Review: Targi: The Expansion

Designer: Andreas Steiger
Artist: Franz Vohwinkel
Publisher: KOSMOS
Category: Worker Placement
Players: 2

Targi: The Expansion adds new content to the extremely popular 2-player game Targi. It includes, among other things, a new resource, new cards for the tableau border, and an entirely new area for players to place their figures. While the added content introduces a few extra game mechanisms, it does not add much complexity to the experience, nor does it significantly alter the game length.

Review

Man, Targi is so good. I didn’t even write our review of the base game, but I wholeheartedly agree with Derek’s assertions. It is one of the best 2-player games in existence. Targi: The Expansion presents a sort of gameplay variant, with new cards, a special Targia figure, and a water resource.

For starters, the expansion changes 10 of the border cards, substituting them to suit the new content. Many of the new cards are similar to those from the base game, but with slight tweaks. (e.g. The new “Fata Morgana” card still allows a Tribe token to be moved, but now it can only be moved to an adjacent space, rather than any space.)

Additionally, the expansion introduces a Targia figure, who moves each round, counterclockwise around the tableau edge. Unlike her Robber counterpart, the Targia does not block spaces, meaning a player can place a piece on the space where she stands. When this happens, the Targia grants that player a bonus. The player can either:

  1. Gain a free good of his/her choice, or
  2. Discard a good to draw the top card of the Goods deck and take the indicated resource(s). If the player does not like the card’s result, he/she can spend another good to discard the card and draw again, and so on.

The Targia figure gives players another decision when placing their pieces, since she makes a particular space even better than normal.

Speaking of placing pieces, Targi: The Expansion also provides a new area in which to place workers: the Sand Dune cards. These cards offer amazing bonuses and abilities, but they come at a high cost, since placing a worker on one means the player will have 1 less Tribe token in play that round. (And, by extension, their opponent will have more placement options in the main tableau!)

The Targi expansion offers a water resource, as well. Water can be exchanged at a rate of 2 for 1 good or 3 for 1 gold. Players can get water from the 5 new Goods cards that show it, or from the new border card that grants 1 water token. At the end of the game, leftover water can also earn players extra points.

Lastly, this expansion adds an entirely new deck of Tribe cards, which work mostly the same as those from the base game but have a few new features. Some of them require water to purchase, and some have 2 different cost options (e.g. players can either pay X resources or Y resources to purchase the card).

Certain Tribe cards also have a portion of their cost listed in parentheses – essentially an optional, extra cost to make the card worth more points – and others grant one-time use actions that can be used later on.

The game-end is triggered in the same way as in the base game, when a player purchases their 12th Tribe card or when the Robber gets all the way around the edge of the tableau. When either of these conditions are met, the player with the most points wins!


Targi: The Expansion takes a great game and makes it differently great. Sometimes expansions focus on adding a whole bunch of new content to a game, but this one feels more like a play variant, providing small changes that alter the experience. Targi is already a fairly advanced game in terms of depth, but with this expansion, players have even more options to consider than before.

Each new addition in this expansion feels thoughtfully crafted. The inclusion of the water resource, for instance, is seamless and intuitive. Players familiar with the base game will understand it immediately, with essentially no extra rules overhead. The new border cards will feel familiar, too, since they are mostly just slightly-modified versions of the ones from the original game. 

This expansion offers some new strategic choices, as well. For instance, the Sand Dune cards have an interesting push-and-pull: they are hugely helpful, but players must forfeit an action to get them. Likewise, some Tribe cards give players the option to spend extra resources for more points, but as always, resources are super tight in this game.

My recommendation for this expansion depends largely on how often you play the base game. (And let me just say, if you don’t already own Targi, you should really pick it up. It’s excellent.) If you play the heck out of this game – and I know there are tons of people who do – this expansion might breathe new life into it. At its core, it still feels like good ol’ Targi, but the expansion changes just enough to spice it up. On the other hand, for folks who either haven’t played Targi, or for whom it’s more of a “once in a while” kind of game, the base game might be sufficient by itself. Either way, Targi is something special, and it’s not one to miss.

A review copy of Targi: The Expansion was provided by KOSMOS.

The Bottom Line

Targi: The Expansion keeps the heart of the 2-player classic, but offers a modified play experience. Recommended for folks who play the original frequently but want new gameplay options.

 

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