I’m not going to go over the rules in detail because they are free to download. The basic idea of the game is hand management, trying to discard cards until you just have a lone queen, which you set aside in your score pile. Aces, acting as their jewels, are never in your hand and can be scored if you score the matching queen.
The rules for discarding cards follow some prissy rules of manners. Cards of like suits or ranks are of similar social status and can be persuaded to go to another part of the country manor together. However, two queens can’t be together and a king will always take a queen of the same suit away. For a game that is so abstract and can be easily played with conventional cards, it’s ridiculously thematic. Playing it is like being in a risqué Wodehouse novel.
Shooting Party is a cute, decent little game. Being able to play with basically no construction is a nice from a PnP standpoint. After ten or so games, I’m pretty sure you can mitigate luck somewhat, even if luck of the draw can really nail you at times.
For me, the real pluses are a theme that I find really amusing and a five minute playing time. I have to admit, most of my solitaire plays are really short games and Shooting Party fits into that category nicely.
However, the highest score you can get is eight. I’ve only hit that once but I’ve had a decent number of sixes and sevens. I’m honestly not sure about the long term replay value of the game.
Mind you, particularly if you’re just using a regular deck of cards, that’s not a fatal flaw. You certainly can get more out of The Shooting Party than you have to put into it. However, there are some solitaire PnP games that have some really staying power, like Elevenses for One, and I don’t think the Shooting Party is one of them.
That said, I might eventually make the theme deck because I just find the theme so charming.
So, if you are into exploring solitaire games, check the Shooting Party out. But if you are mean and lean about solitaire games, it’s probably not for you.