Two players go head to head in a game of trade and diplomacy set in the desert.
The Tuareg nomads trade in goods and money to control other tribes.
You must defend against robbery, and carefully deploy your pieces to yield the best results from trades and to keep your opponent from gathering too much wealth and influence.
The rule book starts by explaining that it is men who wear the veils in the Tuareg lands, whilst the women run the household.
This fact doesn’t have a lot of bearing on the actual gameplay, but it helps set the mood and may explain why this is a game of strategy and resource management, rather than one of fighting and rampaging.
Across the burning desert sands move the Tuareg people. A small caravan carries dates, a little gold and perhaps some exotic pepper across the seemingly endless dunes.
Along the way, confidences must be won with neighboring tribes, exchanges made, and bandits avoided.
Targi is a desert-themed card game with a few extra counters thrown in. You must deploy your ‘Targi’ at the start of the game on the randomly generated array of cards you lay out at the start.
These are goods cards (dates, pepper, salt and gold) and Tribal cards. Your Targi exert control and influence over cards on the same row or column. Meanwhile, a robber moves around the board, dictating the events that occur through the game and ending the game when he reaches the final card.
You must use your skill and judgement to gather resources so that you may ally yourself with the various tribes in the game. The player with the most or best alliances by the end of the game will likely win since as the Tribal cards are worth the most points when the scores are tallied at the end of the game.
Gameplay is divided up between making the most of your own options and attempting to restrict your opponent from making the most of theirs.
No two games are remotely alike since the nine cards at the center of the array are placed at random and change during the course of the game.
It’s a lovely combination of intersecting ‘lines of power’ like very simple chess, plus the added charm of trade and just a little conflict. Different tribes, once controlled, give play bonuses through the game. The cards are nicely balanced and the winner can easily be the one with the best combination of cards, rather than the most.