Each player takes a turn being the dealer of the entire deck of Set cards. You lay out 12 cards in a 3 by 4 grid. As you can see in the photo, the cards show 3 different shapes (diamonds, ovals, and squiggles) in 3 different colors (red, purple, and green) and 3 different fill patterns (solid, striped, and empty) and in 3 different amount (1, 2, or 3 figures). Each card is unique.
You goal is to find 3 cards that are either all alike or all different for each of the 4 attributes. For example, you might find 3 cards that all have 2 figures on each, are all purple, show the 3 different shapes, and show the 3 different fill patterns.
When you think you’ve found 3 cards that follow the rule, you call out “Set!” If you’re correct, you collect the 3 cards from the tableau, and the dealer fills in the spaces with 3 new cards. Each set you collect is worth 1 point. If you’re not correct – which can happen – you lose 1 point. You want to get as many sets as possible, in less time than your buddies. Watch out, Set is as addictive as Angry Birds!
After the entire deck has been dealt and all possible sets have been collected, you tally how many sets you collected. Usually you’ll play one round per player and total your scores after the last deck is dealt.
Set is definitely a game where you need to be able to spot the forest, not the trees. Sometimes a set is easy to find, but other times players may search for a minute or more before finding it. (Not all tableaus contain a true set. Three additional cards are dealt when this happens.) Sets that can be especially difficult to find are those with mostly different attributes.
Set plays very quickly overall. If you keep things moving, you can easily play several whole games in an hour or less. Pick up a Set deck today and find out for yourself.