Game Title: Targi
Designer: Andreas Steiger
Targi was first recommended to me by the good people at Ecclectic Games in Reading, UK. At the time I decided against it, because a somewhat unique style worker placement sounded like a risk when I had never tried the genre before. Targi did however stick in my mind as a game I’d like to try. As a 2-player game it hasn’t made an appearance at either of our board game groups, so I had to wait for my first opportunity to try it on a visit we made to the Thirsty Meeples board game cafe in Oxford. The game was hit and a copy came home with us.
Targi is a two-player worker placement game, played on an ever changing board of 9 cards. The central 9 cards are surrounded by a border of 16 tiles which denote the rounds in the game. In each round, players take turns to place one of their three Targis (workers) on one of the border tiles to obtain a special ability. Each space may only be occupied by one Targi and this includes the robber which occupies a different border tile each round. Targi’s may also not occupancy opposite border tiles. Not only do the Targi’s obtain the special abilities of the border tile on which they are standing, but they also receive the two central cards which lie at the intersecting locations of their workers.
|The board layout at the start of the game. When Goods tiles are taken, they are replaced by Tribe cards and vice versa.|
The 9 cards in the centre of are either Goods or Tribe cards. Goods cards are either Victory Points which are rewarded immediately, or Gold, Pepper, Dates or Salt, which go into the players stock. These Goods are used to purchase Tribe cards, all of which need different combinations of the Goods. Tribe cards are worth victory points at the end of the game and many also have in game abilities, which may make it cheaper to buy other cards or give rewards such as Gold or other Goods, or some immunity against Raids – where the robber tries to steal your goods or VPs once every 3 rounds.
Purchased Tribesmen are placed in front of you in a 4x3 grid. If any row has four of the same type of Tribesmen then this is worth a bonus 4 VPs at the end of the game. If any row has 4 different Tribesmen, this is worth 2 bonus VPs at the end of the game. The game ends when either one player has a full tableau of 12 cards, or the final raid occurs, whichever comes first. The winner is the player with most victory points.
The game is very intriguing with lots of tactical thinking in every round. Each round decisions must be made by judging not only what benefits you the most, but also where your opponent is likely to make their next play. Will the border card you want still be remaining when you place your second or third Targi or should you claim it with your first? There are certain over-arching strategies that might govern the way you play, such as attempting to collect only matching sets of Tribesmen, collecting only high VP Tribesmen or going for good combos with Tribesmen, but overall I have not seen evidence that there is significant benefit in having a strategy against simply being reactionary.
I am yet to beat Amy at this game, which would usually cause me to dislike it, however I am still keen to play it again, which must mean something for the quality of the game. Generally my losses can be put down to a single turn of poor decision making, however sometimes there is luck in the game, for example, if you use the Tribal Expansion Card and draw the perfect Tribesman you can afford and matches you tableau strategy. I would say more often than not I’m too blame or simply the victim of a very close game where I am not the start-player on the final round, but typically the game has a very close final VP score.
This is a firm favourite 2-player game in our house and also a good twist on the worker placement genre and I rate it a 7.5/10.