Playing ‘Snake Oil’

I’ve finally rested up from a weekend at the AGPC (Association of Game & Puzzle Collectors) 2014 convention.  This was the 30th AGPC gathering and it was in Rochester, NY.  Besides wonderful talks, presentations and seeing friends we played games and the big hit – no surprise – was SNAKE OIL.

More fun that Apples to Apples!

More fun than Apples to Apples!

Several years back I took Apples to Apples to the convention and everyone loved it, so it was not difficult to teach this one.  Snake Oil is from Out of the Box, the people that originally brought out Apples and the play is much the same.

Here we have two sets of cards.  One represents the customer, and you might be a billionaire, a fashion model, a mortician or a tree-hugger for just a few examples.

The other set contains words such as bacteria, alarm, armor, belly, or lace, for a few examples.

One person each turn will be the “customer” and draw a customer card. It might turn out to be the mortician card.  The other players each have six cards in their hand and from these six they must use two to create a ‘product’ that the customer might buy.  In this case, for example, I might choose to try and sell him a “Bacteria Alarm” and I will have about 30 seconds to give him a sales pitch to try and convince him that my product is the one he wants.  That’s a very easy one to come up with, sometimes though – just like in Apples to Apples – none of your cards seem to fit and that’s when you have to get creative.

Sometimes the products were a little strange to put it mildly and the sales pitches had everyone in stitches.  After everyone has made their pitch, the customer chooses which product he likes best and the salesman gets the customer card.  At the end of the game the person with the most customer cards is the winner.

Rules say that you should go once around so that everyone has a chance to be the customer.  The first night we only played with three people and choose instead to have the first person with ten cards be the winner.  The next time we played I think there were 10 people and once around the table worked well.

This Mensa Select game is for ages 10+.  Length of play will depend on the number of players and how long you want to play.

Just to let you know – on the night with 10 players I managed to win one card.  I won when Santa was the customer and I sold him a ‘fart suit’.  This was designed to help Santa because as he traveled all over the world he had to keep eating all those cookies and glasses of milk.  The suit was designed to contain the results of that.  I rest my case.

Snake Oil is a great game for a group – everyone we played with said that they liked it more than Apples to Apples.  People who felt that they couldn’t possible come up with any product or manage to create a sales pitch had great sales pitches for the some really crazy products and had us all holding onto our sides as we laughed.





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