Out of the Box Games has some stellar offerings in its oeuvre, but Snake Oil has to be one of the best. Designed for children 10+ and costing $19.99, Snake Oil takes literally just minutes to learn. A game can be played with as few as 3 or as many as 10 players and typically takes 20-30 minutes to complete. The point of the game is simple: one player is the customer (the card drawn determines what kind of customer he is) and all of the other players are the pitchmen, trying to get that customer to buy the most dubious of products. The products are created from two Word Cards drawn from players' hands. The players create the products to pitch to the specific customer in front of them. Therefore, they would pitch a different product to a nurse than to a teacher. They would also use a different sales approach. The game is fast-paced and *hilarious*.
Within minutes of opening Snake Oil, my kids (13, 11, 9, and 9) were playing. It took no time to figure out the rules (apart from reading them) and no time to "get into the game." With a lot of games, there is an acclimation period. Some games are so complicated that you have to play them a few times before you can even begin to enjoy them. Snake Oil is sooo not that game! You can play it and love it immediately. The second the game is over, you are playing it again - at least that was our experience.
I wanted to see how the kids could figure out the game and play without my interference help, so I sat back and watched as they opened it up. After five minutes, I asked how to play and they were all falling all over themselves to explain it to me. The twins aren't *quite* 10 (3 more weeks), but they had no trouble jumping right in to explain. The rules are as simple as I explained above. The age recommendation on the box is probably a good one, but I know that my kids would have all been fine with this game at 8, so definitely use your knowledge of your kids as your guideline.
Snake Oil is one of those games that is the ideal gift for anyone, especially for families with many children (did I mention that up to 10 people can play at a time - how many games can boast that level of participation?). It can get tedious (not to mention expensive) trying to figure out what to get each child in a large family, but you will be completely covered with this game. It is perfect for the whole family. I am one of those parents that has never been good at "Family Game Night" when that meant sitting through something like Candy Land. I don't play down to kids well (cue the "duhs" if you know me IRL). Games like this, though, can work for such a wide age range. Hearing what younger kids come up with as they try to sell a product can be hilarious! This is the kind of game that no one will object to playing!
I'm not the only Crewbie whose kids can't stop playing Snake Oil, so be sure to click the banner below to read all about their experiences.