Snake Oil Review (Out of the Box)

What It Is

In the Old West, sly snake oil salesmen had a special talent for getting even the most skeptical customer to buy the most dubious product. In the game Snake Oil, that's exactly what players get to do.

Each player takes six Word Cards, and the players take turns each round acting as the customer. The customer takes a Customer Card, reads it aloud, and places it in front of himself. Potential customers include a hunter, a spy, and a sports fan. The other players have 30-40 seconds to combine two of their Word Cards to create a product for the customer. In clockwise order, players have 30 seconds to "pitch" their item to the customer. After each player has made a pitch, the customer picks the best item and awards the Customer Card to the player who created that item. After each player has been the customer once, the player with the most Customer Cards wins.

Snake Oil comes with 324 Word Cards and 36 double-sided Customer Cards (72 customers). The game is for three to 10 players.

Is It Fun?

This is a game with the potential to get really silly. Snake Oil is definitely more fun when you play with people who are willing to act silly in front of others. This game requires lots of creative thinking in order to come up with the best pitch. It's sort of like Apples to Apples, except the judge/customer knows who is submitting the pitches, which could lead to the judge picking pitches in order to rig the score. But hopefully you're playing with people who wouldn't do that.

Who It’s For

Snake Oil is for ages 10 and up.

What To Be Aware Of

Some people are going to be better at this game than others, and we can see some kids (or adults) getting frustrated if their pitches are frequently not picked.

Because the game has no clear winner or loser and none of the mechanics of a more traditional, clear-cut game, such as reverses of luck or chances to catch up; we can see that it might get tedious for some players after a few rounds.

  • Fun

  • Repeat Play

  • Assembly & Instructions

    None or Very Easy