator)
    • Gayla (1 = Diablos ST Mag-RF into 10 Meltdown)
    • Hexadragon (3 = 1 Red Fang; weapon upgrade)
    • Imp (1 = 1 Wizard Stone; various magics)
    • Mesmerize (1 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Regen)
    • Snow Lion (1 = Shiva I Mag-RF into 20 Blizzaga)
    • Tonberry (1 = 1 Chef's Knife; weapon upgrade)
    • Torma (4 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Life)
    • Tri-Face (1 = Diablos ST Mag-RF into 10 pain)
    • Vysage (1 = 1 Wizard Stone; various magics)
  • Turnstile Receptionist: Always in the Receptionist desk one screen down from the Balam Directory. Prefers: upper left corner, unless he can flip a card. Can win:
    • Abyss Worm (5 = Quezacotl T Mag-RF into 20 Tornado)
    • Behemoth (10 = 1x Barrier; Quistis learns Mighty Guard)
    • Blood Soul (1 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Zombie)
    • Chimera (10 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Full-Life)
    • Elastoid (1 = 1x Steel Pipe; 6 needed to summon Doom Train)
    • Elnoyle (10 = 1x Energy Crystal)
    • Gayla (1 = Diablos ST Mag-RF into 10 Meltdown)
    • Gesper (1 = Quistis Blue Magic: Degenerator)
    • Imp (1 = 1 Wizard Stone; various magics)
    • Iron Giant (3 = 1x Star Fragment)
    • Malboro (4 = 1x Malboro Tentacle; Quistis learns Bad Breath / 6x needed to summon Doom Train)
    • Mesmerize (1 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Regen)
    • Ruby Dragon (10 = Ifrit F Mag-RF into 20 Flare)
    • Snow Lion (1 = Shiva I Mag-RF into 20 Blizzaga)
    • Tri-Face (1 = Diablos ST Mag-RF into 10 pain)
    • Wedge, Biggs (1 = 1 X-Potion)
  • Girl in Back of Library: In the far right screen in the Library (three screens right from the Balam Directory.) Prefers: upper left corner, unless she can flip a card. A little harder to beat than guys down from the Balam Directory. Can win:
    • Adamantoise (3 = 1 Turtle Shell; weapon upgrade)
    • Behemoth (10 = 1x Barrier; Quistis learns Mighty Guard)
    • Blitz (1 = Quezacotl T Mag-RF into 20 Thundaga)
    • Blobra (4 = Leviathan Supt Mag-RF into 40 Shell)
    • Blue Dragon (4 = Leviathan Supt Mag-RF into 5 Aura)
    • Cactaur (1 = 1 = 1 Cactus Thorn)
    • Chimera (10 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Full-Life)
    • Elastoid (1 = 1 Steel Pipe; 6 needed to summon Doom Train)
    • Elnoyle (10 = 1 Energy Crystal)
    • Hexadragon (3 = 1 Red Fang; weapon upgrade)
    • Imp (1 = 1 Wizard Stone; various magics)
    • Malboro (4 = 1 Malboro Tentacle; Quistis learns Bad Breath / 6x needed to summon Doom Train)
    • Ruby Dragon (10 = Ifrit F Mag-RF into 20 Flare)
    • Torma (4 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Life)
    • Tonberry King (1 = 1 Chef's Knife; weapon upgrade)
    • Vysage (1 = 1 Wizard Stone; various magics)
  • Dr Kadowaki: Always in the Dr's office, two screens left from the Balam Directory. Prefers: upper left corner, unless she can flip a card. Moderately harder to beat than guys down from the Balam Directory. Can win:
    • Elastoid (1 = 1x Steel Pipe; 6 needed to summon Doom Train)
    • Elnoyle (10 = 1x Energy Crystal)
    • Gayla (1 = Diablos ST Mag-RF into 10 Meltdown)
    • Gesper (1 = Quistis Blue Magic: Degenerator)
    • Iron Giant (3 = 1x Star Fragment)
    • Malboro (4 = 1x Malboro Tentacle; Quistis learns Bad Breath / 6x needed to summon Doom Train)
    • Mesmerize (1 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Regen)
    • Snow Lion (1 = Shiva I Mag-RF into 20 Blizzaga)
    • Torma (4 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Life)
    • Tonberry (1 = 1 Chef's Knife; weapon upgrade)
    • Tri-Face (1 = Diablos ST Mag-RF into 10 pain)
    • Turtapod (1 = 1 Turtapod)
  • Trepe Groupie #1: Always in back of cafeteria - "The guy in the back." Moderately hard to beat. You cannot assume he will prefer a specific corner. Can Win:
    • Behemoth (10 = 1x Barrier; Quistis learns Mighty Guard)
    • Chimera (10 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Full-Life)
    • Elastoid (1 = 1x Steel Pipe; 6 needed to summon Doom Train)
    • Elnoyle (10 = 1x Energy Crystal)
    • Iron Giant (3 = 1x Star Fragment)
    • Malboro (4 = 1x Malboro Tentacle; Quistis learns Bad Breath / 6x needed to summon Doom Train)
    • Mesmerize (1 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Regen)
    • Quistis (1 = 3x Samantha Souls - but DON'T do that - see the Queen of Cards Quest!)
    • Ruby Dragon (10 = Ifrit F Mag-RF into 20 Flare)
    • Tonberry King (1 = 1 Chef's Knife; weapon upgrade)
    • Wedge, Biggs (1 = 1 X-Potion)
  • In Balam City - Guy squatting by the dock. OK, technically this isn't in Balam Garden, but it's a great next step after you leave garden. If you can get the Diff or All rules to spread by playing cards with the Queen of Cards in Balam, you'll probably want to play aginst this guy. You can win the following cards from this guy:
    • Adamantoise (3 = 1 Turtle Shell; weapon upgrade)
    • Armadodo (1 = Dino Bone)
    • Abyss Worm (5 = Quezacotl T Mag-RF into 20 Tornado)
    • Behemoth (10 = 1x Barrier; Quistis learns Mighty Guard)
    • Blitz (1 = Quezacotl T Mag-RF into 20 Thundaga)
    • Blue Dragon (4 = Leviathan Supt Mag-RF into 5 Aura)
    • Cactaur (1 = 1 = 1 Cactus Thorn)
    • Chimera (10 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Full-Life)
    • Elastoid (1 = 1x Steel Pipe; 6 needed to summon Doom Train)
    • Elnoyle (10 = 1x Energy Crystal)
    • Imp (1 = 1 Wizard Stone; various magics)
    • Iron Giant (3 = 1x Star Fragment)
    • Malboro (4 = 1x Malboro Tentacle; Quistis learns Bad Breath / 6x needed to summon Doom Train)
    • Mesmerize (1 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Regen)
    • Ruby Dragon (10 = Ifrit F Mag-RF into 20 Flare)
    • Snow Lion (1 = Shiva I Mag-RF into 20 Blizzaga)
    • Tonberry King (1 = 1 Chef's Knife; weapon upgrade)
    • Torma (4 = Siren L Mag-RF into 20 Life)
    • Tonberry (1 = 1 Chef's Knife; weapon upgrade)
    • Tonberry King (1 = 1 Chef's Knife; weapon upgrade)
    • Tri-Face (1 = Diablos ST Mag-RF into 10 pain)
    • Turtapod (1 = 1 Turtapod)
    • Vysage (1 = 1 Wizard Stone; various magics)
    • Wedge, Biggs (1 = 1 X-Potion)

    Things to keep in mind...
    10x Elnoyle -> Energy Crystal -> High Level Magic (Ultima) Later
    6x Elastoid -> 6x Steel Pipe -> Call Doomtrain Later
    24x Malboro -> 6x Malboro Tentacle -> Call Doomtrain Later
    3x Adamantoise -> Turtle Shell (Weapon Component)
    4x Blue Dragon -> Fury Fragement -> 2x Aura Stone (Siren's Tool-RF), but Supt Mag-RF is 5 Aura later.
    GIM47N -> 10x Fast Ammo
    Wedge, Biggs -> X-Potion (Not magic, but powerful) (Siren: Tool-RF)
    Creeps -> Coral Fragment -> 20x Thundara
    Thrustaevis -> Shear Feather -> 20x Aero
    Glacial Eye -> Arctic Wind -> 20x Blizzara
    Bomb -> Bomb Fragment -> 20x Fira
    Caterchipillar -> Spider Web -> 20x Slow
    Gesper -> Steel Orb -> 15x Demi
    Grendel -> Dragon Fin -> 20x Double
    Elastoid -> Steel Pipe -> 20x Berserk
    Ochu -> Ochu Tentacle -> 30x Blind
    Cockatrice -> Cockatrice Pinion -> 20x Break
    Elastoid -> Steel Pipe -> 1x Auro Stone (Siren: Tool-RF)
    3x Iron Giant -> Star Fragment -> 2x Meteor Stone (Siren: Tool-RF)
    For more information on other card mods, please see the Card Mods section.

    Early Non-Card Mods:
    Buy 10x Tent -> 100 Curagas (Siren's L Mag-RF Skill)
    Kill Grats -> Sleep Powder -> 20x Sleeps (Diablo's ST Mag-RF Skill)
    Kill Grats -> Silence Powder -> 20x Silences (Diablo's ST Mag-RF Skill)

    Because I've played the game so many times, I don't feel the need to jump right into the fighting action and advance the plot. As a result, I've found that before I even get to the Fire Cave, I like to play the card game and get serious status junctions for my characters. If you don't want to spend all tha time, you can just sell stuff off instead. If you go that route, consider selling off any of the extra "Quistis Can Learn x" items. If you're playing cards, the Wedge, Biggs cards can card mod into X-Potions, which can be sold off for 2500 Gil EACH!
    1. Keep the random rule from spreading. Unless you really like a challange, it's a bad idea to let random spread. Since some countries force you to play with Different or All, you may not have a choice about what cards you aquire. If you get a Chimera, for example, you have to aquire 9 more before you can card mod it away. Since the Chimera card is not usefull in a battle really, it's better to not have it in your hand unless you are trying to get the Regen Ring it will mod to. Also, when you are trying to aquire a rare card, it's frustrating to have the computer randomly chosing when your opponant will play with it.
    2. Let the Open rule spread. Since Balam (includes Balam Garden) uses the open rule, I try to return there between each battle in a different land. Since the next time I battle (in a new area) they will ask me to play with balam's rules, I can spread "open" this way.
    3. Look for opponant patterns. Some opponants have a fondness for certain corners. If you know this in advance, it can help you chose what cards will work well against them.
    4. If I don't have dynamite strong cards, I like to play a worthless card in the middle of the board. It encourages your opponents to play good cards in bad spots.
    5. Go for the corners if you can. If you can control the corners, it's a lot easier to protect weak cards. Remember, the Malboro card may only have 2 sides that are good, but when placed in the lower left corner, only a handful of cards will beat it (until you start playing the high profile players later)!
    6. Unless you're playing "Direct," don't be afraid to sacrafice a good card for the win. Pay attention to your trade rules. I usually place a rare card where it can be flipped to force my opponant to play his dangerous cards first. Remember, most characters just can't resist the chance to flip Squall. But if you are playing with Direct, you'd better be able to win it back later!
    7. Try to Card Mod anything you don't need, but keep a backup just in case. It is inevitable that you will have to play a game where Random is used. To minimize its effect on your hand, keep a smaller hand! You probably won't be able to have a hand of 5 awesome cards, but a true master of the game could get away with it. If you try to play with only 5 cards, save your game first. Remember, you must have at least five cards to play. Also remember that the queen of cards quest requires you to lose SPECIFIC cards to her, so you may have a hard time doing that if you've card mod'd the only copy of, for example, Mini Mog.
    8. When playing with same/plus, spread the cards out and fill in squares. Try to play next to an existing card to keep from opening yourself up to same/plus attacks. Keep the number of sides open to attacks to a minimum. If your opponant opens by playing in a corner, play next to that card if you can. If he plays into a three card "L" shape, play in the hole to form a square. Getting into this habit will cut down on the number of times you have to reload because you irretrevablly lost your best card.
    9. It's usually easier to get a rare item by Card Mod then by random encounter winnings. Unless you have the "Rare Item" skill enabled (or you cheat), you will probably need to resort to card play to get an item. For example, if you need a Malboro Tentacle for a weapon, you would have to be insane to try for it the normal way (or insanly good, but that's beside the point). Play the guy in the booth at Balam Garden, however, and you can get a Malboro Tentacle by winning and Card Moding four Malboro cards.
    If I think of more strategy hints later, I'll put them here too.

    Balam Garden Card Club

    Note: You can't start this on Disc 1!!! Read the whole section for more information. The Card Club of Balam Garden is a group of players in the Garden that are really good. Defeating them will not only fufill a side quest, but can also net you some sweet cards you would otherwise be unable to aquire. I played several games with each, and will tell you any 'special cards' they chose to use. To complete the card club side quest you must:
    1. Win at least 15 games against Balam Garden residents
    2. Defeat CC Jack
    3. Defeat CC Joker
    4. Defeat CC Club
    5. Defeat CC Diamond
    6. Defeat CC Spade
    7. Defeat CC Heart
    8. Defeat CC King

    Win 15 games:
    I was unable to verify the number 15 for two reasons. First, you cannot take on the CC at the very beginning of the game. Therefore, since I get the Quistis and Mini Mog cards right off the bat, (not to mention I use the card game to get massive magic early on and totally unbalance the game :D ) I had played way more then 15 games.

    CC Jack:
    Once you have won enough games, feel free to head over and take this guy on. He's the guy that first tells you about the CC. You can find him (appears randomly) hanging around the front lobby. He usally walks in from either the top righ or bottom of screen. If you haven't won enough games, he will ask if he has told you about the CC yet. He did not appear to play with any 'special cards.'

    CC Joker:
    Card Club Joker will only play you after you have defeated CC Jack. He is also called 'Man From Garden' in other areas (Like Galbadia Prison and once you have the 'Call Shop' skill.) He runs the only buy/sell place in Balam Garden. You can find him (appears randomly) in the Training Center, standing on the end of the 'dock' on the screen where you can fight T-Rexaur enemies. If you go there and he's gone, just leave the screen and return. Even after you defeat him, you may want to continue playing until you win the Leviathan card from him. When you defeat him, he will add the 'View GF Information' function to your battle meter. Note: He doesn't appear until after Disc 1.

    CC Club:
    Card Club Club (Now you know why they always refer to this as the CC group in the english version of this game) appears randomly around the dormitory. Piece of advice, if you have just come from Joker, save your game in the dorm first, then come back and try to take on this guy. He does not apppear to play with any special (rare, high-level) cards.

    CC Diamond:
    The CC Diamond is actually 2 people. They are the 2 girls that hang out in front of the directory in the lobby of Balam. If you do not see them, wait a few seconds. They sometimes appear from the bottom right. If this is the case, you will have to wait until they are stopped in front of the directory before you can talk to them. They did not appear to play with any special cards, per se. However, they do play with Page 7 cards, so you can win an Ultima Weapon or two, if you're patient.

    CC Spade:
    Remember back on Disc 1 I told you to remember the guy who gave you your starter pack of cards? Well, he's the Spade of the CC group. He does not appear to play with any special cards. NOTE: If you begin the CC quest before fighting NORG, you'll automatically take the elevator down to B1 when you approach it. Then you'll have to fight that battle before returning here.

    CC Heart:
    Head up to the bridge and challange Xu. Please note that this battle is not possible until you've finished the Fisherman's Horizon section (Xu will not be on the bridge until then). She uses Carbuncle. At this point, the battles get REALLY TOUGH. Be sure to have saved your game before attempting this battle. Another interesting thing to remember here is that she plays easier after the first battle. So rememeber, you don't have to win Carbuncle on the first battle. Of if you feel like you have to, substitute a Malboro (or equally powerfull but not unique card.)

    CC King:
    To get King to show up, you have to first 'Card' (B2, etc) to the doctor. When you do, she will tell you that she is no longer the King. To find the king. Go to your dorm and SAVE. Then rest. If the King doesn't challenge you in the middle of the night, leave the dorm and then return. Repeat Rest and Leave routine until satisfied. Again, you don't have to win the Special Card (Gilgamesh) right off the bat. You can always do that later. The CC King will tell you when and where the King allows challenges.

    Now that you have defeated all the CC members, if you leave the castle on Disc 4 and return to the Rangnorok, the members of the Card Club will be waiting for you. Furthermore, they will play with the most advanced, rarest cards in the game. If you can defeat them and mod their cards, you can basically level up your magic and gear in very short period of time.

    Queen of Cards Quest[s]

    OK. I've finally decided to update this to include the instructions for defeating the Queen of Cards in the Queen of Cards Quest. This quest is actually easy to figure out, but hard to acomplish. You'd better be REALLY good at the game. Here are the directions as well as a few bits and pieces to help you out. Lose a GF or better (lvl 8+) card to her in various towns until she gets to dollet. Then you'll have to start losing specific cards. Just lose a specific card to her, then head to dollet and win the card back from the little boy at the artists shop. Throughout the time you are playing her, she'll get bored and head to another area. Consult my "Where is she going...?" table to figure out where to find her after each battle. If the queen asks for a card you do not have, consult my "Where can I get a...?" table.

    Pro-Tip: Change her Destination
    Always save before you play against her. That way if she gets bored and goes someplace you don't want to (or can't) follow her, you can reload and play her again. For example, I like to save before playing her in Dollet, and just keep reloading and playing again until she heads to Balam. In Balam, I do the same, and try to drive her back to Dollet. It's a lot less annoying than trying to run around in, say, the Galbadian Delling City for hours on end while you get lost or whatever. YMMV. Also, if you WIN a nice card from her (i.e., one you've lost before) you can also make her get bored and move around.

    Dollet Pub Owner:
    Once you get to Dollet, you can play against the ownder of the pub to get access to his back room. When you do, you can play against him, learn a bit about his family, and rifle through his magazines. Most importantly, you can get the Occult Fan II magazine here. There are three stacks of magazines here. The one closest to where you first appear on screen is the best one. It has three items hidden inside that you can find. Just keep searching. Once you find them, you can leave the screen and come back, and they will be magically restocked. Eventually, if you keep doing this, you'll find the Occult Fan II magazine. This one hints at the fact that there is a connection between the Doomtrain GF and Malboros.

    You can start as early as the first time you set foot outside of Balam garden - she's in the town. I opted to lose my mini-mog card immediately. That's not a very useful card, anyway.

    1. If you follow my guide and decide to get good at the game early on (i.e., before leaving Balam for Timber), you can start this side quest pretty early in the game. Since that's my preferred strategy, I just card-talk to her until she uses Trading Rule All or Diff, and then play with 4 Fastitocalon-F cards and Mini Mog. That causes her to travel to either Dollet or Deling City in Galbadia. Dollet is best, because you can get there sooner in the game, and you'll have to talk to her father about good cards anyway (see below). NOTE: If you have already left Balam for Timber, you can find the queen of cards in Balam after Galbadia has occupied the town (not during the occupation, though).
    2. Once you've lost mini-mog, you can hit up Dollet after the TV-Station assault. Head to the pub, and go upstairs. You should find the Queen of Cards there. Talk to her about her Artist Father, and she'll tell you that he paints some of the cards. Because you lost Mini Mog, he's created a Kiros Card, which is in Deling City. She'll also tell you she gave the Mini Mog card to her daughter. (Before playing any card games in Dollete, see the note below.) Save at the save point in the room here, then challenge the owner (on the left) to a game of cards. He's good, but you can beat him. Once you do, he'll let you into the back room, where you can search his magazines and play card games against him. He'll play with the Siren card from time to time. When you've got that, head downstairs, out the door, and down one screen from the entrace to the bar. Follow the kid into the house at the lower-right of the screen. This is the kid you can win your MiniMog card back from.
    3. NOTE: If you played cards while you were in Timber and/or Galbadia Garden... Any time you return to Dollet after playing in another region, there's a way to abolish the Random rule in Dollet based on knowing a bit about the random number generator used by this game and the Playstation (or emulator). Try this: Go to the Hotel on the fountain screen and save your game. Then hard reset the console (not the reset you can do by mashing a bunch of buttons on the controller - actually reset the console. When it comes back on-line, continue from this save point. Now leave the hotel and immediately go back inside and card-talk to the bell girl (in green). Decline to play. Card talk again, and again decline to play. Finally card talk a third time, this time say OK, but choose quit from the next screen. You should see the phrase "Random was abolished from this region" appear. It shouldn't matter if the "you know rules we don't use here" dialog shows up. Note that there is also a possibility that you may instead spread the open rule to this location, if it's not already here. If that happens, head back to Timber, Card Talk the guard at the enterance to town until he offers to play a game without mixing in Other Rules (be careful NOT to play one using Dollet's rules and Timber's rules, or you'll spread Random to Dollet as well). Accept his offer, then just quit on the next screen. You probably won't see any messages, but you can repeat the save/reset/reload steps above back in Dollet to abolish the Random Rule.
    4. After you have acquired the Sacred card from defeating the Brothers, return to Dollet before going back to Deling City. Head upstairs in the pub and use the save point (you may need to enable Move-Find to see it at the top of the stairs.) After saving, card talk to her and play a game with your Sacred card and a bunch of useless cards. Lose the Sacred card and talk to her again. If she tells you she's going to Balam, reset and load that save game. You want her to say she's heading to Galbadia. Go back to the artist studio and win the Sacred card back from her son.
    5. When you are able to get to Fisherman's Horizon (FH), you'll have the oppotunity to win the Irvine card from Mayor Dobe's wife. When you have control of the Garden, point it to Galbadia and head to the Galbadia Hotel. Card Talk to the queen and lose the Irvine card. I couldn't get her to commit to going anywhere other than Balam at this point, FWIW. Since you basically have to go to Balam after FH, it's not that big a deal, but be aware she won't appear while the town is under Galbadian control. If you can get her to go to Dollet, you're home free. If not, just find her in Balam (or whereever else she ends up), save, lose a card like Carbuncle, and reload unless she says she's going to Dollet.
    6. When she's in Dollet, talk to her about her artist father and she'll tell you she's looking for a Chicobo card. If she tells you she gave the Irvine card you lost to her to her son, head to the out of the bar and down one screen to the art studio where win it back. Otherwise, just keep playing her until she uses it. Remember, if you lose *or win* a rare card, she'll get bored and head somewhere else. Make a note of where she says she's heading. Especially if you lost another rare card to her in order to get her to head to Dollet (*cough* Carbuncle *cough*). FWIW, I wouldn't normally try to win my card back at this point, but I actually use the Irvine card while I'm playing because it's better that the Sacred card. I know some guides tell you to card battle her son at this point, but I couldn't get him to play with any cards unless she explicitly said she gave said card to her him.
    7. After compelting the Chicobo Card side quest (see the Side Quests section of this guide), follow her and lose that card. After several reload/rematch attempts, I got her to head to Dollet after I lost the Chicobo Card. Talking to her about her Artist father she said she gave the Chicobo Card to her son, and that her father was able to make a Fat Chocobo card which is somewhere in Balam Garden. I got back my Carbuncle, and also got the Chicobo from her son. (I sent her off to Balam when I won the Carbuncle back from her, but that seems OK to me.)
    8. Now that we know where it is, head to the screen with the Directory in Balam Garden. Just right from there is a bench next to a trash can - just left and down from the library walkway. There's a guy that randomly sits on this bench. Leave and return until he's there and win the Fat Chocobo card from him.
    9. On Disc 3 when you are visiting the Lunar Base, you can win the Alexander card from Piet (the first guy in the white coat you see. I was able to abolish the Random rule by exploiting the PRNG (Pseudo-Random Number Generator). If you missed it on the Disc 3 section of the walkthrough, here is the process: Hard Reset the game console (don't use L1,R1,Start,Select). Continue that game and do the following card challanges against the guy on the right: Challange and say no [1] time. Challange and say Yes, then Quit without playing [1] time. Challange and say no [11] times. Challange and say Yes, then Quit without playing [4] times.
    10. When you have the Alexander card, lose it to the Queen, the go talk to her in Dollet (lose another card to her if you must in order to driver her back to Dollet. She'll tell you she gave the Alexander card to her son here in town and that her father made a Doomtrain card that's somewhere in Timber. Head out of the pub and down one screen and into the art studio to win your Alexander card from her son.
    11. At this point I have enough great cards that I usually go challange Martine in FH (you can park the Ragnarok there) and win back the Ifrit card that Rinoa's father gave him. After that, head to Timber and challange the pub owner to win the Doomtrain card (he's the guy in the back right that is *really* into cards.) Just FYI you may have to challenge him MANY times. If you're on an emulator, consider a quick-save when you're on the Rules screen. That way you can quick reload to that screen if he's not playing with Doomtrain, then press down twice and quick save again (to reset the PRNG.) FYI: On one play through it took me about 25-30 times before he played with Doomtrain.
    12. Now that you have Doomtrain, go lose it to the QoC. She was in Dollet for me, so I lost it and immidiately went and won it back from her son. Her father makes a Phoenix card, which ends up in the hand of the Presidential Aide in Esthar's Presidential Palace - in the room where you were first taken and left Rinoa in the (creepy?) hands of Odine.
    Congratulations; you have completed the Queen of Cards side quest and obtained the rare GF cards!


    Where is she going...?
    Destination Reality
    Galbadia Galbadia Hotel (It's in Deling City, actually)
    Centra Winhill (The hotel, I think)
    Dollet Dollet (Yeah, she actually goes there. Hit the pub).
    FH (Fisherman's Horizon) Fisherman's Horizon - near the save point were you can see the Mayor's house; one screen left from the inn.
    Trabia Shumi Village (Northmost island - go up from Balam Island. Visit the Hotel.)
    Far Away Lunar Gate
    Esthar The presidential palace in Esthar.

    Where can I get a...?
    Card Location
    Mini Mog Kid running laps around the 1st floor of Garden
    Kiros (Only after losing Mini Mog to the Queen of Cards) - Guy in black across from weapon store in Deling City (Galbadia)
    Sacred Fight the Brothers in the Tomb of the Unknown King
    Irvine (Only after losing Sacred to the Queen of Cards) - Mayor Dobe's wife in FH
    Chicobo Finish the Chicobo Side Quest (See Side Quests section)
    Chubby Chocobo (Only after losing Chicobo to QoC) - Guy on Bench opposite library walkway in Balam Garden
    Alexander Win from Piet on Lunar Base (see above for how to remove the Random rule from that region.)
    Doomtrain (Only after losing Alexandero to QoC) - Talk to QoC in Dollet to learn location. Timber Pub Owner
    Phoenix (Only after losing Doomtrain to QoC) - Talk to QoC in Dollet to learn location. Esthar Presidential Palace - Presidential Aide

    Emulation Notes

    When I first wrote this walkthrough, it was the same year the game came out. I was very excited about the game, and there wasn't really much in the way of awesome walkthrough sites. As a result, I built a section of my website to host this walkthrough. I've since played the game through several times. For whatever reason (I suspect licensing issues around the songs), it seems that the Playstation store doesn't have this game in the PS3 or PS4 store. As a result, I have to play it emulated now. Since I own three copies of the discs, I'm pretty sure that's legit.

    So... If you're also playing the game emulated, you may be taking advantage of emulator save states. I've been researching at what point in the code the system decides if an enemy you've used the "Card" skill on is a common or rare card. For example, when you're in the fire cave toward the beginning of the game, you can attack a bomb and get it *almost* dead. You can then create an emulator save, after which you can use the card action. You'll almost always get a Bomb Card, but on very rare occasions you'll get a Krysta card.

    I've noticed that this isn't exactly as easy as it sounds. Most of the time, just restoring and trying Card again won't work. From my experimentation, I've found I have to use the circle button to swich to another character, then try Card again. Some times it appears I have to wait for the enemy to attack again. This makes a bit of sense. If the game calculates luck at the beginning of each round (think rolling initiative), it's possible just loading and trying again wouldn't be helpful. Other times, I can try dozens of times before the enemy attacks again, and eventually it totally works.

    I'll keep experiementing, and if I find anything more out, I'll let you know. In the mean time, if any of you have insight into this from your own experimentation, please use the contact link on this site to get ahold of me and let me know!

    The Final Few Cards:
    By the time you get here, you probably have all but a few cards. You've probably got a blank at the bottom of page 10 and the middle of page 5. One of the strangest cards to get in the game is:

    Pupu: To obtain this card, you must have the Ragnarok (Disc 3 or 4) and you must observe a UFO in four different places. Here are the places to wander around. Having Enc None junctioned while wandering around is advisable. At each of these points, you'll get drawn into a battle with no enemies, and you'll watch the UFO fly past. Be sure to pay close attention to what it's carrying. XD

    1. Due east of Timber, along the shore. Wander around the shoreline, south of the tunnel to Balam, and east of junction of three train tracks. Carrying: Moai statue.
    2. Southeast of Winhill. Wander around the green and brown area around the town of Winhill. Carrying: Dairy cow.
    3. At the far east of the Centra continent where Edea's house is you'll find a desert. Wander around there for a bit. (Note: this is *not* Cactaur Island!) Carrying: Pyramid.
    4. Hover the Ragnarok above Trabia Garden and head due east. Stop in the grey island with no shoreline. Carrying: Cactaur?
    Once you've seen the UFO in all 4 spots, head to the cliffs next to the final Chocobo Forest from the Chicobo Side Quest (It's the tiny forest dome in the large forested area southeast of Trabia Garden). Park the Ragnarok there and wander around the bluffs. When you find the UFO, smash it up (don't use Elixirs on this joker yet!) You should get an Aegis Armlet (GF learns Eva-J ability) from this battle. For the *next* battle, you'll want to have some elixirs.

    Warning - YOU NEED ELIXIRS NOW! If you've been playing the game for a while, you probably have a lot of Elixirs saved up. If you don't have 5, however, you don't have enough. Get 5 Elixirs (if you have Tonberry, use his Call Shop ability and shop from the last entry - "Esthar Shop!!!" They'll sell them to you - for a price.

    Did you notice how the spaceship went flying off into the distance after the battle? Let's go find the remains. Major Hint: It crashed into the hole where Balam Garden used to be. Go fly over there. Park the Ragnarok on Balam island and take the road to the crater. Wander around the entire crater if you need. When Pupu shows up, use the Item ability to feed him the 5 elixirs. Yes it actually requires 5 elixirs. No, junctioning Med Data won't let you use 3. Yes, I tried. It *does* restore 20 points a pop, but it doesn't use fewer elixirs. I even tried giving him 5 doubled elixirs. Meh. When the battle is over, you should receive a Pupu card. Whee.
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