Further Wide Game Design Ideas


Unfinished paint scheme for LBB30 Boy Scout from the Shiny Toy Soldiers ‘Little Britons’ 42mm range from Spencer Smith Miniatures. Gloss toy soldier finish.

Further thoughts from Alan Gruber, the Duchy of Tradgardland as we individually read our way through the 1933 booklet Wide Games by Gilcraft of the Scout Association, looking for useful tips for game scenarios.

1. “You could use other figures to represent the scouts as they perceive themselves.
So in a pirate wide game use pirate figures or medieval, use Robin Hood ones.
It is a conceit also to allow to use any figures for those who don’t have model scouts.” 
2. Encounter tables for bulls, angry policemen etc
3. Weather tables too, effects on  morale, more dangerous to run etc.
Weather like snow and rain would also affect how easy it was to read tracks, leave tracks etc.
Lots of other ideas here to affect character card number ratings or add chance and event cards.
4. Morale, how the scouts are feeling and can they be bothered to continue in terms of fed up, bad weather,  skint knees, losing game etc.
5. First aid for minor injuries. Chance of minor injuries when jumping,cycling, going through nettles,brambles etc. affects desire to continue.
6. Small possibility of twisted ankles, broken legs. Obviously affects movement and distracts fellow scouts from the wide games by needing to go and get help.
I think this is an interesting idea for random chance cards or Umpire intervention. Most Boy Scouts and Scoutmasters would have some First Aid training; some Wide Games introduced instructions during the game with ‘casualties’ that would need treating and taking to collection points (where points would be given for their dressings).
The  HQ base or Red Cross / Ambulance Base was where Scouts also have to return if they lose a ‘wool life’ and temporarily have left the game.
Alan Gruber goes on to mention even more ‘fantastic’ ideas:
“Years ago I helped occasionally with a friend’s Brownie pack by doing things like being a guest at their hostess badge tea party and with Thinking Day. The leader and girls often sent me a thank you card. They often featured Margaret Tarrant paintings of Brownies with wee folklore figures such as faeries etc. They were charming.”
World Thinking Day, formerly Thinking Day, is celebrated annually on 22 February by all Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. This was Baden Powell’s birthday, along with that of his wife Olave, one of the early Chief Guides.  It is also celebrated by Scout and Guide organizations and some boy-oriented associations around the world.
You can  see this Margaret Tarrant artwork here on this Guiding website https://owl-and-toadstool.blogspot.com/2014/12/margaret-tarrant-girl-guide-artwork.html
“In the Wide Games book there is mention of Puck of Pook’s Hill as a background for games.”
Puck of Pook’s Hill is a fantasy book by Rudyard Kipling, published in 1906, containing a series of short historical fantasy stories set in different periods of English history.
Alan suggests: “What about taking things a step further and having real mythological creatures interacting with the scouts?  All foreign scouts could have their own creatures like Tomten for Danish scouts etc.”
There are excellent illustrated  Tomten and Gnome picture books available translated into English.
With both our initial thoughts both being that each Scout could have a Role Playing Game Style ratings card for his or her abilities, experiences, success or failures, then introducing suitably national Fantastic Beasts makes sense. Hogwarts territory, this.  Girl Scoutes or Boy Scoutes versus Zombies, anyone?

Alan also wrote: “I like the comment on page 40 of the Wide games book

“In  playing these games it should be remembered that they improve very much on the second and third trial, as minor rules have often to be introduced to suit local circumstances.” Same applies to us who write Wargame rules…”
This is much my style of gaming: If in doubt, invent a dice roll!
Lots of interesting ideas from Alan.
I have been busy painting and casting today, as I continue to read through Wide Games, along with a reprint of the 1908 Scouting for Boys and the colour reprint of the Ogden Scouting series 5 sets of Cigarette Cards.
By chance in my small collection of old metal moulds for home-casting, I have these two stiff semi flat Scout figures who are about 54 to 60 mm tall. The fragile plastic figure is a curious “odd one out” from my childhood, one of the US Marx series Boy Scout, missing his hatchet.


Paint schemes ideas in a glimpse of this fascinating reprinted Ogden’s Cigarette card Scouting series (there is some irony in that Baden Powell warned against the health effects of smoking).
Baden Powell’s scouts have a little knapsack and blanket roll or coat, worth adding to some figures with Fimo Polymer Clay?


Wide Games or Weird Wyde Games rules –  very much still Work in Progress.

20 Boy scout figures on the painting table, 2 patrols of 8, leaving four who will become Girl Scout figures with full skirts.

More on British Girl Scouts in a forthcoming blog post.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (with comments from Alan Gruber,  Duchy of Tradgardland) 5 May 2019.

16 thoughts on “Further Wide Game Design Ideas”

  1. I’m tempted to collect a few scouts now, I’m wondering how easy it would be to modify some Airfix WW1 Americans or some of those Poundland chaps? Your Boer conversions would go a long way, then all I have to do is chop off the gun.


    1. As Alan Gruber pointed out, if it’s a pirate Wide Game why not use use pirate figures? If it’s a Cowboy and Injun game, use such figures? Poundland Modified Boer figures, cowboys, or the Airfix WW1 American doughboys – all would do well. Any figure in shorts minus the rifles and with cowboy hats.
      The two Airfix WW1 Americans skipping along with the ammunition box is pure Wide Games, the box whatever token or trophy the game scenario decides. http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=498

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Wide Games would of course be played in “outer space” on “Alien Planets” too, especially by imaginative scoutmasters from the 1950s onwards. I’m sure that Starship Troopers had their own scout training games. So you can use your space figures or convert more Poundland figures …

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I do like the 42mm scouts colour scheme, l think they will paint up really well and look even more splendid with scenery etc. If you are interested I can send you a spare bicycle for him as Ross sent me more than l needed.
    Ages ago l converted a semi flat figure to be a scout by the addition of a pole, l will try to find him. Your semi flat castings are terrific and it will be great to see them painted.
    I have been wondering if the Wide Game would be best played gridded or non gridded but can’t make up my mind. A grid does make measuring far less of chore.
    The 60mm scout’s size makes me wonder if he and his chums would work really well as a garden game. He could be left out if the game was not finished and it taken up on the following sunny day. I am reminded of the chap whose gaming and imaginary world took over the whole garden including purpose built concrete buildings. I am not proposing anything like that but just a sort of Little Wide Games al fresco. The 60mm size would hopefully mean he would not get lost amongst the plants etc.
    The Tarrantesque Guides would make a good figure conversion possibility. Finally H G Wells Floor Games is well worth a look for staging ideas. A scout version of the game of Islands might be a way forward.


    1. The garden game has possibilities! Floor Games Little Wars

      Gridded saves measuring I am going to try my Heroscape hexes but figures scale may be rather large.
      John Ruddle Wargames garden – see WargamingMiscellany blog.


    2. Alan
      I can knock up a patrol or two of these 60mm scouts for you on my next casting session in the next few weeks or better still, lend you the mould for a few weeks. Easy to post. Metal moulds need a warm up first. Quite economical of metal, being semi flat. They are semi flat semi round, crude and with serious flash / mould lines. They look quite poor ffront on but have a crude charm of almost Games token-ness.
      Compared to the crumbling plastic Marx figure of my childhood, these crude metal scouts will outlast us all.
      I have a couple of Sass and Belle paper clip bicycles left including female bikes, is this the sort of bike you mean? Could be good for a mounted section.
      The 42mm Little Britons range scout figures are only about 35-40mm high as they have to be proportionately boy sized to the adult male 42mm Shiny Toy Soldiers / Little Britons range from Peter Johnstone at Spencer Smith Miniatures.
      The Game of Islands might require sea scouts and a possible head swap with the 42mm range?


      1. Thanks for the offer re scouts. Sadly l haven’t got a place to melt metal currently so if you could cast me sum that would be super. I tried to send you a photo of the bike but to no avail at all. It refused to send, cannot work out why. I know the paper clip ones you mean but this is a resin scale model of a bike. It’s the ones Ross used with his ww1 figures on his blog last year l think. The sea scout head swap is an excellent plan. Have you started compiling a Character Sheet yet or encounter tables. Didn’t have time to read the WG book today and volunteering tomorrow but will get back to it Wednesday. Would Guides and Scouts have joint Wide games perchance in the 1930s at all? I don’t know enough to answer that. I was a Cub Scout for a short period but left .My late wife helped in uniform with rainbows and brownies as an adult and my daughters went as far as finishing brownies. No further, other interests took over for them.


      2. Hopefully will be able to cast some next weekend (weather permitting). I’m not sure co-Ed Wide Games happened before the 1970s venture Scouts but in my Edwardian universe, highly possible. The bicycle sounds interesting. I only made it to bronze arrow, then left but I came from a scouting family (my late Dad was a scout leader). Not made up any character cards yet.


  3. My father was a Scoutmaster (albeit Sea Scouts) in the 1950s, and he had an American Boy Scout Handbook IIRC that I found far more interesting than Scouting For Boys. Different wild animals, for one thing. I assume he must have picked it up in the States while escorting Atlantic convoys.


    1. Interesting, thanks. I’m sure he was full of travel tales if he is anything like the older sailors and Merchant Navy crew members I knew. I imagine that the Girl Scouts of America handbook was equally independent and full of exotic animals and customs.
      I am trying to get Sea Scouts eventually into this game, I might have to experiment with some head swaps or hat conversions onto the one piece LBB30 Boy Scout figure. Many thanks Mark


  4. Loads and loads of great thoughts and ideas for this project. Looking forward to seeing your paint on the castings. And girl scout figures too? We really need another FEMbruary!

    It’s been years since I cast figures in 25mm scale but I keep thinking one day I’ll get back to it.


    1. FEMbruary 2020 will probably be the new Bad Squiddo WW2 ATS Searchlight girls.

      Home-casting is great fun but as I prefer to cast outdoors for good ventilation, I can only do this on a dry day. Any water or rain into the molten metals and it explodes all over the place, same as with any plaster moulds that aren’t thoroughly dry. I use the little portable one ring electric cooker.
      I now have a small stock of old and new vintage moulds in different scales that I have picked up over the years.
      Some 54mm vintage metal ones as well as these oversized Scouts closer to 60mm. Some other random 54mm American moulds.
      30-40mm Vintage Schneider type semi flat metal moulds.
      Prince August PA 54mm trad toy soldiers, PA 54mm chess piece pawns (civil war, Alamo etc)
      PA 40mm Holger Eriksonn round cowboys, Indians, horses and the odd Skraeling. PA PA 40mm seven years War randoms
      PA 32mm elf archers which oddly match my Poundland 32mm pound store conversions
      PA 25mm Napoleonics
      PA 25mm Fantasy adventurers, skeletons etc.
      It’s surprising what PA moulds you can pick up in affordable batches on EBay.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All my moulds are Prince August Nappies at 25mm, though I’ve always fancied some of their other stuff, Battle of Rossbach, etc. Some of their flats have always been an ambition of mine to try too. I’ll have to remember to keep an eye out for some cheap moulds that come up.


  5. 5a First Aid for minor injuries
    5b First Aid for major injuries – Knole Park, Kent early 1960’s. Scout sitting on a log frying sausages over an open fire. Log rolls forward, scout goes backwards and contents of pan end up in the crutch of his blue corduroy shorts.
    Only telephone is a public one some distance away. Two runners sent to dial 999.
    Skipper removes scouts shorts and underpants to reveal a blister that you’d have trouble lancing with a spear let alone a heated needle.
    My memory thankfully fades at that point excepting an idea that he got to the hospital where they cut the blister away with a pair of scissors. That last may be faulty memory syndrome.
    What would H&S make of all that today?
    Broken bones weren’t all that uncommon either.


    1. Simulated casualties and chance card casualties were part of Wide Games but your troop’s experience was all too painfully real. This is almost a Wide Games scenario in itself in the days of public call boxes and runners.
      I have had a similar rural experience of despatch runners and having to lead the rest of a D of E training / camping party back quickly with runners ahead to summon help, with what turned out to be an Air Ambulance despatched for an inaccessible location by road for treating a broken ankle or leg. We left the first aiders behind with the casualty. Mobile phones 25-30 years bago would have been unavailable in a rural river valley. Dramatic stuff!


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