## How to Play the Card Game SET

To improve at SET®, a player needs to practice concentration, pattern recognition and quick-thinking skills -- three things the game bolsters every time it is played. Practicing SET builds connections between the right and left sides of your brain as both hemispheres partner up to evaluate, sort and match the images on the cards [source: Felt]. You don't even need a partner to train because SET can be played solo.

However, multiple people also can play SET simultaneously, racing to make the most [i]SET[/i]s in the least amount of time. Some mathematics club meetings are organized around the game, and [url='571719']teachers[/url] use it in the classroom from elementary through high school to encourage students to whet their thinking skills -- and gain hands-on understanding of mathematical theory. Using the cards, students can work through set theory and its operations, such as union, intersection, complement and symmetric difference [source: [url='http://www.setgame.com/set/set_theory.htm']Macula[/url]].

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To play SET, deal a 12-card spread. If the spread does not contain any *SET*s, three additional cards may be dealt (it can take up to 21 cards to find a *SET*). All players try to find *SET*s -- when a player finds one, she points it out, the *SET* is removed and three new cards are added from the deck. If a *SET* cannot be made, three more cards are added. Play continues until the deck of 81 cards is depleted and all possible *SET*s are made. (There may be six or nine cards left over that do not form a *SET*.) To determine a winner among multiple players, one point is awarded per *SET* found (and one may be subtracted for each invalid SET pointed out); the player with the most points at the end of the game wins [source: SET Game].

Whichever way you decide to play SET, one thing's for certain: You'll get a mental workout -- whether you realize it or not.

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### Sources

- Davis, Benjamin Lent. "The Card Game Set." University of Warwick. http://www.warwick.ac.uk/staff/D.Maclagan/papers/set.pdf
- Felt, Susan. "Simple Card Game Challenges All Ages." AZCentral.com. May 21, 2005. (July 24, 2011) http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/0521puzzle21.html
- Macula, Anthony. "Set Theory Using the Game SET." SetGame.com. (July 24, 2011) http://www.setgame.com/set/set_theory.htm
- Mathematical Association of America. "Ivars Peterson's MathTrek: SET Math." MAA.org. Aug. 25, 2003. (July 24, 2011) http://www.maa.org/mathland/mathtrek_08_25_03.html
- Math Now. "Set Theory." (July 24, 2011) http://math.comsci.us/sets/index.html
- Mensa.org. "About Mind Games." (July 24, 2011) http://mindgames.us.mensa.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=About
- Moon, Richard. "SET can get the Whole Family Hooked on Logic." SetGame.com. (July 24, 2011) http://www.setgame.com/set/article5.htm
- NAPPAawards.com. "Set Cubed by Set Enterprises." 2010. (July 24, 2011) http://nappaawards.parenthood.com/directory/shoppers-showcase/set_cubed_by_set_enterprises.html
- NYTimes.com. "SET Puzzle." (July 24, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/ref/crosswords/setpuzzle.html
- SetGame.com. "About SET." (July 24, 2011) http://www.setgame.com/set/history.htm
- SetGame.com. "Math Workbook: Developing Mathematical Reasoning Using Attribute Games." 1999. (July 24, 2011) http://www.setgame.com/set/article_nctm.htm
- SetGame.com. "Rules for ChipSET." (July 24, 2011) http://www.setgame.com/set/rules_chipset.htm
- SetGame.com. "SET Awards." (July 24, 2011) http://www.setgame.com/company/all_awards.htm
- Woo, Karen. "Winner's a Master at Matching." SetGame.com. May 17, 1993. (July 24, 2011) http://www.setgame.com/set/article4.htm
- Zabrocki, Mike. "The Joy of Set." York University. (July 24, 2011) http://www.math.yorku.ca/~zabrocki/set/joyofset.pdf