SET Review

SET is a abstract puzzle game for 1 or more players designed by Marsha J. Falco and published by Set Enterprises. The object of SET is to identify a set of 3 cards from 12 or more cards laid on the table.  Play is simultaneous, whoever can accurately call “set” grabs the 3 cards that form a set and put them in their pile.  Those 3 cards get replaced before any other player can call another set.  Play continues until the deck is emptied and there are no more sets to call out.  Each player counts up the number of sets they have, whoever has the highest score, wins.

Photo Provided by The SET Enterprise Media Kit
Photo Provided by The SET Enterprise Media Kit

Each card in SET has 4 different features; a shape, color, number of symbols, and shading.  These help determine what constitutes as a set.  A set is defined by 3 cards in which each of the 4 features are all the same or all different.  Because this is a simultaneous play game, players have to figure out how to spot sets quickly, before other players.  This can be tricky for players of varying visual spatial skills, so a few practice games may work well, especially in a classroom setting.

Top Right shows an example of a set.  the 3 cards share the same color, shape, and number, and have different outlines.
Top Right shows an example of a set. the 3 cards share the same color, shape, and number, and have different outlines.

SET itself moves very quickly, especially for players who can spot sets right away.  A game can be finished in about 10 minutes or less.  It provides a great way to work on visual spatial skills, as well as provide a fast-paced, exciting game.  One very interesting aspect of SET is asking players how they go about finding sets.  Each person has a different way they analyze the play area and determine sets.  It can become a great lesson for math in a classroom, or a fun way to play with family and friends.

Each card has 4 different features, shown here.  They have a color, shape, number, and shading.
Each card has 4 different features, shown here. They have a color, shape, number, and shading.

Card quality of SET is good, and it is easy to shuffle the cards.  The card art is basic, but being an abstract game, it works well.  Some colorblind players may have issues with the colors, as they are red, purple, and green, especially in low light.

SET is one of my favorite games for working on visual perception and teaching some basic Set Theory.  I enjoy playing SET with my normal game group and it is a big hit in the classroom, where I teach a Math in Games class.  While SET is not a new game as it’s been out since I was born, it is still a great stocking stuffer or game for the classroom.

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