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Home Tech The Queen’s Blood card game is just as good as Final Fantasy VII Rebirth itself

The Queen’s Blood card game is just as good as Final Fantasy VII Rebirth itself

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The Queen’s Blood card game is just as good as Final Fantasy VII Rebirth itself

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I have a pet conspiracy theory.

The greatest minds in card game design don’t work at Wizards of the Coast on Magic: The Gathering or at Ravensburger on the Disney-themed breakout hit Lorcana. But somehow, through some eldritch pact made with the gods of the collectible card game, Square Enix managed to snag the greatest minds in card game design and has kept them in a vault for the last 30 years working on Final Fantasy card minigames. That’s the best explanation I can come up with for how good Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s Queen’s Blood card game is.

This minigame has nearly eclipsed my enjoyment of Rebirth itself, a game a number of critics are saying is possibly the best game of this generation. I didn’t gasp in awe when I first saw the whole of Rebirth’s open world laid out before me in a crisp and beautiful high definition while an orchestral rendition of Nobuo Uematsu’s main theme of Final Fantasy VII began to play. But I did when I played my first Queen’s Blood match because I knew, like its Final Fantasy VIII predecessor, Triple Triad, this game was going to mess me up.

Queen’s Blood is a bit difficult to summarize succinctly, but I’ll do my best. It’s a game in which you and your opponent place cards on a 5 x 3 tiled grid. Each card has a point value and a pictogram that tells you which tiles on the board the card affects relative to its position.

For example, based on the picture shown above, the Levrikon card affects the tiles directly to the card’s right and directly under it, while the Security Officer affects tiles in each cardinal direction around the card. But what does “affect” mean exactly?

Each card has a cost represented as pawns, and you need at least one pawn on a tile to put a card there. Placing a Levikon next to an empty tile adds a pawn there, allowing you to play a one-cost card in the new space. Or placing a Levrikon next to a tile that already has a pawn will add another pawn, allowing a two-cost card to be placed there.

Follow me so far? Here’s an example of a match to better illustrate Queen’s Blood in action.

Even the music’s a banger.

The cards you place on the board can open up new spaces for you to play more cards, increase the ability to play higher-value cards, buff or debuff cards already on a tile, or take over a tile controlled by your opponent.

Finally, each card is worth a certain number of points that are added to each row of the game board. Whoever has the highest point total in a row has those points added to their final score — and the person with the highest number of points wins.

Whew, that was a lot. I was initially intimidated, too, but after a few tutorial games, it became a bit easier to pick up.

And then I didn’t put it down.

What I loved about Queen’s Blood is how the game slowly expands strategic options to the player through the introduction of more cards with interesting abilities. Beyond the basic ability of opening up where you can play cards, there are cards that can debuff others, lowering their point value or destroying them outright; there are cards that will fill up empty spaces, overwhelming your opponent or snatching away a strategic tile; and then there are cards that are little more than bombs that do nothing special except “is big and is worth a ton of points.”

Playing Queen’s Blood mirrored my journey of learning and improving at Magic: The Gathering. As I amassed new cards, simply brute-forcing victory wasn’t enough to satisfy me. I no longer just needed to win. I also needed my decks to deny my opponent the ability to even play — a strategy blue mana Magic players are deeply familiar with.

Another wonderful thing about Queen’s Blood is how the game weaves into the story. In previous Final Fantasy games, minigames are typically ancillary content, and to be clear, Queen’s Blood is, too — it’s not mandatory, if that’s your thing. But as you build your Queen’s Blood rank, the opponents you encounter offer an interesting level of depth to Rebirth’s overall story.

There’s an optional Queen’s Blood tournament you can participate in, allowing you to play against your party members or characters you met back in Remake, who will comment on Cloud’s journey so far. Late in the game, there’s a very interesting opponent whose mere existence changed how I perceived one of the driving forces of the game’s plot.

Queen’s Blood feels like the spiritual successor to Triple Triad, Final Fantasy VIII’s collectible card minigame that was so beloved, Square Enix put it in Final Fantasy XIV while thousands of people endure the terribly reviewed Final Fantasy Portal App just to play. It is, bar none, the best card game Final Fantasy has ever made, and Queen’s Blood feels like the long-awaited, much-yearned-for next step in Triple Triad’s evolution.

Please, Square, put this game on mobile so I can play against my friends.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth launches on February 29th on PlayStation 5.

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