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Set in the News


You might consider it a little nerdy, but everyday, my best friend and I have a little eCompetition. Sometime during the day, we each play Set online and email each other the our times. It’s nice because it creates a little daily conversation—and we exercise our brains.

I hadn’t really read up on Set, so I didn’t know why it was good for you. I just knew that it is fun and that it had to be working some brain cells. Then, when I visited the site today, I noticed a link to Set in the news. I learned that Set “strengthens and creates new connections between the left and right brain.” Sweet! So what are you waiting for? Start playing!

Oh, wait. You probably need the rules. Here are the official rules, but I will try to describe them a little differently. And hopefully in an easier-to-understand manner.

First, you have to understand the cards. A quote from the website:

(A) Color:
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.

Here is a visual example of some of the cards (they also happen to make a set).

To make a set, you have to consider each of the above features (color, symbol, number, and shading) independently.

If the color is not all the same (all purple, for example), the color must be different on each card (so of the three cards, one must be purple, another green, and the third red). If you have two reds and a green, you do not have a set.

Next, consider the symbols. Just like with the color, the symbol on each card must be the same (all ovals), or it must be different on each card. So let’s say we have checked and our three cards are all red. Now, we’re checking their symbols. One is a diamond, one an oval, and the last a squiggle. Good! We don’t have any duplicate symbols. So far, we might have a set.

Third is the number. I bet you can guess what I am going to say about number… If all the cards have the same number, or if they all show a different number, they we are one step closer to having a set. Hmm, we have two red diamonds, two red ovals, and two red squiggles: Yep! We’re still on track for having a set.

Now the final element: The shading. And, just like before, the shading must be the same on all the cards, or it must be different on each card—no repeats. And all of our cards are solid, so we have a set!

Think you get it? Here’s a little test. Look at each of the following three cards and decide if they are a set or not. I’ll tell you the answer afterwards.


4 thoughts on “Set in the News

  1. Linden

    20 Feb on 2008 at 16:59

    @sarah jo: Perfect!

    @ww: It ALWAYS seems to take forever to find the sixth set! I usually get the first 5 quickly, then search and search for the last one. It’s frustrating!

    No, it is not a natural property of the game that any random 12 cards will have 6 sets. The daily puzzles have to be specially selected.

  2. ww

    20 Feb on 2008 at 14:47

    So is it a natural property of the game that any group of 12 cards will have 6 sets?

  3. ww

    20 Feb on 2008 at 14:31

    I went to the website and played a game. It took me a long time to find the sixth match! I’ve played Set before with friends, but not for a while. Thanks for reminding me of this fun game!

  4. Sarah Jo

    19 Feb on 2008 at 23:20

    No. Yes. Yes. No.