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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

On Painting Scores in Miniature Gaming Tournaments, Part III

Links to Part I and Part II.

.Part III:  Judging Paint Scores

Now that you've settled on the weight you'll give your painting scores, you'll want to find an effective way to judge those scores.  There are several ways to go about doing so, but I believe that some are better than others.  

The first issue to deal with is whether or not to judge your players painting on a "soft" scale, or whether to use a checklist.  A "soft" scale allows the judge to assign a score to each player's army, say from 1-10.  These numbers are not defined, but rather based upon the judge's feelings as to the relative standing of each army at the tournament in terms of painting.  A checklist system is more prevalent, such as the one here for the Colonial GT (scroll to the fifth page).  This provide points for different aspects of painting and modeling, such as shading, highlighting, conversion, and the like.  

The second issue to deal with is whether players will judge their opponents painting scores or your and/or other judges will do so.  Players can do a good job of judging their opponents army, as they spend some time really looking at it, but you'll also run into the problem of players who will mark their opponents down in terms of painting in order to knock the other player down in terms of overall score.  Judging painting yourself and/or with neutral judges is more work, but should reduce the threat of bias and people gaming paint scores.  

I would personally suggest using a checklist to judge paint scores and not having other players do the judging.  This should eliminate the randomness of "soft" paint scores, as well as the bias of having players judge.  I also highly suggest using multiple judges (two or three) rather than using a single judge.  Use the scores that these judges provide in an average to get your paint score.  This will eliminate the problems of a kind of Rashomon effect for painting.  Even with a checklist, two different judges can and will get significantly different results for the same army, and averaging these scores out will allow for better, more accurate scoring.  Recruit a friend, a spouse, or a store owner, and get to judging!

Okay, so hopefully these articles have been fun and informative, and I hope that they have been helpful to any T.O.'s present and future as well!  Thoughts and questions are appreciated!

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