This is it, Folks. This is the last review of the Schoolhouse Review Crew 2014 season. And because I have elected not to return for the 2015 Review Crew year, this will be my last review for quite awhile. It couldn't have ended on a better note, though, because this review was total awesomeness.
"Awesomeness?", you say? Oh yes. Snake Oil from Out of the Box Games is probably one of the best games we have played in a very long time. This is the ultimate party game. Really. It is.
Maybe your kids aren't competitive, but mine are so competitive that certain well-known-games-which-shall-remain-unmentioned aren't any fun around here. They start off sounding fun, but in the actual playing of the game, it turns into more of a bickering match than anything. I have been known to take such competitive games and put them out of reach because I couldn't stand to listen to another word of "but I might not win" angst.
Not so with Snake Oil. Snake Oil is pure hilariousness, and even though there eventually ends up being a winner, everyone is laughing so hard that no one minds if they don't win. This is my definition of the perfect game.
The basic idea is this: You are either a Customer (Green/Blue Cards) or a Seller (Purple Cards). The Customer draws a green/blue card, which has two sides. The Customer gets to choose which side he wants to be. In the picture above, the Customer (aka, one of my kids), could choose between Dictator or Newlywed. She chose Dictator, because everyone knows its more fun to order everyone around.(See, I told you my kids were competitive.)
The Sellers (all the players who aren't the Buyer) each draw 6 purple word cards. Out of those 6 cards, the Seller must choose two cards to make a "product". The Sellers take turns pitching their "products" to the Customer -- effectively selling them Snake Oil. They must make elaborate claims about their crazy "product" to induce the Customer to choose their cards. The Seller who is able to talk the Customer into choosing their "product" wins the Customer Card. The Player with the most Customer Cards at the end of the game is declared the winner. Whoot! Whoot!
In the round above, our friendly little dictator had to choose between a "Pony Tent" (whatever), an "Energy Hammer" (to, I don't know, pound things energetically, I guess) and a little bit of "Death Power" (which comes in handy if you happen to be a dictator). I'll leave you to guess which one she picked.
In another round, the Customer was a "Kindergartener". Our Preschooler happened to be the Customer in that round. The "products" my other kids pitched to her were "Life Pleasure" so that she could get dolphins anytime she wanted them, "Sleep Child"- an extra kid to do her sleeping for her so that she could keep playing, and a "Rock Chain" to keep the bad guys away. My 14 year old son pitched the Rock Chain. What can I say? Anyway, she (eventually) chose the Life Pleasure because dolphins happen to be her favorite animal. Some little sales person was pretty savvy, huh?
My all time favorite product pitch so far was the "Nose Tragedy" that was sold to a "Beggar", because it really is easier to get coins in your cup when you have a nose tragedy to pull on people's heartstrings. (I've already forewarned you that we are an odd family, haven't I?)
Special Note: There were a very few cards that I needed to remove to make this game suitable to our family's tastes. It was super easy to do and didn't affect the game in any way. All in all, I removed 9 word cards because they had things we didn't want. There are plenty of word cards, so we didn't even miss them. I also removed a few customer cards. Actually, I just used a glue-stick to glue the sides of the cards we didn't like together. That way, we had a two-sided card we liked and no cards we didn't like. Superb. In fact, if there are cards you wish were in the game, you could easily make new cards with card stock. Then you would have a totally tailored Snake Oil Game.
Snake Oil is so much fun! The next time I have a houseful of teenagers, I am planning on whipping this game out. My kids' friends have a little bit of the comedian/actor in them, and I can hardly wait to hear their sales pitches. This will also be a fabulous game to have on hand through the holidays. It will be a great way to liven up a dull group -- not that anyone who comes to our house is ever dull, or anything...
Snake Oil is rated for players 10 and up, although I personally think it could be used for all ages. We just had one of our older kids help our 4 year old when it was her turn, and my kids loved having me play along, too. See? It's good for everybody! Snake Oil retails for a price of $19.99.
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