Tides of Time
This is a smart little game in just 18 (large format) cards and three rounds of play. The nominal theme is developing your civilisation over time, but this doesn't really affect game play. Players score points at the end of each round and the highest total wins.
Each round, players start with a small hand of cards and play one. The twist is that they then pass the rest of the hand to their opponent. So, after the first turn, both players know exactly which cards are in play this round. Now the fun begins: which cards can you play to score points without your opponent stopping you? Ooh, this is clever.
I'm not that keen on two-player games – I prefer the chaos provided by several players and competing goals – but I really enjoyed this one. It plays in no more than thirty minutes, which is great for filling in a gap.
There is now a sequel, Tides of Madness, which adds a way of players losing the game outright during play.
For 2 players, aged 8+, playing time 15-20 minutes: £8.50 (£7.08 outside the EU)