Out of the Box Games offers fun educational products and we were glad to review Snake Oil – Party Potion. This particular game is for ages eight to adult, but my children had no problem playing it. They are seven and four.
I did have to read the cards for my daughter, who is four and does not read long words. And, sometimes, I had to give her an idea of how to put the cards together, but she relished it. She asked for help and quickly repeated out loud what I was suggesting to her. This was a great experience for her because she loves games. She is my playful one – everything is funny and fun to her. On the other hand, she hates to lose and she lost a few times.
Yes, there were tears. Four-year-old tears are hard to bear, of course. So we all had to pick her product now and then in order to let her win, boost her self-confidence, and give her a reason to celebrate. Besides, her products were not all that bad, having been concocted by her mommy…
All this to say that young children – younger than eight – can totally participate in this game, have fun with it, learn from it, and be involved with the whole family.
I am big on communication, vocabulary, literature and creativity. This game gives us exactly what we need to stimulate creativity and improve communication skills. It also helps with social and emotional skills, as we learn to win and to lose graciously.
This physical game contains two different kinds of cards: Customer Cards and Word Cards. The object of the game is to collect as many Customer Cards as possible. Each player takes a turn in being the Customer who listens to a commercial from the other players. The Word Cards are used to create imaginary products which will be of utmost importance to the Customer. Only two Word Cards can be used to create a product.
Here’s an example. Say the Customer is a Lifeguard and you get six cards which read, Test, Pimple, Curtain, Sponge, Tummy, Tub. (You can only get six cards. Once you use up two cards, you keep the other four and get two more before the next round.)
You can come up with Test Tub – a large tub which a Lifeguard find invaluable because he gets to practice his life saving skills on small dolls. Or a Pimple Sponge – a magic sponge which a Lifeguard keeps handy as he saves people from drowning. If the local TV station happens to be nearby to interview the Lifeguard, he can make sure that there will be no pimples on his face, or the face of the person he just saved before getting on the camera.
Looks may not be everything, but the right looks get you places you never dreamed of. Vanity is not overrated. And don’t say it’s not true, because you know it is.
As you can see, these made-up products can be sci-fi, playful, ridiculous, or as realistic as you can possibly imagine. Which brings me to my next point: why that name? Why Snake Oil? Well, a hundred years ago, people used to sell snake oil as a cure-all. Hence the subtitle of these games, “It cures what ails ya!”
Playing this game will cure whatever ails you in a more literal way. Here’s how. Say you are having a bad day and nothing works in your homeschool or kitchen and you are just overwhelmed by life. Drop everything and play a game of Snake Oil Party Potion. The giggles and laughter will pick you right up because we all know a merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Voilà! Snake Oil just cured whatever ailed you.
To my shame, I was rather skeptical at first about my children’s ability to come up with products, but they proved me wrong. They really enjoyed imagining tools to help the Customer, and these products made sense. This game helped me get a better picture of where my children are in their view of the world. It’s like a well-hidden educational experience, complete with its own test.
The Snake Oil Party Potion game retails for $14.99. There is another game for older children, which you can find on the same website. Party Potion can be played with two variations. In one, players do not wait 30-40 seconds to create a pitch and do not wait their turn. As soon as they have concocted something, they fire away.
In the other variation, players get eight or even ten cards per round, so that they have more options of combining words.
How many players can get involved in this game? No less than three and no more than six. One game takes about thirty minutes.
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