As you can see, I appear to have taken a good start in the game, having eliminated four tiles already. Unfortunately, those four tiles are the ONLY FOUR TILES THAT YOU CAN REMOVE on the whole freakin' board. The rest of the board is so perfectly terribly venomously scrambled that 140 is the best possible score you can make.
He actually sent this to me as a possible bug report, under the auspices that all boards should be beat-able and this one's clearly not. Being a proper solitaire game, though, Shi Sen's shuffle is just that -- a shuffle.
And this was a question I wrestled with when designing. Should all boards in solitaire games be defeat-able? Eventually I concluded that no, not necessarily. Just as it's nigh-impossible that you'll ever come across a Voracity board that can be eaten 100% or a Pop Pies configuration that'll allow you to remove every single pie (although I've gotten down to about six pies), you're at the mercy of randomness.
It's similar to Windows Solitaire (or Klondike for you non-computer types). If you lose a game, it's not necessarily because you played poorly. Quite often you just get a shuffle that prevents you from winning no matter how well you play.
Interestingly it's rumored that this isn't a problem with Windows Freecell, as all 65536 possible games are beat-able. This, however, is more likely due to the nature of the game itself than the way that they're setting up the board. This could be compared to ChessCards. I'm not doing anything magical when I'm setting up the cards in ChessCards, but there are enough movement options available that there's just not a way to get stuck.
Actually, that'd be an interesting experiment. Is there a way to set up a board in ChessCards where a card is 100% immovable, giving rise to the possibility of an un-solveable board? Just offhand, I'd say no. It'd be an interesting 8-queens problem to see if it could be done, though.
Back to the topic at hand, though. Shi Sen boards can be unsolveable. To quote the pretty-much only network show I watch anymore, you are karma's bitch.