A Review: Snake Oil

Snake Oil Title

Are you looking for some good ‘ol fashioned fun? Word games combined with card games? Snake Oil is it! Created by Out of the Box Games, Snake Oil is a fun word game that allows your “out of the box” thinkers to express themselves in a very fun, unique way.

I know what you are thinking – snake oil? Really? And the answer is yes, really. It makes total sense, if you get back to the origins of “snake oil.” Check out these words from the instruction sheet, included with the game.

origin of Snake Oil

So, how do you play? One person is the customer and picks a customer card to determine what kind of customer they are. For example, the card may say “diva” or “pregnant woman” or “kindergartener.”  The other players have a set of cards with a single word on each; we have been playing with six cards. Each player picks two of the word cards and imagines a new product based on those two words. The player then gives a sales pitch about that product to the customer. Once every player has had a chance to pitch their product, the customer chooses which one of the products he would buy. He gives the customer card to the player that created the most marketable product. The next person then chooses a customer card and play continues in the same manner until every has had a turn to be a customer.

L studying cards J working on cards E studying cards

We played one variation of the game with just two players because L really likes this game and asks to play it more often than the others like to play. So, she and I play and just take turns making the sales pitch. It is still a lot of fun.

Fun With Words

This game has been a great family activity. The words are varied. This gives opportunity for a vocabulary lesson at each and every game. The girls have learned quite a few new words and when we learn a new word, we also read the spelling of it a few times to help cement it into our brains.

The marketed age on this is 10+. However, we have found with our family, that J (age 5) can play by herself if someone helps her read the words. Independent play is possible for L (age 8).

That being said, there are some cards you might want to remove prior to play. Here are some examples of word cards we have removed and why: rumor (if we are promoting something good, it doesn’t need to include rumor which is not based in fact), greed (an emotion that is negative and can rule lives), bra (don’t really want that in the box with mixed company), revenge and murder (again, both negative, sinful things). There are some others as well, and your choices will be based on your family and the situation in which you are playing the game.  Some examples of the customer cards that might be problematic for someone include executioner (the job is not one I desire to get into with my 5 year old and the picture is somewhat disturbing to the girls), witch, zombie, gangster and vampire.

Snake Oil box


Snake Oil retails for $19.99. There is also another variation of the game, Snake Oil – Party Potion, marketed for ages 8+. It retails for $14.99. Visit Out of the Box Games to learn more and to view videos of each of the Snake Oil games in play.

This has been a super fun, creative way to add word work into our days. The girls have definitely had an increase in their vocabulary and their brains are making new word associations each time we play. We are happy to have this in our games closet and it will be helping the girls imagine all sorts of new things to sell. At Home.

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Want to read some other families’ views? Visit the TOS Review Crew blog by clicking below.


One thought on “A Review: Snake Oil

  1. Our Crew Year Favorites | At Home November 24, 2014 at 8:45 pm Reply

    […] Language Arts Supplement: Out of the Box Games […]

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