Monday, March 10, 2008


Another quick card game filled in our time as the third offering on Friday night.

Set! is a very simple yet fun and frustrating card matching game.

It's very simple to understand but can be difficult to master if you don't have a fast eye for detail.

Twelve cards are laid out face up on the table. The object for each player is to grab a set of 3 of these cards before anyone else does.

Each card has either 1, 2 or 3 matching objects on it.

Each object has 3 properties: shape, colour and filling.

There are also 3 different types of each property.

In this game the 3 shapes were an oval, a rectangle and an S-shaped squiggle; the 3 colours were green, orange and purple; and the 3 fillings were empty, solid or patterned.

The object is to collect a set of 3 cards such that for any given property (including number of objects on the card), none of them are the same or they are all the same.

For example, a valid set can comprise cards that show: 1 empty green rectangle, 2 solid purple squiggles, and 3 patterned orange ovals. This is valid as all the properties on the cards are different.

Another valid set would be; 2 solid purple rectangles, 2 solid orange squiggles, and 2 solid green ovals. This set is valid as all cards contain 2 solid objects, while the other properties are all different.

Perhaps the easiest way to recognise a valid set, and the way my brain finally understood valid sets, is to learn to recognise invalid sets.

If you find a property (remember these are number, colour, shape, and filling) that is present on two cards but not a third, then it's invalid. That is, if you have a pair of properties instead of singles or triples, then it's not a valid set.

So if I tried to pick up three cards comprised of 1 solid orange squiggle, 2 patterned purple ovals, and 3 empty orange rectangles, it would be invalid because two of the cards are orange.

When the cards are on the table, it's a free-for-all grab-a-set-athon. Once a set is removed, 3 more cards are dealt to replace them.

Once all the cards have been dealt, and no more sets are available, the game ends and the person with the most sets wins.

Generally speaking the dealer is at a disadvantage because often people will start grabbing sets before all the cards are dealt. You can implement a rule that prevents this, but the dealer is still disadvantaged.

I say "generally speaking" because this did not apply to The Giggling One. She has an astonishing eye for sets, and even when we made her be dealer to try and slow her down, she just beat the other three of us by even more.

Mark this down as another game I suck at. I'm the sort of gamer who likes to ponder things, and pondering in Set! will see you slaughtered.

It's a lot of fun though, and can see a lot of d'oh-ing as another person grabs a set you missed after you've been staring at the cards for a good 30 seconds. Certainly a worthwhile diversion for the whole family.

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