Snake Oil is a quick game to learn and retails for $19.99. It contains over 289 wild word cards and 70 character cards. It can be played by 3-10 players.
This game is easy to set up and only takes minutes before you are laughing hysterically. Each player takes a hand of six Word Cards. You will also select one player to be the Customer for the 1st round.
Playing the Game
- The Customer takes a Customer Card from the center of the box, reads it aloud, and places it in front of him or herself. The Customer takes on the role printed on the Customer Card for that round. Some examples of roles are cowboys, teenager, ninja, etc.
- The other players have 30-40 seconds to combine two Word Cards from their hands to create something for the Customer. Players place their two-card items face down on the table. In clockwise order from the Customer, players turn over and “pitch” their item to the Customer. The Customer can cut o ff any pitch that goes over 30 seconds.
- 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.
- The Word Cards that were played are then discarded and players take enough Word Cards to bring their hands back up to six.
- The player to the left of the current Customer becomes the new Customer and play continues following steps 1-4 until each player has been the Customer once.
After each player has been the Customer once, the player with the most Customer Cards wins!
It's just that simple! Snake Oil is best for ages 10 and up. It does take some critical thinking skills to come up with a quick advertisement for your Customer. Your children would need to be able to read the words on the card to play effectively or have someone there to help as well. Only having six word cards to choose from for your advertisement could sometimes be a difficult task to come up with quickly. The words do not necessarily fit together easily - words like dream, bacteria, glasses, prayer, sleep, rubber. Selling something made of any of those two items would take some great marketing skills! That's what makes the game take on twists and turns which creates loads of family fun. We were not real sticklers for the 30 second time restraint.
This game also went along perfectly with our American History studies as we imagined ourselves as real snake oil salesman! Real snake oil did exist and was introduced to America during the building time of the Transcontinental Railroad. Jeff Ochs, Teacher and Inventor of Snake Oil, actually came up with the concept of the game to use in his own classroom as they were studying a unit on the wild west. Here are more ideas on using Snake Oil as a part of your classroom studies.
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