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"Could you win a 'Best in Show' without painting a thing?" Topic

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Action Log

03 Sep 2017 4:58 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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888 hits since 3 Sep 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Volleyfire03 Sep 2017 3:24 a.m. PST

Before I begin let me just say that this is a hypothetical question and I'm not pointing fingers or trolling anyone here.

After my latest visit to The Other Partizan and looking at all the superb games on display I saw some posts on fb where the winners of Best Demonstration Game, Best Participation Game and Best in Show were awarded trophies for their excellent handiwork. This got me thinking, and I posed a question on the WSS page which carried the photos asking what the criteria were for the Judges when they made up their minds as to which games were the most deserving. I also posed the question on a post on here which carried the photos of the day's events on a blog. No one was inclined to grasp the nettle and reply, so I thought I'd ask my gaming colleagues the same questions that I had in my head. Let me say here that I have no idea who painted what at Newark and for whom, I'm not having a deliberate 'dig' at anyone, far from it, the games were a joy to behold as usual.

Before going any further I must also say that, although I would dearly love to put a participation or demo game on at a major show, time constraints on me mean that I can't.I've never put a game on at any show so my question comes as a curious visitor, albeit a gamer myself, not a participator.

If you were in the judge's shoes and there were two games which stood out above all the rest how would you go about deciding which one was the winner? Suppose for argument's sake one game had been lovingly prepared by a dedicated group of friends who had made all the terrain from scratch themselves, and painted every single figure. Their effort is good, but on a scale of 1 10 it's probably a 9.5. The other game meanwhile has been put together by one, possibly a few wealthy individuals who have brought in a dedicated terrain builder to construct the playing surface, and employed professional painters to paint all the hundreds of figures to a showcase standard. This game is truly magnificent and a worthy 10/10.However, it has been 'bought' if you like by people who can afford to do so. Now, put yourself in the judge's position, which game do you vote as the best? Do you give the Best Demo game to the 9.5/10 one and the Best in Show to the 10/10 one?

Therefore, is it possible for someone with deep pockets to simply go out and potentially buy an award? Would you be in favour of this, against it, or simply 'Meh', and what would it say to you about the hobby at the present time? Would you see it as against the spirit of fair play, or perfectly acceptable?

Like I say, I'm not trying to sling any mud here, just interested in what people's views are on the subject.

John Armatys03 Sep 2017 3:40 a.m. PST

If the award is for "best game" there seems to me to be no requirement that the models should be painted by the people presenting it. If it was a modelling competition my view would be different.

Having said this if I was a judge I would give more marks for a game where the rules were "home made" and not simply a "bought" commercial publication.

Vigilant03 Sep 2017 4:09 a.m. PST

Having won a couple of these titles myself at shows my experience is that votes are usually made by normal attendees at the show. In my own case it was because the games were good looking and fun to play. There were probably better painted figures and more expensive terrain, but perhaps they didn't catch the public eye. As to buying a best game, well if someone was that desperate to receive some accolade good luck to them, most people I know who put on games do so because they want to present a particular event, scenario or rule set.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP03 Sep 2017 6:26 a.m. PST


I have seen many Gamemasters uses other peoples work (figure/Terrain) in their games. Most give credit to the Painters/Builders for there work, but some claim they did it all.

Volleyfire03 Sep 2017 6:45 a.m. PST

Having won a couple of these titles myself at shows my experience is that votes are usually made by normal attendees at the show.

That is the normal voting system at Hammerhead show where all the games are participation.Partizan either employs the editors, past and present, of certain wargames magazines, or two of the Newark Irregulars who organise the show.

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP03 Sep 2017 7:13 a.m. PST

For me, 'best game in show' is the one that stands out from the others. The one that I remember most when I get home. Presentation, that is good looking figures and terrain, is obviously a major factor. But a game also has to be imaginative, have something a bit out of the ordinary that sets it apart from the rest.

emckinney03 Sep 2017 8:56 a.m. PST

Never knew that there were conventions that gave out prizes for this sort of thing.

Volleyfire03 Sep 2017 8:58 a.m. PST

Never knew that there were conventions that gave out prizes for this sort of thing.

Perhaps it's a British peculiarity?

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP03 Sep 2017 12:12 p.m. PST

When the Oscars for Best Movie are given out, it's the producer who picks up the statue. Not the director, not the actors, not the grip or the spider wrangler.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP03 Sep 2017 1:14 p.m. PST

How many remember when cardboard cut out counters won the prize for best figures at origins?

Ottoathome Inactive Member03 Sep 2017 1:15 p.m. PST

At HMGS conventions in the days of the "Help Desk" the people who volunteered for it to hand out rewards to game within the period (8 hours) that were "the best." This required they survey the floor of several dozen games and decide which was the best. It mean't they had about ten minutes to observe the game at some point.

One day Pete Panzeri, head of the help desk shows up at the table of one guy and hands him an award for "Best in Period" loudly extolling the game how it was wonderful, beautiful and EVERYONE loved it and commented what a great game it was.

The guy was still setting up the game and hadn't played it yet, didn't even have anyone standing around waiting to play.

Kind of colored the tone he received the award in.

Someone had sandbagged ole Pete, told him about their friends game, ditched their responsibility and disappeared into the crowd to have fun.

Before we started this there were endless arguments on the Help Desk Yahoo List as to what the criteria would be. In the end people give the awards to their friends and criteria be damned.

So to answer your question Volley fire-- in a word -- YES!

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