Celebrating International Women’s Day 2020 but sadly I’m not taking the Girl Scouts to Woking Games Day next weekend

Heading off a few weeks ago from the West Country to Woking, trek cart and all, to take part in the 54mm Games Day …

Recalled to Base: Heading back to the West Country without reaching Woking, due to the changing national situation

Daisy Patrol and the other tiny patrols of early Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts were travelling across and down from Tradgardland, Scotland and up from the West Country to meet at a tiny “lead Jamboree” in Woking and demonstrate Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop. They have now turned homewards.

Sadly our tiny #MARCHing band of scouts who set off in #FEMbruary didn’t quite get to Woking. Maybe next year!


Unfortunately after long preparation I won’t now be going to the Little Wars Revisited Forum 54mm Woking Games Day on the 14th March 2020.

Neither will Alan Tradgardland Gruber, my co-creator of the Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop games be attending, for much the same reasons.

I hope that Mike Lewis the organiser and the other players have a great day. I look forward to seeing the photos on the blogs.

This is purely a personal decision, due to the changing national situation of Coronavirus, being part of that at-risk group with existing medical conditions of past lung problems and diabetes.


Today it is International Women’s Day, IWD March 8th 2020, a good day to celebrate the past and present achievements of over half the world’s population.

IWD March 8th is also the end of #FEMbruary, the gaming, modelling and painting challenge by Alex at Lead Balloony to include more believable female miniatures in gaming and encourage more female gamers and modellers. My completed Girl Scout Patrol above is my contribution:


So today is a good chance to celebrate the achievements of remarkable women like Agnes Baden-Powell and Juliette ‘Daisy’ Gordon Low, founders of the Girl Guides and the Girl Scouts of America.

Agnes Baden-Powell set up Guides before Olave Baden-Powell, BP’s wife, became Chief Guide

An excellent biography of Juliette Daisy Gordon Low by Stacy A. Cordery .

Archery was one of the skills Daisy Gordon Low encouraged her Girl Scouts to practice.

Boy Scouting or Scouting for Boys offered so much to Edwardian girls that many embraced the opportunities offered to boys. Baden Powell did not discourage this but aware of public opinion on boys and girls mixing unchaperoned, eventually asked his sister Agnes to create a specific movement for the thousands of Girl Scouts – and that is how Girl Guides was born.

Alan Gruber and I have been tracking down more about early scouting, both boys and girls, to add strong period flavour to our future Wide Games. Very few Girl Scout or Girl Guide gaming figures exist.

Recently as part of our #FEMbruary contribution we posted an old 1893 article from Girls Own Paper about Women Soldiers: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/02/27/women-soldiers-girls-own-paper-article-1893/

However you choose to celebrate International Women’s Day, have a good weekend.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, IWD 8 March 2020

World Thinking Day – Happy Birthday BP!

An amazing picture to ponder for Scouts and Guides worldwide

I’ll be lighting a thoughtful candle at home tonight alongside many other scouts and guides, ex scouts and ex guides worldwide as it’s World Thinking Day, 22 February 2020 a day to celebrate Scouting and Guiding, being the birthdays of both Robert Baden Powell and Olave Baden Powell – Happy Birthday BP!

You helped make the world a Better Place.


An amazing picture to ponder on World Thinking Day 2020

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 22 February

BP, Tramping, Spies and Steam: Steam and Countryside Fair 2019


A clever way to display your Britain’s vintage lead farm, which I spotted  at a recent West Country steam and countryside fair, full of steam traction, threshing machines and vintage tractors.

Rain flap on the gazebo at the front, anti-pilfer netting, caravan at the back.


A  relaxing way to show your treasures.

I was flagging by the time I found this display to chat to the owner (who was no doubt having a cuppa in the back). I was also fending off roving Mad Hatters and White Rabbits on stilts at the time.  Theatricals! But that’s another story …

Here is my Steam Fair Haul 2019: https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/08/21/steam-fair-haul-2019/

Close up – The non-PC rare Village Idiot and the colourful tramp with spotty bundle.

This week I was presented with a little gift from my family who spotted him on  a market stall in town. It was this lovely John Hill / Johillco tramp with red and white spotty  handkerchief.

What could the tramp be in a gaming scenario?


Maybe the tramp is  good cover for a spy, someone from out of town who can come and go, chat to all whilst begging a little bit of  bread and some cheese and slowly gather information without being noticed.

This photo story is inspired by the tiny ‘photo drama’ blog posts of Alan the Tradgardmastre, https://tradgardland.blogspot.com
Allan Tidmarsh at http://dorset1940.blogspot.com/2019/07/something-in-woods.html (Scouts!)
and Tony Kitchen at Tin Soldiering On http://tonystoysoldiers.blogspot.com/2019/08/a-cunning-plan.html

The tramp is spotted by a passing Boy Scout.  The Boy Scout has noticed this tramp before hanging around near the local aerodrome and army camp.
The scout reports his suspicions to a passing Scoutmaster, who just happens to be Baden Powell. Coincidence?
Hopefully the tramp doesn’t spot Baden Powell or the Boy Scout. Have you spotted them?
Master of self defence, BP is already prepared to tackle this character and will send the Boy Scout for reinforcements as needed.
Before they can arrest him, the tramp rushes into the bushes and with a quick turn of the coat, transforms himself with a quick change into … master of disguise and retired sleuth Sherlock Holmes. He had been testing the security of local defence establishments.

The characters: BP Scoutmaster by Dorset Soldiers, Sherlock Holmes by Tradition and Boy Scout Vintage Britain’s 54mm hollowcast.

I was reminded of the tramp story mentioned in Scouting for Boys Part 1 and also by the final Sherlock Holmes story set in WW1,  His Last Bow.


I was also reminded of Baden Powell’s book My Life As as Spy (1915) published during WW1 where he showed how he concealed maps within nature drawings of leaves, butterflies  and moths when scouting the Balkans in the late Nineteenth Century. Download the book at: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15715



Scouting Wide games posts: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/wide-games-scouting-games-page/
Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, August 2019.

BP BPS Blog Post Script
Maudlin Jack Tar and Ian Joppy Jopson commented on the tramp espionage angle and tramp signs: here is the tramp signs published in the 1908 Scouting for Boys and 1912 Girl Guide handbook How Girls Can Help to Build Up The Empire.

The Girl Guide version 1912 has the added safety warning for unchaperoned young lady Scouts: “Be cautious in asking the way. Passers-by will often tell you wrong, and if an enemy, they would purposefully mislead you.”

Designed as a universal language of scouting, mention is made of hostile and ‘Foreign Scouts’ or Guides were presumably other patrols from out of area rather than overseas ones.

The “I have gone home sign” (circle with a central dot) is touchingly inscribed or carved on the gravestone of Baden Powell (d.1941) and his wife Olave (died 1977/78) in Kenya.


Excellent article mentioned by Alan Gruber on the Spycyclist stories and rumours of the late 1930s attached to wandervogeling Hitler Youth (which took over ‘officially’ from prewar German scouting) visiting Britain on supposedly friendly visits to British scout groups. Surely some game scenarios there!

Scout’s Chess

Scout’s Chess game from Chapter IV Indoor Games section of Scouting Games (1910) available here free  in the 6th edition. http://www.thedump.scoutscan.com/bp_games.pdf

This indoor wide game of Scouts Chess is in some ways similar to what I am trying to do in recreating Scout Wide Games as a ‘Tabletop Game’ or ‘Garden Game’.

The whole Scouting Games book is available free here:



With these [maps or boards], various kinds of Scouting Games can be played” –  Interesting to have a permanent map or game board or  tabletop etc, mapped “on a very  large scale” with marked in and restricted terrain, along with other game mechanisms of how to capture the runner scout (two cubs required) as well as movement rates.

Two scouts to catch one seems to be fairly standard form of capture in many Wide Games.

Suggested movement rates are:  1 inch per Scout each turn so if running, other scouts would presumably  move 1/2 inch walking. Alternatively it could be 2 inches per runner and 1 inch walker per walker “or other distance according to the scale of the map

I’m  sure a Bob Cordery chessboard gaming board variation could be worked out. However Scout’s Chess seems to get its name from its chess piece scouts (or flags), rather than a chessboard,  as the naturalistic map element of roads and tracks seems to be the important part, rather than the grid.

It reminds me a little of an old cornering Chessboard game called ‘Fox and Hounds’ that I used to play with my late cubmaster Dad.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (1970s Cub Scout, Bronze Arrow, Retired).

Scout Wide Games Rules Ideas # 1


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.

LBB30 Boy Scout from the Little Britons / Shiny Toy Soldiers 42mm range.

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.

1 figure equals 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.

Four spare Boy Scouts are now Girl Scouts and Guides … figures almost finished, almost painted.

Then there is the challenge of movement.

Movement Rates

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.

Boy Scouts came from many nations … again, based and almost painted.

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.



Stealth Moves?

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.

Two Girl Scouts capture the single Boy Scout … to be escorted back to base.

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.

Range Weapons

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.

Kaptain Kobold’s simple dice no cards version of the Parry / Lunge duelling. Dice used to mark health or life points left. Steve Weston’s duelling Mexican Peasants in 54mm.

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.

Scout No. 7 beats the lower number Scout No. 4 from a rival patrol.

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.

Wild Card – here patrol leader No. 1 trumps the higher number Scout No 7.

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.

The delaying envelopes opened at set times to slow down or change the missions for three teams of Scout “Polar Explorers” (Cordon Breaking; Wide Game 6 Polar Dash)

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:

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 [about] a random rout speed (if chased by bull or dog for example), throw two d6 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.
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.
Alan suggests of this individual cards: 
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.
Lots of interesting game ideas here from Alan ranging from varied bound distances to limited ammunition (with the exception of snow balls!)
Good fun,  both collaborating on and experimenting on rules apart. 

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (1970s Cub Scout, Bronze Arrow, retired) on 15 May 2019. 

Rules notes and initial ideas for the Wide Games scouting game


I am happily surprised by the many comments about memories of Scouting type Wide Games after my last blogpost https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/27/easter-eggs-wide-games-and-the-cloak-of-romance/

Alan Gruber, the Duke of Tradgardland https://tradgardland.blogspot.com has received his copy of Wide Games (Scout Association, 1933) and his reactions and initial thoughts were surprisingly similar to mine:

“The Wide Game book arrived and l have had a chance to have an initial look. There seems to be much that can be translated into rule terms. I am less successfully tried to locate my scout figures, they must be experts in stealth and use of cover.

I have been thinking of giving each scout ratings for things like stealth, speed, detection etc.

When trying to spot a hiding scout figure compare the hiding rating against the spotting rating adding the score of a dice. If the the result is higher than the hiding rating the figure is spotted.

I felt this method could be used also to represent the removal of a “wool life” .

I like the idea of each scout being different in his abilities adding a sort of role play vibe. I really must scribble these ideas down in a more coherent manner.”

Alan’s ideas were in tune with many of my own initial thoughts.

I also thought that the list of a scout’s skills looked like a character card or RPG character.

Badges acquired or skill numbers would help resolve some non-combat issues on points –  visibility (stalking, camo, use of cover), listening skills, pathfinding etc.

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.

Weapons and Combat

Although a Marksmanship badge existed for shooting, the only “weapons” carried by scouts were their highly versatile scout wooden staffs.

Ogdens cigarette cards of scouting reproduced in book form shows quarterstaff fighting – reproducible through my Gerard De Gre / Featherstone duelling cards Lunge and Parry (past blogpost). Jujitsu, boxing and wrestling were also practiced – see Nobby’s comment below on quarterstaffs.



Range Weapons

However in Wide Games, suggestions were also of early washable paint balls being thrown to mark a hit on an enemy, known as  “whiting balls”, along with wooden blunt headed thick dowelling darts with  paper feathers and chalk on the blunt heads. This chalk or whiting indicated or marked a hit visible to any watching umpire.

Usual hit dice roll  /  d6 mechanisms etc would work here. If hit, a Scout loses a life, has to return to the ambulance base to be healed and then rejoin the game.

The “wool life” or colour to be taken can be represented by a thread or circle of wool over their shoulder like a sash. They are then temporarily out of the game, but rather than being “Pinned”, they must then be restored to life by reaching the designated Red Cross base / healer / ambulance station. This recycles them after a pause back into the game, starting from the healing base, bearing their new wool life marker or token.

Some other variations on the “wool life” token or marker were a paper scrap on shoulder, handkerchief or scarf tail tucked into belt or scalping (removing the scarf when worn as a head scarf)

Movement Rates

Speed of movement would vary with stealth  and cover / ground.  One rate for quiet moving through a wood etc, another 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.

Movement Rates need  to be decided for crossing streams, uphill, bicycle scouts, along with bridge building etc. In this respect, there is no difference from Featherstone’s Close Wars rules in War Games (1962) or other simple early rules. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

Walking Pace or Scouts Pace?
There is a concept of scouts pace referred to in Wide Games is hybrid pace of twenty paces running, twenty walking (as a rest break) meaning you can go faster and further for longer.

Early Scout Patrols (according to Ogden’s Cigarette cards) were of eight  scouts: patrol leader with patrol flag, corporal, 5 Scouts and a bugler. Each Patrol appears to have different scarf colours.

Patrols of eight play against other patrols, rising up the scale to whole Troops playing  against another troop.

Four Patrols equals one Troop of 32, plus scoutmaster.

Patrols had names reflected in their patrol flag symbols, carried by the patrol leader, who was appointed for one year. Each “animal named” patrol had their own animal calls to communicate secretly.  Patrol flags were important as base markers etc.

Semaphore signals by flag, third figure is the patrol bugler shown with patrol flag usually carried by the patrol leader (fourth). These wolf patrol scouts appear have the correct yellow and black garters / sock colours to match  their patrol / correct patrol flag.

Patrol names (Ogden’s scouting series of cigarette cards issued pre 1914) – wood pigeon, owl, lion, wolf, cuckoo, otter, eagle, peewit, ram, kangaroo, Fox, cobra.

Scouting for Boys 1908 mentions slightly different animal patrols and their colours: these affect the patrol’s coloured neck scarf. The printed scraps show different socks and shirts but this may not be accurate. Originally a coloured shoulder knot was worn.

Patrol flag animals and patrol colours – Oxford 2005 reprint of the 1908 Scouting for Boys.

Throughout Wide Games there are strict instructions for the Scoutmaster to pass on:

“All fields of standing crops must be placed out of bounds”

“Camp raiding is strictly prohibited” (Rule 340) ?

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.

I am still reading through Wide Game scenarios for rule clues, but as Alan Gruber observes, this could be an interesting basis for a set of rules.


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.”

Scout’s honour and fair play seem important concepts, almost a numerical value of honour points or shame points, to be redeemed by good and honourable deeds.

Image source: Oxfam online bookshop

Girl Scouts of America – and Britain?

The addition of a fullish Edwardian skirt easily turns a few of my tiny metal Boy scouts into Girl Scouts. Not all Girl Scouts wore their hair down and long, as was common with Edwardian girls, hair styles varied with age. Loose and long was generally for younger girls.

Girl Scouts used Wide Games, as their first guiding manual was based on Baden Powell’s Scouting For Boy’s. Thousands of Edwardian girls flocked to create their own patrols, occasionally working alongside Boy Scout Patrols.

This unchaperoned fraternisation began to cause difficulties locally and nationally for both Boy Scouts and Girl Scout groups. The solution? Girl Guides.

Guiding took over most of the 1908-1910 Girl Scouts Troops in 1910. However some BGS British Girl Scout troops still exist, alongside BBS British Boy Scouts wearing the traditional 1908 uniform. But that’s another story for another blog post.

Wide games are still used in modern Guiding.


Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (1970s Cub Scout, Bronze Arrow, retired) 2 May 2019. 



Easter Eggs, Wide Games and the Cloak of Romance

That Easter dilemma …

F57E847C-4529-4822-BF39-53ACBF437022Easter egg or tiny tin men?

I chose wisely,  the long lasting, low calorie, diabetic friendly option. Instead of chocolate or chocolate egg,  I received from my family twenty tiny Boy Scouts from the Spencer Smith Miniatures  (LBB30) from the 42mm Shiny Toy Soldiers Little Britons range.



Being boys they do not quite reach 42mm, rather they are about 36mm. LBB30 Boy Scout

The trigger for this non-chocolate choice was picking up a 1942 wartime copy of Wide Games from a seaside vintage shop. £4 well spent!


Wartime reprint purchased and inscribed K.E. Munn 17 December 1942
Contents page

Flicking through this well used 1942 paperback, I noticed lots of Wide Game scenarios with maps. They are almost like Neil Thomas’ One Hour Wargames, but 1:1 scale in the outdoors.


Map research reveals this map – Whitehouse Plain Almshouse Plain  North Long Hills Plain High Beech  – is a real part of Epping Forest near the Scouts HQ at Gilwell Park. Map 1 is used for many of the Wide Games so worth laying out as a Games terrain. 


Could these scenarios and maps be turned into “non violent” war game or figure gaming scenarios?

Could I in future adapt or create some rules that would work?

Could this work as a solo game?

Would it work on a grid system like my large hex game board?

Would it work better as a garden game than a tabletop game?

The Cloak of Romance recaptured, as shown in an extract from Bevis.
A suitably Dangerous Book for Boys  / Ripping Yarns /  Empire building sort of book list!

One of the interesting chapters is The Cloak of Romance, about turning Wide Games into imaginative role playing games through the addition of narratives, an aim or quest and characters or groups from history or popular literature.

Pirates? Cowboys and Indians?  Frontiersmen? Smugglers? Cops and Robbers?

Wide Games on a small scale?

My late Dad was a wartime evacuee as a small boy  from London to coast and country, told nostalgic tales of playing Cowboys and Indians after the war in some of the wild spaces and parks still left around London, and was obviously influenced enough by this freedom and National Service to go on to become  a Cub Scout leader as an adult.

So I grew up with all this, and as a result didn’t stay in cub scouts beyond the early months of gaining a Bronze Arrow. Instead I went for long walks and dens and bushcraft alone with my Dad.

For some while, I have had pencilled in my notebooks some ideas about a ‘war game’ based on these Wide Games.

Wide Games note book ideas … 1940s

The last attempt was in OOHO railway scale  attracted by the railway figures of trekcarts and tiny Boy Scout figures to give a big groundscale. Various companies do this including Langley Miniatures OOHO and N Gauge, Preiser OOHO (European / American – looking a little like  Hitler Youth) and  OOHO scale cubs and guides from Richard Harris at Looks Like Repros.

463EEB60-5DF8-4519-9D5F-7701C306D0A1.jpegSadly sculptor Tony Burley’s attractive cub scout and guide figures in 54mm are no longer available.

Paint schemes?

First I have to paint my Boy Scouts.

There was lots of interest in Boy Scout history and uniforms during the Boy Scout centenary anniversary of 2007. The original Scouting for Boys book (1908) was republished and I have a copy of this with its additional Scout Games and Wide Games ideas.

William Britain’s quickly   issued c. 1911 an attractive glossy range of 54mm scale Boy Scouts, which are good for paint scheme ideas. Different patrol colour scarves etc?

Interestingly  A. J. Holladay, a sergeant in the Volunteers in 1910 published rules for War Games for Boy Scouts played with Model Soldiers.


Judging by photographs of WW1 era and 1920s in my village history book, in reality a cub cap for boys  or brownie headscarf for Girls was about as much as many ordinary children could afford.



The Little Britons figures I have in lieu of Easter Eggs remind me strongly of the Peanuts / Snoopy / Boys Scouts of America cartoon strips, each of them with their lemon squeezer or doughboy hats.

That comic genius Schulz has created a dog with a vivid Baden Powell / Wide Games “Cloak of Romance” about his every day adventures with Woodstock and his tiny feathered gang  – whether it is escapee WW1 pilot, shot down by the Red Baron,  Foreign legionnaires in the sand pit or an adventurous  Boy Scouts of America troop. These are by far my favourite element of the Peanuts cartoons …

Thankfully some of the associated Shiny Toy Soldier 42mm range bought with such hats and arms with no rifles should work as Scout leaders and  adults if required.

Colour scheme inspiration! 

I suddenly remembered that amongst my few Victorian and Edwardian scraps of street life and military themes I have some Edwardian Boy Scouts. They have different patrol flags, something I could put onto some of their staffs.


More varied colour scheme ideas from my Edwardian scraps.
Patrol flag detail
An attractive drummer Scout
The whole A3 size scrapbook page

The brother of James Opie the toy soldier collector is the packaging historian Robert Opie (their parents were Iona and Peter Opie, the folklore collectors of children’s nursery rhymes and playground singing games). A family of collectors!

If you have not come across Robert Opie’s Museum of Brands and Packaging in London, you might know him through his published scrapbooks including the WW2 Wartime Scrapbook  and The 1910s Scrapbook which covers WW1 – and Boy Scouts, including the many board games cashing in on the Boy Scout craze.

More paint scheme inspiration? Many early Cub Scout uniforms shown in Robert Opie’s  The 1910s Scrapbook. Copyright: Robert Opie. 

Various cigarette manufacturers  issued sets of Cub Scout cigarette cards with many attractive themes. These can be expensive to collect in sets but some can also be found reprinted in book form such as Boy Scouts Series 1 to 5 in Paperback 2013 by Trading Card Enterprises LLC (available via Amazon). 

54mm Tradition of  London and Dorset Soldiers (Baden Powell) Boer War figures,; 2nd from left my Prince August home cast figure.

There is much rich Cub Scout history out there




including about the military and Imperial origins of scouting and the complex character Robert Baden Powell, popular hero of the disastrous Boer War.

Britain’s 54mm Boy Scout works as a Scout Leader with 35mm Boy Scouts; Baden Powell Dorset Soldiers 54mm figure.

So there you are – lots of gaming scenario ideas, 20 Boy Scouts, and no calories.

I wonder how this renewed attempt at a Wide Games project will turn out?

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (Bronze Arrow, retired) 27 April 2019.