This is a great review for all of you ‘learning with games’ families! For the last 16 years we have found that learning through games introduces and reinforces ideas easier and stronger than any other method with our family. We were already familiar with Out of the Box Games. On your site you’ll find Party Games, Quick Games and Engaging Games. We have enjoyed the 10 Days In series, and have learned geography with it in our home – faster and with more lasting memory than any workbook ever tried to impart. So when I heard that we could review Snake Oil, I signed up, said a prayer, crossed my fingers and held my breath – until – Yee Haw! We were chosen!
Snake Oil is great for kids 10 and up, individually would be good for established readers, or teams with a reader in each team.
There are two parts to the game.
An Identity: A Player chooses a card, and decides between the two sides to give themselves an identity. In the picture to the left – they choose Teenager.
The Salesmen: Choose two cards from their hand to create a product to sell. In the photo to the left, Dream Family, Glitter Party, TV Glasses and Scent Tattoo are played. Each Snake Oil Salesman has 30 seconds to give a pitch as to why the teenager can not live without their product. There wasn’t an order to who pitched first when we played, just when you give your pitch go.
Some pitches were quite serious, some made us roll on the floor in laughter. The Person in Need asked questions, and those selling a product got to expand on their sales pitch.
Some negotiations took longer than others . . . .
Sometimes it isn’t as easy as in the first photo. If the identity is Hitch Hiker – what do you create for them out of Flower, Book, Tape, Excuse, Basket and Sweat?
One funny thing that was giggled about was the ‘head turn’ The cards, if held like playing cards, has the hands on the edge. So unless you hold them like the photo above, this is what happens. (see below) Took the boys a while to figure out they could turn their cards around instead of their heads. Ha.
The teen boys enjoyed playing this game. The only thing they said was hard, is that they are used to a similar word game where you put your cards down and the ‘chooser’ gets to pick what fits them best, using what they personally prefer. It keeps it anonymous. No favorites.
The whole point of this game – and especially for me as the teacher – is that you have to use your words to say WHY you handed in those cards. Not as easy as “Glitter Party” for a Teenager? Then make something up. Make it crazy. It’s still not personal, because I’m not giving a card that I know Nate would like, I’m trying to find something a Hitchhiker would need or want or could sell or trade for a ride.
The boys are working through Art of Argument (fallacies) and my oldest son is in a college Speech class. This was a perfect fun fit to give practice for impromptu speeches and arguments. I think teaching teens HOW to argue and how to present a product is a skill to be honed and practices. No whining, pouting, manipulating to get your way, but a good solid statement. The more creative the players became with their pitch, the more likely they could convince the Identity that they needed it. Many times, the first pitch left the Identity flat. It was the re-wording on a second try that convinced.
People often ask me if you can unschool through high school. Yes – I believe you can. Can you use games in place of curriculum? Yes, especially in the younger years. With my older teens, they prefer games in addition to intentional directed learning. The Out of the Box Games website has a Standards Matching list if you are required to log hours or if you wonder how their games would comply with the school scope and sequence. Sometimes for new moms/teachers it is hard to put into ‘school’ words what the boys are learning when they are ‘just playing a game’. I’d take a look through the list just to help you see value in your play time and to see how education can be found outside of a Common Core Workbook. Oh- Ooops – They made the list to match Common Core Standards – so don’t be worried about that silly CC craze on Facebook – You kids may always be above and beyond what ‘they’ want anyway. Enjoy.
Being creative with their education is a great way to find ways to increase their vocabulary, geography and math skills. I also found this fun photo chart of how to divide the games into subject areas: Classroom Games .
So as you move on to the holidays and you are looking for fun family holiday games – I can’t recommend these enough. We have purchased, with our own money, outside of reviews or requirements – several Out of the Box Games. These are the games that the boys bring to ‘game nights’ with friends. They get pulled out first to use at home. You can learn through gaming – and not just on a screen.
Oh – and in fair review – The liked this game. One child we played with had a hard time reading the words or understanding what the word meant. They asked an older player for help and it quickly increased their vocabulary. He was frustrated, and didn’t enjoy the game as much. The oldest boy we played with thought it might be more fun for younger kids, but again the reading issue. Take in mind that this older teen boy did not like playing board games, but he did enjoy this one. My oldest son thought the game was great. All in all – when we play it, everyone has fun and is actively engaged. – Oh and you win when one player has chosen 6 cards, or whatever set amount you agree to. The boys kept moving the line to 10 or 15. ha. My youngest son was the one that brought up that it would be easier to play if the Identity didn’t know who gave the cards as he had a harder time ‘pitching’ his product.
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Snake Oil retails for $19.99. There is also an 8+ version called Snake Oil – Party Potion. 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.
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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.
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