|Players:||1 - 7|
SET – The Family Game of Visual Perception by SET Enterprises
Shout SET and everyone checks to see if you have discovered the three cards that form a SET from the twelve cards laid face up on the table. You are now one point ahead, and the dealer lays out three more cards. The search starts again. There are no turns, so you don’t wait to pick up the action. Age is no advantage in this game, so try this on your parents! Winner of 14 Best Game Awards, including the MENSA Award.
For a quick introduction for anyone playing the card version, and especially for children under six, start with the small deck (just the red cards). This eliminates one feature, colour. Play as indicated below, yet only lay out nine cards. When you can quickly see a ‘Set’ with this 27 card mini version, shuffle the two decks together. You can try the quick start in this link. Here we eliminate the feature of shading, and test your skill in finding 4 ‘Sets’ from a layout of 9.
The object of the game is to identify a ‘Set’ of three cards from 12 cards laid out on the table. Each card has a variation of the following four features:
(A) COLOUR: Each card is red, green, or purple.
(B) SYMBOL: Each card contains ovals, squiggles, or diamonds.
(C) NUMBER: Each card has one, two, or three symbols.
(D) SHADING: Each card is solid, open, or striped.
A ‘Set’ consists of three cards in which each feature is EITHER the same on each card OR is different on each card. That is to say, any feature in the ‘Set’ of three cards is either common to all three cards or is different on each card.
The dealer shuffles the cards and lays twelve cards (in a rectangle) face up on the table so that they can be seen and touched by all players. The players remove a ‘Set’ of three cards as they are identified. Each ‘Set’ is checked by the other players. If correct, the ‘Set’ is kept by the player and the dealer replaces the three cards with three from the deck. Players do not take turns, yet identify ‘Sets’ as soon as they see them. A player must call ‘Set’ before picking up the cards. After a player has called ‘Set’, no other player can pick up cards until the first player is finished. If a player calls ‘Set’ and does not have one, the player loses one point. The three cards are returned to the table.
Watch: How to play SET
I picked this up having loved and enjoyed Five Crowns and Quiddler, so it seemed a no brainer to add this to the collection. I played it many times and have enjoyed it each time, though it hasn't maintained the same level of enjoyment as the other two have. There are a variety of ways to make sets, if this is a game you've played several times then it is can be quick work finding sets that fit within the rules. If you're new to the game then it can feel quite complex and even confusing (as a few friends have found). This doesn't make the table often but I've kept it as it is still fun to play now and then.
This is a fun one to play with all ages because one's skill at this game is not age-related. Even if people find it hard to grasp the "all different" or "all the same" concept when they hear the rules for the first time, once they see the game in play, they quickly understand what a 'set' is. It's quite portable as well- we've taken it camping and different people are always curious to have a go when they see it in play.