Wide Games




Search  Inquiry Net

Back ] Home ] Up ] Next ]

Team Games
Observation & Sense
Wide Games
Street Games
Night Games
All Sorts & Conditions

Scout Books

Site Contents

Wide Game is a term that has come into use in Scouting, but too few Scouters understand the meaning of it or apply it. The term indicates various types of games that are played by a number exceeding one Patrol over a sufficiently wide area of ground, or even water for that matter. Such games can be of a fairly simple nature, such as an easy trail or treasure hunt, or of a somewhat complicated nature, involving a good deal of previous preparation and large numbers of Scouts from different Troops.

In the early days of Scouting such games were more commonly known as Field Days, a term which has a military significance but which still indicates the idea of the game very well-a day spent in the fields and woods.

In the original edition of Scouting for Boys appear such wide games as "Scout meets Scout," "Despatch Runners" and "Lion Hunting," which were all highly popular. Aids to Scouting, written by B.-P. shortly before the South African War and used to train boys as well as soldiers before he wrote Scouting for Boys, contained the game called "Flag Raiding," which appears in later editions of Scouting for Boys, and has proved itself in various forms, probably the most popular Wide Game of them all.

If a Wide Game is to be successful it must be understood by all. Discuss the game in the Court of Honour and make sure that the Patrol Leaders know exactly what is expected of them. It is a good plan to take the Patrol Leaders over the ground on which the game is to be played.  Keep the games as simple as possible; if two sides are to meet in opposition then make certain that they do. Have a means of starting the game off and a signal to mark the finish, the firing of a rocket, gas rattles, etc. At the conclusion of the game the umpires award marks for number of lives captured, for achievement of jobs, etc., and declare the winner. The umpire might well give a short summary of the result and point out faults in stalking, etc., and give praise where due. The final proceedings could be tea and a Camp Fire.

Probably the best method of "lives" is for each boys to tie a piece of wool above the elbow, a different colour for each team. "Dead boys" can get a fresh life from an umpire, on payment of a forfeit, e.g. answering a question on one of the advancement tests or by tying a knot, etc.


44. S-Boats

The Cuckoos, Owls and 'Peckers assemble at appointed spot on a dark night. The game is to be played over cleared woodland through which a path runs. Twenty yards to the north of the path stand four trees at intervals, on each of which a lantern is hung. Between the trees stretches a cord on which seven cannon crackers are tied. The lanterns mark the mouth of the" harbour "across which a" boom" (the cord) hangs.

The Owls become "coastal motor-boats" whose duty it is to cruise silently up and down the appointed "channel" (the path). The Cuckoos and 'Peckers become "steam pinnaces," and sail south out to sea to their starting-point. Each pinnace has on board three matches in a match-box.

Upon the signal for the outbreak of hostilities the "pinnaces" make for the shore as silently as the "seaweed" (dry leaves) and "rocks" (tree stumps) will allow! When they reach the neighbourhood of the "channel" they are liable to attack by the "motor-boats" and, if touched, must give up the match-box and the matches. Once over the channel they are in water too shallow for the "motor-boats" to follow them, and can make for the "harbour boom" unharmed. They cruise along the "boom" until they find a "mine" (cannon cracker), which they explode at the expense of one match. They return unharmed to the starting-point.

Note.-The details of the game and of the method of scoring can be varied according to the different sites on which the game may be played. As actually played on the site described, both "motor-boats" and "pinnaces" sustained a considerable number of scratches to their "paint work" and the iodine brush had to be freely applied. When played by younger boys, an open fire would be preferable. Limits of time-half an hour.


45. Smugglers' Treasure

The members of one Patrol are the Smugglers, who are trying to dispose of their goods to the Pedlars (Patrol 2), whilst the Coastguards (Patrol 3) attempt to prevent them. The goods can be in the form of coloured counters, each colour representing a different value. The Smugglers and Pedlars start at positions about a quarter of a mile apart and work inwards to meet each other, while the Coastguards start from a position somewhere midway between the two, and try to prevent the exchange of goods taking place. If a Smuggler or a Pedlar is caught with a counter on him, he must surrender it to his captor. He may then remain in the game for the purpose of sidetracking the Coastguards and warning his own men of danger. When a Pedlar receives a counter he must take it back to the S.M. at his base before collecting any more. At the end of the game the side in possession of the greater value of counters is the winner. Counters still in the hands of the Smugglers do not score for either side.


46. XYZ Game

Required: For each Patrol an X object, a number of Y cards and a number of Z objects.

Each Patrol Leader is told the area of the game and the time he must report to one of several umpires scattered about the area. This time is reckoned as zero hour for the game to commence. He is given by an umpire an envelope containing the object X, which qualifies his Patrol to take part in the game, and several cards, Y, which will be carried by members of the Patrol.

Each Patrol has three objectives

(1) To obtain as many Y cards as possible by searching Scouts from other Patrols in the area. The Y card can be hidden anywhere on the Scout's person, but he must submit to search by any other Scout who touches him on the back and gives the password (the name of the X object). The searched Scout must give up to his searcher all Y cards found on him. (It is obviously to the advantage of the searcher to scram as quickly as possible!)

(2) To report on any suspicious characters seen within "an area within the area" between certain hours. This gives practice in accurate observation and reporting, and helps to bring together all the competing Patrols and thus adds to the excitement.

(3) After a given time to obtain as many objects, Z, as possible from a given hedge or ditch or wall or garden, etc. These should be camouflaged but not hidden. If there are a number of patrols they must find and report to an umpire wearing a blue flower or something before searching for objects, Z. (This again brings the Patrols together as the game draws to an end.)

The Patrol Leaders are told the time for the game to end and then are given a few minutes to report back to Headquarters to hand in reports, objects X, Y and Z and, if possible, to have a grand tea together to finish off an exciting afternoon.


47. The Query Hunt

Each Patrol Leader is told to report to a certain umpire on an arranged more or less circular route which all Patrols, starting from various umpires, will follow. One umpire (lay members, Scouters, Rovers, etc.) for every three Patrols and five-minute intervals in starting off each Patrol on its hunt along the route should be sufficient.

The Patrol Leader receives his instructions which include a rough sketch map of the route his Patrol must follow. Along the route there are about twenty occasions when he must look for, or estimate, or sketch something, or discover some information, or overcome some slight obstacle. These questions must depend on the district, but here is the sort of thing

What is the time on the Town Hall clock when you arrive? Find out who winds it up.

There are a number of headmasters who live near the route. Discover one and get his autograph.

What number bus passes along Street, and what is its destination?

Obtain the signature of the driver of the first fire engine for duty at the Central Station and of the Sergeant on duty at the Police Station in Street.

What is the score at half-time in the match v. (the local game)?

These sketch maps are places within the area. Identify them as you go along and mark in road names.

Somewhere on your route either make a plaster cast or cook a damper.

Make a sketch of the leaf of a tree in the garden of No. 17 Road. (Is this house on

the phone?)

Say how you found the answer.

If you see a Scouter with anything wrong with his uniform give him the password

"Gunga Din "-and then watch him for one minute (e.g. the Scouter could throw away a matchbox containing a brief message in Morse).

Note any water hydrants you see en route.

What is the height of St. Michael's Church?

What time does the last train for leave the station to-night? Find a bus ticket with the number adding up to 21.

Ring up the umpire's number (he gives points for ability and courtesy).

When you get to the Recreation Ground gate go 70 yards N.E., 25 yards S.S.E., 50 yards due E., 100 yards S.E., 150 yards W.S.W. Where are you now?

Look out for any evidences of the town's historical associations, etc.

This game, which is a grand outing for all Patrols in a district, is good fun and can be fine publicity for the Movement. It needs a couple of Scouters, or better still, a bunch of Senior Scouts to spend an evening or two preparing it-they'll get a lot of fun and a fine game will be their reward.


48. Treasure Seekers

The original explorers had left caches of food on their return journey after hiding the treasure. They had also left caches of food on the outgoing journey as they did not know that their party would return together. The explorers had to come back without the treasure as they lost their leader who alone knew its whereabouts. He had left a map at his home.

The Game.-Two rival parties, each with a copy of the map, set out to get the treasure. Both these parties can divide and half of each go by the two separate ways, thus each stalking and waylaying the rival party. This is primarily a stalking game and stalking should begin at once. Each member of the game carries a handkerchief as his life, and this may be taken by the opposite side. If he loses his life, he goes to the "hospital," which is neutral ground (the hospital is shown on the map), and signals his name from there (international signalling is a convenient form), and this is replied to from the base by the umpires. Each individual is given a separate code name. This is signalled back to him by the umpire. This he signs beside his own surname in the "hospital," and this entitles him to take a new "life." On losing his life a second time an individual becomes a prisoner, when he may no longer take active part in the game, but merely try to warn his friends of lurking danger. Each member of both sides must visit two at least of the three food caches on the outgoing and return journeys, otherwise he has died of starvation. This is shown by each member signing his name on a sheet in the food cache. The caches are not marked on the map, but are visible from the route shown if this route is followed. Everyone tries to go the whole route in the end, though some may ambush the other side to begin with.

No fighting is allowed inside the hospital boundary. Only one person may signal at a time.

Everyone who has not correctly read his code name is penalised.

Points.-One for each name at each cache ; 2 for each captured handkerchief; 5 for each prisoner; 20 for the treasure ; 10 points lost if the code name is wrongly read.


49. Interception

Three parties are formed, one (raiders) greater than either of the others, but less than both together. The two smaller parties are sent to bases known to each other, but unknown to the raiders. The two plan to join forces, all plans to be made by means of despatch-runners, and each despatch to be sent by duplicate runners. False messages and codes allowed. After an interval-about forty-five minutes-the bases set out to join forces. Meanwhile the raiders have sent out Scouts to obtain information as to the position of the bases and, by capturing despatch runners, to discover their plans for joining forces. From information obtained, they try to intercept the joining of the bases. They may not attack either party until it has left its base. No "mobbing" of despatch-runners is allowed, but it is permissible in the final attack. ("Mobbing" means the attacking of one by two or more. "No mobbing" implies that only one may attack one at a time.) A despatch runner "killed" is searched while he counts 60 slowly. A raider killed by a despatch-runner lets the runner go and, after counting 60 slowly, comes into action again. Cleverness is required on the part of Leaders in using Scouts and, what is more difficult, in reassembling them for the final attack.


50. Prisoners' Base

Four bases at points of a 40-yard square; two teams in diagonally opposite bases. Each player has three small cards, one of which is given up to a captor. Each team tries to get as many cards as it can; prisoners go to the base to the right of their captors and can be released. A player is safe in his own base. Team with most cards at end wins ; unreleased prisoners' cards count to their captors.


51. Secret Camps

The Patrols go out for a one-night Camp within a half-mile radius (or a little more) from an agreed spot. Time limits are fixed, but the details can be worked out. The main ideas are (a) to discover opponents' sites, (b) kill off (by an agreed "lives" system) any of the members (an agreed number of reserve lives are necessary), (c) capture any agreed articles of equipment, etc., by stealth and cunning. (This could be made a tough and resourceful enterprise.)


52. Cycle Treasure Hunt

Object .-To follow route, observing the rules of the road; to collect treasure named on instruction sheet.

Preparation.-Course of three to four miles marked out with arrows or Scout signs and to include field paths, rough country, cross-roads, and T-junctions; cyclist repairing "puncture "; umpires.

Unit.-(a) Individual members of a Troop, and/or (b) Patrols of the same Troop or Association, and/or (c) Troops of the Association.

Suggested Treasure (according to season of the year): Foxglove (2 pts.), sheep's wool (2 pts.), ashen keys (2 pts.), honeysuckle (2 pts.), feather (2 pts.), hazel catkins (2 pts.), longest worm (2 pts.), largest snail (2 pts.), stone weighing 2 ozs. (2 pts.), tadpoles (1 pt. each), etc.

Additional points awarded by Umpires :-Correct approach to cross-roads (5 pts.),

correct approach to T-junction (5 pts.), offer of help to mender of puncture" (5 pts.), road worthiness of cycle (10 pts.).

Umpires' points are prepared "tokens" awarded on the spot to cyclists deserving them. Winner is the Unit to collect most points.


53. Trails

Red ochre.-As for paper-chase but less messy. Red ochre = blood of fugitive.

Natural-Normal track aided by signs made from natural means, e.g. oak leaf on thorn, etc.

Wool.-Using different colours.

Whiffle-poof -Light log spiked with 4-inch nails, dragged to leave a trail, etc.


54. Martian Flag-Raiding

Martian Scouts play flag-raiding just like humans, but Martians are three-legged monsters with four arms. They usually have two life-lines (on their outside arms) and bases about 100 yards apart, otherwise they use the same rules as we do.


55. "The Black Death"

The Troop is divided into two sides, "Diseases" and "Antidotes." The S.M. (or, if the S.M. is a little rheumaticky, a Senior Scout!) starts off in well-wooded country, accompanied by the Antidotes. A few minutes later the Diseases set out from a prearranged base and attempt to get through to the S.M. and lay him low with all kinds of obnoxious complaints-measles, yellow fever, housemaid's knee, etc. ! These complaints are printed on slips of paper and issued one at a time by the leader of the Diseases to the members of his side. The Antidotes surround the S.M. wherever he goes and attempt to prevent the Diseases reaching him. All catching, however, must be done out of the S.M.'s sight. The S.M. does all he can to help the Antidotes, such as leading the Diseases into ambushes, and so on. A captured Disease surrenders his slip of paper to his captor, and then tries again. In addition, on one slip of paper "The Black Death" is printed. For this dread disease there is no antidote, so should an Antidote catch the boy bearing this slip, he himself becomes a Disease, and transfers to the other side. In this way the Antidotes may be decreased in numbers indefinitely, but as a counteraction one of the Antidotes is appointed "Penicillin," and any Disease caught by Penicillin becomes an Antidote. The "Black Death" does not try to get through, but concentrates on luring the Antidotes into catching him. If "Penicillin" and "Black Death" meet, nothing happens, except that they can warn members of their sides about each other.


56. The Mysterious Colonel

The President of France is trying to get someone to form a Cabinet. He has asked in turn the leaders of the Radical and Democratic parties to attempt this, but neither of them feel at liberty to do so owing to the fact that the notorious Colonel de la Rogue is still at large. It is known that he is being sheltered by a notorious scoundrel, Baron Milhaud, but his whereabouts is still a mystery. On entering his previous residence the police find him flown, but having left behind him the body of the famous French detective, Monsieur Gastronomie. In his hand were found the contents of packet A, which, it is suspected, may lead to the hide-out of the notorious Colonel.

Owing to the possession by the aforementioned Colonel of certain information regarding the financial policy of the two political parties, it is deemed wise not to hand him over to the police. Instead of this a certain American gentleman, who has a private yacht (the California) in the neighbourhood, is willing to dispose of him. The whereabouts of the yacht is as yet uncertain, but it is probable that the contents of packet B may do much to elucidate this mystery.

The Radicals will be represented by the Owls and Wolves, the Democrats by the Rams and Stags. Each of them has copies of packets A and B leading to the mysterious Colonel and the yacht California. (A is in some sort of code, B contains "sailing directions" which give the position of the California at different times.) It is thus very important that they find both.

The game is competitive in the strictest sense of the word and lives will be won. At the beginning each person is given one life which he may put on when he likes; when this is broken he can only get a new life from Baron Milhaud (the S.M.'s name slightly disguised). No one may fight without a life, and the notorious Colonel (a lay figure about the size of a ventriloquist's dummy) must be surrendered should the person carrying him have his life broken. The winner is the party that gets the Colonel to the California.


57. The Air Raid

(A game for about five Patrols of Air Scouts and five Patrols of Scouts.)

A target area is chosen containing a cross-road. The Air Scout crews fly over, taking reconnaissance photos. The time for this is thirty minutes-the Air Scouts are allowed cycles. A Patrol of five parachutists is dropped and establishes an underground H.Q.; this is done by placing a small pennant on some building in the area as inconspicuously as possible but so that it can be seen on careful inspection. The parachutists adopt any disguise they like but must wear a life-line on the left arm. The Boy Scouts then arrive. The five Patrol Leaders are wearing (1) heather in the hat, (2) armlet on left arm, (3) armlet on right arm, (4) bandage on left leg, (5) bandage on right leg. They hunt for parachutists and try to kill them, and also look for underground headquarters.

After thirty minutes the air-raid warning is given, and Boy Scouts establish A.A. posts (ambushes) on each of the four roads leading to the cross-road. After ten minutes the Air Scouts attack on cycles, one bomber crew (Patrol) on each road. One Air Scout in each crew is the bomb and wears an armlet. The A.A. gunners have a supply of paper bombs. Any air crew hit by a bomb must bail out (dismount) and is taken to the A.A. post captain. He is then searched for the R.A.F. secret code, which is hidden so that it can be found without moving shirt or shorts. If it is not found on one minute's searching he has won (and shows the A.A. captain where it was hidden to verify compliance with the above rule). The A.A. captain gives him a life and thirty seconds' start, and he tries to get to the cross-road. He may be killed en route by having his life broken. The parachutist's job has been to evade capture and at the same time identify which Patrol Leader had which of the five distinguishing marks.

The score should balance out like this: For Air Scouts

Underground H.Q. not discovered = 5

A.A. Patrol Leaders identified = 3 each

Bomb reaches cross = 5 each

Bailed-out crew reaches cross = 2 each

Member of air crew reaching cross unit = 1 each

For Boy Scouts

Underground H.Q. found = 5

Parachutists captured = 3 each

Bomb destroyed (by a hit with paper ball) = 5 each

Secret code captured = 2 each

Air crew hit = 1 each

The A.A. can't be killed. If possible there should be an umpire at each ambush to decide on hits with the paper balls. If they are well chalked it helps.


58. Light that Lamp

The story behind this game (which is excellent for a Saturday afternoon game, or you can add it to your ideas book for next year's Camps) is that a lighthouse-keeper, one stormy night, discovers that he has run out of fuel for his lamp, so he sends an urgent radio message to shore, asking for a fresh supply. It is too rough to take this by boat, so it is sent over by aerial railway. With luck, it arrives just in time to prevent a ship foundering on the rocks.

Before the game starts, the aerial railways are erected-one for each Patrol. These are made by stretching lengths of rope between trees, or better still, from the top of a slope to the bottom. On each rope a bucket is slung by the handle, and lines of sisal cord are attached by which to pull it along. We are now ready to begin. One end of the rope is the lighthouse and the other is the top of the cliffs. The space between is the sea and must not be crossed. The Patrol Leaders are the lighthouse keepers, and the rest the coastguards. The scheme now is for each Patrol Leader to light a fire, but all fuel for this fire, plus paper and matches, must be sent across to him in the bucket It is a race between the lighthouse-keepers to see who can get his lamp burning within a given time (say fifteen minutes). At the end of that period a ship (the S.M.) arrives, and ten points are awarded for each lamp that he sees lit. The buckets are, of course, sent backwards and forwards continually to keep up the supply of fuel till the ship arrives, and much excitement and amusement is caused especially when the sticks fall out half-way across.

If the angle of the rope is steep enough, a push should suffice to send the bucket down, but if done on the level, between two trees, a double line will naturally be necessary for hauling it each way.


59. "Sabotage"

First of all a line, consisting of about 300 yards of uninsulated wire, is erected through some woods. The height of this line should vary, at times suspended high in the tree tops, but for the most part worming its way through the undergrowth, only a few feet from the ground. A telephone is then attached to each end, using an "earth" return. If you cannot obtain (or afford) ex-army instruments (which are sometimes on the market), a simple telephone may be made by using ordinary wireless headphones and a 9-volt battery. One lead from the 'phones is connected to the plus terminal of the battery and the other to the line: the minus terminal is then connected to the earth. Our line is now ready to carry messages, and we can begin our game of "Sabotage," which is played as follows: Let us suppose that four Patrols are taking part. One Patrol are the British, one the Americans, and two a party of international crooks. The British supply one boy to act as the Prime Minister, and he operates one 'phone, while a boy from the Americans acts as President, and operates the other. A list of some thirty secret "code" words has previously been prepared, and it is the job of the Prime Minister to transmit these (one at a time) at two-minute intervals throughout the game. The President, on receiving them, writes them down in order on a prepared sheet of paper. So far so good. But the international crooks are determined that these code words shall not get through, and they set out from a prearranged base to sabotage the line and render conversation impossible. This is done by "earthing" the line and thus causing a short-circuit. The earthing apparatus consists of a length of wire with a paper-clip on one end for clipping on to the line and a metal skewer on the other for plunging into the ground. The line is guarded by the British and Americans, and if a crook is caught he must be brought to one of these bases and his captor is awarded a point.

The prisoner is then given "twenty" to go off and try again. If a crook succeeds in earthing the line, this may stop communication. The English and Americans must then examine the wire until the earthing apparatus is discovered. For every code word which is thus silenced, two points are awarded to the crooks. It may be found, especially in dry weather, that it is necessary to earth the line in as many as half a dozen places at once before speech is rendered entirely inaudible, and it is therefore advisable to have a quantity of spare earthing apparatus ready to hand out to crooks who succeed in getting through. Earthing apparatus found by the English and Americans must be brought straight back to base. As an additional excitement, one crook can be made a "tapper." Instead of earthing apparatus, he is given a pair of headphones (fitted with clip and skewer) and his job is to "tap the line "and eavesdrop on the conversations. For every code word he overhears by this method, he is awarded five points. This game is not at all complicated once the rules have been made clear.


60. Spies among Us

Two sides start from points about 500 yards apart. Each boy is given half of a message written on a slip of paper. The object of the game is for the members of one side to meet those of the other and find somebody with the missing half of their particular message. Before comparing notes, however, a sign is given to each boy to prove that he is willing to "risk" the exchange " risk," because on each side there is a spy. Instead of having a

half message on their slips of paper they have merely the word "Spy." Thus, if after agreeing to compare notes a boy gets caught by a spy on the opposite side, he must give up his slip of paper to that deceiver and return to a prearranged base without giving away the name of the boy to others. The first pair to reach the base with a message that makes sense are the winners.

See Also:

More Wide Games!






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Team Games ] Observation & Sense ] [ Wide Games ] Street Games ] Night Games ] All Sorts & Conditions ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Baden-Powell's  Games ] B-P's Adult Military Games ] Dan Beard's Games ] A. Mackenzie's Games ] G. S. Ripley's Games ] Ernest Seton's Games ] J. Thurman's Games ] Smith's Advancement Games ] Wide Games ] Relay Games ] Special Needs Boys' Games ] Politically Incorrect Scout Games ] Game Leadership ] Compass Training Games ] Highland Games ]

The Inquiry Net Main Topic Links:
 [Outdoor Skills]  [Patrol Method [Old-School]  [Adults [Advancement]  [Ideals]  [Leadership]  [Uniforms]

Search This Site:

Search Amazon.Com:

When you place an order with Amazon.Com using the search box below, a small referral fee is returned to The Inquiry Net to help defer the expense of keeping us online.  Thank you for your consideration!



Amazon Logo



Scout Books Trading Post

Dead Bugs, Blow Guns, Sharp Knives, & Snakes:
What More Could A Boy Want?

Old School Scouting:
What to Do, and How to Do It!

To Email me, replace "(at)" below with "@"

If you have questions about one of my 2,000 pages here, you must send me the "URL" of the page!
This "URL" is sometimes called the "Address" and it is usually found in a little box near the top of your screen.  Most URLs start with the letters "http://"

The Kudu Net is a backup "mirror" of The Inquiry Net.  

2003, 2011 The Inquiry Net, http://inquiry.net  In addition to any Copyright still held by the original authors, the Scans, Optical Character Recognition, extensive Editing,  and HTML Coding on this Website are the property of the Webmaster.   My work may be used by individuals for non-commercial, non-web-based activities, such as Scouting, research, teaching, and personal use so long as this copyright statement and a URL to my material is included in the text
The purpose of this Website is to provide access  to hard to find, out-of-print documents.  Much of the content has been edited to be of practical use in today's world and is not intended as historical preservation.   I will be happy to provide scans of specific short passages in the original documents for people involved in academic research.  


Last modified: October 15, 2016.