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Site Contents

By Sir Robert Baden-Powell




How to Play It.

The Scoutmaster should collect on a tray a number of articles knives, spoons, pencil, pen, stones, book and so on not more than about fifteen for the first few games, and cover the whole over with a cloth. He then makes the others sit round, where they can see the tray, and uncovers it for one minute. Then each of them must make a list on a piece of paper of all the articles he can remember or the Scoutmaster can make a list of the things, with a column of names opposite the list, and let the boys come in turn and whisper to him, and he must mark off each of the things they remember. The one who remembers most wins the game. See Also: Kim's Game


A good way of spending an evening in the camp or clubroom is to hold a debate on any subject of interest, the Scoutmaster or a Patrol Leader acting as chairman. He must see that there is a speaker on one side prepared beforehand to introduce and support one view of the subject, and that there is another speaker prepared to expound another view. After their speeches he will call on the others present in turn to express their views., And in the end he takes the votes for and against the motion, by show of hands, first of those in favor of the, motion, secondly of those against.

The best way to choose a popular subject for debate is to put up a paper some time before on which Scouts can, suggest the subjects they like. The proper procedure for public meetings should be used, such as seconding the motion, moving amendments, obeying chairman's ruling, voting, according votes of thanks to chair and so on.

In place of a debate a mock trial makes an interesting change. The Scoutmaster or Patrol Leader, as before, appoints himself to act as judge, and details Scouts to take the parts of prisoner, police constable, witnesses, counsel for prisoner, counsel for prosecution, foreman and jury (if there are enough Scouts).

The procedure of a court of law must be followed as nearly as possible. Each makes up his own evidence, speeches, or cross examination according to his own ideas. The prisoner, of course, is not found guilty unless the prosecution prove their case to the jury. The story in Scouting for Boys (" Winter's Stob ") makes a good subject for a trial, or one of the stories in The Scout.


The first thing needed is a rough map or plan of the surrounding country, on a very large scale. It can be chalked on the floor or a table in the clubroom, or on the wall, and be kept permanently. On the map should be marked all paths and roads, and if in the country, the fields, with the gaps in the hedges and places to get through carefully marked. 

Then something is needed to represent Scouts: ordinary chessmen will do, or if the map is on the wall, small flags to stick in the wall. With these, various kinds of Scouting games can be played. Each "Scout " can move one inch (or other distance according to the scale of the map) each turn. The best game is for one dispatch runner to try and get from one place to another on the map without being overtaken by the enemy, one patrol, who should only be allowed to walk (i.e. go half the distance which the runner is allowed to go each turn). To capture him two Scouts should get within two turns of him, by driving him into a comer.

They can, of course, only go along the recognized paths and tracks.


This is not a new game, but it is both amusing and instructive and teaches Scouts to make the correct cries of different domestic animals. It can be played round the camp fire when the clay is done.

The Scoutmaster relates a story of a visit to a farmyard, having first divided the Scouts into groups of different farmyard animals. (If sufficient animals can be thought of, each Scout can represent one animal.)

A good story can be made from these few suggestions

Small, spoilt, boy, not a Scout, just recovering from an illness, is sent by doting, foolish parents to stay with an uncle and aunt at a farmhouse. Makes his departure train, and directions from over careful parents rather absurd, and not the kind of thing a Scout would allow.

First day of visit most successful, Tommy still feeling too weak to be mischievous. On the second morning however, Tommy wakes early and goes out, before his aunt is about. He visits in turn all the animals in the yard and causes disaster wherever he goes. Pigs, he considers, should be allowed to run in the garden, hens and ducks wherever they please, and small chicks should be able to swim as well as small ducks, and he drives a brood into the pond, all being drowned; horses are let out of the stable, sheep driven out of the orchard, cows turned into the road, doves freed from cages, turkeys and geese sent in all directions, and the whole farmyard turned upside down.

As the narrator mentions each animal, the Scouts representing them make the correct " cry," and this should be done seriously and as well as possible; at the word "farmyard," whenever it occurs, all the Scouts make these cries together, and if done well, this should be quite realistic.

The part of donkey and goose should be reserved as a punishment for any who fail to make their "cry" at the proper time, or who make the wrong "cry."


The patrol goes out of the room, leaving one behind who takes a thimble, ring, coin, bit of paper, or any small article, and places it where it is perfectly visible, but in a spot where it is not likely to be noticed. Then the patrol comes in and looks for It. When one of them sees it he should go and quietly sit down without indicating to the others where it is, and the others, if they see it, do the same.

After a fair time any one of those sitting down is told to point out the article to those who have not yet found it. The first one to see it is the winner, and he sends, the others out again while he hides the thimble.


Prepare a number of paper bags, all alike, and put in each a different smelling article, such as chopped onion in one, coffee in another, rose leaves, leather, aniseed violet powder, orange peel and so on.

Put these packets in a row a couple of feet apart, and let each competitor walk down the line and have five seconds' sniff at each. At the end he has one minute in which to write down or to state to the umpire the names of the different objects smelled, from memory, in their correct order.


Show a series of photos or sketches of objects in the neighborhood such as would be known to all the Scouts if they kept their eyes open for instance, cross roads, curious window, gargoyle or weathercock, tree, reflection in the water (guess the building causing it), and so on, and see who can recognize the greatest number; or else let each Scout contribute a picture or sketch of something remarkable passed during the last outing. 


A good camp practice is to see that all Scouts have a piece of paper and pencil, and to make them write down answers to various questions regarding lengths and heights.

For instance: "What is my height when I'm wearing my hat?" "How long is the camp table?"

Of course that boy wins who most nearly gives the correct number of inches.


[This is an adaptation of the game in Mr. E. Thompson Seton's Birch Bark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians, and is recommended for regular practice as an eye strengthener and for developing the sight.]

Prepare squares of cardboard divided into about a dozen small squares. Each Scout should take one, and should have a pencil and go off a few hundred yards, or, if indoors, as far as space will allow.  The umpire then takes a large sheet of cardboard, with twelve squares ruled on it of about three inch sides if in the open, or one and a half to two inches if indoors.

The umpire has a number of black paper discs, half an inch in diameter, and pins ready, and sticks about half a dozen on to his card, dotted about where he sees. He holds up his card so that it can be seen by the Scouts. They then gradually approach, and as they get within sight they mark their cards with the same pattern of spots. The one who does so at the farthest distance from the umpire wins.

Give five points for every spot correctly shown, deduct one point for every two inches nearer than the furthest man. This teaches long sight.


"Quick Sight " can be taught with the same apparatus as used in Spotty Face, by allowing the Scouts to come fairly close, and then merely showing your card for five seconds, and allowing them to mark their cards from memory. The one who is most correct wins.


The players divide into two sides (four or five a side is best); between them a string or tape is fastened across the room about the height of their faces; then a small air balloon is thrown in, and each side tries to make it touch the ground on the other side of the tape. It must be hit over the tape, and in hitting it hands must not go over the tape.


The players divide into two sides and take their positions at each end of a wooden table about 6 feet long. A ping pong ball (or any light celluloid ball) is placed in the center, and each side tries to blow it off the table at the other end if it goes off the sides it does not count, but is put back in the center again.

The game soon develops strong lungs, but needs composure just as much because the best player is the one who can blow without laughing at the faces of those opposite him as they blow. It is best to play kneeling or sitting round the table.

A more complicated way for five players a side is to have a goal at each end marked on the table; then each side has a goalkeeper, two forwards, stationed at the other end to blow into the enemy's goal, and two backs to pass the ball to their forwards.

13. "ARTISTS."

Players sit round a table, each with paper and pencil.

The right-hand one draws a picture, in separate firm strokes, of an ordinary figure or head putting in his strokes in unusual sequence so that for a long time it is difficult to see what he is drawing. Each player looks over to see what the man on his right is drawing and copies it stroke by stroke. When the right hand artist has finished his picture, compare all the rest with it.


In order to play this game successfully, it is necessary that the list of words and sentences given below be memorized by one of the players, who acts as leader. This leader, turning to his next neighbor, remarks: "One old owl." The latter turns to his neighbor, and gives the same formula. So it passes around the circle till It comes to the leader again, who repeats it, and adds the formula: " Two tantalizing, tame toads."

So again it goes around, and again, and each time the leader adds a new formula, until the whole is repeated, up to ten. It is safe to say, however, that no society will ever get that far. All who forget part of the formula are dropped from the circle. Here is the whole:

bulletOne old owl.
bulletTwo tantalizing, tame toads.
bulletThree tremulous, tremendous, terrible tadpoles.
bulletFour fat, fussy, frivolous, fantastic fellows.
bulletFive flaming, flapping, flamingoes fishing for frogs.
bulletSix silver tongued, saturnine senators standing stentoriously shouting: "So so."
bulletSeven serene seraphs soaring swiftly sunward, singal, Helvetica">Seven serene seraphs soaring swiftly sunward, singing: "Say, sisters."
bulletEight elderly, energetic, effusive, erudite, enterprising editors eagerly eating elderberries.
bulletNine nice, neat, notable, neighborly, nautical, nodding nabobs nearing northern Normandy.
bulletTen tall, tattered, tearful, turbulent tramps, talking tumultuously through tin trumpets.


The Scouts all sit down, either on the floor or on forms, and the Scoutmaster or Patrol Leader asks each boy in turn various questions on subjects of general knowledge.

A mark is given for each. correct answer, and the boy who gains the most marks naturally wins the game. The questions would vary, of course, according to locality, but here are some which one troop were asked. 

bullet What does K.C.B. mean? 
bullet On what railway is Peterborough Station? 
bullet How would, you get from London to Torquay? 
bullet What is the test for the Fireman's Badge? 
bulletWhen in the Chief Scout's birthday? 
bullet When is Trafalgar Day? 
bullet Why does a Scout wear the Fleur-de-Lys? 
bulletWhere are the Headquarters of the Boy Scouts Association? 
bullet What was last week's cover of THE SCOUT ?

Next time you want something to do at your clubroom try this game. Not only will it test your knowledge, it will also increase your stock of useful and interesting information.


This is a memory test, and is well worth trying in your clubroom.

Throughout the evening, and unknown to the others, one Scout should, in a handy notebook, jot down some twenty of the most striking remarks made in the general conversation. Towards the end of the evening he then slips away, and on each of twenty sheets of paper, put aside for the purpose, he writes one of the "sayings" in a bold hand.

Blue or black crayon should be used for this, so that each sentence may be clearly seen when the sheets are fastened up.

The sheets are numbered, pinned up together, and turned over one by one a sufficient time being allowed for competitors to write on slips of paper "Who Said That?"


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A good game can be devised by cutting from the papers a selection of Portraits of celebrities, pasting each portrait on a numbered card and inviting the company to name them; soldiers, monarchs, statesmen, preachers and athletes will be the most readily recognized.


For this game get two draught boards and ten white and ten black draughtsman.  You have, one board and your friend the other. Divide the draughtsman equally, each having five white and five black.

Then while YOU look another way, your friend arranges his men on his board in any formation he likes. When he has done this he allows you to look at his board for a few seconds; then he covers it over and you have to arrange your men in the same way on your board, within two minutes. 

You take it in turn to place the men in position, and whoever replaces them correctly the most times wins.


This is a good game for the fun it gives and for developing the wrists and arms.

About one dozen players sit down in a ring with their feet pointing inwards. The feet make a circle, just big enough for another player to stand in.

The player inside the circle stands perfectly rigid, and as soon as the other players are ready lets himself fall either backwards or forwards, on to the outstretched hands of the players forming the ring.

The members of the ring push the center player from hand to hand, and when one of the former lets him fall he changes places with the center player, and in his turn is passed round the circle.


Here is a good game, called Badger Pulling, which you can play either in your clubroom or outdoors.

Two boys take part, and two or more scarves are knotted together and hung over the players' heads.

A line should be drawn between the two players, and the idea of the game is for each to try to pull the other over this line, using heads, hands and knees alone.

There should be no catching hold of the handkerchiefs or the arms and hands, otherwise the fun will be lost.

See Also:

Ripley's Indoor Scout Games

Seton's Indoor Games

 Baden-Powell's Scouting Games






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Scouting Games ] Stalking Games ] Tracking Games ] [ Indoor Games ] Camp or Playground ] Cycists' Games: Bikes ] Town Games ] Night Games ] Seamanship Games ] First Aid Games ] Games for Strength ] On Trek ] Kim's Game ]

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 ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.