SIMPLE COMPLEX .....*............... ....................* CHANCE SKILL
READY, GO, SET!
See answers at the bottom of the pageSet, invented by mathematician and computer programmer Marsha J. Falco, is an addictive, highly original game of perception and logic, a fascinating challenge for either solitaire or competitive play.
Each of the game's 81 cards has either one, two, or three symbols, which are either ovals, squiggles, or diamonds, either red, green or purple, and either solid, striped, or open (see puzzle). The object is to find "sets," which are defined as combinations of three cards in which each of the four attributes-number, shape, color, or shading-is either the same on each card or different on each card. In other words, if any attribute is shared by two cards, it must be shared by the third. In the puzzle above cards 2, 4, and 9 are a set; they're all oval, red, and open, but each has a different number of symbols. It's a simple concept, but an oddly elusive one.
To play, 12 cards are laid out in a rectangle. Players-as many as can be accommodated-all compete simultaneously. A player who spots the right combination of cards announces "SET!" and removes them form the layout, earning one point. If the cards turn out not to be a set, the player loses a point. Removed cards are replaced; when the deck is exhausted, the round is over.
According to Falco, there are 1,080 possible sets in the deck and more than a 90 percent probability that there will be a set among any 12 cards. If all players agree that there is no set in a given layout, three cards are added, increasing the number of cards to 15 and the likelihood of a set to near certainty.
The game ends when everyone has had a chance to deal. With more than four players, we recommend instead setting a goal of, say, 20 points-still an accomplishment, but one that won't take all night. As it is, you'll probably be seeing red striped ovals and solid green squiggles in your sleep
Hear are the answers to the puzzle:
- Eric Berlin