So what is Snake Oil and how do you play? Snake Oil is a fast-action card game for as few as 3 players. The traditional rules suggest a maximum of 10 players, but we also played the alternative Snake Oil Live variation (included in the game rules) with 20+ players. It was grand fun either way.
I can't help but think of the Wizard from The Wizard of Oz. He was the biggest snake oil salesman around -- first as Professor Marvel when Dorothy meets him in Kansas and then as the Great and Powerful Oz himself when Dorothy arrives in the Emerald City. And that my friends is the persona we adopted in playing Snake Oil. "Step right up, folks and hear all about this wondrous elixir to cure the doldrums." Can't you hear it now?
A wonderful practice of public speaking, the Snake Oil game play begins when players each draw 6 Word Cards from the decks (the purple cards pictured below). One player is chosen to act as the Customer for the first round and selects a card to tell him which type of customer he is (the green cards pictured below). There are 336 Word Cards which allow for unending creativity and 56 different Customers. After the Customer has been decided (you might be a beggar or a rock star, a nurse or even a superhero), all other players become salesmen and combine 2 of their 6 Word Cards into one new and improved product. Like all good salesmen, they try to make sure that their product best meets the needs of their customer and they offer a salespitch to prove just that. The fun comes with the impromptu combining of cards that have seemingly nothing in common. It's even more fun knowing that you have randomly drawn cards and must find a way to make them seem to be something they are not. [Just think: What product would you choose to sell to a Cheerleader from the following Word Cards? Glue, Snow, Night, Umbrella, Faith, Meat Maybe you'd choose to provide a Night Umbrella for rainy games or a bottle of Faith Glue to help make sure the ball stays in the quarterback's hands? Given 30 seconds to make your sales pitch, how successful do you think you'd be?] The winning salespitch wins the Customer card and play ends when all have had the chance to be a Customer. And as you might guess, the player with the most Customer cards at the end is declared the Snake Oil Salesman of the Year. Or at least "of the game."
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Because LAUGHTER really will cure what ails you,