Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Out of the Box Games: Snake Oil {A Review}

Out of the Box Games sent us Snake Oil – Party Potion ($14.99) for ages 8 and up to review.

First Thoughts
When we were initially introduced to Snake Oil, I was a bit tentative about the label "party potion." After doing some research, I found that "potion" refers to the concoctions that were so popular in the 1800's and 1900's that promised to be cure alls.

Where Did Snake Oil Come From
In the United States, during the 1860's, Chinese workers on the Transcontinental Railroad would use snake oil to ease muscle pain. As more and more people used snake oil, the list of things it could cure grew (although the claims weren't true). Unfortunately, this meant that many people tried to cash in on the name snake oil (even when there was no snake oil in the product). 

What's Included
The game includes 112 word cards, 14 customer cards (with 2 customers on each card), and a plastic card holder.

How to Play
The game is designed to be played with 3-6 players. Each player starts with 6 word cards (although you can play a variation where players start with more). At the start of the game, one player decides to be the customer (this changes in each hand).

The customer chooses 1 of the customer cards. The remaining players choose 2 of their word cards to create a concoction that he/she thinks the customer would choose.

When all players have laid their cards down, each player takes 30 seconds to deliver a sales pitch to the customer. This can be done in order or as the cards are laid down. The customer chooses the product that he/she likes best. The salesperson that wins the round receives the customer card.

Then the next person becomes the customer and the salespeople all draw cards to get 6 in their hand again. And the whole thing is repeated.

The game ends when everyone that is playing gets to be the customer. The person with the most customer cards is the winner.

Time Frame
A game generally takes 20-30 minutes. We found that the more people we had playing, the longer the game.

Our Experience
We played the game in several ways. First, we played it as the directions were written.

We also made up our own slightly different version as well. Instead of each person pitching their ideas, we chose to put out our cards upside down and the customer would chose which concoctions that he/she liked best without a pitch.

Although Li is a bit young for the game, we included him, too. He would choose 2 cards randomly from his pile and put them down on his turn. Then Poppa would give Li's sales pitch for him. Somehow those were almost always the best pitches! :)

And that inspired us to try a different way. Instead of getting to choose your own cards to pitch. Each salesperson has to pick two random cards from the deck and try to pitch them.

Li eventually started pitching his own cards after we told him what he laid down. Too funny!

What the Kids Have to Say
Ceesa reports that it is a hilarious game. She says, "I love it when I am the customer and everybody else has to give their sales pitch to me. It would be a great game for parties."

Jo-Jo tells me it is a really fun game, especially when Li would pick out 2 cards. "Since he is younger, the cards would just be random and Poppa would make something up about it. Poppa would say that they had just been talking about it the night before. Once he said, "We were talking to our scientist friend, so we know that you need it." Some of them make you laugh your head off, especially when people make up really crazy Momma made up "Fire Sauce" and Poppa made up "Volcano Boy" and Momma did "Soup Bib." Poppa would even give multiple choices for his. "And 'Volcano Boy' could also warm up the soup so the  snowman wouldn't melt when he wore the 'Soup Bib'."

Li says, "It is a fine game and good to play."

We recommend reading the cards before giving them to your children. We found several that were not appropriate for our family that we chose to remove before we played the game with them.

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Click here to read more reviews from Schoolhouse Review Crew. *Our review was in the Top Ten on pinterest!! To see all ten click here.

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