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Problem Pictures

In this game the Scoutmaster sets a number of deduction problems in the absence of the boys. There should preferably be one picture for each competing Patrol, but each picture should be different.

The Patrols are then called in and each one given five minutes in which to study a picture, before changing over with another Patrol.

After all Patrols have had their turn at every picture the Patrol Leaders, speaking for their respective Patrols, are asked to state concisely what they have been able to deduce from the pictures.

In order to make the above description clear the following are examples of possible pictures: -

Picture No. 1. - A chair, a shepherd's crook, a hat with a game bird's feather in it, a newspaper thrown down and open at the agricultural page and a pair of wash leather gloves lie on the floor. The Patrol will be asked to give some description of the man who recently occupied the chair

Deduction. - The man was interested in agriculture because of the newspaper and the shepherd's crook. He was probably interested in shooting - the game bird's feather in the hat. The crook denotes a shepherd, a farmer or a laird, but the wash-leather gloves prove that he was probably of the laird class, since neither shepherds nor farmers commonly wear wash- leather gloves. Other points might of course be scored, but the above is sufficient for purpose of explanation.

Picture No. 2. - A chair with stool in such a position that the sitter could rest his leg upon it. Near by a table on which is a pipe, a book with bookmarker inserted, an empty telegraph envelope, several spent matches in an ashtray, a stick, and a rug on the floor. The Patrol will be told that someone has recently vacated the chair Why did he do so and what kind of person was he?

Deduction. - The person who recently departed was a man, since he owned a pipe. He probably left on receipt of the telegram, but expected to return because he left his pipe. He had been there some time as he had lit several matches. He was either lame or an invalid because of the rug and stick, but probably lame, because of the stool obviously used as a leg rest. His lameness was slight or temporary as, in his agitation on receipt of the telegram, he left his stick behind. He was a careful reader, or lover of books, since he marked his place before opening the telegram, and so on.

When setting your pictures it is as well to act the parts so as to ensure no detail being omitted or wrongly set.


What Would You Do?

An inter-Patrol competition.

The Umpire reads out a problem to all of the Players. (Four sample problems are given here for the guidance of Scoutmasters.)

Each Patrol then retires to its corner and the members consult as to the best move under the circumstances.

At the time limit decided on each Patrol Leader brings forward to the Umpire the opinion of his Patrol, in writing.

The most reasonable solution in the opinion of the Umpire wins.

Patrol Leaders might be allowed to speak briefly on the reasons for their particular solutions, and the other Patrol Leaders might be given the opportunity of criticizing the solutions of the rival Patrols.

(If this is done it is advisable for one solution to be taken up and the discussion completed on that one before the next is considered.)

Following the discussion the Umpire could intimate his decision.

Problem No. 1. - At 2 p.m. you leave Headquarters with an important dispatch which must reach its destination by 3.30 p.m. You have a five-mile walk before you, and decide to take a short cut through an orchard. Half-way through the orchard you see a savage bulldog dashing towards you and you take temporary refuge in an apple-laden tree. To your dismay you find that the dog intends to wait till you come down. Time is passing; your dispatch must be delivered by 3.30. What would you do?

Problem No. 2. - You are walking along a badly-lit street in which you appear to be the only person. Suddenly from a dark entry a roughly dressed man dashes out and runs swiftly up the street. You notice bloodstains on his clothes as he passes. What would you do?

Problem No 3. - Late one night you are walking along a lonely country road. A farmer has built an overflow stackyard in a field a mile from his house.  On passing this field, you are horrified to see a number of men setting fire to the stacks. You are about to dash for help when one of the gang who has been on the lookout, and who is armed with a big stick, steps from behind a tree and confronts you. What would you do?

Problem No. 4. - You are sent with an important written dispatch, and there is every likelihood of you being captured and searched, even to the extent of being completely stripped.  If, however, no dispatch is found on you, you will be liberated.  

How and where would you hide this dispatch?

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.