We were in the middle of my first game of Avalon at the Goblin on Thursday evening when Thomas and Mitchell started saying it.
Thomas was looking at Shantelle while she was trying to decide who to take on a mission with her. “Hundy hugh,” he said, eyes wide, cheery (or should that be cheeky) smile.
“Actually, hundy blue,” he clarified.
Now this made sense. Well, some. Blue is the colour of the side of the Knights of the Round Table in Avalon. Thomas was trying to persuade Shantelle that he was one of the good guys so that she’d pick him as one of the three Knights on the mission and improve her odds of succeeding.
That was assuming, of course, that Shantelle was also blue, and not red, the colour of the Minions of Mordred, whose objective it was to ensure the Knights failed the majority of the five missions they were to embark upon.
It was also assuming, of course, that Thomas was himself not lying through his teeth, trying to engineer a position on the team so he could sabotage it in the name of Mordred.
He wasn’t. I knew this at the time. Whatever hundy hugh and/or blue was, he was it.
And I knew because I was one of the Minions of Mordred. As was Shantelle, and we knew each other’s true identities. The Minions of Mordred get to find out who else is on their team before the game starts.
One other person knew who we were – Merlin, the greatest ally of the Round Table, though he couldn’t admit to his true identity until after the game was over. One of the Minions is also an Assassin sworn to eliminate him, though only the Assassin knows of his or her extra identity. (I wasn’t sure whether the Assassin gets to take a punt at Merlin during the game instead of at the end, but the official call came at the end both times.)
“Hundy blue,” Mitchell chimed in. And I knew he was lying. He was the third and last Minion of the seven of us playing. The rest – Chris, Matty, Thomas and a quiet fellow whose name escapes me right now (Update 6 Dec: Chris tells me his name is Michael; sorry, Michael, and thanks, Chris) – were the true Knights – well, except for Chris, who was Merlin. Shantelle was also the Assassin.
The game ended with a win for the Knights, although Shantelle managed to peg Chris as Merlin. During the next game – where I was once again a Minion, but also the Assassin (the Minions (Matty, Mitchell and I) won and I guessed Michael as Merlin) – I asked Thomas and Mitchell what the hell “hundy hugh” meant and where it came from.
“Battlestar Galactica,” Thomas explained, and I knew he meant the board game based on the last decade’s rebooted TV series rather than the TV series itself (or the original seventies series). It’s another game that I know has a strong bluffing element (though I’ve never played).
I also know that it’s ferociously hard – these two have referred to games geared to really challenge their players as “Cylons Win” games.
“Every player gets dealt a loyalty card at the beginning,” Mitchell went on, “which tells you whether you’re a human or a Cylon.” (In the TV show, the robot villains known as Cylons have created human clones as infiltrators in their war of extermination.)
“But halfway through, there’s another deal of loyalty cards, so you might have been human only to discover you’re really a Cylon.”
“So by that time, you’re trying to convince people that you’re a hundred percent human,” Thomas said. “Hundy hugh.”
I dunno whether a term like that would have sprung up anywhere other than here in Australia – there’s a certain laid-back-ness with the language that no other country has. And the sounds aren’t quite right in any other accent.
Except maybe Geordie.
But this is one of the reasons I’ve dug board-gaming a lot more lately – these little quirks that arise from folks sitting around a table and working to have a good time with each other.
(Update 6 Dec 14: On that topic, Thomas is keen to get me at the table for a game of Battlestar Galactica sometime soon!)