Targi is one of the best small box two-player games out there. It feels like you are playing such a "bigger" game. The choices and strategy within this tiny box are huge. The gameplay is smooth, satisfying and rewarding. You will feel absorbed throughout and the scoring mechanic is such that it is hard to guess who is going to be the winner until the final scoring. Unless someone races ahead with tribe cards, but that is very rare. As such, at all times, both players are engrossed.
There is only one small issue some have with this game, that I don't necessarily agree with, but can understand; and that is the slow play and analysis paralysis that can occur during the placement of the Targi. Whether this is true or not, the matter is dealt within in the expansion, imaginatively titled, Targi The Expansion.
The slow play in Targi can come from the fact that on your turn, you are placing one of three Targi meeples on a boarder card, looking to intersect with your other Targi placed that turn. This is important as you don’t only get the benefit of the card you place your characters on, but also from the points at which they intersect. The choices are agonising sometimes as they are somewhat limited, As such, on occasions, people can “think-on-it”!
Expand my mind!
With the expansion though, you are given extra possibilities with the introduction of the Sand Dune cards. The extra options don’t only provide intriguing new choices, but free up the battleground around the main border cards; thus, removing the previous slow play that can occur. The border cards have also been balanced a little, making the race to the good ones less intense. It’s essentially like musical chairs.
When there are always fewer choices then players, it becomes a bit of a race to get the good resources first, but unlike musical chairs, in Targi, this happens quite slowly as some of the chairs a little more appealing and people cannot decide which to sit on first. Add in more chairs than players, and make them all equally comfortable and everyone stops worrying. The choices are less important as everyone will get a chair and they are all quite comfy now.
With this minor quibble sorted, what you are left with is an absorbing game. There is so much to admire about Targi, and Targi The Expansion builds on all the good bits and could be one of the best expansions out there. So, in essence, what I am talking about here is one of the best expansions for one of the best games. Do you really need to read on?
Waiting for the twist...
This game is essentially a worker placement game with a set collection. Normally in worker placement games, I like a lot of choices. But here the limited choice makes it tense and the tension makes the game fun. Some critics of the game say this tension creates a quiet game, which I understand. But when I play, I find both players are screaming (in a fun way) at each other when a certain position is taken from us. As such, in a way, I don’t like the extra choices here, and will happily play without the expansion for this reason.
However, I see the need for it and the extra choices made from Targi The Expansion offer more than just remove the tension over the lack of chairs for everyone in a popular 1980’s party game. In addition to the Sand Dune cards, Targi The Expansion brings more tribe, goods and border cards, a new resource in Water, action markers for some new tribe card powers and a Targia. A female Targi tribesperson who now circumnavigates the board counter-clockwise offering goods.
The game will look almost the same as the base game when set up, bar the Sand Dune cards set to the side and the Targia now on the border cards alongside the robber. But players of Targi will not feel unfamiliar in any way. As such, I think the questions that are left to answer are this. If I liked Targi should I buy this? If I didn’t like Targi, will Targi The Expansion fix that for me?
Variety is the spice of life!
If you liked Targi then I would think you would like Targi The Expansion too. It does not feel that different when you play. I would suggest that Targi is such a good game, with so much in the box in terms of gameplay, that it doesn’t really need an expansion. I think it is close to perfection already. However, if like me, that means you have played it hundreds of times, you probably are intrigued by these changes, or simply fancy the idea of playing the game with a few new twists. As such, I would say buy this. But certainly, play Targi lots and lots first!
If you were not blown away by Targi then I would wager this won't change that. It just makes a great game to have a few more options. It won't look or feel that different, the colour scheme will still be bland and uninspiring, the game still just a two-player only experience. The interaction and volume still somewhat muted. But as I say, maybe you just didn’t like it for the analysis paralysis that can occur. And if this is the case, buy this immediately.
If you haven’t played Targi yet, then I would suggest you get that first and leave this for now, but know you have something brilliant in store for you in a few months’ time.
Some expansions are made to fix issues with the base game. Others to add extra layers to something simply as it was popular and the publisher was cashing in with the extra bits. Other times, I feel it is because the designer had something else, they wanted to do with the game. It maybe won’t change the experience a whole lot, but it brings complexities of choices that enhance what was there. This is how I see Targi The Expansion and I admire all involved in this.
He who controls the spice…
Designer Andreas Steiger has only made one game, Targi and now this expansion. Targi was originally released in 2012 and has sold bucket loads and won numerous awards. You have to ask yourself why Steiger hasn’t put more to market, but perhaps he tried. Or maybe he is just happy with this creation, His masterpiece. Targi is just a thing of beauty to me. And despite Targi The Expansion not changing much, I absolutely love it too as not much needs to be changed. It would be like giving the Mona Lisa a new outfit and haircut. This isn’t even a new frame for the painting. It’s perhaps just a new outfit for you as you stand there and admire it. This is still the same brilliant game, you just feel ever so slightly different as you play and enjoy it.