Targui: Rules

Targui is the singular of Touareg, a warlike people from the central parts of the Sahara Desert.

Before the Touareg were pacified by the French early this century, their weapons consisted of a large shield, a sword, spears or a lance, a dagger and a rifle.

One of the most characteristic features of the Touareg is the litham or tagalmust, worn only by the men.

This is a strip of cotton several metres long. which is wound round the head and covers the face. Thousands of Touareg with their heavily laden camels still trek through the most inhospitable territory. In the past, however, the Touareg, with their fast, white riding camels, the Meharis. derived their power and riches chiefly from brigandage, demanding protection money tram the caravans which passed through their territory. The game is based on this former way of fife of the Touareg.

- playing board
- 53 territorial cards
- territorial markers in four colours
- tribal cards with a Touareg device in four colours
- 16 (mis)fortune cards
- 2 dice
- camels (light brown. 1 = 1 camel) dark brown. 1 = 5 camels)
- pieces of silver and gold (1 gold piece = 5 silver pieces)

For each game the board is set up by shuffling and dealing the 49 territorial cards (2-8 below) according to fig. 2 and is thus different every time.

(Number of cards in brackets, see also at the end) There are 8 different territories, each with its own strategic and/or economic value.
The economic value of the territory, if any, is indicated on the cards by a black figure in a square.
The strategic value, if any, is indicated by a white figure in a black triangle.

1. Settlements (4)
There is one for each tribe (player) with its own coloured Touareg device (red, blue. yellow and green). Starting from these settlements, the tribes undertake their expeditions.

2. The Central Salt-mine (1)
The round salt-pans contain saline water which evaporates, leaving the salt which is of vital importance to both men and animals. It is very scarce in the desert and therefore has a high economic and strategic value.

3. Gueltas, or oases (6)
These are marked by luxuriant vegetation and trees along a watercourse.

4. A rag; or gravel bank (12)
Is shown by a grey-blue bank, strewn with small yellowish stones.

5. An erg (12)
Is an area of sand dunes stretching to the horizon.

6. Fesh-fesh (8)
is a sandy plain. The sand looks firm enough but has in fact only a hard crust which will not bear a camel's weight. Once through, the camel cannot extricate itself and this is of course fatal in the desert. Only those who know the area well can cross it with impunity and it therefore has great strategic value for the owners.

7. The mountains (6)
Are no gentle Alpine pastures but wild, inhospitable rocky outcrops where few dare to venture. For many Touareg they are the end of the world: the climate alone is virtually fatal.

8. The shotts, or salt-lakes (4)
Are areas, which cannot be penetrated by any living creature, not even camels. These areas cannot therefore be taken into possession in the game. Camels can only pass round them.

Is to take possession of the entire board and drive all the other players out of the territory.
For a shorter game, play for the greatest gain (highest economic levy) after a pre-arranged number of turns.

2, 3 or 4 players (Touareg tribes) can take part. Each tribe (Kel) has its own colour:
Kel Ahaggar green;
Kel Ajjer yellow;
Kel Ilbakan red;
Kel Ress blue.
The rules below apply for 2 or 4 players. For 3 players, see below.

Before setting up the board, the players choose the sector in which they with subsequently place their settlement (fig. 1).

The cards indicating the 4 settlements and the saltmine are removed from the pack and the salt-mine (strategic value 5, economic value 5) is placed in the centre of the board (no. 1 in fig. 2). The remaining 48 cards are thoroughly shuffled and placed face upwards on the board in the order given in fig. 2 with the slot on all cards in the same position.

Each player chooses a tribe and receives the settlement card in the appropriate colour and 5 tribal cards in the same colour.

Each player is given 10 camels, 5 silver pieces and 1 gold piece, while the rest of the camels and coins, plus the territorial markers, remain in the box.

The (mis)fortune cards are carefully shuffled and stacked face down next to the board.

The players subsequently take a territorial card from the sector of the board they have chosen and replace this with their settlement card.

Considerations of safety, strategy and economic value will determine which card the player wishes to replace. Apart from this, no alterations may be made to the set-up of the board. Each player then takes one of his territorial markers and places it in the slot of his settlement card. The unused cards are returned to the box.

Each player then places his 10 camels on his settlement card on the board.

The game proceeds by rounds, each consisting of a certain number of turns, determined by the throw of one of the dice. Each player then hands in as many tribal cards as the number obtained in the throw, unless a 6 is thrown, in which case each player hands in only 1 card. One (mis)fortune card is added to the resulting stack which is shuffled and laid face down on the table. The order of play is determined by the order in which the tribal cards are turned. Each player thus has the same number of turns per round but in a random order.

If a 6 is thrown when determining the number of turns, each player has a double turn in that round, i.e. he may consecutively make a move, add camels, make a second move and a second addition (see below).

The tribal cards are put aside after turning but the players may always look at them to see which cards have already been used.

The turn
Each turn may consist of two actions:
1. moving camels (or attacking);
2. adding camels.
Neither action is compulsory but if both are taken it must be in that order. Only one move may be made per turn (except in the case of a double turn, see above), and additions may be made in only one territory at a time.

Moving means that a player moves one or more of his camels from one of his territories to an adjoining area (horizontally, vertically. or diagonally). However, no camels may be placed on the salt-lakes. If a player takes possession of a territory in this way it must be indicated immediately with one of his coloured markers. A player may leave one of his territories with all his camels but it remains in his possession until another player conquers it.

An attack occurs when another tribe already occupies a territory to which a player wishes to transfer his camels. An attack counts as a move. Consequently, only one attack or one move may take place per turn.
Attacks are carried out as follows. Both attack and defence are conducted by throwing the dice, each player taking one and the attacker throwing first.
He indicates which area he is attacking, throws, and adds the number thrown to the strategic value, if any, of the territory from which he is attacking.
The result is divided by two (in the case of an uneven total, subtract one and then divide). This figure indicates the number of camels the defender loses and these are returned to the box.

Example: A player on a oasis (strategic value 3), on which he has 8 camels, attacks a fesh-fesh (strategic value 2) harbouring 5 camels. He throws 4. This, together with the strategic value of an oasis, makes 7. 7 minus 1, divided by 2 = 3 and the defender must therefore remove 3 camels from the fesh-fesh.
It is now the defender's turn and he throws a 6. This, together with the strategic value of his territory, makes 8. This total is divided by 2 and therefore costs the attacker 4 camels.
At this point, the attacker still has 4 camels and the defender 2. The attacker now throws a 3, to make a total of 6. The defender loses 6 divided by 2 = 3 camels, but as he only has two left, he has now lost them all, may not throw again, and must remove his territorial marker. The attack enters the territory with at least one of his four remaining camels and marks his new territory with one of his own markers.

An attack ends if:
- the defender no longer has any camels. The attacker takes possession of the territory with a number of the camels from his territory at his discretion, but at least one camel must be transferred.
- the attacker no longer has any camels (he retains his own territory, however).
- the attacker gives up. He can do this only after the defender has had his throw.

Adding means that the player may purchase camels with the money he has at that point, placing them on a territory he already controls. He may add to only one territory per turn. (1 camel cost 1 piece of silver.)
At the end of a round, i.e. when all the tribal cards and the (mis)fortune card have been turned, each player receives the levy due to him.
This levy consists of the total economic value of the territories marked by a tribe, e.g. a player who possesses one settlement (economic value 4), one guelta, (e.v. 3), 3 rags (e.v. 2), and one fesh-fesh (e.v. 0) receives 13 pieces of silver (or 2 gold pieces plus 3 silver pieces). However, a player who has lost control of his own settlement receives no levy, not even if he has gained possession of another player's settlement.

When there are no more camels in the box and a player wishes to purchase camels, he may attempt an attack so that camels again become available (see above).

Pay attention! To the salt-mine there may be no camels added; however it is possible to move camels from an adjoining area to the salt-mine. If you conquer for instance an adjoining area you can add some camels and in the next turn move them to the salt-mine.

The game ends when:
- Only one player remains. He is the winner.
- The pre-arranged number of (mis)fortune cards has been used up. Then the winner is the player whose territories jointly produce the largest levy - thus a player who has lost his own settlement cannot win. The number of camels or the amount of money owned have no bearing unless two players have an equal total levy, when they will be the decisive factor in determining the winner.

To shorten the duration of the game, the same number of (mis)fortune cards are used as the number of rounds to be played. The players must agree on the cards to be used, but:
- No. 1 must always be included
- If 12 rounds are to be played, nos. 2, 3 4 and 5 are omitted
- To make the game even shorter, a choice must be made from the remainder.

There are 16 different (mis)fortune cards, whose significance is listed below. On the cards, however, you will only find the relevant number, (bottom left-hand corner), and symbols indicating the territory or territories to which the card refers and the (mis)fortune which applies. As these will not immediately be clear to the beginner, the list should be consulted regularly during the play to find the meaning of the symbols and to serve as a reminder of the cards that can still be expected in the course of the game.

The instructions on the cards must be carried out immediately and. as these often have far-reaching consequences, it is essential to take their appearance into account in weighing your strategies and planning your tactics. After use, the card is put aside.

In a number of cases the instructions indicate that a number of camels must be removed from a territory. if there are less camels than the number indicated, only these camels should be removed. The territorial marker may remain.

If a player has lost control of his own settlement and is due tot receive a number of camels there according to the (mis)fortune cards, he will receive nothing.

The new owner will not receive these camels either. Similarly. if a (mis)fortune card indicates that a player is to receive money, this can only be collected if he still controls his own settlement.

1. The Haussa, a foreign enemy tribe, attacks the central salt-mine and steals all the camels.These must therefore be returned to the box.

2. The Kel Ress (blue) receives important visitors and a gift: 10 camels on the settlement.

3. The Kel Ilbakan (red) receives important visitors and a gift: 10 camels on the settlement.

4. The Kel Ahaggar (green) receives important visitors and a gift: 10 camels on the settlement.

5. The Kel Ajjer (yellow) receives important visitors and a gift: 10 camels on the settlement.

6. Heavy sandstorms sweep the Sahara. Three camels from each "erg" get lost and must be returned to the box.

7. There is drought in the Sahara. There is only enough water in each "guelta" for 15 camels. If there are more than 15 camels in a "guelta" these must be returned to the box.

8. A large caravan is attacked jointly by all the tribes. Each tribe receives 10 pieces of silver.

9. Camel plaque breaks out. Half of all the camels in the settlements die (subtract 1 before dividing uneven numbers).

10. An enemy tribe attacks the entire area. In each territory one camel is killed and must be returned to the box.

11. Following heavy rainfall. 5 camels drown in each "rag". Return to box.

12. It is spring. 5 camels are born in each "guelta".

13. Under influence of climatic conditions the characteristics of an "erg" have changed. The strategic value of each "erg" for the remaining turns of this round is equal to 3.

14. The water in the "gueltas" is poisoned. Of all the camels in each "guelta", 10 die and are returned to the box.

15. An enemy tribe attacks all the settlements and steals the gold and silver. (Tribes without settlements retain their money.)

16. Silver has been discovered in the mountains. The levy at the end of this round is therefore 3 for each mountain territory.

When playing with three players, the players do not select a sector of the board at the start of the game, but each is allotted three boxes, in one of which he replaced the territorial card by his settlement card:
Player no. 1 may use boxes 47, 48 or 49;
Player no. 2 may use boxes 31, 32 or 33;
Player no. 3 may use boxes 39, 40 or 41.
Otherwise the rules of the game remain the same.

The eight different territorial cards (economic value, strategic value)
  4 Settlements (4,4)
  1 Central salt mine (5,5)
  6 Guelta (Oases) (3,3)
12 Reg (Gravel banks) (2,0)
12 Erg (Sand dunes) (1,0)
  8 Fesh-Fesh (Sand plain) (0,2)
  6 Mountains (0,1)
  4 Chotts (Salt lakes) (0,0)

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This site is created and maintained by: Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson