There's a key that exists to open The Matrix. Is it for you? The gods might work with you or against you, yet despite what you pick how you lay them is up to you - don't blame me, I can only show you the door. And the biggest trap doesn't always win the biggest prize. No, it's not about just collecting pills, it's about the right eight tablets to open The Way: those of Truth, Love, Faith, Courage, Honour, Charity, Dignity And Strength.
Let me show you how
Regardless of how many players all 128 Gemstones go in the bag - 16 Emeralds, Rubies, Sapphires, Pearls, Topaz, Opals, Amethyst & Jasper - which 'belong' to all players. (I've used pawns as they are easier to tell apart in my prototype). The winner is the first to collect a full Set of Gems.
The first player picks a Gem from the bag and lays it on the middle square, then, taking turns, players pick one Gem at a time from the bag & lay it next to another of a DIFFERENT colour already in play, in any direction. It'll become clear why it's best not to make a single line.
If a player can't lay next to a Gem already in play, due to its colour, its laid elsewhere on the board. If a player traps any number of Gems BETWEEN any two SAME colour Gems those Gems are under threat of capture. Gems not saved are captured and put in that players respective pots, looking to collect a Set of Gems. It's possible to save and threaten Gems with the same lay; even the same Gem just saved; I.e. A Purple is threatened, it's saved with a Red - making a line, now with a Red on both sides of that Purple.