Anyway, I got a lot of playtime in the games now. And I like 'em all. Shelly's not wild about ChessCards and BaffleBees, but that's mainly because she hasn't been able to wrap her brain around 'em. I've wrapped my brain around all of 'em and have gotten proficient at 'em. ChessCards, in particular, I've botten particularly good at even though "Contrail" regularly beats me at it. The games all have their charms. Shi Sen is a bit mechanical and only has the barest of strategy (basically choosing which tiles should be uncovered first if you have a choice), but it's so quick to play that it doesn't bother me.
Oh, and credit to TANSTAAFL for thinking up the idea for BaffleBees (and yes I did pay him for it), although it was rather a hexagonal version of my old Quinto, which was itself a version of an old game from a "50 Games in BASIC" book, but it honestly wasn't all that good of a game and was later done better by Tiger Electronics as "Lights Out", so the credit is certainly due for improving it the way TANS did.
Pop Pies, though, has a flaw. The best strategy (as most have discovered) is to try to make the biggest "chain" of pies possible early in the game. That is, you look at the board, say "I think I can chain together a load of red pies" and then set about doing it. If you manage to make a 20 or 30 or 40-pie chain, you'll make big points. After you make one or two of these big chains, though, any further moves you make are in-comparison trivial and only serve to finish out the game.
That is to say that the game, after you make one or two huge KABOOMS, is a bit of a letdown. I think I have a solution, though, and I'd like to run it past you folks.
One thing I had early on was the concept of a bonus for killing off a column, thus causing the pies to all "collapse" to the right. I took it out because it really didn't have any strategic value compared to the score for chains of pies, but now I see that it could be something to give the game more strategy (and hence more fun) near the end.
How about this. You get a 50 point bonus for collapsing a column sideways. And that bonus increases by 50 points every time. Next column you collapse is worth 100, then 150, etc. That way there's a point to the game when you get near the end and there's no possibility of anything other than trivial scores.