Yep, that’s a pretty bold claim. I mean, there’s a ton of self-described ‘party games’ out there after your hard-earned dollars. From classics like Pictionary and Charades, to modern-day offerings like Cards Against Humanity or Name 5, calling yourself the “best” reminds one of snake oil and the salesmen who used to peddle it. I guess it really is a perfect description for Snake Oil, the new game from Out of the Box.
There aren’t many games that I can show you that introduce a new concept to a tried-and-true game idea, but Snake Oil definitely does. This game will remind you of Apples to Apples – one we all have played or have in our collections. Snake Oil takes the idea of picking the best answer to a question to another level. And it does it so effectively that it has been recognized by Mensa, Dr. Toy and a host of other educational organizations for its simple-to-explain rules coupled with teaching salesmanship and public speaking skills.
There are two sets of cards included. One 28-card set of customer cards and another huge set of 336 word cards. Each player is dealt six word cards into their hand and one person is chosen to be the first “customer”.
That player assumes the role of a buyer and draws the top customer card from the pile. The other players now must “pitch” their product to the buyer, noting the profession or character they’ve selected.
The sellers try to convince the buyer that their product is the best (or at least better than what the others are pushing). What is their product? It is the combination of TWO word cards from their hand. And with a pool of 300+ words in the deck, the combinations are nearly endless.
You may be offering something benign like a “Snow Machine” or “Safety Mirror”, or you might end up with a unique (and hilarious) combination like “Nose Blood” or “Flower Sword”. If your customer is a Vampire, then the “Nose Blood” might be of particular interest to them. A mirror, not so much.
Each person takes a turn at being the buyer, with the chosen seller receiving the customer card. After everyone has had one turn as a buyer, the player with the most collected customer cards wins the game.
In all honesty, we were quite amazed with how fun this game was. Games like Apples to Apples are fun the first few times, but once everyone knows what’s printed on the cards, it becomes easy to match them up with each other. In Snake Oil you don’t have this issue due to the combination of two cards to make a product and the fact that you must let your salesmanship (and showmanship) talents shine to get the buyer to pick your item. It was very easy to go “over-the-top” like the snake oil salesmen of old with bogus and far-fetched claims.
For instance, did you know a “Flower Sword” can be used as both a defense item as well as an accessory when attending a wedding? But wait, there’s more! It is also a great gardening tool!
I’ll let you decide whether Snake Oil is the best or not when you get your copy from Amazon or from your local game store. But in the class of party games, I can’t think of one we’ve had more fun playing. This will be a tough one to top!
See what other great games Out of the Box has on their website and by following them on Facebook and Twitter. We found Snake Oil to be fun for all ages, but if you’re looking for something specific for the under-8 crowd, they also have a new “Party Potion” edition just for them!
Do you have a favorite party game?