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Product Awards:  

Ages Players
6+ 1 or more

Designer(s): Marsha Falco

Publisher(s): Set Enterprises

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Product Description

The object of the game is to identify "sets" of three cards. Each card is unique in its four features: number (1, 2, or 3); symbol (diamond, squiggle, or oval); shading (solid, striped, or open); and color (red, green, or purple). A "set" consists of three cards on which every feature is either the same on all of the cards, or different on all of the cards.

Product Awards

Deutscher Spiele Preis
9th place, 1995
Mensa Best Mind Game Award
Best Mind Game, 1991

Product Information

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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.3 in 19 reviews

Fast and furious - and yet so challenging - SET!
September 02, 2009

"Let's play a round of SET" - ever so often this request comes up in our family and among friends during Game Evenings. Even though SET is on the market for so many years, it is still ONE OF THE BEST in our huge game collection. When we feel the need for a little brain boost and the youngsters try to challenge the older ones - SET is the best medication. Everybody gets something out of it. It is fast paced, not hard to learn and so much fun. We never leave without the nice SET travel box. One never knows - maybe we have to wait at the airport or have somewhere else a moment for a game. For a long time we also play the free daily SET puzzle on the company's website.

So Not Boring!
July 28, 2009

This game is never the same game twice! It's one that is not too hard, but makes you think. I'm a math geek and love using this game in my math class because it can be played with a large group because there are no taking turns. Set is a very easy game to learn and very challenging at the same time. The game rewards creative thinking because there are multiple ways to create a "Set".

Like nothing else
July 05, 2007

SET is an incredibly unique game. It has only a couple "simple" rules, but once you start to play, you realize how difficult the game is. All players play simultaneously, so there is no boring lag time waiting for your neighbor to finish his turn. Playing the game is like acquiring a skill because the more you play the better you get. All you have to do is pick out the sets! It's simple! (or not!)

One of my VERY favorites!
January 17, 2006
The first thing that impresses me about Set is that it breaks the mold of turn-taking. It's played in real-time, all players racing to find the next "Set." Another thing that I like is the fact that any number of people can play it, as long as each player can see the cards layed out and be able to reach them to claim their prize each time they're the first to see the next Set.

Also, the pace can be changed quite a bit depending on how serious you and your opponents want to me at that moment. I've played in the middle of the living room with everyone sitting back on couches and chairs engaged in various conversations, with only moderate focus on the game, and it was really fun. Of course the hard-core sessions with everyone's eyes glued to the cards with their lips and tongue just in the right position to say "Set!" as soon as needed is a ton of fun as well.

Set takes about 3 or 4 games to catch on. I'm not sure exactly what is happening scientifically speaking, but through those first few games you turn something on in your brain and you train yourself to think in such a way that you can see the matches. Once you get to that point, it's darn satisfying to be the first to find the matches and show your opponents what a whiz you are :)

The game is very well made, with a hard plastic case, just large enough to fit the game, so it's fairly compact. There are 81 cards, and instructions and that's it... pretty simple. The design is well done with the symbols and their attributes being very simple to enable players to spot matches as clearly as possible. I do question the color choices. Maybe a lot of thought was given to it, but it makes me wonder, as my father-in-law has a hard time distinguishing between the purple and green. He has minor color-blindness and I know that there are certain colors that can be seen better than others by those with such conditions.

Though not reasonably possible, it would be nice to always know that at least one "Set" exists in the cards that are layed out, but as it is, it's really no big deal for everyone agree to see more cards and have the dealer toss out 3 more.

This is one of my favorite games. I love these little games in which you don't have to commit to a large chunk of time (one round won't last more than about 5-10 minutes... probably closer to 5), yet you can keep going if you and you're opponent(s) are in the "zone".

My absolute favorite games are those that my wife and I both enjoy, and this definitely makes the list. She likes a lot of games with heavy luck involved, and this "all-skill" game happens to appeal to her.

I give this game a good solid 5-star rating!

If you are a gamer, and you don't have the likes of "Set" in your game closet, it's time to round out your collection and delve into this wonderful genre of real-time pattern perception.

An interesting phenomenon for the cognitive psychologists
July 30, 2004

As people have been mentioning, kids do really well at this game. Maybe it's like learning a language - we don't have to think about rules, we just *see* the sets.

I learned to play when I was three, and within a few months my sisters (11 and 8) refused to play with me because they couldn't win ^^

by Lee
It makes my head hurt
July 30, 2002

The first couple times I played this was with friends that had been at it for months. Boy did I get shown up! That was a frustrating experience. This time I played with family on summer vacation. The whole family from age 12-65 loved it. I still suck but it's more fun to play with family. It's become an obsession so I had to buy more games for our geographically diverse family. Christmas this year will be s-s-s-s-s-sET-arific!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
It's Okay For What It Is, However...
April 18, 2002

I was first introduced to SET at a gaming convention in Detroit about 11 years ago. (In fact, the SET booth was 'set' (pun intended) directly next to a booth introducing a new strategy game called Abalone. I spent much of my time at this convention at these two booths.)

The object of SET is to identify a 'set' of three cards from a number of cards laid out on the table. Each card in the deck has a variation of the following four features:

Symbol -- every card contains either an oval, a squiggle, or a diamond.

Quantity -- every card has either one, two, or three symbols.

Shading -- every card's symbol is either solid, open, or striped.

Color -- every card's symbol is either red, green, or purple.

For example, one card might be composed of 'one striped red oval.' Another card might be composed of 'three solid green diamonds.' A third card might be 'two open red diamonds,' etc.

A valid 'set' consists of three cards in which EACH feature is EITHER the SAME on each card OR is DIFFERENT on each card.

For example, if Card #1 contains one solid red oval, and Card #2 contains two open green squiggles, and Card #3 contains three striped purple diamonds, then this would be a 'set' -- each feature on each card is different. Quantity is all different, Shading is all different, Color is all different and the Symbols are all different.

A 'set' can also have both the SAME features and DIFFERENT features at the same time and still be considered a valid 'set'. For example, the following is also a 'set': Card #1 contains one solid red oval, and Card #2 contains two open red ovals, and Card #3 contains three striped red ovals.

All three cards are the SAME color... red... so that makes them a 'set'. Also, all cards have the SAME symbols... ovals... so that also makes them a 'set.' The two features on these three cards are the SAME. However, all three cards have DIFFERENT quantities and all three cards have DIFFERENT shading... so this makes them a 'set' too.

As long as the features are all the SAME or are all DIFFERENT, it's a valid 'set'.

This is an example of three cards that are not a 'set': Card #1 contains one solid green diamond, and Card #2 contains one open purple diamond, and Card #3 contains one striped red oval.

Quantity... all have one symbol... so far so good... Shading... all have different shading... still a 'set' so far... Color... all have different colors, however... Symbols... two diamonds and one oval... not a 'set'!

Since the symbols were not all the same and were also not all different, these three cards are not considered a valid set.

If this all seems confusing, don't worry -- it's not. The concept of what constitutes a valid 'set' is much easier to comprehend when seeing the actual cards.

Play begins by placing 12 cards down on the table, in the form of a 4x3 or 6x2 rectangle. As soon as a player sees a 'set' he yells out 'Set' and indicates which three cards he/she believe are indeed a 'set'. The other players confirm this and if the 'set' is indeed correct, the player gets to keep these cards. (Every three cards will later give the player one point.) The dealer then replenishes the table by adding another three cards from the deck.

If the other players prove the three cards are not a valid 'set', the player who yelled out 'Set' loses one point.

During the course of the game if the players can find no more 'sets' on the table, the dealer adds three more cards to the table.

After a designated number of rounds (usually each player deals once) the player with the most points wins.

I enjoy games where I'm able to present some type of 'problem' to my opponent. The more difficult problem I can present, usually the better position I'm in. Chess, checkers, backgammon, Pente, Othello, Twixt, Abalone, etc., at least provide me with an opportunity to make it as difficult as possible for my opponent to proceed. None of this exists with SET. There are no tactics or strategy of any kind. SET is really nothing more than a simple contest of speed. The better player is the player who is able to find 'sets' the fastest. That's it. In fact, SET plays just the same as a one-player solitaire game, although I'm sure most would agree it's more fun with with several players.

SET is the probably the most enjoyable at family gatherings and parties. The game is not to be taken seriously and you certainly aren't going to find articles and books written on the proper way to play.

As my tag line indicates, SET is okay for what it is... a light diversion that will probably help to liven up any family gathering or party. However, to me the game gets boring VERY quickly. There is just not enough there to hold my interest. If you live to be 100 and never have an opportunity to play a game of SET, you haven't really missed much. I'm giving it just two stars.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
SET spans age groups.
April 14, 2002

My daughter and I have been playing this since she was 8, and it didn't take her but a few games to give me serious competition, and now she beats me most of the time. This game is great; it is, at its heart, a puzzle-solving game, in the same category as Ricochet Robot, so if you don't like games of this sort, you won't like this one, but I love it. I've worn out one deck and bought another. Games take less than 5 minutes, and any number can join, even part way into a game, which makes it great for conventions.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Mrs S
This is our second set of 'SET', excellent game!
November 04, 2001

This game is EXCELLENT! We had more fun with this game than any other we've ever purchased over the years. It's compact and can be played anywhere. We used our first set of Set so much we had to buy a replacement deck. This will be our second deck. I can't wait to get my next set of Set. ENJOY!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Requires a special mindSET
August 25, 2001

My wife has very specific likes and dislikes when it comes to gaming. She does not like games that require much in the way of spatial relationships. She absolutely abhors [page scan/se=0170/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Manhattan, for example, as she has trouble visualizing whether she will own a skyscraper or not.

On the other hand, she is very fond of games that require visual perception. Her brain seems hardwired for this sort of exercise, while mine is wired more for slower-paced strategy games.

When we play Set, Kasey ALWAYS wins.

You may have a similar experience. Someone in your family or game group may just be born better at playing games like this. It is an amazing thing to see these folks look at the same layout of cards that you see and be able to pick out set after set after set while you struggle.

Humbling, to be sure, but also entertaining in its own way. While this game is not for all players, and you may find yourself with your own Kasey, it is really a very good little game of perception. Can you find the sets hidden in those 12 face-up cards? It is definitely worth a try.


Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Very very Good!
August 24, 2001

It's really very, very good for both solitary and group play.

Very easy to learn and very fast to lose if you play against a kid. They learn it quickly and play very fast and better than me.

I haven't stopped playing it since I bought it months ago, and still can not win against those kids.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Wendy
Brilliant game!
June 06, 2001

We've had this game for a few years now and it's one of the most played games in our family. I'm about to order another deck.

As a matter of fact, I can't start my day without doing the daily Set puzzle from

You either play with opponents, or against yourself by bettering your time. You can also adjust the deck to accomdate very young children. But don't be fooled by their innocence, they'll soon be beating you over and over again with a full deck!

It's great brain-training and a must-have for all gaming families!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
a thinker's game
March 09, 2001

First of all, I wish to sincerely thank every one who has previously reviewed this game.

My daughters and I have played it repeatedly--myself at a decided disadvantage.

This is a game that is definitely designed for abstract thinkers--who are able to pursue and challenge their thinking skills to the outer limit. In all honesty, I do not enjoy this game, nor do I feel that the components or presentation are anything exceptional.

However, I do feel that this game has significant merits. I have volunteered excessively in my daughters' school classrooms, and one of the most important issues being addressed today is 'thinking skills'.

Apparently, this game fills the qualifications for mathematical enrichment and encouragement of advanced thinking skills.

As much as I personally dislike the game, I do believe that it has a great value to educators. Two major advantages are as follows:

First of all, it can be played and enjoyed by a child of learning disabilities (as in a child, adolescent, or adult who cannot read).

Second, the colors, shapes and sizes are distinguishable enough to be enjoyed by those who suffer from visual impairment and color blindness.

Personally, I don't particularly care for this game, and thusly I would strongly support any negative reviews. However, this is one of very few games that a mentally or visually challenged individual could play without being offended, hurt or insulted by their obvious lack of ability, and for this reason, I would give it a definite thumbs up.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
The Idiot Game
March 07, 2001

I don't mean to say that people who play this game are idiots, I mean that playing this game makes you feel like an idiot.

Me and my friends all found the game to be too energy-consuming yet unstrategic. This isn't really a mental game at all, it's just a quirky kind of pattern analysis, that's why the kiddies do so good at it. I'm pretty sure an illiterate hobo wouldn't have any advantage over Kasparov in a game of this, it's all based on this bizarre natural ability that people have to different degrees.

Me and my game group are not stupid by any means but we all suck at this game, and have had a MISERBALE time whenever we played it. And I certainly would NOT describe the gaming experience as edge of your seat, you can sit wherever you want but it's not going to help you any. Play is more like 5 bored people staring idly at a bunch of cards with green and purple squiggles on them until every 40-60 seconds someone says set and picks up 3 cards. And then you do it over. And over.

I can't quite put into words how boring this game is. If you have kids though it's probably a good purchase because they have a good shot at winning unlike the more complex games that sell well on this site. But unless you have an 8-year old in need of an ego boost run from this doozy like the devil.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
March 01, 2001

Shouting 'SET!' will get you into trouble if you didn't really find a set. This simple-looking game will have your mind spinning after 3 rounds! You just have to find sets of 3 cards that 'match' (according to the rules). Sounds easy? It's harder than it looks! My family loves this game and we play it often.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
A party game once in a while isn't so bad
November 22, 2000

I don't own that many party games, simply because it is not my style. But hey, once in a while it is fun if you are trying to get completely non-gamers to explore the fun of games. And usually this is at parties. Grab out of your cabinet the SET game and you have a winner.

It is so simple to learn and once you have all people totally involved, they are on their edge of their seats trying to get SET! out of their mouth first before the next senctence 'OH NO....DARN' follows right away.

In the spirit of Halli Galli (for Kids) and Arriba (which feels similar), now there is SET. It mentions that the game is for 1+ persons, but if you play this solitaire then you really don't have a life. The more the merrier with this game.

Because you can even get non-gamers having fun with this game, I give it 4 points.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
You'll be on the edge of your seat, ready to yell out: SET!
September 21, 2000

This is a great game to play around the table. Fun and exciting, the point is to pick out three cards, out of 12, which are all-alike or all-different in each of the four 'attributes' (color, shape, pattern, quantity). These are called sets. The game is over when all the cards have been dealt and there are no more sets left. Whoever has the most sets wins.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Half "concentration", half "spit"
July 30, 2000

A very simple game, good for grade school and up. Spot the pattern first, then call it grab it fast!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
The more the merrier
December 07, 1999

This wasn't really designed as a party game, and it certainly doesn't have to played by lots of people to be enjoyable, but it shines at large gatherings, like family get-togethers. And if you think it's a no-brainer to find three cards which make a set, it isn't often all that easy. 'Set-no's, as we call phantom sets in our family, show up regularly. If a 10-year-old happens to be in the crowd, you can bet heavy on the kid beating all the adults, too. This has been a favorite in our family for 7-8 years (we must have been among the first to actually buy a copy), and we've given several sets of Set as presents. For ten bucks, it'll be hard to have more fun, or more laughs.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

Other Resources for Set:

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