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Set! January 18, 2008

Posted by Joe in games.

Set is one of the most unique and interesting card games I have seen. I’ve been familiar with the game for many years now, but I am still intrigued by its deceptive simplicity. Once the basic skill of recognizing a set is mastered the number of different ways the game can be played are limited only by one’s imagination.

The Set deck consists of 81 cards. Each card has some combination of four properties: color, shape, shading, and number. There are three variations of each property so that all possible combinations of all four are 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 = 81 possible combinations. The cards look like these:

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In fact this happens to be a set. A set is any three cards where each property is either all the same or all different. The above is a set because all have a different color, all have a different number, all have a different shape, and all have different shading. Sets can also have things that are the same. A set:

In the above set the cards all have the same color and they all have different shapes, patterns, and number. The easiest way to recognize three cards that are not a set is that two of the cards will share a feature that the other does not. As the below example shows:

In the three cards above there are two reasons it is not a set. The easy way to see this is that two are striped, while the third is solid, thus they do not work on shading. Also Two are oval and one is a diamond, so they fail on shape as well. Color is good because they are all three green, and number is good because they are all one.

if you have interest in puzzles or unique card games I suggest you check out the Set website and you can practice your set finding skills with their daily Set puzzle.




1. Canadamama - January 7, 2009

We got our deck of Set cards about 6 years ago and we just love it! It is very interesting to me to see that there is not a huge difference between adults and children in how quickly they pick it up. Some adults are mystified and cannot get their heads around what they are looking for, and some kids get it straight away. It really seems to be more about how the players’ brains are wired than how mature their brains are.

I agree – great game!

2. Lynn Williams - April 8, 2009

I love this game. have been playing for 3 years now with my family and we never get tired of it in fact, we are so addicted it goes everywhere with us and keeps the kids occupied beating mom and dad.

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