In Guillotine, each of the players is a French revolutionary executioner, competing to have the honor of executing the highest-value nobles. At the beginning of play, twelve noble cards are laid out; this is the line of those waiting for execution.
Each player also has a hand of action cards, which are mostly used to rearrange the line in various ways. Some end the day, or extend the line, have other effects on play. During your turn, you can play an action card, and then must collect the first noble in line; each noble's point value is printed on his card (except for some whose value depends on special circumstances), and there are a few worth negative points.
When the line is empty, the "day" is over; the game plays for three days, at the end of which the player with the highest score wins. There are a few minor fillips to the scoring system, but probably not worth going into here.
There's not a lot of strategy in Guillotine; a little bit, in terms of using your action cards to maximize your own score while screwing your opponents. But it's a quick play -- a half hour at most -- and it's good, cheerful, macabre fun.
When I invite people over to play games, we usually begin with serious geek games in the early afternoon, and transition in the evening to cocktails and lighter party fare. Guillotine is an excellent game for that period of the evening, because it's simple enough (and funny enough) that people whose idea of a good game is Apples to Apples and those whose idea of a good game is Puerto Rico can meet in the middle, and both find something to enjoy.
Not a deep game, in other words, but fun.
It's technically out of print at present, but there are plenty of copies to be found, both new and used; and indeed, Boardgamegeek links to vendors selling it for $15 and less.