What: a short, simple card game played with just 18 cards
Players: two player only
Time: 15 minutes
People: ideal for couples on long train journeys or those looking for a break from Snap
Remember: it’ll probably start to get boring after the tenth consecutive go
Available: UK or US

The Gist

Why we recommend it

I play board games with my girlfriend most weekends, and often it’s a case of looking through the pile of games we’ve accumulated and arguing over which one to play.

Yesterday, for example, we were torn between Archipelago (too long), Dominion (too boring) and Race for the Galaxy (too confusing).

This is the perfect, erm, time for Tides of Time to step in.

scattered cards 11

Tides of Time is among the simplest and most enjoyable ways to spend fifteen minutes.

*Insert joke about sex being more fun here*

*Insert another joke about not being able to sexually satisfy my girlfriend for that long*

*Insert something about having a small dick, maybe*

board game card tides of time

Essentially, the whole game is comprised of 18 cards, and four identical little markers, which the game doesn’t really need anyway.

The idea is that each player gets five cards in their hand, chooses one and then switches the remaining four to the other player.

Both of you then take whichever card you like out of those four, and swap the other three back to the player that just handed them over.

You do this until there are no cards left. There are three rounds like this, then it’s all over.

The cards themselves explain the rules well enough.

ancient divide

This card is called Ancient Divide, and is a crown (yellow). If you choose this card, at the end of the game you get seven points if you have the most cards with turrets (red) on them.

There are only five suits (yellow, red, blue, pink and green), so it’s easy to remember.

Your goal then, is to choose five cards that give you a nice mix of rewards, as well as making sure you’re picking cards that help you win those rewards.

Sounds confusing and boring I’m sure, but honestly, in real life it takes about three minutes to work out how to play it.

cards in hand

The fun of the game is found between picking cards you know your opponent wants, and gambling on them overlooking that extra card you need to grab your greedy rewards.

It’s also funny how much of the game you spend desperately trying to remember exactly which cards you just handed over were.

Was there a green in that pile? Or was it a blue? It’s a right old pain in the arse making grand plans only to see them scuppered by an annoying oversight or slip of the mind.

blurry 11

The cards are pretty, and include fancy names like Eye of the North and Citadel of the Prophets.

I’m sure there’s some deeper meaning behind all the silly card swapping, but ultimately the theme is there to be admired or ignored, whichever you prefer.

Quite soon you realise that the actual pictures and titles of each card become irrelevant, and your eyes dart to the corners as you scan for potential game-winning strategies.


At the end, you tally up your scores and celebrate the night away.

Or instantly go for the rematch.

Unfortunately, I’ve never actually won a game of Tides of Time, so I don’t know what happens when you win.

Maybe that’s why it’s the game my girlfriend always wants to play, eh?

*Insert clever joke here that ties up the review nicely and also mentions some of those sex gags I mentioned earlier. Maybe something about our initials spelling ‘BJ’. Yeah, that’ll work. Just the kind of level of sophistication we’re going for here at Best Play.*

Support best play and pick this up with one of these links UK or US