August 2, 2007

SET: More Fun Than Reading The Directions

Reading The Directions Only Tells Part Of The Story

This has to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard of, I thought to myself. Why did I even buy this? And I hadn't even finished reading the directions yet! Fortunately, reading the directions and playing the game are entirely different matters.

Reading the instructions for SET is a strange experience -- the premise of the game is so simple that it doesn't even sound challenging: Each card has a number of shapes on it with different colors and patterns. Your job is to find a group of three cards that are all similar or different in each characteristic.

That's it.

Well I learned shapes, colors and matching in pre-school, so I was afraid I must have accidentally bought a game to pass the time rather than stretch the mind.

One Twist That Makes All The Difference

But I was wrong! The tiny little element of the game that I overlooked while reading the directions was this: everybody else at the table is playing at the same time. And let me tell you, that simple twist changes everything. Not only do you have to match groups of cards based on four different characteristics, but you have to find it before somebody else does!

Perfection In Simplicity

The genius of SET is its simplicity. It's very easy to teach other people how to play, and the actual games take very little time. Depending on the group you're playing with, you can complete the deck in 15-30 minutes -- faster, if you are playing with some pros.

It can even be played with younger children in the family as long as they understand the concept (the instructions even have a learning format that can be used with new or young players). SET is an excellent family game and I heartily recommend it.

1 comment:

Dani in NC said...

I remember when this game was published in the early 90s, but I have never been tempted to try it. The fact that it is recommended by Mensa probably scared me off.

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