Scout Games: Be Prepared, Harry

Our sport adventure scout badge

Are Prince Harry’s recent antics in Las Vegas part of an elaborate PR stunt? After all, we’re in the middle of the Olympics, and games are still very much on our minds – especially after the excitement of the beach volleyball. And Prince Harry is a well-heeled young man, for whom the odd game of strip billiards is no doubt up there with limo lapdancing and a stag weekend in Gdansk. I’m sure he didn’t go out with the intention of offending his grandmother, though perhaps he should have stuck to some good old fashioned Scout games?

Gilcraft’s Book of Games, first compiled in 1928 by the Training Team of the Scout Movement, has a useful section called ‘Sense Training Games.’ This is subdivided into ‘quickness of thought, taste, smell, touch, hearing, observation, deduction and self-assurance.’ Some of the games listed in this chapter are:

What is it? (for taste, smell or touch)

Players are blindfolded and have to guess from the flavours, odours or by touching objects placed in front of them. Items suggested (depending on the sense being tested) include peppermint, petrol, lavender, onion, turpentine, an ink pen and a bicycle pump. NB The game also works for sound, where suggestions include pumping a bicycle or bouncing a ping-pong ball.

Who’s nose? (sic)

A sheet is arranged so that only the noses of those behind it are visible. The team behind show their noses one at a time and the others try to guess the owners. Variations – hand, foot, shadow etc.


A number of unnamed pictures of celebrities living and dead are posted round the room. The player giving the best list of who they are wins. Variation – ask for a fact, place or date connected with each.

Lost memory

The leader announces that a man has been found who has lost his memory, and the contents of the man’s pockets are put on a tray. Each team tries to deduce all it can about the man, and furnish information to help to find out his identity.

Other games explained in the book include Night Attack, Mounted Football, Pairs Knotting, Unmusical Bumps, Poor Pussy, Stride Ball, Bang the Bear, Bumping Race, Who’s Missing, Shoot Out, Blow Ball, Push Him Off, Mounted Wrestling, How Green You Are and Toilet Tig.

Perhaps Harry was playing scout games after all?

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About Author Profile: Susan Muncey

Trend consultant Susan Muncey, is Editor of Visuology Magazine. In 2008, she founded online curiosity shop, She writes on style and trends for several blogs, including, and The Dabbler. She previously owned cult West London boutique, Fashion Gallery, one of the first concept stores in the world. Susan graduated in geography from Cambridge University and is also an Associate Member of the CFA Institute. She lives in London with her husband.

5 thoughts on “Scout Games: Be Prepared, Harry

    August 25, 2012 at 09:21

    From memory the most popular game in our troop was dodging the scoutmasters grope closely followed by the farting contest, no badges awarded.
    Guido seems to have beaten the Sun by a short head with the royal butt photos.

    August 25, 2012 at 11:57

    I’m not sure I’d encourage Harry and his beautiful Las Vegas friends to play “Who’s Nose”. Bit of a slippery slope, that one.

    August 27, 2012 at 00:03

    I suppose Lytton Strachey would have quit in distaste if the eminent Victorians had been surrounded by persons with phone cameras. But those who like that sort of thing should be grateful that such cameras arrived in the day of Prince Harry, not Prince Edward.

  4. Worm
    August 27, 2012 at 21:52

    Nothing like a game of Toilet Tig to buff ones woggle

    August 28, 2012 at 20:00

    I never graduated from cubs to scouts (I think I might still be a second-er now, technically) but I do remember a great game called Pirates and Brigands, which involved having to leap onto chairs and things. Hint of violence.

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