I had a problem. If my roommates and I had five or more friends over at our apartment, we would be highly limited to the games we could play. The only board games we could do were Resistance, Cards Against Humanity (CAH), and Once Upon a Time. I wanted to expand our repertoire before I got sick and tired of these games.
So one day, my girlfriend pointed out a board game at the toy store called Snake Oil. I read the description and I was immediately hooked.
Snake Oil is similar to Apples to Apples (AA). Okay, so one player is the buyer; the buyer draws a random card from the buyer’s deck and plays that role (like Caveman or Castaway). The other players, the salesmen, look at their six cards and combine two of them together to create a product for the buyer. Then, each salesman will show the buyer their combination and talk about why they should buy their product. The buyer will choose the best product and the salesman will keep the buyer card. At the end of the game, the salesman with the most buyer cards is the winner.
Like AA and CAH, part of the fun comes from the card combinations and how wacky they could be. However, most of the enjoyment originates from the salesmen. They have to take their nonsensical invention and turn it into a special, you-just-gotta-have-it product. As such, this game sets itself apart from AA and CAH in that the salesmen play actual roles in the game instead of just sitting in the sidelines. I have seen many product combinations that would have been a bust had it not been for their silver tongued salesman.
However, again like AA and CAH, Snake Oil can wear on you if played too long. As such, it’s best to play this game in short rounds, either through time or the number of complete rounds you take.
I also think the game suffers from some boring nouns (such as “stool”). This is a family game so you can’t go too risqué but I still think they could have extended their vocabulary to more unique nouns including animals. I know I have been stuck with cards that were pretty meh and I was just burning through them hoping to get something good. This has tempted me to combine some of the cards from AA or CAH with this game to create a more dynamic and hilarious setting.
But to answer my problem from above, this game has certainly offered a new experience for us to play and I like it. I’m glad I bought it cause I like it and so do my friends.
Buy it? Buy it if you want more party games and are looking for something light on rules and short on time. Buy if you are also a fan of CAH or AA.
Or Leave it? Definitely leave it if you want a more involved, strategic game. This game is meant to be played with fun and not for the sake of winning. Also, if you don’t care for AA or CAH you might want to leave this one alone as well. However, I still recommend you try it out anyway cause I think it’s different enough to really be its own entity.