Fun in Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales
At its core, Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales is best described as mini-game collection and card battler all wrapped up into one. While the minigames certainly comprise the majority of the experience, the dynamics of the card battler brought a kind of fun I kept coming back to. A few key mechanics made this possible: card rewards, deckbuilding, card battling system.
Minigame Card Rewards
Each minigame in Chocobo Tales has a set of achievements which reward you different cards upon completion. Since the cards themselves are hidden until you complete these achievements, each new card is exciting to unlock and brings new possibilities to the deckbuilding mechanics.
The wide variety of cards offered a seemingly infinite number of combinations when creating decks. Various cards would synergize well with one another and the more experimenting you did with deckbuilding, the more unique combos you would come across. The division of the cards into a few main colors worked to create a dynamic that allowed even those who were poor at deckbuilding to understand that cards of the same color would have themes that caused them to work together.
The card battling system were various Pop-up battles that both progressed gameplay and allowed friends to play with each other. Since each card was the product of some achievement in the broader game, the feeling of using them in battle was ecstatic. When battling other friends, each had access to different cards depending on where they were in the game which brought about an inequality that gave rise to fun. Using cards your friends did not have to see their reactions and discovering what cards they had as well was exciting each time.