Tales from the Jungle, Volume 10: “Should a Player be Allowed to win even if he didn’t paint his Army?”

Used without permission.

Interesting topic this week… one that really hits me close to home because I really enjoy painting a participating in Grand Tournaments. Here’s this weeks:  “Tales from the Jungle – Volume 10: Should a Player be allowed to win a tournament even if he didn’t paint his Army?”

From the very first time that I got involved in Warhammer and table top gaming I always thought that the biggest (and most important) part of the hobby has been in the actual painting of models. I’ve been around for a long time and have seen sculpts of models go from decent to absolutely stunning. The detail work nowadays is immaculate and I think having a good paint job on it makes it even more beautiful, and therefore more easy on the eyes. It makes somebody look at it closer. Makes them think about how they can achieve that paint job, or how they might want to go about painting that same model… Hell, it may even prompt somebody into starting that same army because of how 1 model is painted! It’s this reason alone why I believe that painting is such a huge part of this hobby. And yet, for a lot of people, painting is viewed as a chore, or task, or even punishment… and some people hate the thought of having to paint just one model, let alone entire armies…

Since I’ve been participating in Grand Tournaments over the last few years I’ve been privileged enough to see some of the best paint jobs in the world… right in front of me. It’s no secret that some people even offer their services of painting models for somebody… Because painting is such a big deal in this hobby, most tournaments and TO’s include prizes and awards just for that: to recognize somebody for such an excellent paint job they’ve given to their models. But what happens when the person that wins that award didn’t actually paint his army…? What if he took advantage of said services and had somebody paint his army for him? Does that make him ineligible to win overall champion at these tournaments?

For me, this is a very interesting topic because I can see both sides of the argument. I personally enjoy painting my own models and showing them off. Yet I know others who absolutely despise painting and do the bare minimum when it comes to painting, just so they can get the basic points for appearance on the score card. But let’s say that I win a 3 games and draw 2… but my painting score gives me extra points because most people thought it was the coolest one there… and those points put me ahead of a guy who was sitting at 2nd place, who had a decent paint job and won 4 out of 5 games… is that fair? What this means is that my painting score pushed me ahead of him – and most people – even though I had fewer wins than some guys. To me, that’s fair because painting accounts for a big part of the hobby, and it should be rewarded as such. But now let’s take the same situation except this time… I didn’t paint my army. In fact, I borrowed it from a good buddy of mine that doesn’t like to play but instead spends his time painting. I borrowed it for the day and am using it to participate in this tournament… So now, at the end of the tournament, I move up to 2nd place with an army that I didn’t even paint… and win the Best Painted Award – even though I didn’t paint a single model in the army… Is that fair?

One side of the argument is that you put your time and effort into making your army look as good as possible… and you have something that you can say that YOU did… and YOU can be proud of. The flip side of it is that some guys will charge huge amounts of money (upwards of $2500 for a standard 2,000 point force…) and others will pay this money to have it done. As the painter, I can say that I took my time and effort… long hours of getting the models assembled and painted just right… made the movement trays… drybrushed for hours… touched up details… etc, etc, etc… and that is my contribution to making it look as good as I can. The guy that doesn’t paint his army can say that he has to work extra hours on the weekends to cover the big bill he has accumulated by having somebody paint his army. Both come down to one thing: time. Should it really matter where or how the time is being spent? One guy sits in front of a desk for hours making his army look good… another guy sits in front of a computer (or something else) for hours on the weekends so that he can pay to have his army look good. Should one take precedence over the other when it comes time to judge painting for both of these guys?

My thoughts are that painting should be separated from the overall score. If you want to judge painting, then judge painting. Make it so that whoever wants to win the painted portion knows that they have to have a fully painted army and whatever else you’d like to throw in there. You could even make it so that if you had your army painted you get a certain percentage of points like, say 60% to 80% instead of the full 100%. But then you’d run into honesty issues… “Did you paint your army? You get 80% of the score if you had somebody else paint it…” “Umm… yes…?” So it’s a very fine line as to how it needs to be scored. I don’t claim to have the answer here and I’m not sure that anybody ever will. I don’t like the idea that a person can win “Best Painted Anything” if they didn’t paint it themselves. But I am ok with somebody winning “Overall” if they paid to have their army painted. A painting competition should be held only for people that actually painted their armies – in my opinion. So again, this is a very interesting topic that I’ve had a few run-ins with… and I’m sure I’ll see more in the future. So what do you think? Should a person that had their army painted be allowed to win a tournament? Or even a Best Painted award? As always, thanks for reading.


5 thoughts on “Tales from the Jungle, Volume 10: “Should a Player be Allowed to win even if he didn’t paint his Army?”

  1. Warning: Jumbled thoughts follow…

    Ideally, I think that the Overall winner should be determined by totaling up all of the scores in the tournament (Battle, Painting, Sports, etc). If you have an Best Overall winner without Painting scores, what are you measuring, Battle + Sports? If it is just Battle Points, then just give a Best General award. I think that some people think that Sports scores shouldn’t count towards it either. Everybody should be able to play in a civilized manner, and you can just penalize people that are being jerks.

    I don’t think that somebody should receive any Painting points if they haven’t painted their army. I think that somebody would probably call foul if you had a buddy play your games for you or stand there and help you during the battle, right? So why would it be ok to get points for painting that you didn’t do? Of course, not giving them any points just runs you into the honesty issue that you brought up.

    I have heard on podcasts about tournaments in Australia and England that have a check box to say if you painted your army or not. Sometimes it would exclude you from winning certain trophies, or you might not receive the extra points for painting your army. I think that it just comes down to what type of event the tournament organizer would like it to be and what all trophies they have available. This still comes down to the gamers being honest.

    I’m sure that a lot of it depends on how people view the tournament. From your perspective, it is more of a hobby event, so you should be judged by YOUR overall performance in the hobby. Other people, who see it more as just a strategy game, probably see the painting as a ‘necessary evil’ to be able to smash other people’s armies (and take home as many prizes as possible).

    In the end, it’s not a major difference for me. I’m not one to be challenging for these types of trophies/awards. I would prefer that people are rewarded for their hard work in the hobby, and not by how much money they can throw at it.

    I think that this is an issue that will never be resolved, but people continue to try new ways to handle it. Dealing with the diverse types of gamers, I’m sure that there is no solution that will satisfy everybody.

  2. I agree with F.o.Phoenix,
    without painting, you’d just have sports, comp and battle. There’s already loads of people arguing to ditch both of those. There are tourneys where you’re encouraged to bring the hardest d-baggiest, unpainted (sometimes not even fully assembled) armies.
    One of the main reasons I got into the hobby, was to paint. I loved the look of all the armies; warp-forged weapons, magic armor, giant beasts of war, golden banners in the ‘wind’.
    The thrill of my first tournament was SEEING all these magnificent armies displayed before me. Previously, most of my opponents were the ‘fields of grey’ and primer black…now I got to fight people who not only knew how to hand my butt to me, but knew how to paint.

    Painting scores are very crucial to foster this kind of environment. It encourages the hobby to grow, people to learn, push themselves and as you pointed out, most likely gets people into the hobby themselves!

    When it comes to self painted or painted services, I understand that not everyone can paint well. It’s not exactly oil painting, but it still requires some amount of skill/ practice. And that’s just it; the guy who’s been painting for years and years, has learned through hard lumps, bad mistakes, tired hands, bent over easels to get the results on that table. The person who’s used painting services has dumped a lot of money at the problem. Maybe they’ve spent a while working on it, maybe not, but what’s on the table and being judged is the result of someone else’s work and a lot of money.
    The hobby should remain a hobby, not just something that can be bought or neglected.
    If some one has a fantastic looking army painted by some one else/ painting service, they should get some points, but as it’s a score of the person there, i would think that even a slayer sword standard would merit only a mediocre score, if the person did not paint it themsleves.

    Most Indy GTs reward the hobbyist and how they do in all aspects of the hobby. Painting is a part of the hobby. So is sportsmanship.

  3. I totally agree with you Zach… It needs to remain a hobby… It’s too easy for somebody to find a way to win with an army and just halfway put models together and bring a killer list. Part of the hobby is watching your army grow and get better with each painting session… It’s quite a feeling of accomplishment to sit back and look at your entire army and say “Man… I’ve finally done it…”

    This is a definitely a tough topic for sure… Also agree with what FOTP says… it really depends on how you approach a tournament, or even the hobby. Do you want to have the baddest, bestest army list? Or are you there just to have fun? There’s a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration before attempting to answer this question, I think.

    Thanks for the comments and keep ’em coming. Great insight!

  4. To hell with Best Overall awards. They don’t seem to cause anything but drama*. Gaming is not painting/modelling, painting/modelling is not gaming, and Golden Demon winners don’t have to turn in their W/L/D record in order to place. Maintain this distinction in the prize structure and welcome to a quiet life.

    I’m all in favour of having a hobby prize or two at tournaments though, it gives people another award to aim for after all. Just keep ’em distinct from the gaming contest, and demand full disclosure from people who’ve had their armies painted for them.

    In both painting and gaming contests, sportsmanship should be a prerequisite for entry rather than a gameable factor (any sports system that can be manipulated by the prize-hungry has failed in its purpose from the get-out). In other words, name and shame the people who win contests with hobby-craft not their own and fail to return the award or pass it on to the craftsperson as is only right and proper. You encourage honesty by discouraging dishonesty.

    * – hon. exception: the NOVA’s Renaissance Man award, maybe because it doesn’t carry the burden of being the Official Best Nerd At The Event – the implication is that the best gamer wins the gaming prize, the best crafter wins the hobby-craft prize and so on and so forth, and if there’s one name that just misses out in several categories, that’s your Renaissance Man right there. Maybe the problem is with calling it the Best Overall and making it into a big damn status symbol?

    • “Maintain this distinction in the prize structure and welcome to a quiet life.”

      Truer words have never been spoken. It’s a very simple fix… Or, as you suggested, maybe just call the whole damn thing something else… Perhaps its a mindset thing so if we know its referred to as something else then it’ll be more acceptable… Thanks for the comment and checking out the blog.

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