While working as a BrainCoach at Marbles the Brain Store, I've noticed that there's one question that customers love to ask -- "Do you have a favorite game?"
Lucky for me, I love answering this question.
"Snake Oil!" I exclaim. "Without a DOUBT."
Oh, "Snake Oil." What a gem you are. For those folks out there that are unfamiliar with the game, it was actually created by Out of the Box Publishing, the same company responsible for publishing the ever-popular "Apples to Apples."
But back to "Snake Oil." The name of the game comes from the olden days of the wild, wild west, when salesmen were often referred to as "Snake Oil Salesman" for selling rather questionable products (like a type of Snake Oil that's guaranteed to benefit the skin; get it?!) The point of "Snake Oil", then, is to create new products in order to *sell* them to certain hypothetical characters.
For example, let's say that during gameplay my friend Nick draws a character card that reads Dumpster Diver. What I have to do as a "snake oil salesman" is look at the six object cards in my hand and combine any two of them to create a product that his character needs. So let's say I combine two of my object cards-- "Bacteria" and "Puppet"-- to create the Bacteria Puppet. The next step would be for me to pitch this product to Nick.
"Nick, you need a Bacteria Puppet because it filters through the dumpster for you, steering you towards the good stuff and away from the bad stuff! Never again shall you worry about e.coli!!" etc., etc. (Yes, I really pitched this product once.)
Meanwhile, every other player is also creating his own product based on the object cards in hand. Competition ensues, and in the end, Nick chooses the product he likes the most. Then another round begins, with a new character and new object cards.
Overall, creativity is king in "Snake Oil", and this is absolutely why the game is my favorite. It works wonderfully for those with big personalities and for those who aren't afraid to get silly. Because believe me, silly it will get--half of the time, nothing makes sense!
...Great for parties, great for the family; everyone needs a little "Snake Oil" in his or her life (and no, I'm not telling you to track down some old Snake Oil face cream on Ebay.)