OBJECTIVE OF SET: Pick out a set of 3 cards from 12 on the table.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 1 or more players

MATERIALS: Set deck of cards

AUDIENCE: 6 years and up


The goal of Set is to pick out a set of 3 cards from the 12 cards set on the table. Each card has four characteristics: shape, color, number, and shading. The image below demonstrates the different characteristics of cards:

Set contains 3 cards in which either they all share a similar feature or have no features in common. So, a set may consist of 3 cards of the same shape, color, shading, or number of shapes. Or, they may have all those features different.

Quick games of Set may be played with a small deck which has only solid colored shapes. This removes a single feature: shading. However, the rules are the same.


A dealer is chosen at random. They shuffle the Set deck and distribute 12 cards to the table, face-up. The cards should be organized in a rectangle (3×4). Players remove sets of 3 cards from the table. After, all players check each other’s sets. If the set is correct or legal, that player earns 1 point and keeps the cards. The dealer deals 3 cards to the table to replace the missing cards. If a player sees a set, they must first declare it before picking it up. The game does not have turns! The first player who calls set has the control of the cards. Once they call Set, other players cannot pick up cards until they have finished.

Players must pick up their set or sets immediately after calling Set. IF they do not have a set or if the set is incorrect, they lose a point and the cards are returned to the table. After the next set is found, the cards are not replaced by the dealer.

Play continues until the deck is exhausted. There may be left over cards after the game finishes which do not form a set.

After play finishes, players count their sets, earning 1 point per set. The player with the highest score wins. 

Nakoa Davis

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