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Few party games are as funny as Snake Oil

Selling Snake Oil for fun and profit

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Clayton Ashley , senior video editor, has been producing and editing videos for Polygon since 2016. He is the lead producer of the tabletop gaming series Overboard.

Party games about being funny aren’t hard to find. Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples give players the tools to create a punchline, but because the cards do all the heavy lifting, there’s little space for real creativity. Snake Oil seems similar on the surface: One player sits gets to be the “customer” and while the rest try to sell them on a product created by picking two cards in their hand. What sets Snake Oil apart is the pitch.

Rather than merely handing in some cards, players need to sell their product through any means necessary. Instead of the humor coming from crass card combinations, players have to quickly improv a commercial-style pitch for their product. Improvising may be intimidating for some, but luckily, advertising is fertile ground for comedy. You can try to sell your “BUTTER TRAP” using your best Billy Mays impersonation or sell your “PAJAMA BOOTS” with a high-powered Shark Tank-style presentation. The game asks a little more of its players, but the payoff is so much more rewarding. Where else can you summon your inner Don Draper while trying to sell your friend on a “BONE CASTLE”?

You can see all of the spectacularly ridiculous products we came up with in the latest episode of Overboard, featuring special guest Niki Grayson! If you enjoy this episode, be sure to check out the rest of our Overboard series, and all our other great videos on YouTube!

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