Maybe it’s my age or the fact that I’m not really into westerns… or I could just be missing this bit of Americana knowledge but I had no idea what “Snake Oil” was the first time I heard there was a game about it. It sounded like something disgusting, but once I got the joke and played the game I think it’s hilarious!
The game was self-published by Jeff Ochs in 2010 and has now been licensed by Out of the Box. I played Snake Oil for a little bit at their booth at New York Toy Fair and had a great time. Brought it back and played it with friends and we had a blast! The one caveat would be that there are people who are great sales people and those who definitely not – so choose who you play this with wisely as nobody likes to be the obvious loser. But for the most part everyone seems to get it.
The game is simple. One player draws a card and that’s the type of customer they are. They could be a vampire, a diva, a cowboy, dumpster diver, etc. The rest of the players have 6 cards in their hand and they need to select 2 to create their product. Then everyone but the customer will give ~30 second pitch trying to entice the customer into buying their product. So as an example, my customer is a bouncer and the 2 cards I’ve selected say “Lava” and “Gun” and my pitch might be:
“Are you sick and tired of those pesky people who push at your velvet rope? What about the ones who try to sneak around you? Do they think you can’t see them? Does it feel like you’re trying to keep kindergarteners in line sometimes? Well then I have the product for you – the Lava Gun! It’s small, easily fits into your pocket and creates rivers of steamy hot lava with the press of a button. They didn’t respect the velvet rope, but they’ll respect the line of burning hot molten rock which will give you time to schmooze the VIPs and hot chicks you choose to let through.”
After everyone has pitched his or her product the customer selects a winner! You play the game until everyone has been a customer once and the player with the most sales wins. Simple to explain, easy to play and overall a fun but different social game that I really enjoyed!
Snake Oil Stats: