Tactics and Strategy: Triple Triad

I have been playing a fair amount of Triple Triad this week, and I like to think I’m somewhat good at it. I don’t actually know this for sure, and given the AI’s propensity to just throw games away, plus the fact that their decks are strictly better than yours, being able to declare myself as good based on wins seems dodgy at best.

All that said, here’s some of the tactics and strategies I’ve been employing to win games and get myself to 30 cards.

Opening Moves

For all of these games, I’m going to treat them as if they were all Open, meaning we know the opponents cards in hand. In fact, even closed games we should know their card pool because it’s typically never larger than about 8 cards. This lets us figure out what moves they can make in response to us. I’m going to avoid talking about the Plus/Same game types because I’m still not very solid on those.

I keep going back and forth on how to recommend turn 1 plays. I tend to play a soft card in the corner that I want play to proceed from. There is definitely an argument for playing a safe card and punting to the opponent, but I find your only safe card is your most valuable card and I want to save that for potential blowouts later.

When I say a soft card, I mean a card that has low enough numbers that I can reliably play a card on either side of it to capture it. The plan here is let my opponent take it, and then I take it back. This means that card can’t be turned anymore and I have a secure point on the board, and I probably haven’t spent any power cards to get there.

So the question becomes “what corner do I want to drop this card?”. My suggestion is you pick the corner that best plays into your other cards. If you have more high number on the top and right sides of your hand, open in the top right corner. This is very much an “offense over defense” strategy, but you are playing against such higher card quality that aggressive trades, 2-for-1s, and being able to exploit the AI throwing a match are how you win. Against the AI offense is much better than defense overall.

Mid Game

Mid Game really begins after the first card is played. Hopefully you can capture that card. If you can’t or it isn’t worth it, refer back to the previous section and try to re shift the game to a board state you can manage. Just realize you are fighting very uphill at this point.

Other than that, moves become a matter of optimizing the difference between your turn and their turn. Knowing their cards in hand helps quite a bit with this.

This means that you aggressively pursue moves that flip 2 cards even if it exposes you to having an easy card flipped. If you have no available takes, you try to fill in holes on the board that would expose you to such attacks. All you need to do in order to win a game is take one additional card over your opponent. Once you are at that step, it becomes more important to go even than to try and aggressively pursue plays.

And as you are playing NPCs with much better decks, don’t despair. If you are able to get an early lead, it’s entirely possible for them to just throw the game away.

Closing it out

Your second to last play is when it becomes most important to know how the opponent can respond. In some cases, you might need to just put a card in a vulnerable spot to protect a lead. Sometimes, you need to be able to take a card know that yours will be taken by something you can take in response. This is when knowing what is in the opponents hand becomes most critical.

I hope this helps some folks out with the game. I’m going to be streaming some Triple Triad today at my twitch channel, so feel free to join along and ask any questions or give any critiques.

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