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Snake Oil

“Snake oil was first introduced to the United States in the 1860s by Chinese laborers working on the Transcontinental Railroad. After hard physical labor, they would rub sore muscles with an ointment made from water snake oil. The laborers shared this ancient Chinese remedy with their American co-workers. Products containing water snake oil are still used today by some herbalists. A recent study found it contained more omega-3 fatty acids than the highest form of fish oil. As snake oil grew in popularity, so did the claims and promised benefits. In 1917, a sample of Clark Stanley’s Snake Oil Liniment was tested by the U.S. government and was found to contain no actual snake oil. As a result of these swindlers’ false product claims and misleading labels, the phrase “Snake Oil Salesman” was born! Today’s Snake Oil Salesmen are more likely to be seen as used cars salesmen and politicians.” – Out of the Box Games

Publisher: Out of the Box Publishing

Designer: Jeff Ochs

Players: 3-10

Ages: 10 to adult

Playing Time: 20-30 minutes per game

Contents: 36 double-sided customer cards (72 Customers), 324 purple word cards

Suggested Retail Price: $19.99

Parental Advisory: Safe for kids


Mensa Select

Major Fun Keeper

Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Winner

Games Online 2013 Traditional Games 100

IG Awards Literacy Bronze Award

Parenting for High Potential Award

EChoice Award

Benefits for children: Creativity and Innovation, Oral Presentation Skills, Empathetic Persuasion Strategies, Comparing, Contrasting and Evaluating Skills, Improvisation Skills, Vocabulary Building, Social Skills, Risk Taking

Snake Oil is a party game/card game from Out of the Box Games that has a history of putting out quality games that are great for families. In Snake Oil, you have one player who is the customer per turn. The customer draws a card that says what kind of customer that player is such as Astronaut or Senior Citizen while the other plays have to use two of the six word cards in their hand to come up with a “product” to sell the customer. Whichever player the customer thinks did the best “pitch” gets the customer card. The game is played in one round until everyone has had the chance to be the customer. Whomever has the most customer cards at the end of the round is the winner.

When I broke this game out, I thought it would not be a hit with my household. Boy was I wrong. My 11 year old daughter LOVED it! We played it the whole afternoon and again for a couple hours the next day. So far everyone I have introduced it to has liked it and would play it again. Snake Oil is based on social interaction so obviously it keeps everyone involved even when not making the pitch. You are so busy listening and laughing at what people are coming up with you are involved the whole time. The pitch is only 30 seconds long at most according to the rules so the game goes very quick. Snake Oil hits with all ages as well which is great for family game nights or holidays.

The benefits of this game are also quite amazing. It helps people who are not good at public speaking, need to work on crafting a sales pitch on the fly (hint: salesmen), learning to identify hot words with people to get to know them better and so on. It’s a great tool for many reasons beyond just the game aspect of it.

Most people would probably compare this with Apples to Apples and it is obvious why. It’s a different game and in my opinion based on the having to come up with a pitch and “sell” it to the customer a better one. It requires more thought yet takes no more time to learn or play. Snake Oil takes the best of “party games” in it’s simplest form and provides a hilarious experience in no time at all.

One of the great things I like about this game is rules all fit on one side of the box, in an attempt by Out of the Box Games to be more green! This is a great idea number one and number two, it means it is a very easy game to learn. That is sometimes very important when trying to teach a new game or having people over and you want something simple to break the ice.

The components for Snake Oil are very simple. A great tray insert for the box that works very well and cards which are decent quality with art that is cute and perfect for kids. A few of the cards did stick together a bit and caused a minor amount of damage upon opening but only a few. The cards aren’t thick and will wear out with a lot of game play so if you are a gamer or family that does lot’s of party type games, card sleeves may be in order here.

In conclusion, Snake Oil is more than worth the $19.99 investment. It will hit the table a lot in my house as my daughter loves it and getting time with her is the most important think I can think of. If you are looking for a GREAT party game that works well with all ages and levels of gamers, Snake Oil is the one for you.

We are giving Snake Oil 8.5 out of 10 stars as it is just about perfect for what it is going for. Well done Out of the Box Games and Jeff Ochs! That is one of the highest ratings if not the highest ratings we have given any type of game.