Don’t let the title fool you; I’m not suggesting cheating in any form. Don’t be that guy. I’m just saying, art is subjective, and so is the painting checklist
Paint for Points: Bribe the Judge
The Paint for Points articles series originally appeared on the blog Torrent of Fire. Since that site is no longer around, I have re-uploaded here. These articles are about painting for tournament players, with the checklist in mind.
Most of the categories in judging army presentation are subjective. In fact categories, checklist, grid or scoring or not, army appreciation in itself is suggestive. Some people like weathering, some people like flashy. Some value wow effect over technical skill.
Agree or disagree with this all you like, it’s part of the game.
There’s no way around that. Well, that’s more or less the case.
The Painting Checklist
The painting checklist explains how you can earn points. It’s usually broken down in categories.
Technique used is a category that usually scores from 0 to 5 in painting checklists at tournaments.
There is no fixed rule for judging what’s a 2-3-4, or mathematical way to tell a 4 from a 5.
Like the pirate code, it’s more guidelines.
Mastering those guidelines can crank up your scores with very little effort.
The above is taken from the Adepticon rules, and their team tournament is often regarded as the event with the highest quality in miniatures.
This is how paint is judged and scored.
Back to the painting checklist: Notice that I circled some categories (Insane MS Paint skills, I know, thank you) and note that there is no clear line between the points brackets. So what’s a player to do to get into the judge’s good graces and score insane points?
The Dictator Speech
The Dictator SpeechTM is both a reference to one of the greatest speeches ever made; it’s the impact this kind of speech has on the judging of your plastic dudes.
By taking control and speaking about your models, you are slightly forcing the judge to look at what you want him to see, rather than letting him figure things out by himself.
You don’t need to have a whole speech memorized, but for the sake of scoring big points, talk to the person looking at your models. It should not take much time out of your game, and you can make sure all the boxes are checked by the time they leave.
The other upside of talking to the judge is the bond you create, what is often referenced as the social contract.
Keep in mind that you’re both fans of the same little toy soldiers, and if you are passionate about your stuff, or proud about those not-even-that-great-looking eyes on that one sarge, you’re tapping in on what we all love about the hobby. The judge knows the pains of painting uncrossed eyes, and he has the same horror stories of ruining a perfect warlord with a coat of varnish.
It’s this passion that makes our hobby so irresistible and fun.
It’s also for this reason, or lack thereof, that you will often see commissioned armies score less than they should for the quality they have. The paint job is great, but the passion is not.
So be a little show-off; there might not be a category on the checklist for it, but it’s there, I swear.
Remember, there’s no such thing as bribing the judge to get a higher score, but don’t you think he kinda looks like someone who’d have a beer…?