The Scout Library, No. 4

Scouting Games

by Sir Robert S. S. Baden-Powell

Author of "Scouting for Boys," "Yarns for Boy Scouts,"
"Boy Scouts Beyond the Seas," etc.

Sixth Edition

Table of Contents


(From the Military Cyclists' Vade Mecum, by CAPT. A. H. TRAPMANN, 1s.)

A good many of the "Scouting Games" (Chapter 1) can be used for cyclists, such as "Relay Race," "Flying Columns," and "Surveying the Country."

1. DE WET.

FOUR patrols can take part in this game, or the force must be divided into four equal parts. One patrol acts as De Wet, one as garrison, and the rest as Kitchener's relief column. An area on the map is marked off, containing about one square mile to every two Scouts in the relief column-and this area should be plentifully supplied with roads and tracks along which cycles can be ridden. Three spots, preferably villages, should be chosen (or a larger number if more than four patrols are taking part); these are to be guarded by the garrison patrol, two Scouts at each spot. De Wet's object is to destroy as many villages as possible. When he enters a village, the two Scouts acting as garrison must retreat before his greater number-one should cycle as fast as he can to fetch the relief column, while the other stays to watch De Wet's movements. Either of them can be captured by any two of De Wet's men. If De Wet can remain in occupation of the village for half an hour the village is destroyed, but he must retreat if a relief column approaches stronger than his force. The relief column should take up its position in the center of the area and look out for signals from the garrisons. De Wet should prevent them following him by dividing his party, giving them instructions to all meet at the village to be attacked, but enter from different directions.


Divide your force into two equal parts, 1 and 2. Give No. 1 a capable commander, and tell him that they are operating in an enemy's country, and must look out for their own safety ; also that a force of the enemy's cyclists are expected to move along a certain road at a certain time in a certain direction. No. 1 will then start off and conceal itself in a good ambush. Then divide No. 2 into two parts A & B. Let A carry out the original program assigned to the enemies' cyclists, and send B round in exactly the opposite direction. Tell the Patrol-leader in charge of B that a body of the enemy were seen on the road, and let him go and scout for them. Give him sufficient time to enable him to location. I (if he is smart) before A is due at the ambush. , No. 1 will probably be so engrossed in waiting to ambush A that it will have neglected to provide for its own safety against surprise. B may or may not surprise No. 1, and may perhaps be ambushed itself. In any case some instructive work can be carried out, work affording room for rapid action and thought on the part of all concerned. Any man seen exposing himself obviously whilst under fire should be put out of action, and made to act as umpire's orderly. Otherwise men should not be put out of action, but either sent back or made to join the enemy.


Mark off an area plentifully supplied with roads and foot- paths about three miles by three miles in extent. Tell off a patrol under your best Patrol-leader. His object will be to remain within the area for say two hours, without being captured. He should be allowed ten minutes' start. The remainder of the force will then split up into small patrols and endeavor by careful co-operation to effect his capture, care being taken not to be ambushed them- selves by their quarry.


something for patrols to do when cycling from one place to another. Divide the force equally into two bodies. Choose a road. Any place more than 200 yards distant from the road will be out of bounds. Send one body off to take up an ambuscade, and ten minutes later let the other body move Off along the road, sending its Scouts well ahead. If the ambush is detected the two bodies will then ex- change roles. This will be found a very interesting exercise, and can with advantage be practiced on return from a field-day, route march, etc., the homeward road being used for the purpose.


Two spies have escaped from headquarters on cycles, and were last seen riding at a point about half-a-mile further along the road. (This should be shown on the map to the Scouts who are to give chase on their cycles.) From that point the spies have to leave a paper trail, not continuous, but occurring every hundred yards. The spies, being handicapped by their paper, will probably be soon overtaken, so they must choose a good spot by the road in which to conceal their cycles, and when they leave the road they must leave signs to that effect (they had better run some way along the road still leaving the trail, so as not to show the hiding-place of their cycles to their pursuers). When they have left the road, they need leave no further trail, but their object is to remain at large for a quarter of an hour and then recover their cycles and get back to headquarters without being caught by their pursuers. The pursuers should search for the spies and capture their cycles if they can find them, at the same time guarding their own cycles from being stolen by the spies. To capture the spies the pursuers must actually touch them, or if they are on cycles, ride past them on the road. (About ten Scouts make the beat number for this game.)



Patrol-leader picks a scout to be pursued; then the whole patrol meets in a fairly quiet street in a town. The chosen Scout is allowed two minutes' grace, whilst the others hide and do not watch him during that time, except two, who follow him closely. After two minutes one of them then runs back and brings the rest of the patrol along, hot on the track of the pursued one. Meanwhile the remaining shadower holds on carefully and tenaciously, pursuer and pursued being at least four or five minutes in advance of the rest. To show which way they have gone, the pursuing Scout drops confetti or makes chalk-marks until the others reach him. All must, of course, be well trained in running and using their Scoutcraft, and the pursued Scout can make use of many dodges to throw his pursuers off the track. It should be agreed beforehand that if he keeps away for a certain time he wins the game.


Send out a " hare," either walking or cycling, with a pocketful of corn, nutshells, or confetti, which he must drop here and there to give a trail for the patrol to follow. Or, with a piece of chalk, let him draw the patrol sign on walls, pavements, lamp-posts, and trees, and let the patrol hunt him by these marks. Patrols must wipe out all these marks as they pass them for the sake of tidiness. and so as not to mislead them for another day's practice. The other road signs should also be used, such as closing up certain roads, and hiding a letter at some point, giving directions as to the next turn. The object of the " hare " in this game is to explain to those behind the way he has gone as well as he can, and not to throw them off his trail as in " shadowing."


One Scout, who is well known to the rest, is chosen as the dodger. A spot is selected some two miles away from the Scouts' headquarters as the starting-point, preference being given to a place from which the most streets or ways lead to headquarters. The main idea is that the dodger has to start from this spot at, say, 7 or 8 p.m., and make his way to headquarters without being caught. He will be previously introduced to the others as their " Quarry," and may then adopt any disguise in order to throw off suspicion. He may even carry a large sackful of paper or some soft material upon his head, so as to partly hide his face, but he should not adopt feminine attire. It will be the duty of all Scouts to distribute themselves well over the area likely to be travelled, all streets, alleys and byways being carefully watched, but for obvious reasons a rule must be made that no Scout must approach within a given radius, say, of 250 yards, of the starting or finishing point. The dodger must be Instructed to start strictly at a given time, and may use the middle of the street as well as the pavement, as this will be necessary to dodge a Scout whom he may espy, and he must travel on foot during his journey, not taking advantage of any tram car or other vehicle. Should he see a Scout approaching, there would be no objection to his stepping aside into a shop and asking the price of an article until the danger has passed, as this is no more than an ordinary thief would do to evade capture. Should a Scout recognize the dodger, he must get quite near. enough to him to say: " Good-night " without any danger of not being heard-or, better, to touch him-and the dodger then yields quietly and is taken to headquarters by his captor, no other Scout being allowed to join them. One hour after the arranged starting time all Scouts must return to headquarters, for by that time the dodger will have either been caught or have reported himself there, as he must do the two miles in one hour. Should a Scout notice the dodger being pursued by another Scout he may assist in the capture-this where the dodger has espied a Scout in the distance who appears to have recognized him-but though the marks are divided, the greater portion will be awarded to the Scout who commenced the actual pursuit. - This is a game full of excitement from start to finish, especially as a Scout may secrete himself should he see the dodger approaching at a distance, only showing him- self when his man has come within capturing distance.


A convenient circuit of long, well-crowded streets Is selected, and a base area-about fifty yards of the street -formed in the middle of some of the streets. A Scout will be posted at the center of the area, and will be called a " Base-Scout." The number of bases will depend on the number of Scouts-as each base needs one Base- Scout and two opposers. There should not be more than six bases. The signature collector and all Base-Scouts will wear a piece of red ribbon attached to their buttonhole badges or pinned to their coats. The opposing Scouts will wear blue ribbons.

The collector must go round the circuit of bases and try to obtain the signature of each Base-Scout. The opposing Scouts are posted, two to each base, to prevent the collector from reaching the Base-Scout by simply touching him. If touched while attempting to reach a base the collector gives up his own signature to his captor and forfeits his own chance at that base. But if he reaches the base area without being touched he is safe to obtain the signature and leave unmolested to make his attempt on the next base. It is understood he can make an attempt on every base. The bases are posted in a circle, so that when he finishes his journey he will be back at the starting-point, where the umpire is.

The Base-Scouts, being in league with the collector, can aid him by signalling when best to make the attempt. It therefore resolves itself into a competition between the " reds " and " blues." The party of Scouts obtaining the most signatures wins.


1) Hiding in shops is barred.

2) Cover must be taken in the street only.

3) Base boundaries must be well understood by all players at that base. If necessary, they may be chalked out.

4) When the collector has got through a base and obtained the signature, the opposing Scouts who were guarding that base must not watch round another base : they are beaten and must make for the starting-point.


Scouts should be mustered at a given point, then divided into two sections, one section proceeding along either side of the street, crossing. each other at the end, and returning on the opposite sides. They may be sent either in line or irregularly, the latter for preference, each carrying pencil and notebook or paper, and noting, during their journey, every article or thing which is out of the straight. It may be a placard fixed to a shopkeeper's door or board, or a small swing sign, which is out of the horizontal, window-blinds crooked, goods in shop windows markedly crooked, and so on. Irregularities on vehicles in motion are not to be noted, as no opportunity would be given for the judge to verify. Upon approaching the judge each Scout signs his own paper or book and hands it over; marks should then be given according to merit, and a prize awarded to the most observant Scout of the patrol which gets most marks among all its Scouts. The idea is, that not only shall Scouts observe details, but also that they shall make their entries in such a guarded manner and at such times that Scouts following them shall not notice the entry being made. This may be worked with or without a time-limit.


The scoutmaster goes along a given road or line of country with a patrol in patrol formation. He carries a scoring card with the name of each Scout on it, first reading to the Scouts a list of certain things he wants. Each Scout looks out for the details required, and directly he notices one he runs to the umpire and informs him or hands in the article, if it is an article he finds. The umpire enters a mark against his name accordingly. The Scout who gains most marks in the walk wins. Details like the following should be chosen, to develop the Scout's observation and to encourage him to look far and near, up and down. The details should be varied every time the game is played ; and about 8 or 10 items should be given at a time. Every match found Every button found Bird's foot track Patch noticed on stranger's clothing or boots Grey horse seen Pigeon flying Sparrow sitting Broken chimney-pot Broken window 1 mark. 1 mark. 2 marks. 2 marks. 2 marks. 2 marks. 1 mark. 2 marks 1 mark.


Scouts are ordered to run to a certain hoarding where an umpire is already posted to time them. They are each allowed to look at this for one minute-of course no notes may be taken in writing-and must then run back to headquarters and report to the instructor all that was on the hoarding in the way of advertisements.


The Scoutmaster or Patrol-leader takes a patrol down a street past six shops. He lets them stay half a minute at each shop, and then, after moving them off to some distance, he gives each boy a pencil and card, and tells him to write from memory, or himself takes down, what they noticed in, say, the third and fifth shops. The boy who correctly sets down most articles wins. It is a useful practice to match one boy against another in heats-the loser competing again, till you arrive at the worst. gives the worst Scouts the most practice.


When next you go scouting in the streets, here are some things for you to note : The number of every motor-car that is going too fast or whose driver is acting strangely; the number of signs used by the policeman in regulating the traffic ; the various chalk marks made on pavement and door- steps by surveyors, tramps, or children. Which men turn their toes in. And if you wish to make a game of it all, take a brother Scout with you. Let each look in a few windows for one minute then go away and write down all the articles remembered. The one who gets the most correctly is the winner. And though it may be a small matter in itself, you will rejoice when you realize how quickly you learn to note and remember and thus get a power which may make your fortune, all through practice at scouting in the streets.



A CONVICT has escaped from prison, and, being an inveterate smoker, the first thing he does is to buy a large supply of cigarettes and matches. On a dark night a message is brought to the Scouts that he has been seen in a wood close by, still smoking. The troop at once turn out, and, enclosing the wood, silently try to find their man by using their eyes, ears, and noses, as well as they can. The man, who is playing the part of the convict, is obliged to keep his cigarette in full view all the time, and strike a match at least once every three minutes. Unless the Scouts are very sharp, the chances are that he will slip through, and they will, after a few minutes, see the match flickering away behind them. The " convict " must not, of course, be a Scout, for, if he were, he would not smoke or give himself away like that. An hour or two spent in practicing some " extended order " drill will make the troop far more efficient in work like this, for boys invariably tend to crowd together on a dark night instead of keeping an equal distance apart. A good variation of the game, if no smoker is at hand, is to supply the convict with a box of matches and a whistle, and make him strike a match and blow whistle alternately every minute or two minutes, so that two different tracking senses are needed at the same time seeing and hearing.


To be played at night. A town or camp is chosen and defended by all the Scouts present, except one patrol. The outposts must be carefully placed all round. The one patrol is to be led into the town by a guide chosen from the defenders - he is the traitor and goes round and carefully examines the defenses ; then slips out of the town to meet the patrol at a, certain spot. He tries to guide them into the center of the town, perhaps taking them two or three at a time or all together in Indian file. If touched by one of the defenders they are captured.


Tracking by smell at night is a very important part of scouting. An enemy's patrol has encamped at a certain spot, and thinking all safe light a fire and prepare a meal. But the sentry reports suspicious signs and sounds, so they immediately damp the fire, but cannot stop the smoke. This should be carried out on a calm but dark night in a fairly open spot-the smoke can be caused by smoldering brown paper or damp gunpowder in a tin. The others have-to reach the spot by smell, while the encamped party lie absolutely still.


This game should take place across country at night. Two Scouts set off in a given direction with a lighted bull's-eye lantern. After two minutes have passed the patrol or troop starts in pursuit. The lantern bearer must show his light at least every minute, concealing it for the rest of the time. The two Scouts take turns in carrying the light, and so may relieve each other in difficulties, but either may be captured. The Scout without the light can often mingle with the pursuers without being recognized and relieve his friend when he is being bard pressed. They should arrange certain calls or signals between themselves.


This night-scouting game not only affords recreation but is a good test for hearing and eyesight, and furnishes a splendid practice in judging distances. A Scout makes his way across fields, in the dark, and on hearing his leader's whistle, shows a light from a lantern for five seconds. He remains there, but hides the light, and the rest of the Scouts estimate how far away and whereabouts he is. I Then they set out to where they think the light was shown and each one tries to get there before the others. The lantern - bearer hands over the lantern to the Scout who first reaches him, and then it is that boy's turn to go away and show the light. The Scoutmaster should note the various estimates propounded by the Scouts, and though he may be unable to discover the exact distance he should know which Scout gave the nearest figure.


Two or more Scouts (according to number taking part) go out in pairs with ordinary bicycle or similar lamps, and take up positions not nearer than 1/4 mile (or other agreed distance) from starting-point. They are called outposts, and must not move their ground, but may show or conceal their light as they think best. One Scout goes out, say, ten minutes later carrying a hurricane lamp to discover the outposts. He is called the runner and must not hide his light. One or two minutes later the remainder start out to chase and capture both the runner and outposts. They are called Scouts. Outposts and runners must not call to one another. Outposts show their light when they think the runner is near, but must be careful not to betray their position to the Scouts. As soon as the runner finds an outpost these extinguish their light and make for the starting-point. When the runner has discovered all outposts he does the same. No Scout may remain nearer the starting-point than agreed distance - 100 yards or so, according to circumstances.



A man has escaped through the snow and a patrol follow his tracks, but they advance with great caution when they think they are nearing his hiding-place because one hit from a snowball means death, but he has to be hit three times before he is killed. If he has taken refuge up a tree or any such place it will be very difficult to hit him without being hit first. The hunted man has to remain at large for a certain time, two or three hours, and then get safely home without being caught.


Each patrol makes a bob sleigh with harness to fit two Scouts who are to pull it (or for dogs if they have them, and can train them to the work). Two Scouts go a mile or so ahead, the remainder with the sleigh follow, finding the way by means of the spoor, and by such signs as the leading Scouts may draw in the snow. All other drawings seen on the way are to be examined, noted, and their meaning read. The sleigh carries rations and cooking-pots, and so on. Build snow huts. These must be made narrow, according to the length of sticks available for forming the roof, which can be made with brushwood, and covered with snow.


The snow fort may be built by one patrol according to their own ideas of fortification, with loop holes, and so on, for looking out. When finished it will be attacked by hostile patrols, using snowballs as ammunition. Every Scout struck by a snowball is counted dead. The attackers should, as a rule, number at least twice the strength of the defenders.


This game is to be played where there is plenty of untrodden snow about. Two Scouts start from the middle of a field or piece of open ground, and five minutes afterwards the rest are put on their trail. The two foxes are not allowed to cross any human tracks. If they approach a pathway where other people have been, they must turn off in another direction ; but they can walk along the top of walls and use any other ruse they like, such as treading in each other's tracks, and then one vaulting aside with his staff. Both of them have to be caught by the pursuers for it to count a win. The foxes have to avoid capture for one hour and then get back to the starting-place.


Two rival parties of Arctic explorers are nearing the Pole; each has sent out one Scout in advance, but neither of them have returned-they know the direction each started in because their tracks can be still seen in the snow. What has really happened is that each has reached the Pole, and each is determined to maintain his claim to it and so dare not leave the spot. They both purposely left good tracks and signs, so that they could be easily followed up, if anything happened. (These two, one from each patrol, should start from head- quarters together, and then determine upon the spot to be the Pole - each to approach it from a different direction.) The two parties of explorers start off together (about fifteen minutes after the forerunners left) and follow up the tracks of their own Scout. The first patrol to reach the spot where the two are waiting for them -takes possession, the leader sets up his flag and the rest prepare snowballs, after laying down their staves in a circle round the flag at a distance of six paces. When the other party arrive they try to capture the staves ; the defenders are not allowed to touch their staves, but two hits with a snowball on either side put a man out of action. Each defender killed and each staff taken counts one point, and if the rival party gain more than half the possible points, they can claim the discovery of the Pole. Before the defenders can claim undisputed rights they must kill all their rivals, by pursuing them if only one or two are left. (The two forerunners do not take part, but act as umpires.)


This game requires a light rope, five to eight yards of Canvas or leather filled with sand and weighing about 1 lb. The Scoutmaster stands in the centre of a ring of Scouts and swings the bag round, gradually paying out the rope until it becomes necessary for the players to jump to avoid it. The direction in which the bag is swung should be varied. The rate of swinging as well as the height of the bag from the ground should be gradually increased. The object of the players is to avoid being caught by the rope or bag and brought to the ground.


The scouts stand in single file. Each scout puts his right hand between his legs, which is grasped by the one behind. Then the first scout walks backwards, straddling No. 2. No. 2 repeats the movement, straddling No. 3, and so on, until the scout that was first is in the last position. It is a clever gymnastic stunt, and done quickly represents a snake shedding its skin.


This is a relay game, where the first scout of each side starts kicking the ball from his goal to a turning-point several yards away, then kicks the ball back through the goal that he started from. When he has kicked a goal the second scout repeats the performance of the first, and each scout repeats the performance. The side that finishes first wins the race

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