"It is impossible for us to get out to do our Scouting; our meeting place is in the center of a city !" One hears this so often, but the Scouter of a country Troop dreams of the adventures to be had in the streets of a big city.
Following are a few street games and there are many more to be found by adaption, invention and observation.
It is as well to remind ourselves of the need not to be a nuisance to members of the public. This must mean obtaining permission from the necessary Authority before using any area, e.g. a market square which may well be quite free of people during a summer evening and yet it is only right to obtain permission from the Authority concerned before playing a game over it.
Opportunities will vary tremendously from city to city; some are delightfully designed for our purpose with escalators, subways and the like, whilst others may seem more mundane, but the plain fact is that all towns and cities have streets and, whilst this type of the out-of doors is essentially different to the woods and fields, it is certainly better than being confined to a church hall or schoolroom.
Not least of the considerations is that this type of game will give our Scouts a real knowledge of the locality in which they live and, whether or not they are going on to get the Pathfinders Badge, it is a poor Scout who cannot direct a stranger about the streets of his own town.
Street games provide a good opportunity for bringing into Scouting members of Group Committees and the like, and they can all play some part as thinly-disguised anarchists or foreign strangers. The more we bring Committee members into touch with real Scouting, experience shows that the better do they attend to our affairs at Committee meetings.
61. Monopoly for Pathfinders
The Troop is assembled in a room with a blackboard on which the S.M. will keep a tally of Patrol property. At the word "Go" pairs of Scouts of the same Patrol run to any of the sites advertised for sale, and when they find a site not already seized they claim it. One Scout remains on guard and the other returns to the S.M. to register his claim and receive a small piece of chalk. With this he returns to the site, and after drawing his Patrol sign outside the front door of the property, preferably on the pavement, the pair move on to find another site, which is to be claimed and registered similarly.
If a Patrol gains all the sites in a "trick," the value of these sites is doubled.
The Patrol having acquired the greatest capital assets at the time fixed for the end of the game wins.
Each Scouter must work out with the Court of Honour his own scale of values.
62. A Bomb on the Town Hall Steps
Challenge the Troop that they would not be able to put an attaché case on the Town Hall steps without S.M. noticing it.
63. Blindfolded Prisoners
Patrols are guided round a short route, and on return to Headquarters each Scout draws a rough sketch of the journey.
64. Express Delivery
Patrols are supplied with a set of envelopes which are identical but with a different address for each Scout. The name of the recipient, house, street, etc., should be represented by morse, semaphore, or better still, by picture symbols. The object of the game is for each Scout on receiving his envelope to decipher the address, and when he has accomplished this he will mark the envelope with his Patrol sign, deliver as quickly as possible, but before placing in letter-box mark time of delivery. It is obvious that the co-operation of some Scout friends is necessary, the envelopes being subsequently collected, the winners being the Patrol having delivered their post in the quickest time.
65. Secret Message
As representing members of the Underground Movement, Patrols are given different addresses where they will call to collect their secret message. As it is suspect that there is a traitor in each party, individual Scouts are only given certain words of the message which are mixed as far as possible. The words must be memorised until the Scouts return to Headquarters, the winners being the Patrol first to decipher their message, and deliver it correctly to the S.M. To make the game more difficult the suspected traitor can be given false words which do not form part of the original message, and in addition on leaving Headquarters each Patrol may receive certain code words which must be given at the address before the message is delivered.
Convoys represented by Patrols are sent to follow a circular journey along which at intervals are small articles representing mines and submarines which have to be spotted. These obviously must be placed so that they can be readily observed, and not hidden in impossible places. On completing the journey the leaders submit a report of the mines and submarines seen, and their approximate position. Every mine or submarine missed represents respectively a damaged ship or sinking for which half and one mark are deducted. The mines and submarines can be represented by cotton reels or any suitable article of similar size. In some districts it might be advisable to give some approximate idea of the danger zones.
67. Post Cards
One Patrol is despatched to a point approximately one mile away from the Headquarters with three post cards, each addressed to one of the three remaining Patrol Leaders. Their instructions are that they are to endeavour to post the cards in any post box within a defined area round the Headquarters. The defending Patrols simply have to stop them.
The Patrol Leader of the attacking Patrol distributes the cards as he thinks fit, and any disguise and method of transport is permitted. As an incentive to the defending Patrol Leaders leave the post cards unstamped. A variation is for the attacking Patrol to 'phone any prearranged number from any call-box in the area.
The Patrols shadow a Scouter through the streets of a town for twenty minutes. Scouter times route to reach a bus stop just as a bus moves out, hoping that the Scouts will either miss the bus or have no money, but see what happens.
69. Challenge from another Troop
Give three bags of white powder to the neighbouring S .M., whose Troop would win if they could get near enough to throw the bombs on to the walls of own Headquarters.
The cordon-breaking type of game is always popular. This can be in the form of a straight game, but it is usually better to introduce it in some special way, e.g. as a challenge from a Patrol Leader to the Troop, pinned upon the notice board a week in advance, and stating that he will try and get from A to B without being stopped, or by wrapping the instruction round a stone and "delivering" it to the Troop via a skylight or window at some quiet time.
For the following two games you must decide on an "area of operations," limited by certain streets and landmarks, and a time limit: this latter may be marked by sending off a rocket, at which the game ends and Scouts return to Headquarters.
71. Highway Robbery
Each Patrol has $20, in the shape of metal discs or something equally applicable. The whole Patrol has to go out into the "Great Unknown" carrying the money with them. The Patrol Leader may split the money up among his Patrol as he thinks fit. Each boy has to wear a number pinned to his uniform but covered by his coat so that he can show it on demand (like a police badge).
The last used number must be 8 and the first used must be 1. For example, if there are only 5 boys in the Patrol they could use, say, 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, but they must use 1 and 8. They must not let the other Patrols know who has which numbers.
On meeting a Scout from another Patrol, the Scout challenges him and numbers are shown. The lowest number forfeits the gold he is carrying to the other fellow. If a Scout is challenged and is carrying his own gold and some he has won, and he loses, he must hand over all the gold in his possession. The only number which can beat 8 is 1, so No. 1 is not only powerful but also very vulnerable as all the other numbers except 8 can beat him. The idea is for Scouts to find out who is who and circulate it round their own Patrol so that they will know whom they can challenge and beat and those they must avoid.
72. A Bomb to Blow the Cobwebs Away
Each Scout must have paper and a pencil to collect the autograph of any other Scout he meets: no duplications. One Scout is carrying a bomb (an alarm clock set to go off at a certain time) which is liable to go off at any moment. The Scout who is carrying the bomb may present it to any other Scout who gives him in exchange his sheet of autographs. If a Scout is seen and hailed by the bomb-carrier, be is honour bound to take the bomb, handing over his list of autographs. He then hunts for another Scout to pass the bomb on in exchange for a list of autographs.
It is better for Scouts to move about alone or at the most in pairs. Each Scout must report to any one of four places (some distance apart) every five minutes and never twice running at the same place: this keeps them all moving. Marks are awarded as follows: the total number of autographs gained in the Patrol divided by the number of boys operating in that patrol.
The boy who has the bomb when it "explodes" must immediately return to Headquarters and report to Skipper.
The Troop Headquarters is a besieged camp and the Troop is divided equally into besiegers and besieged. Each of the besieged is given a task: he must go out, pass through the enemy lines, go to a distant telephone box, obtain by telephone a message from a still more distant ally, and bring the message back to Headquarters. An accomplice is needed to sit at the other end of the telephone and give the messages. There is scope for the originality of the S.M. in concocting messages which will exercise the memory and appeal to the sense of humour. The bearer should not write the message down-though as a variation this might be done, and then, if captured, his captor must search him for the message.
At the beginning of the game the besiegers will take up their stations outside the Troop Headquarters.
Each will receive a slip of paper on which is written:
"Follow Jimmy," "Follow Jack," etc., so that each of the opposite side when he sets out on his journey will have a shadower. Care should be taken to pair off boys about equal in size. Instructions are given to the besieger not to attack his opposite number until he starts on the return journey, and it is as well to make the message carriers give some sign (such as removing their neckerchief) when they are returning. Any method of capture can be used so long as it is clearly understood by everybody. If the message carrier is captured he must give up his message, and his captor then has the task of getting it to his own Headquarters. The original message carrier can, however, obtain first aid by touching the nearest doorknob, and then attack his opponent again. If his attack succeeds the message is considered to have been destroyed. No attacks can be made within 100 yards of the Headquarters, as this area is considered to be defended by guns-this makes it necessary for the besiegers to follow their opponents.
The besieged do not know who will be following them; the besiegers do not know the destination of the ones they have to follow.
A time limit should be fixed, and points can be given for the number of messages brought in correctly.
This game has several good points-it provides practice in the use of the telephone and in message carrying; it is easy to arrange; boys can be matched against each other evenly; it is just as suitable for a small Troop as a large Troop; it provides plenty of fun.
74. Artist's Pathfinder
A number of drawings are made of things to be observed in the immediate neighbourhood of H.Q., and Patrols are sent out to identify them with a given time limit. The things must not be too obvious- quotations from notices, trade signs, gargoyles, or other decorations of houses, hydrants, motor signs, names of houses, unusual trees, etc., bench marks.
75. Secret Trail
Two Patrols are sent out to follow a circular route in opposite directions. The one back first wins. This can be done on bicycles if preferred. The clues are written on a sheet of paper in the form of disguised names of streets, public-houses, mapping, conventional signs, compass directions, etc. All the streets on the route must be included in some form. Patrols must describe their route on return.
76. Pathfinder Enquiry
Patrols are given a time limit in which to collect answers to various questions about the neighbourhood, buildings of historical interest, heights of towers, dates of dated buildings, numbers of bus routes, distances to neighbouring towns. A rough sketch may be asked for, and the use of telephone box included, if a friend is available to answer the calls. Points are set opposite the questions graduated in accordance with their difficulty.
77. The Kidnapped Scouter
The Scouter is taken away by half the Scouts and hidden. They then proceed to prevent the other half from recapturing him, but must not remain within a certain distance. The Scouter remains in hiding until discovered and then moves as directed by the Scout who finds him. He may be captured and recaptured during the course of the game. The side in possession of the Scouter at a given time limit wins. "Lives" may be introduced, though any system of "killing" is liable to abuse by over-zealous players. If there is a park with winding paths and shrubberies, it adds to the success of this game.
78. Secret Ops
This is a pursuit game, the "bare bones" of which are as follows:
There are twice as many pursuers as runners. At the start all are at H.Q. and the pursuers only are issued with some kind of life: meanwhile the runners are deciding on their destination, which must be more than a mile from H.Q. The exact position of this secret but conspicuous destination, if approved by the umpire, is written down and sealed in an envelope which is handed to the chief pursuer or to the second umpire who will accompany him with spare "lives."
At H hour the runners emerge from H.Q. and must move out of the immediate vicinity, e.g. 5 lamp-posts in any direction. The umpire watches them out and then allows the pursuers out of H.Q.
The object of the runners is to get all their party to the secret destination by H hour plus thirty minutes, without the pursuers following them in.
The pursuers' aim is to keep contact (in spite of the risk of being made casualties) well enough to pounce on the secret rendezvous, which they must do between H plus thirty minutes and H plus thirty-two minutes. During this period-indicated by the umpire raising a flag-the runners must stay put and cannot bump off the pursuers as they come in.
The pursuers are allowed to open their sealed envelope at H plus twenty-eight minutes, so that if they are really near and are well organised they have a chance to get in.
The pursuers win if the runners do not all get there in time; or if they themselves follow in with more than half their number.
The runners win if they all get in, followed by less than half the pursuers.
Story: One possible setting is for the runners to be armed bandits making a getaway from unarmed police. The bandits' rendezvous turns out to be an airfield where they have chartered a 'plane. The timely arrival of the police in force reveals the intending travellers to be wanted men and there is no take-off, but if one bandit misses the 'plane the gang's plans are discovered and they are caught on the other side. When the envelope is opened it is found to contain a radio message from a police patrol.
Details of time and distance may not suit every locality, but the game as described has been played repeatedly with success.
Each Patrol is required to obtain as many as possible of the following:
Instructions should be varied according to your locality.
80. Street Attack
Suitable for district where houses are grouped with evens one side of the road and odds on opposite side. Dark evenings preferable. Divide Troop into two sides, odds and evens. Odd team to get to the odd side of a street some distance away with a message for a certain odd-numbered house. Prevented by evens who can only attack when the odds are on the even side of a street or in the road. Route can be restricted at first but as local knowledge increases give free choice of route. Arrange method of killing (paper armband) and for renewal of life. Fix time limit. Weave a yarn round the game.
81. Cycle Kim's Game
Scouter takes small party (three or four), ride for five or ten minutes round side streets.
Return and write down names of streets in correct order. Later give description of people, shops, signs, etc., in various streets.
82. Secret Service
Everyone to come to Troop Meeting in some disguise except for a couple from each Patrol, who are to station themselves where they will not be seen, and not within fifty yards of Headquarters. They are to try and recognise the other Scouts and later give details of disguises.
83. Moving Jewels
One team to have number of jewels (beans) to move from one place to another. Other team to prevent them. Must yield to search if caught. Or four Patrols having different starts and destinations, each against other. Opportunity for Patrol planning, ingenuity and "selling the dummy," etc.
84. Running the Gauntlet
Here is an observation game suitable for a Local Association Scout Week. It takes the form of a combined Wide Game in which every Troop in the district can take part. It teaches every Scout a little more about the art of keeping his eyes and ears open; one has only to read Scouting for Boys over again to realise the emphasis B.-P. placed on training in observation.
It serves still another purpose. The Association will be in the local public eye for a whole afternoon; the best type of publicity for Scouting is simply that of smart, cheerful Scouts doing plain, simple honest-to-goodness Scouting. What better local "public relation" work for Scouting can there be than a successful Wide Game in the district?
This game can be organised by a D.S.M. with the assistance of two or three Troop Scouters. First of all select a suitable day. The best time is undoubtedly a Saturday afternoon in early autumn, when the main camping season is over. It is essential that a lot of "general public" should be around, and one can think of no more suitable setting than the average city suburb or town High Street on a Saturday afternoon with its shopping crowds and others just out."A route of, say, two or three miles is determined by the D.S.M. Some careful thought should be given to this. The route should ideally be part country, part town or suburb. One route started at a suburban station, wandered along the entire length of a typical High Street with shops, an ancient church, old buildings, garages, cinemas, and so on, then out past straggling modern houses, through a poultry farm, a fairly extensive wood, a lonely lane with thick hedgerows, another wood, a stretch of main road and to a final point-a clubhouse on a golf links.
To make certain this route is thoroughly understood by all Troop Scouters, the D.S.M. prepares a simple map on a relatively large scale, and gives a copy to every Troop taking part. The map and a brief description of the game and its simple rules should be studied by each Troop for at least a week before the game.
Now the D.S.M. makes Top Secret arrangements with a neighbouring Association to borrow some personnel who are prepared to disguise themselves and act as "the hunted" on the set route. A mixed bag of Senior Scouts, Rover Scouts and Scouts is essential. Old and young Scouters, thin and lanky types, rotund and portly, greying or bearded, young fresh-faced Patrol Leaders, Scouts and Rover Scouts. Absolute secrecy by "the hunted" is essential if the game is to be successful. As a rough guide, depending on the size of the L.A., about thirty could form the strength of" the hunted."
The theme of the game is that "the hunted" will appear on all or part of the set route of two or three miles between the hours of 2:45 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on the set day. They will be in disguise.
All Troops with their Scouters gather at a central meeting-place at 2.15 p.m. Here the D.S.M. addresses them briefly on the game and what it is all about. He hands written descriptions of the normal physical appearance of all thirty members of "the hunted" to every Troop half an hour before the game starts. These descriptions, of course, give no clues to the disguise adopted by "the hunted." They are merely normal physical descriptions, e.g. "Man about 38, 5 feet 10 inches, 13 stone, well built. Greying hair brushed well back. Fresh complexion. Blue eyes, etc. etc.
"Boy, aged 16, 5 feet 9 inches, slim, lightly built, mop of blond, untidy hair. Prominent ears, deep scar on left ankle, etc. etc.
The Troops are told that all these thirty people will be in disguise and will make every attempt to avoid being challenged, but have strict orders not to leave the route between the times stated. A password is given. If one of "the hunted" is challenged correctly he must admit his identity and hand over a red counter. Each one of the hunted has ten counters. Obviously he will want to keep his counters, for when his ten are handed over he is out of the game. One of "the hunted" could jump on a bus on the route to avoid a challenge, for instance.
At the end of the game each Troop hands in its bag of red counters-the Troop with the highest number wins the game. It is worth making it rather a special show and having one of those tiny cups or shields for an annual competitive Scout Wide Game in the Association Scout Week.
Let the afternoon finish with tea for all, and an evening of Camp Fire and plenty of impromptu turns with each Troop making some contribution to the programme.
85. The Atom Bomb
The story: A spy has discovered the secret of the Atomic bomb, but being hotly pursued hides the formula in an old building. Later he writes the precise location of the formula around the edges of a 6-inch Ordnance map of the centre of the town, tearing the map into six pieces so that it becomes necessary to hold all six before the formula can be traced The six pieces are then concealed in various places, the last being hidden in the cell in the town jail where he is imprisoned when eventually caught. Shot when escaping, he manages to reach friends and give them the clues to find the map fragments before he dies. The Secret Service of the other side know the friends of the spy and will try to shadow them and recover the formula for themselves.
The clues might be:
Senior Scouts or Committee Members must get together to prepare this type of game.
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Last modified: October 15, 2016.