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Board Game Review: Targi

2014 February 11
tags: ,
by Michael Schroeder

Who would have thought collecting and trading goods like salt, dates and pepper would result in a fun game called, Targi?

Targi by Z-Man Games

Targi by Z-Man Games

Designer: Andreas Steiger

Number of players: 2

Age: 12+

Time: 60 minutes

What’s the game about?

A description from the publisher…

Targi is a two player game in which players assume the role of leaders of two Tuareg tribes who want their tribe to gain as much prestige and wealth as possible.

The goal: make it to the end of the game while handling your tribes and your trades to gain the most victory points.

The game is played on a grid of 25 cards, which symbolize the goods of the tribes. There is a fixed number of cards of 16 before you reach the edge of the desert. The 9 central cards are never in the same place from one game to another. The result: always a new game situation.

Basic idea in my own words…

Targi is a small card game in the “Games for 2” collection by Kosmos (Z-Man import into North America). In Targi, you are vying for the most victory points and having the greatest Targi tribe through the clever use of worker placement. In Targi, you are placing 3 Targi tokens on a grid of cards, in the hopes of being able to obtain the benefit of said cards. What makes the game unique is the rules for laying down Targi workers. We’ll get into that in detail below.

Basic setup:

The game setup is quite easy. You locate numbered border cards, 1-16 and lay them down in a square, starting with 1 and wrapping around to 16. Then, you lay down good and tribe cards in the center of the border cards, alternating between the type of card. To start, 5 good cards will be out and 4 tribe cards. Each player also received 3 Targi markers and 2 tribe markers in one color. Place the robber piece above the first card. Each player receives 2 dates, 2 salt, 1 gold, 2 pepper and 3 victory point markers to start the game.

Targi in action

Targi in action

How do you play?

A turn sequence is as follows…

1.) Move robber –  The robber moves to the next border card in sequence. With exception to the first round where it’s laid out on the first card. Players may not place their Targi on the same card as the robber.

2.) Place Targi Workers – players take turns, in player order, placing 1 Targi worker on a border card only. You may not place a worker…

  • Across from an opponents worker
  • On the same card as the robber
  • On the same card as a worker of your own
  • On one of the 4 corners, which are the raid cards

3.) Place your tribal markers on the intersection card – the players trace their Targi workers to the intersecting card, located within the center or main area, within the border cards and place a token there. There may be some instances where you can’t place both of them. This is part of the strategy, trying to strategically place your workers to maximize what you need, yet, screwing over your opponent.

4.) Resolve actions – both players may now resolve their actions on the cards where their Targi workers are and where the tribe markers are located. Players may resolve actions in any order they wish.

My thoughts

I really enjoy Targi. It fits that perfect 2 player niche. The game is tight enough because it’s only for 2 players that you won’t have any down time. The main mechanic of worker placement has some neat rule restrictions with it, which makes this game unique. And due to random card draws, no two games will be alike. Targi takes only about an hour to play which is a perfect length for a game this size. I didn’t feel like I was cheated out of game, yet I found it satisfying to play.

Winning the game and some extra info

The game will end when a player lays down his 12th card, or when the robber makes it to the final card. When the game is done, you calculate points based on tribe cards, VP markers, special card text and bonus points for having matching or non matching cards in your tableau. I should mention your tableau. When you resolve a tribe card, there will be a cost in the upper right. You must pay that cost right away in order to lay the card. If you don’t have the resources to pay for it, you may hold onto 1 tribe card in your hand. You always have the option to play this card later on, if you resolve the noble action on the “board.” The game is really a race, to lay down these tribe cards in front of you. You may lay them down in 3 rows of 4. And you must lay them left to right. You get 4 extra points, per row, for 4 matching symbols (The tribe cards have symbols in addition to being worth VP’s). Having 4 different symbols will grant you 2 points.

Goods cards do not go into your tableau. They are just for getting goods, immediately. When you resolve a card, such as a good card, you discard that card, and replace it with a face down card of the opposite type, in this case, a tribe card. When you are ready to move onto the next round, all these face down cards are flipped up. The border cards never change. Play proceeds like this, laying down workers, resolving and clean up, until the end of game is triggered.

Breakdown

Components: 3/5

The components are very good. Nothing spectacular, but your standard fare. The cardboard chits are thick enough, the “meeples” are good quality, the cards are good card stock and have good illustrations on them. The box is fine. It’s a small game with an insert which helps for the loose chits and space for the cards.

Theme: 3/5

The theme is pretty euro-dry. But that’s what I enjoy, more than space or pirates or zombies. The goal is to be the largest tribe of Targi and through this, score the most victory points.

Luck Factor: 2/5

There’s not a lot of luck in this game, even though there’s random card draws. There are plenty of games that rank higher in the luck category but this is more tame on luck and higher on strategy, in my opinion.

Strategy: 4/5

There’s a good amount of strategy in Targi. You have to really sit and think what is the best spot to lay your workers and how to block your opponent at the same time. Since this is a two player game only and the play space is limited, you will find it highly restrictive where you may place your workers. So plan accorindlgy.


Overall Feelings: 4/5

My wife and I really enjoyed Targi. I try and make a point not to have too many 2 player games in my library due to the fact that they don’t hit the table as often. But at the same time, I want them in my library, for those moments when you are just gaming two players. Targi fits that spot wonderfully. I highly recommend picking up Targi, especially since the price isn’t that bad. Its highly competitive. The actions that you want will certainly be taken. It also has that feeling of a race to be the first to get the 12 cards to conclude the game.

Review copy kindly provided by Z-Man Games.

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