Friday, September 7, 2012

Refining a tournament: Painting Scores

   The independent tournament scene contains many variations on to how their ideas of a competitive environment should be. Now for soft scores, one of the more common issues I have heard from players has always been "why did I get this paint score?" and "how did that guy get that score?" It is an all too familiar discussion after a tournament between the organizers and the players. One idea that has helped ease those discussions has been the establishment of a painting rhubric for the players. This itemized list showed in order to maximize their painting scores, they had to meet certain criteria outlined in the rhubric. Now while this effectively makes painting scores anywhere from 80-90% objective, it leaves the remainder subjective and that can lend to discussions still.

   No matter what organizers will claim, every paint judge has a bias on what makes an army look good. Some judges abhor the use of airbrushes and have given lower scores if they know the army is airbrushed. Other judges put more weight on conversions and will score an army higher on that. This is based on personal knowledge, and talking to judges who scored GTs and local tournaments. For some players those bias and preferences can change the outcome of an award or overall standing.

     Time for a painting score game-change

  One possible solution is to adopt a policy that was used in the London 2012 Olympics. Any army that is fully painted recieves 10 points. An army that is based recieves another 5 points and finally if the models are fully WYSIWYG then add in 5 points. This gives 20 points to the player and is easily attainable for simply painting and basing your army and making it fully represented. This also cuts down the need to go through 5-10 min of reviewing a scoring rhubric for judges and allows speed of judging.

 Next, have 4-5 judges score painting on a scale of 1-10 on how they think the army looks in their own opinion.  Once they are finished scoring, have the top score and the bottom score discarded. This leaves the middle scores and they can then be combined. The plus side to this idea is that you can discard the scores of judges who are generous with their painting scores or judges who may harbor some prejudice towards a painting style.

  Another idea can be utilized if there are less than 4 judges and have the scores averaged. If there are some decimal points after the averaging, just round up to the nearest whole number. This may require a bit of math on the organizing side.

    This solution does not eliminate subjectivity but helps migate an excessive high or low score due to that subjectivity and with painting scores it is in they eye of the beholder. Note that this idea works best in a GT environment and does not translate well in the RTT environment. I will be writing about my ideas for an RTT environment in future installments.


  1. How important do you feel the painting score should be for the overall tournament?

    Does the top general earn the grand prize? Or should all factors (painting, playing and sporstmanship) be accounted for the grand prize?

    Do you feel there should be a lesser prize for painting compared to playing?

    Love your article. Thanks.

    1. Hey thanks for the questions.

      I feel like painting should be very important to events but not as important as the Overall or General. My reasoning for this is that some people lie about their armies being painted and you can never 100% know if some player painted his army.

      I also feel that Overall should be on equal ground as general because some people are kind of the starcraft type crowd and want to beat face. Others want a more traditional GT environment.

      A lot of tournaments have been reducing the significance of painting in them and I do not agree as much but I also dont want an event where some golden deamon painter can win before it starts.

      I am gonna write another blog on my thoughts on tournaments.

  2. The way we are running BeakyCon2 this year is you must bring a fully painted army - three colors minimum and bases must be flocked. There is one painting award voted on by the players and another voted on by the judges... These awards will receive excellent prize support. It makes things very simple and works well in a competitive environment.