Superset Manual


About the SET game

What’s a set?

The SET game

The SuperSet program

The SuperSetServer

About the SET game

What’s a set?

SET consists of 81 playing cards. Each card shows a number of symbols. The cards have following properties:

Symbol shape
A card has rectangle, an oval or a wave shaped symbols
A card hasgreen, red or purple colored symbols
There are cards with one, two or three symbols on it
A card has symbols that are open, hatched or fully filled

For the reader interested in statistics: the cards have 4 properties, each property assuming 3 values. The total number of combinations of these properties is therefor 3*3*3*3=81. So the SET deck consists of all possible combinations of the properties.

Three cards form a set if each of the properties have identical values on each card or have entirely different values on each card. It is possible that on the three cards one property assume the same value, whereas other properties assume different values. Following examples make things clear.

set01 Adjacent triple form a set. Symbol shape is the same: (oval-oval-oval), color differs (red-green-purple), number of symbols is the same (1-1-1) and filling is the same
set02 Adjacent triple form a set. Symbol shape is the same: (oval-oval-oval), color is the same (green-green-green), number of symbols is the same (3-3-3) and filling differs
set03 Adjacent triple form a set. Symbol shape is the same: (rect-rect-rect), color differs (red-green-purple), number of symbols is the same (2-2-2) and filling differs
(open-hatched-filled). So two out of 4 properties are the same, the other to properties differ.
set04 Why is adjacent triple a set?
set05 Adjacent triple form a set. This type of set is most hard to discover: for all four properties assume different values (wave-oval-rectangle, 1-2-3, green-purple-red,
noset01 Adjacent triple is not set. The color is not the same for each three cards or different for all three cards (purple-purple-green).
noset02 Adjacent triple is not set. The filling is not the same for each three cards or different for all three cards (filled-filled-open).
noset03 Adjacent triple is not set. The filling again is not the same for each three cards or different for all three cards (filled-open-filled).

Note: it is not possible that all four properties assume the same values. This would mean the cards would be identical. However, each card occurs only once in the 81 cards deck.

The SET game

The game can be played by 2 or more players. The game starts by placing 12 cards in a 4 by 3 grid on the table. The symbol side is visible. Cards are placed on the table by the dealer, who might or might not be a player.
If a player sees three cards that form a set, the player shouts ‘SET!’. The player immediatelly points out the three cards and is allowed to remove them. The empty spaces are filled with new cards from the deck, symbol side visible.

It is possible that there are no valid sets on the table. In that case, if all players agree 3 additional cards are placed adjacent to the display.

The game ends when there are no cards left in the deck and there are no more valid sets on the table. The player who has collected the most sets is the winner.

The SuperSet program


Single Player SuperSet

In Single Player mode you play SuperSet against time: the objective is to collect sets as fast as possible.

When starting the game, 12 cards are displayed to the user, symbols visible. The user clicks the sets. At start-up, a score increment starts counting down exponentially from 100 to 1. The score increment roughly halfs every 15 seconds. When a set is clicked, this score increment is added to the score, and the increment is reset to 100. So instantaniously clicking a set after starting the program gives you 100 points. Waiting longer results in less points to be added to the score. Since there are 81/3=27 sets, the absolute maximum score that can be achieved is 2700 points. This of course is theoretical when clicking at WARP speed, but scores above 2000 are possible by mortal human beings after practice.


Clicking three cards that are not a set is not without consequence: 25 points are substracted from the users score. When this would result in a negative score, the score will be set to 0.

It is possible that no sets are possible, given the cards that are displayed. The user can press the ‘no-set’ button. SuperSet checks if the user was right: if there are no sets indeed, three cards are added to the display. If however, the user was wrong and there is a a set possible, the score increment is set to 0. One of the sets that are possible is highlighted. Since the score increment is set to 0, the user will not get points clicking the highlighted set. On the PC version, the number of possible sets is indicated.


The game ends when all cards are played and when no more sets can be formed with the cards on the table. The user presses the ‘no-set’ button. It is highly likely that some cards are left on the play field. For each card the user obtains a number of points equal to the average number of points per card the user has played away in sets. In this way the score is not biased by the amount of cards that are left on the play field. After the game is finished, the program displays the final score to the user.

The Single Player SuperSet game is started by choosing ‘Game’->’Single Player’ from the menu.

Controls and indications

play The play button. This button starts the game.
pause The pause button. This button pauses a game. Time is stopped, cards are turned around, so they are not visible.
stop The stop button. This button stops a running game.
no-set The no-set button. When the user does not see any set, this button can be pressed.
deck This indicator indicates the number of cards left in the deck (PC Version)
score The first number indicates the score. The second number is the score increment
sets When the user pressed the no-set button when sets can be found, this indicator shows the number of sets that are possible with the displayed cards. Note: the same card may participate in more than one set. (PC Version)

Two Player SuperSet

This version has not been implemented yet. I am afraid it will never be…

The SuperSetServer

To be defined