Triple Triad is played on a three-by-three (3×3) square grid of blank spaces where cards will be placed as the game progresses. Each card has four numbers (known as Ranks) placed in top left corner; each number corresponds to one of the four sides of the card. These numbers range from one to ten. Cards can have elemental alignments that affect the gameplay if there are elemental icons on the game board.
In a basic game each player has five cards. A coin-flip decides who begins. The player who wins the coin toss may choose a card to play anywhere on the grid. After the first card is played, the opposing player may play a card on any unoccupied space on the board. The game continues with players’ turns alternating.
To win, a majority of the total ten cards played (including the one card that is not placed on the board) must be of the player’s card color. To do this, the player must capture cards by placing a card adjacent to an opponent’s card whereupon the ‘ranks’ of the sides where the two cards touch will be compared. If the rank of the opponent’s card is higher than the player’s card, the player’s card will be captured and turned into the opponent’s color. If the player’s rank is higher, the opponent’s card will be captured and changed into the player’s color instead. Capturing can only occur during that player’s turn, and no other opponent can capture a card during said turn.
A draw occurs if the player and the opponent possess equal numbers of cards in their color on the board. Depending on card rules, this can be defined by a sudden death scenario where the first person to capture a card in a new game wins, or by playing until a winner is defined. The winner claims a prize of taking one or more of the loser’s cards, depending upon the rules in effect.
Cards have different levels. Low level cards have low ranks, like 1’s and 2’s and 3’s, while high level cards have 8’s, 9’s, and 10’s. Some cards are considered “rare”.
Different rule variations affect gameplay, such as can the player see the opponent’s cards or not, or whether the player can choose their hand or if it is randomly generated from the cards they own. There are also different rules to capturing the opponent’s cards—Same and Plus let the player set up combos if the cards’ ranks align favorably against one another, allowing for more strategic gameplay. Trade rules dictate which and how many cards the winner can take from the loser.