“Alright, bid phase.”
Kira scowled down at their hand, their pile of tokens in ones and fives, and listened to the bids go around the table. Once more, when the bid reached them, they were out of their price range. They had the cash, but not if they still wanted to purchase the ornithopter card down the line.
“Pass,” they grumbled.
The dog to their left picked up the lasgun, dopey grin plastered to his muzzle.
Kira sank deeper into their seat.
“Bidding phase ends,” the de facto leader of the game called, and then once more ran through an explanation of the movement phase of the game.
While this kind of territory control game one of Kira’s top choices, it also featured this bidding component, something which brought out a fiercely competitive streak in them. They didn’t like who they were when they were bidding, when they were always thinking about how to build some ideal hand with which they’d deal a crushing blow.
It stole reason from them. It turned their tactics on their heads and left them more frustrated than any game without might otherwise.
They should have just bowed out.
“Hey. You ready for movement?”
The skunk jolted upright in their seat and scrambled to get their cards in order, the dog to their left giving an apologetic sort of grin for having startled them out of their reverie.
“Yeah, sorry. Uh…I’d like to beam two down to Bled and then move one space to the south.” If I’d had the ornithopter, I could have moved three, they continued silently.
“Alright that’ll be six,” Avery, head of the transit guild, murmured, the mountain lion’s brow furrowed as he read through his notes. “Though I’ll let you do it for five if you turn east after that.”
Kira peered down at the board from above, taking stock of where all of the pieces were. A small concentration of their forces lay to the southwest, but so did a few of the transit guild’s scattered forces.
“And I’ll pay for half your transit costs if you don’t turn east,” the dog countered.
“And what, not attack you?”
That canine grin once more. “Yep.”
Kira nodded thoughtfully, then reached over with a ring bedecked paw, the drape of their sleeve scattering neatly-stacked money chips, and offered to shake on it. “Deal.”
The mountain lion scowled, but accepted three chips each from Kira and the dog — some breed with long, golden-colored fur — before placing the skunk’s chips on the square marked The Bled and scooting them one space to the south.
The game continued apace. With each turn Kira and the dog’s alliance grew stronger and Avery’s frustration more apparent. By the fifth round, when it was possible to form concrete allegiances in the game, it was only natural that Kira and Riley would form one.
They won handily. Kira even got their ornithopter.