Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Schoolhouse Review: Snake Oil #hsreviews

Out of the Box Games Review
What a GREAT way to end this Crew Run.  How much FUN can one family have?  I like games and lucky for me, my family likes games, too.  Okay, let's just be honest here:  We LOVE games and play them together frequently.  Some of my favorite date nights are game nights and some of my happiest memories come from marathon gaming.  I'm not talking about video games either.  I grew up playing board games and card games and have enjoyed the camaraderie that comes from strategizing and laughing together for as long as I can remember.  We've spent countless late nights/early mornings playing multiple rounds of board and card games and that special bond created when hanging out together is priceless.  It is always exciting to introduce a new game to my family and we have added one of the very best to our Family Game Night rotation thanks to the Crew.

Oh, my, I don't know when I have ever laughed so hard.  It's been quite a while since tears ran down my face and I had to grab my sides from laughter but Out of the Box Games has given me a huge chuckle with their new creative learning game, Snake Oil ($19.99).  This is definitely one game you're going to want to take out of the box often.  Designed for fun play for ages 10 and up, Snake Oil can be played by anyone with a great imagination.  The skills required are reading and thinking on your feet, but the game could easily be played with older family members teaming up with younger family members to help read the cards and get the creative juices flowing.  And once you start playing (and laughing until you cry) you're not going to want to stop.

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.

Out of the Box Games Review
Before I tell you about the game, I need to make sure that you know what snake oil is.  It certainly helps you to play the game if you understand what it is.  In the 1860's, Snake Oil really DID exist and was used as an ointment for sore muscles.  By 1917, Snake Oil had become commercialized and truth-in-advertising was just being introduced.  Salesmen travelled from town to town peddling their wares -- and some made sure to leave town before folks could figure out that their product was no good.  These swindlers became know as "Snake Oil Salesmen."  You know the type, right?

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."

Out of the Box Games Review
We had absolutely the most fun playing Snake Oil with middle schoolers at church.  I used it as our "hook" to discuss being involved in church because you simply can't sit by with your hands crossed over your chest while everyone else plays.  It just won't work.  We played the "Live" version and had three different "salesmen" giving their pitch to the crowd of customers.  Customers were identified by customer cards and the winning sales pitch was chosen by a round of applause.  Each of the students had a turn playing salesman, and then the adult volunteers took their turns.  I don't know about you, but watching grown men jump into character and try to sell the crowd of "beggars" a  String Phone, a Machine Fart, and a bottle of Mountain Rain was hysterical stuff.  We were all laughing incredibly hard as each of the men tried to outdo the other. The competition was tough, but as you can imagine, there was one made up product that turned a room full of middle schoolers into a giggling mess.  Can you guess which one?

We really had a great time and several of the kids were asking how to get their very own copy of Snake Oil.  I'll call that a success any day of the week.  This game would make a GREAT Christmas present for any family and is the perfect party game no matter the size of your group.  Trust me on this one -- no snake oil swindling here.

Out of the Box Games Review

My family is a competitive bunch.  We've totally enjoyed being able to "exaggerate" with permission and have had tons of fun with the verbal interaction.  Creative exaggeration {lies, total lies} have had us all laughing together.  It has been most interesting watching the wit of each of my children shine through as they take the stage to sell us the biggest bottle of snake oil.

You can connect with Out of the Box Games  through the following Social Media outlets and get your own laughing game on:
 and YouTube will even show you how to play firsthand.

Because LAUGHTER really will cure what ails you,

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Snake Oil as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

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1 comment:

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your heart with me!