Jim.Gamer: “What are your top 3 games of all time?”
Favouritefoe: “3? Of all time? Eh?”
No. No. No.
Every synapse is firing. Every chemical is rushing. Every heartbeat is thudding.
Jim’s question overwhelms me. Suffocates me. Like drowning in warm yogurt, the sharp tang of inquisition is hidden beneath layers of sweet, enticing temptation.
You see, anxiety is a sticky, tricky beast on the best of days. Faced with alienating 99% of the cardboard inhabitants on my Kallax in a single feature, the doubt dragon is licking my face and clicking its claws along to King Midas in Reverse, anticipating my abject failure.
Can I wriggle free or should I just sink under the weight of responsibility? Can I lawyer this situation and find a loop-hole or, and just for the sake of playing Devil’s advocate, can I give an answer?
Now, Jim is a kind man but one not to be crossed when it comes to rules. As such, I am gearing up for fight rather than flight. Favouritefoe v decision. Excuses locked away for another day, Queensbury rules be damned. Getting three games locked down is going to be a dirty, street brawl but I will take the hits. I will succeed.
And if I don’t. I’ll try again.
Thames & Kosmos (2012)
Targi has affectionately been described to me as a “marriage tester”. Having revealed my own sandy shenanigans here on WBG when playing it with my husband, I can see their point!
This game is a crushingly competitive duel in the desert. It is everything I want in a two player tussle. It also has one of the most unique euro, worker placement mechanisms I have come across in my board gaming journey.
For anybody who hasn’t played, armed with only three meeples each, the race is on for players to trade goods and build 4 x3 tableaus of tribe cards which reward victory points as well as in-game and end-game bonuses. But Targi is an exercise in latex-pants-level tightness when it comes to game play. Choices are not only restricted by your opponent, but also by the game itself; the “robber” and the circumscribed moves working together to force difficult, determinative decisions and trade-offs from the very first move.
This game is so exquisitely tense that it makes my analysis paralysis slap me up sideways. It is a boa-constrictor in cardboard box form. But I love it. I love the way my husband’s eyebrow arches when he places his meeples, take-that style. I love the way I ball my fists when he takes the one tribe card he knows I want – looking casual but as a consequence of cold, hard calculation. And, whilst I may not be able to look at him as the dust settles over our final scores, once the box has been packed away, we are laughing and plotting our next Saharan showdown on the ceiling, Queen’s Gambit style!
Ultimately, Andreas Steiger has designed a game which is sand-in-your-sandwiches crunchy, and I have never been happier to have my brain exfoliated from the inside out. Chatting with him on Instagram recently, I unashamedly pleaded with him to bring out a sequel to this Tuareg tour de force. On that basis, if you see Targi Two appearing on Thames & Kosmos’ release sheet any time soon, you’re welcome 😉
Flatout Games and AEG
Cats, quilts, claws! Calico is a game of purrrrfect proportions which captivated me from the moment I pulled the beautiful, chunky com