How to Play Set®
Basic Puzzle Rules and Overview

Set puzzles available at www.nytimes.com/set

Printable Version

 

Features of the Cards

 

Rules
The object of the game is to identify a 'set' of three cards from 9 cards displayed. Each card has a variation of the following four features:

(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.

A 'Set' consists of three cards in which each feature is EITHER the same on each card OR is different on each card. That is to say, any feature in the 'Set' of three cards is either common to all three cards or is different on each card.

For example, the following are 'Sets':


All three cards are red; all are ovals; all have two symbols; and all have different shadings.

 


All have different colors; all have different symbols; all have different numbers of symbols; and all have the same shading.

 


All have different colors; all have different symbols; all have different numbers of symbols, and all have different shadings.

 

The following are not 'Sets':


All have different colors; all are diamonds; all have one symbol; however, two are open and one is not.

 


All are squiggles; all have different shadings; all have two symbols; however, two are red and one is not.

In the basic puzzle version, only three of the above features will be included in the puzzle.  For example, if color is omitted, then all cards displayed will be the same color so you are only focusing on symbols, numbers and shading to find the sets.

The Magic Rule
If two are... and one is not, then it is not a 'Set'.

 

The Play
Nine cards are displayed. From the nine cards, you must find 4 sets.  For each puzzle, you may reuse any of the 9 cards displayed as many times as needed to complete all 4 different sets.  There are no more than 4 sets and no less.  Each puzzle will have exactly 4 sets.  Try to find the 4 sets in the lowest time possible.