Alan Gruber (Duchy of Tradgardland blog) and I have been independently reading the old scouting book Wide Games (1933) with ideas of how these outdoor games might translate into tabletop and garden games with figures.
As with any set of gaming rules, the basics have to be set out – Movement, Melee, Missile Firing, Morale, that sort of thing.
Victory Conditions – A lot of this scenario stuff is set out for us in the detailed briefings in Wide Games.
1 figure = 1 Scout.
A patrol is made up of 8 scouts including patrol leader and bugler.
A Scout at one early point could be a boy or girl. In the early days (1907-1910) Girl Scouts would have undertaken these Wide Games, possibly even alongside or against Boy Scout Patrols. Girl Guiding from 1910 carried this Wide Games tradition on.
Then there is the challenge of movement.
Depending what ground scale and figure scale that you are working with, you would need to set out a suitable movement rate of X inches, hexes or squares per turn.
Basic Walking Pace in Open Country – X inches or X hexes
Scout’s Pace – Walking Pace x 50%, so X x 0.5 per inches or hexes
Scout’s Pace is a curious hybrid of ‘walk 20 paces, run 20 paces’, designed to sustainably go faster and further without being too puffed to pass on messages.
How Terrain, Weather and Time of Day Affects Movement
Wide Games and Scouting For Boys often notes off-road terrain as Thick Or Open:
Thick Country takes twice as long to traverse. Half the normal walking or scouts Pace of X inches or hexes
Tracks – moves on paths have X inch bonus.
Open Country – normal Walking or Scout’s Pace
Walking On the Road – Normal walking pace or Scout’s Pace.
Bicycle on Road – 2 x Scout’s Pace. Edwardian bicycles probably wouldn’t go off road well.
Uphill – movement reduce by half. Downhill normal pace.
Fog and mist – half normal pace, recuced visibility. Scout’s Pace unavailable in fog and mist.
Night-time – half normal pace, reduced visibility. Scout’s Pace unavailable at night.
Snow and Ice – half normal pace. Scout’s Pace unavailable on snow and ice – Increased risk of accidents.
Bogs and marshland can be deemed uncrossable or at half speed.
All fields of standing crops must be placed out of bounds.
Speed of movement would vary with stealth and cover / ground.
Stalking / Quiet / Concealed Movement Pace – half normal pace. Scout’s Pace unavailable in stalking mode.
If you have the One rate for quiet moving through a wood etc, then the alternative Scout’s Pace for pursuit / rapid noisy movement.
‘Thick country’ is distinguished as taking twice as long to cross from ‘open country’ in terms of movement. Obviously roads would have faster pace / movement.
Resolving Capture and Combat
It takes two scouts to capture another enemy scout and take him or her blindfold captive back to their base.
‘Vikings’ (Wide Game 1, a Flag Raid scenario) mentions that the aim should be success “by strategy rather than force, so not more than two go together at one time and it is regarded as shameful for more than two to attack one man.”
One scout however can take the wool ‘life’ of an enemy scout, effectively removing them from the game. The scout who loses a wool life can take no active part until he or she has returned by the most immediate route back to the (neutral) Ambulance base, where a new life is restored. A scout who has lost a wool ‘life’ can be indicated by a curtain ring or other token.
How this affects points is mentioned at the end.
In the Scouting for Boys examples of Wide Games, the Snow Fort scenario sees Snowballs being used as ammunition.
Whiting Balls or wooden darts with blunt ends marked in chalk are also recommended. Hits on enemy scouts would be clearly visible to an umpire.
Weapons Range: X inches or hexes / squares, to be decided, further than normal walking pace?
Some of these sections come not from Wide Games but straight from Donald Featherstone’s Close Wars simple rules (appendix to War Games).
One dice thrown for each scout firing – 6 scores a hit.
If the scout firer is undercover whilst the scout target is in the open, then a 5 or 6 will secure a hit.
Featherstone Savings Throws
Each Scout casualty has the chance of only being judged lightly wounded and fighting on. Each Scout casualty has a dice thrown for him, a 4, 5 or 6 means that he is only lightly wounded and carries on. If the scout casualty is under cover, then he or she is saved by 3, 4, 5 or 6.
If scouts come into contact (adjacent squares etc / bases touching) then some form of Melee ensues. Some Hand-to-Hand Fighting does take place in early scouting ranging from Jujitsu, boxing, Cornish or Celtic wrestling and quarter staffs / staves, all permitted.
Scout versus Scout with each man having one dice throw, the highest number wins. The losing Scout who loses a ‘wool life’ must return to base camp / ambulance camp to restore his life.
Quarter Staves / staff fighting can take place using Gerard De Gre duelling rules. Each Scout has so many life or melee points, which reduces with each hit.
Melee Concealed Number System
An alternative Melee system from Wide Games no. 3 – Staffs – has a hidden numbering system, 1 to 8 being allocated to each patrol and concealed from the enemy (maybe on their base). The number was only revealed when challenged – sometimes finding out that you have challenged a higher number too late, if you are low numbered! This solves the taking of the wool life, based on whether Scout is higher or lower.
Interestingly in Scouting for Boys (1908), BP suggests Patrols have regular numbers: Patrol Leader 1 with whistle, Corporal 2, scouts 3 and 4, scouts 5 and 6, scouts 7 and 8 working in pairs. No mention of the bugler!
As mentioned in Staffs (Wide Games no. 3) a kind of wild card that no 1 (patrol leader) can take number 7, so is both strong and vulnerable.
These could be inscribed on the figure bases of scout models.
Morale and Scouts Honour
“Camp raiding is strictly prohibited” (Rule 340) – against Scout’s Honour. Scout’s Honour could be an interesting alternative scoring system or points system. For example:
- Points are deducted from a patrol or Scout for each Scout being captured or losing a “life”.
- Points are gained per patrol or Scout for attaining another’s wool life, captive or token object.
Morale (health or energy points) could be boosted by good turn cards or weather. Wet weather, lack of food, cold etc might affect a Scout’s combat effectiveness if using RPG type cards. Still to be worked out …
Chance Cards or Event Cards – still to be worked out.
Commonly used in Wide Games, further change of instructions or note of wounded casualties were issued as letters opened after so many turns, hampering or altering the briefing to each patrol.
These are some initial rules notes ideas … to be tried, discarded, continued and added to.
The Duchy of Tradgardland Scouts
Alan, as Chief Scout of the D of T Scouts, seen here: http://tradgardland.blogspot.com/2019/05/scouts-for-wide-games.html
added some new suggested interesting ideas that he is working on:
Alan and I both thought of some kind of Skirmish / RPG type character cards, as we are only dealing with small numbers of a couple of patrols of eight Scouts each, not huge battalions.A range of hair and skin colours for the Boy and Girl Scouts when painting might help link a figure to these character cards with suitable Edwardian to 1950s nicknames: Ginger, Carrots, Snowy, etc.See here for name ideas: https://www.britishbabynames.com/blog/2012/04/7-ways-to-create-an-edwardian-baby-name.htmlAlan suggests of this individual cards:
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (1970s Cub Scout, Bronze Arrow, retired) on 15 May 2019.
15 thoughts on “Scout Wide Games Rules Ideas # 1”
Some great games ideas there.
Well done for posting your ideas so quickly. I am reading them with my metaphorical tin mug of tea by the metaphorical campfire under the metaphorical stars, in other words with a coffee at breakfast. They look excellent and very game friendly. I will comment more later.
Coffee? Is it not a mug of pirate grog, whilst wearing the Wide Games Cloak of Romance?
The figures look very fine painted up and exploring outdoors on your blog
Looks good so far Mark. The Scouts look very nice painted too.
Thanks – still some fine fiddly finishing touches such as toy soldier faces and gloss varnish still to do. Hopefully I will then have two patrols of eight Boy Scouts and the four Girl Scouts then done.
Have had a read,a splendid start indeed.A few comments. Re movement could x be measured( if not using grids) by a scale scout pole, x being the length of a scout pole. I am working on encounter tables. I wondered if a random rout speed ( if chased by bull or dog for example) throw two 6 and that is the distance to be moved. I also wondered about stopping for a turn when climbing walls or barbed wire fences or it costs half a move to cross.
Allow scouts to be given “traits” before the game some positives and some negatives. For example faster, slower adding to or taking away from base movement rates. Also ability to move stealthily or spot. Traits come be rolled for randomly, say throw 9 or above on 2d 6 and choose a trait for that particular scout. Limited ammunition of say three shots only and perhaps the option then to return to base to get more.
I have incorporated your interesting ideas and suggestions into your own final section of this blog post for all to enjoy! Mark
Some very clever ideas there and perfect colour choices for the scouts, I think.
Scouts pace incidentally is probably equivalent to my sprint…
Scouts Pace is a curious hybrid so I have put it at 50% plus of walking pace.
Sounds like a fun project.
But I think you should “think outside the box” a little bit more w.r.t. rule mechanics. E.g. for movement, you could draw wooden sticks or twigs with variable length – the length of each twig representing the movement distance on the table.
The numbers on the bases – I would replace them with animal icons typical for scout lore: beaver, cub, wolf, deer, … You could do the same for the rock/paper/scissors combat mechanism.
I would somehow be cool if you could include following tracks or secret messages as game mechanisms …
Thanks Phil – these sound like fun game mechanics.
Alan Gruber at the Duchy of Tradgardland blog is also pitching in ideas, including about variable bound movement or movement modifiers on individual character cards.
Tracks spooring and signalling secret messages should add interest.
There are also the challenges of a solo play version versus an umpired multi / two player game.
I like the Scissors Paper Stone idea – this was done recently on Lego minifigure free character cards, with a scissors paper or stone logo in the corner for combat situations. Mark Man of TIN
P.S. I have enjoyed reading your Tiny Tin Men and Wargaming Mechanics blogs.
Btw, there has also been a ‘War Games for Boy Scouts’ game, published in 1910. It was republished by John Curry as part of the History of Wargaming project. http://www.wargaming.co/recreation/details/ewvol1.htm
And thanks for the nice comments about my blogs 😉
That’s a weird coincidence – I was looking at that John Curry reprint yesterday, thinking should I buy this? I now have this book on order.
An archive scan pdf copy of the original (not sure of archive source) can be found on Google docs too via a blog by Linneman / Monstrous Matters blog https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7WKbnXZKNGdSWhTR1BVamlHUUU/view
Another weird coincidence- The author A.J. Holladay? Hexeres on my comments page https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/27/easter-eggs-wide-games-and-the-cloak-of-romance/comment-page-1/#comment-4313
Hexeres flagged up another link to the 1910 Rules – they were written by A J Holladay, (Sergeant, formerly CIV City Imperial Volunteers? I’m guessing this is Boer War Service?) who wrote the War Game for Scouts 1910. He was also probably the same man involved in the wargame friendly 1930s Skybirds figures and vehicles (recently rereleased – see Hexeres comments thread for web link) alongside the model planes. I have a couple of Skybirds figures. Holladay’s firm appeared to also import toys etc from Germany according to this personal wartime account of the Blitz https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/11/a3411811.shtml
I love these threads, tangents and coincidences!
The publishers of this 1910 War Games for Boy Scouts rules book, Gale and Polden were Aldershot based from 1893 until their demise in 1981 (Aldershot is a military barracks town). They were a Naval and Military Printers & Publishers, producing lots of niche military history publications https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/hampshire-news/story-aldershot-firm-gale–13382591