Game Title: Targi
Designer: Andreas Steiger
Targi is a tactical 2 player game that has you each tacking control of a desert dwelling tribe who eat only dates with a varied amount of seasoning. Throughout the game you will collect goods in the forms of gold coins, salt, pepper and dates and then spend them on buying Tribe cards which grant you victory points and sometimes bonus abilities. These tribe cards get displayed in a 3x4 tableau, the game ends when either player fill this up or when the Robber token has done a full roatation around the board, which comes to 12 turns.
The main game area consists of a 3x3 grid, made up of Goods and Tribe cards, surrounded by a 5x5 border. The interesting thing is you cannot place your Targi (meeple to you and me) on the inner 3x3 area, you can only place them on the border cards. Each turn you get three Targi to place, taking it in turns to place one at a time, each round the first player changes so no-one should have an on-going advantage. In order to claim the inner area you must draw imaginary lines from each of your Targi and wherever these lines cross you place a tribe marker which claims the tile for you. After you claim a card you replace it with one of the other kind, preventing players from amassing too many goods in rapid succession and keeping the game flowing.
As I've mentioned there are 2 kinds of cards, Goods which simply give you the items pictured on them, and Tribe cards which have a set cost which you need to pay to add them to your Tableau. If you cannot afford a Tribe card at the moment you pick it up then you can keep 1 card in your hand, but once you do this you cannot play it or discard it until you use the Noble action (one of the outer ring actions), meaning any future Tribe cards you can't afford get discarded. The Tribe cards you get are important not only for the victory points on them, but also by their type. your tableau gets added to as soon as you buy a card and has rules about placement. The goal for the game is to get four of the same type of card in a row for a big victory point boost, but failing that getting a row of 4 different cards gets you a smaller amount of victory points. A row that doesn't meet those requirements gets you no bonus, but still may be worth doing if the cards themselves are good enough or it ends the game in your favour.
|From left to right: Start player indicator, victory point tokens, a coin, salt, pepper and dates.|
One of the most important rules is that you cannot place a Targi opposite another player's Targi, which means as the turn goes on the board gets filled up and tiles can be blocked. The game revolves around trying to get everything you need while also trying to block your opponent from getting the cards they desperately want. Further to this there is a Robber which moves around the outside of the board. The robber is multifunctional, blocking the card he is on (but not the one opposite), acting as an in-game turn limit as he moves 1 rotation around the board, and finally being a robber by performing a Raid every time he reaches a corner, in which players will have to pay either goods or victory points to the bank.
|Turn one of a game, the robber is at the top left, the players have already placed thier Targi's and claimed the inner game board sections with thier Tribe Markers.|
The outer ring of cards have abilities on them themselves, ranging from 1 of a good to being able to move your Tribe Marker to any card that doesn't have a Tribe Marker on it (vital for if your opponent has blocked that 1 card you needed). There are also cards for drawing a random Tribe card, drawing a random Good card, converting goods from 1 kind to another, playing cards from your hand and directly selling goods for victory points.
The first time I played this game I really loved it, but I hate to say that no game has yet been as good as the first. I think the main reason was the first game we went in with a happy-go-lucky attitude not really caring how the game went too much, but as we learn the game we saw that we could pick up certain strategies. Each game since we have been more aware of the games foibles and as such there has been considerably more stress. The game revolves around placing your Targi to make gains for yourself and block your opponent, but the two are not always separate moves. Several times I have been called rather harsh words for playing a targi which was only really meant to benefit myself. I would recommend this game to gamer couples, but only if you can handle being in very direct competition to each other. If you do like a game where every move is vitally important for both offence and defence then this may be the game for you.