Cover Art - Targi
From the Publisher:

A Targi is a male member of the Tuareg people, who live in the Sahara desert. As tribe leader, you will be trading dates, salt, and pepper to obtain coveted gold coins and advantages. In the game, the desert is a five-by-five grid of cards. Position your Targi figures on the cards that border the desert. You carry out the actions of those cards as well as the cards at the crossroads between them. If you don’t go to the merchant, you won’t be able to trade — and even worse, your opponent will. Or maybe a caravan will bring the merchandise you desire. There are many choices to consider. But don’t wait too long, the desert is harsh and you might miss an opportunity to make a deal. In the next round, a completely different set of offerings will be on the table. The goods cards are the means to the end of getting highly desired tribe cards. These in turn bring advantages during the game and victory points at the end. You can win only if you plan shrewdly and always keep some gold in your pocket.
BGG Link https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/118048/targi
Designer(s) Andreas Steiger
Publisher KOSMOS
Player Count 2
Estimated Playtime 60 minutes
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Journal Entries

March 6th, 2023

Targi is a game that has been on and off my radar for years. A two-player-only game, it wasn’t ideal for game nights and I would forget it existed for long periods. Just long enough for Targi to go out of print.

The issue I had wasn’t in the gameplay. By all accounts, it was simple to pick up and a good brain teaser to play. But the art and theme made Targi immediately forgettable to me for some reason.

20230306 - Targi - Simple layout that is functional if not attention grabbing
Simple layout that is functional if not attention grabbing

So when Alpal asked to play a game, I settled in to learn how to play it again. And fell asleep. I went to a How to Play video on YouTube – and fell asleep. Went to a different video, and same result. Targi looks and sounds boring from the outside.

But when Alpal and I played, it was a very different experience. Bottom line Targi is a set collection, and you collect resources and ‘tribes’ to score.

The board is a 4×4 grid, with the outside a timer and a place to put your tokens to select what to collect in the middle of the board. Where your pieces intersect, you collect that card.

20230306 - Targi - Its hard to get vierwers excited
If you are playing the game, trying to work out the optimal move is exciting

The rules for placement are pretty simple – one token per card (there is a neutral token as well, acting as a timer). You can’t put your token on the opposite side of the row/column. That’s really it.

And this is what makes Targi look and sound boring, but fun to play. The puzzle of picking up what you need, while also potentially blocking your opponent and hiding your intent is fun.

Tagi is a kind of visually duller Istanbul in that regard, but like Istanbul once you play you will love it or hate it. I can’t imagine anyone being OK with Targi.

20230306 - Targi - Certain powers like Fata Morgana let you break rules to help you
Like many great games, there are ways to break the rules in game that are simple to follow and use

Check it out on Board Game Arena with someone, and see what I mean. Oh, and if you want to pick it up, Targi did get reprinted making it much easier (and cheaper) to pick up their days!

If you get really into it, also look at Targi the Expansion (yes, that’s what it is called!). Same principles, but one new resource and even tighter gameplay bring new challenges to the table!

March 27th, 2023

Last weekend our normal Board Game Arena day got postponed, so I took the chance to teach Rabbit Targi! We were both pretty tired after a long week, but Rabbit let me give her the short (read: 10 min) explanation of Targi’s rules, and then we went for it.

Even though I picked up the physical copy of Targi and the expansion, we still played on Board Game Arena. This was for a very good reason – Board Game Arena doesn’t let you play illegal moves!

20230327 - Targi - Simple to play but little rules to keep on top of
Simple to play but little rules to keep on top of

So Rabbit has been shown Targi, and is willing to give it another go. The issue with Targi is one shared by a lot of Euro games – no one rule is difficult, but there is a lot to keep in mind.

The good news is only one or two more games on Board Game Arena, I will be open to playing on the table. My issue with playing Targi physically at the moment is making sure I have all the rules down. Board Game Arena helps cement this in my mind.