I decided to email support at Thinkfun.com with:
I played Swish last night for the first time and was unclear about
something after both reading the rules multiple times and viewing your
The question is whether a pair of 2-card-swishes constitute a valid
4-card-swish, so long as the hoops and balls don't overlap among all 4
cards. The rules don't comment on this situation one way or another so
I am assuming the answer is yes (and can be extended equally to 2+3=5,
2+2+2=6, etc., again so long as the hoops and balls don't overlap when
you stack the subsets together.
Another way of asking the same question is if you have what seems to
be a valid 4 card swish per the rules, is it still valid if the 4
cards can be rearranged into 2 sets of 2 swishes?
I asked this question on Stack Exchange (Board and Card Games) and
the person who answered came to the same conclusion I did - that the
rules as literally stated indicate this is a valid swish (see link
beneath my signature). However, this sits uneasily with me because
2+2=4 swishes are easier to find than 4-swishes that can't be
decomposed into 2 sets of 2. Yet the scoring system does not reward
finding more difficult swishes.
If you don't know the answer, can you pass this on the game creators
to find out their intent?
Here's the answer I received:
Below is the answer to your questions from one of our Production Team
The short answer for his question is no, Two 2-card Swishes do not
“count” as a 4-card Swish. But, they do count as a legal move in the
game, and the person who finds two 2-card Swishes still wins 4 cards,
just as many as a person who makes a 4-card Swish. So, to answer the
second point, at first blush this would seem not to make sense, since
as Joe points out, the scoring system does not reward the person who
found the more complicated Swish. This is actually done deliberately.
The reason is that the winner is simply the player who has won the
most cards. We tested versions where harder Swishes (higher counts)
where worth more, but we decided on this version because it allows
multiple players, of multiple skill levels, to play an equally
challenging game. As in, when families play, Mom or Dad can be limited
to 3 or higher card Swishes, whereas Jr.(s) can go for any number.
This way, all players will be challenged, and Jr.(s) have an equal
chance to win the game.
We understand that for more experienced gamers, this will seem
somewhat “off”. But this was the version that had the greater appeal,
and we assume that people that really get into games like this can
adjust the rules as they see fit, adding additional points for higher
card Swish. I would suggest +1 for a 3-card Swish, +2 for 4-card, and
so on. Keep in mind, though, that if you play this way, you have to
keep all your Swishes separate as you win them, or else do the math in
your head and remember it. This is another minor detail that can add
complication, something that we try to avoid.
I interpret the answer as saying it doesn't count as a 4 card swish yet you can collect 2 2-card swishes simultaneously. It's phrased this way so that if an experienced adult is playing a kid using the variant that kids can do 2-card swishes while adults can't, then the adult is not allowed to simultaneously pick up 2 pairs for a 4 card swish, even if there is no ball/hoop overlap.