More Team Games, Knot Games, Games for Older Scouts

From Jim Speirs

Table of Contents

Richmond Hill Hand Ball

Active, outdoors
Equipment: soccer or volleyball.
Formation: teams.

Divide the group into two equal teams. Find a suitable playing field about the size of a soccer field, with an area to be used as an end zone.

The play starts with a jump ball. The object is to move the ball down the field to score points. Players throw the ball to their teammates, or run with the ball. Players may not take more than five steps while carrying the ball. If they do, the ball is handed to the other team, who throws it in from the sidelines.

Points are scored when the ball is thrown to a teammate in the opposing team's end zone, and caught. The ball must be thrown from outside the end zone into the end zone and caught by a teammate. If the ball is missed or dropped, the opposing team gets a chance to move it out of their end zone. One point is scored for each catch.

The team with the most points after a given amount of time is declared the winner.

Metro Medley

Active, outdoors/indoors
Equipment: Per team: 1 conductor hat; 1 whistle
Formation: shuttle

Divide the group into two or more teams; line them up in shuttle formation, with half the team at one end of the playing area and the other half at the other end. The first member of each team is the conductor.

On 'Go', the conductor dons the hat, hangs the whistle around his neck and runs to the far end of the playing area, where one half of his team waits. Here, he picks up his first 'car' by bending down and placing his right hand between his legs, to join the left hand of the next player. Having attached the first car, the conductor blows his whistle and the two players run to the other end to pick up another car.

The relay continues until all players on the team are part of the 'metro'. The conductor signifies a complete train by blowing his whistle four times.

Tight Rope Walk

Semi-active, outdoors/indoors
Equipment: Per team: 20' rope, sweatpants, long underwear or large tights, mustache, derby hat, stool, 6' stick.
Formation: shuttle.

Line up the teams in shuttle formation at either end of their 20' rope. The first player on each team, on 'Go', puts on the mustache, tights and hat, picks up his balancing pole and walks along the rope.

Halfway across, he meets a stool; the player climbs over the stool and continues on his way to the other end of the rope where he exchanges his outfit with the next player.

The relay ends when all players have completed the walk TWICE - once walking forward and the second time backward.

Balloon Baseball

Active, outdoors/indoors.
Equipment: Balloons, balloon baseball markers.
Formation: teams.

Players are divided into two teams. Each team designates a pitcher who pitches to his own team.

Each batter gets two pitches to hit a balloon with his fist. If the balloon is hit, the fielding team tries to blow the balloon to the ground before the batter runs around the bases. If they do not, a run is scored. Play continues until everyone on the batting team has been 'up to bat'. Then the inning is over and teams switch places.

The game continues for a specified number of innings.

Note: Depending on the age of the players, the distance between the bases may be altered.

Nuclear Reactor Game

From: Bob Condon

Good game and I have used a couple varieties of this at Team meetings with software engineers... Pretty interesting results. Object Of Exercise: having a group discuss the problem, have the natural leaders take control, plan and execute. Do a final discussion about what occurred... moderator TAKE NOTES.

Object Of Game: Take a 3/4 filled can of water, and pour its contents WITHOUT SPILLING IT, into a second can 10 feet away.


1. There is a transport device (see below) which they will be provided to transport the can containing the material.

2. No one can touch a can.. You will be dead if you do leaving the team short one member (leaving one rope on the transport device un-manned).

3. No one can be within a 4 foot of the can. There will be a ribbon one each rope of the transport device marking this location.

4. The can must be transported with the transport device, AND POURED INTO THE OTHER CAN.

5. Ropes on the transport device can not be exchanged with another team member INSTEAD, you are assigned a rope and you must always hold onto it. You can move yourself with the rope to another position (crossing ropes etc) [needed when pouring can into second can].

6. No fighting. Work as a team.


You tell everyone that there is a radioactive materials in the can. They can transport the material using the transport device to a safe location and save the world.

If they touch the can, they are dead.

If they should come within 4 feet of the can, then they are blinded and must be blind folded.

They have [xxx ] minutes to plan and then will be timed on the execution of transporting the material.

6 - 10 foot pieces of nylon rope (1/4 ")
1 bungie cord which is larger that the circumference of the #10 can.
2- number 10 cans.

You put down plastic if inside!!

Assembly of Transport Device:
Take the clips OFF the bungie cord.
Fasten the bungie cord to make a circle larger than the can... I recommend about a 1/2 inch larger in diameter. I usually make an S out of a coat hanger (SMALL) and pinch the two ends of the cord with the s to hold it (probably not clear!)..Some bungies come with an S which is used to hold on the big clips on the end ... send me mail if you need further clarification..

Now tie the 6 pieces of rope to the bungle cord making it look like a wheel hub (bungie cord) and spokes (rope)

   \         |          /
    \        |         /
     \       |        /
      \      |       /
       \     |      /
        |          |
        |          |
        |          |
        /     |     \
       /      |      \
      /       |       \
     /        |        \
    /         |         \

Tie a black ribbon on each rope 4 feet out.. If any hand hits the black ribbon, then they are blinded.

Results I have seen:
People in customer oriented environments plan this fairly quickly (30 minutes) and execute in 6 minutes. They worked together to see how they could solve the problem, they tended to take more planning ideas up front, came up with one solution and then did it.

People in R&D environments where they tend to work more independent of each other tend to take longer to plan (up to 1 hour), spilled the contents because everyone fights over the leadership position, and execution can take up to 20 minutes.

Biased.. Well I worked in the R&D environment and saw this happen and then executed in the CS environment with different results. The real problem was that the engineers refused to yield the leadership to each other, so they could not come to a consensus. Next, when they executed the task, one engineer would decide that he was going to do to it HIS way and disrupted the team.


The bungie cord is LARGER than the can so two people have to always be constantly be pulling on the ropes (attached to the bungie cord otherwise the can falls through the bungle. If a third person inadvertently pulls on a rope, this may make the can slip (because they are making close to a circle with the bungie cord)...

Its one of the best team games I know of...

A second way to do this is to make the same transport device, take 4 inch drain pipe with 2 capes on the end and put 10 pounds of sand inside.

You need one setup for each patrol if you want to make it a race. Next you put physical barriers in place ( ropes waist high to climb over, tables to climb under) in the path where they will transport the nuclear canister (of course painted yellow and fluorescent orange). They are given 20 minutes to plan how they will carry this canister, then set up at the start line and then it is run. The winning team is the team that does not drop the canister and is first over the finish line.

If they all drop the canister, then you start it again...

Hoot Hoot Hoot

This is not so much a Camporee competitive event, although this game could be used as a fun side-activity. It is, however, an excellent game that is much enjoyed by both Cub and Scout age kids. Maybe we could all put our heads together and come up with some more games we have seen in one place or another, eh?

Let's toss this Czech game into the equation today...

For lack of a better name, the Czechs call this one "Hoot, Hoot, Hoot". The reason for this will become clear shortly.

This can either be an indoor or outdoor game, though it's better for outside, since some tackling can be involved on occasion, unless specifically prohibited. I suppose that you could term this an active, but very quiet game (except for the cheers that can be generated as a result of a "catch").

You need a well-marked playing field, divided into two sections, about 50 meters deep (smaller sizes OK if you are indoors, but the playing size should equate to at least a basketball court sized area, with well-defined playing area borders, since stepping out-of-bounds means being called "out").

The two teams assemble in their respective ends of the play area. Teams choose which side is going to go first. One member of the selected team takes the deepest breath possible, and ventures into the other team's territory. If this player runs out of air while in the other team's territory, the player is "out" and has to sit out the rest of the game.

Since breath-holding is a quiet endeavor, it would be far to easy to "make a mistake" unless there were some way of telling whether a player remains on just one breath while in "enemy territory". So, just to avoid confusion, the player has to continuously say, "Hoot, hoot, hoot...." rapidly and without pause the entire time he or she is in the opposition's side of the play area. The "H" sound takes more air than most, and so limits the time available quite dramatically. Any pause indicates the player is taking another breath. If this happens, he or she is "out". Since you lose less air when you are doing this quietly, everyone else has to be absolutely silent. If the player's team makes noise in order to cover for the player, both the player and the noise-makers are "out".

Stepping out-of-bounds at any time is another way to be called "out". People who are "out" have to observe the remainder of the go from the sidelines.

"It" attempts to tag as many of the opposition's players as possible. All who are tagged by "It" are "out" UNLESS "It" runs out of air before crossing to his or her own territory.

There is a very slight possibility that "It" will run out of air through poor planning. However, the best way of ensuring "It" runs out of air on the wrong side of the line is for "It" to be prevented from returning. Therefore, the side being invaded needs to capture "It" for long enough to ensure he or she runs out of air. (Tackling "It" to the ground and knocking the breath out of "It" is not encouraged.)

Capturing "It" is not, however, risk-free. If "It" cannot be held until running out of air, and he or she manages to get back across to home side, every player who touched "It" in the failed capture effort is "out". A wee but squirmy "It" can take out several of the opposition's mooses this way...

Team strategy is fairly important in this game, since you want to preserve a few of your stronger and fleeter players till the end, if at all possible. Everyone has to take a turn at being "It" - no exceptions allowed. Each player takes this in turn until the entire team has gone across and returned (or been captured). After everyone has had a turn, the team circulates the responsibility again. You do not have to use the same sequence each time, however, so you can "target" opponents you need to get "out" as quickly as possible, using specific players from your side.

The team that runs out of players is NOT the winning. team. After a team wins, the game can be played again.

So, give this one a try to see how it plays with the Scouts where you are, and let me know how it goes.

Knot Games

A Knot Tying Contest

The Burrito wrote:

"In my troop we have recently been attempting to get the scouts to learn their knots. We don't have any experienced boys to assist in teaching as we have a new troop. The problem we are having is that the scouts aren't paying attention when the knot is being demonstrated, and also when they are supposed to be practicing. I was wondering if anyone had any games or other ideas that could be used to help them learn these important skills."

My scout troop used to hold a competition for the quickest tying of knots--it certainly got *most* of them learning the knots - I know I did! We were tying the 6 basic knots :

reef knot

clove hitch

round turn & 2 half hitches



...and another one which I can never remember the name of (anyone?)

The *world* record (in Guinness book of records) is something like 7 seconds!! However, in my troop, I was fastest with (I think) about 22 seconds, followed by our leader with about 30 seconds. It sure as hell helped me *learn* the knots, and experiment with the many different ways of tying each. It's just a pity I can't remember the *name* of 1 of them :)

A Knot Relay

From Phil Dennis

This takes me back about 20 years or so, but we did the following...

Take some cheap plywood and cut it into 3' x 2' sections. Then take some rope and cut it into 4' pieces. Drill two holes in each piece of plywood that are just large enough for the ropes to fit through. Put a piece of rope through each hole and tie a not in the end to it won't pull through.

Then you have the patrols line up for a type of relay-race. When the first group of boys reaches the front, the SPL calls out the name of a knot that the boys must tie. Knots are inspected by the SPL, and when correctly tied, the boy runs back to his patrol and the next one comes up to tie another knot. First patrol to complete all knots correctly wins.

Another version from R.P. May

I have had surprising success with running a simple relay game after the teaching session, and explaining beforehand what will happen.

The game simply involves each member of the team running across the hall, where they are told a knot to tie, and they must tie that before returning to there team and the next person running up to do their knot. Each player will be given a knot in a predetermined sequence and the sequence will be the same for all teams. Therefore the Scouts know that if they do not pay attention during the learning phase of the evening they will let their team down during the game phase. This is often sufficient incentive for them to make every effort to learn. You will need to decide in advance how to handle a competitor who, after making several attempts, still fails to tie the required knot, one possibility is for the next person in the team to come up (after the previous has been there for a set period of time), then the next person must tie the knot that the previous person failed at and one more person must come up at the end of the race so that the required number of knots get tied.

Whilst this game may not seem very exciting, in my experience simple games often succeed the best.

When you get on to teaching the square lashing I have an alternative game, the sedan chair race. The Troop is divided into teams (of a fairly small number) and each team is given a chair and two staves. They then have a fixed period (say fifteen minutes) to build a sedan chair which simply involves square lashing each of the staves to either side of the chair so that they extend equally in front and behind of the chair. Warn them that it is vital that the lashings are very tight.

Then set up a race track, if space is limited then you will probably have to have each team running one at a time and time each, however if you can hold the race in a larger space it is possible for all teams to race together. One member of each team sits on the chair and the other team members must carry the chair by the staves only and run around the course. In running with the chair, any bad lashings will be disclosed since they will work undone. A suitable penalty should be imposed for any team that drops their passenger.

This game always proves to be most entertaining, both for the members and for the leaders!

Bowline/Sheet-bend Draw

Have the troop divide into pairs. Each pair lines up across from each other. Each Scout is given a piece of rope long enough to tie around his/her waist and leave a couple of extra feet. These ropes should be on the ground by the scout's feet.

At the GO signal, each scout picks up his/her rope and ties a bowline around their waist. Then they join the rope with their partners rope using a sheet-bend. They then back up until the ropes become taught, lean back and hold their hands in the air.

As a Patrol competition, the first patrol to have all of their pairs done, wins. As an individual competition, each team competes independently. Check the knots, if they are wrong, have them start over, with time running.

Knot Relay (timed variation)

Have the patrols line up behind a starting line. A leader stands opposite each patrol and has one or two ropes, and a pole (if desired).

At the GO signal, each patrol send one scout forward. The leader gives them a randomly selected knot. The scout then must successfully tie that knot before returning to their patrol. When each scout returns to the patrol, the next scout is sent forward.

Have each leader count the number of knots successful tied. Keep moving until the game period has nearly expired. The patrol with the most successfully tied knots wins.

By running this relay for a fixed time, there is no need to adjust for different sized groups. Each scout should get the opportunity to tie 2 or 3 different knots (at least).

In this game, the leaders should be willing to help scouts who have problems with specific knots.

Games for Older Scouts

From The Leader, August/September 1984

Blind Compass Walk

For each patrol, set an appropriate number of small marked stakes in the ground about 1.5 meters apart in a north/south line. Give each Scout an orienteering compass and a paper bag, and stand him beside one of his patrol's stakes. Scouts from one patrol set their compasses between 45 degrees and 135 degrees, while those from the opposing patrol set theirs between 225 degrees and 315 degrees. The boys then put the bags over their heads so that all they can see is the ground and their compasses.

On signal, Scouts spin around three times then follow the bearings on their compasses for 100 steps. They turn and follow a back bearing (arrow pointing towards instead of away from them) for 95 steps. Only Scouts who finish within 10 steps of their marker score. The winning patrol has the highest score.

Remote Knotting

Stake out a 3 meter radius circle around a tree for each patrol, and give them a 15 meter rope. Two Scouts from each patrol hold the rope at either end.

Without letting go and without entering the circle, they must tie a clove hitch around their tree. Also outside the circle, the other patrol members can give advice and raise the rope if necessary. Fastest patrol wins.

Snapper Fishing

Give each patrol four 1.5 meter poles, several lengths of cord and a mousetrap. Mark out "river banks" 5 meters apart. Each patrol places its mousetrap on one river bank and cocks it, then lines up opposite it on the other side of the river. On signal, the Scouts lash together their poles to make a "fishing pole" and start angling. The first patrol to catch its snapper wins.

Tripod Lashing

Give each patrol three saplings of about the same size, one rope 2.5 meters long and another 1.8 meters long. On signal, Scouts lash the saplings into a tripod. When done, they set up the tripod, tie a bowline in one end of the rope and place the loop over the top of the tripod so that the free end hangs down the center of the tripod. Then they tie a bowline in the free end - high enough that the loop is off the ground. Finally, one Scout stands in the free bowline loop and balances by hanging onto the line. The winning patrol is the first with a Scout standing in the bowline loop while the tripod supports his weight.

The Foreigner

You need a leader to play the Foreigner and a place where there are two trees with enough space between them that you can mark out a very deep, fast-flowing river, too wide to jump. Hand each patrol a long rope, and stand them at one tree across the river from the other tree and the Foreigner. The Foreigner doesn't speak or understand a word of English. Patrols must somehow direct him to catch the end of the rope they throw to him and tie it around his tree with a round turn and two half hitches at a height that will enable them to cross the river safely once they've attached their end of the rope to their tree. The first patrol to communicate successfully and cross the river wins.

Careless Camp Observation Game

Set up a tent and simple fireplace and scatter mistakes on site: a carelessly dropped ax; a glass jar next to the fireplace; poorly set tent pegs and badly tied guylines; etc. Include, as well, some personal items like sleeping bags, patrol scarves, shirts with identification on them, name tags, etc.

Give patrols five minutes to study the site. They are not to talk, but they can touch what they see as long as they leave an item exactly as they found it. Patrols then huddle to prepare a list of all the things they found wrong in the camp. Best list wins. As patrols hand in their lists, add to the contest by giving each a card of questions asking, for example, How many boys were camping? What troops or patrols do they belong to? etc.

Knotty Trail

Tie together several pieces of rope of various thicknesses using several different knots. Use a clove hitch to tie one end of the rope to a tree and another knot to tie the other end to a second tree. Give patrols about 2 minutes to walk along the rope from tree to tree and back again. Silently they observe the different knots and try to remember what they are, before huddling to list the knots in the correct order, including the knots used around the trees. Give extra points to the patrol which can tell you how many ropes were used.

What Happened?

Prepare a tracking pit by raking a sandy area about 3 by 4.5 m. Stage three simple scenes: a blind man with a cane enters the pit and is joined by someone who takes his arm and escorts him away; four men carry a picnic table into the pit, set it down, sit on the benches, get up, pick up the table and carry it off; a heavily-burdened person stumbles into the pit and collapses before two others enter, pick him up and carry him off. Patrols study tracks for 5 minutes, discuss them, then relate their deductions to Scouter. Give no indication of their accuracy. When all have reported, rake pit and have track-makers repeat their actions for the troop.

Flip a Coin

Here's an idea for the city. Give each patrol a map of the area around the troop room, a pencil and a coin. Take them to the first intersection and have them flip the coin to decide the next direction. Heads they go right, tails they go left. They mark the route on their map and continue to the next intersection where they again flip the coin to determine their next direction, and so on. Remind them to mark the route carefully. They continue for half an hour, after which they consult the map and take the quickest route they can back to headquarters. Don't tell them, but the first back may be the losers. Winning patrol is the one to cover the greatest distance in the time allowed.


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