SUPERSET: A (Super)Natural Variant of the Card Game SET

Authors Fábio Botler, Andrés Cristi, Ruben Hoeksma, Kevin Schewior, Andreas Tönnis

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Author Details

Fábio Botler
  • Universidad de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile
Andrés Cristi
  • Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Ruben Hoeksma
  • Universität Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Kevin Schewior
  • Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Andreas Tönnis
  • Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile

Cite AsGet BibTex

Fábio Botler, Andrés Cristi, Ruben Hoeksma, Kevin Schewior, and Andreas Tönnis. SUPERSET: A (Super)Natural Variant of the Card Game SET. In 9th International Conference on Fun with Algorithms (FUN 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 100, pp. 12:1-12:17, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)


We consider Superset, a lesser-known yet interesting variant of the famous card game Set. Here, players look for Supersets instead of Sets, that is, the symmetric difference of two Sets that intersect in exactly one card. In this paper, we pose questions that have been previously posed for Set and provide answers to them; we also show relations between Set and Superset. For the regular Set deck, which can be identified with F^3_4, we give a proof for the fact that the maximum number of cards that can be on the table without having a Superset is 9. This solves an open question posed by McMahon et al. in 2016. For the deck corresponding to F^3_d, we show that this number is Omega(1.442^d) and O(1.733^d). We also compute probabilities of the presence of a superset in a collection of cards drawn uniformly at random. Finally, we consider the computational complexity of deciding whether a multi-value version of Set or Superset is contained in a given set of cards, and show an FPT-reduction from the problem for Set to that for Superset, implying W[1]-hardness of the problem for Superset.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Mathematics of computing → Combinatoric problems
  • Theory of computation → Problems, reductions and completeness
  • Theory of computation → Fixed parameter tractability
  • SET
  • card game
  • cap set
  • affine geometry
  • computational complexity


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