Friday, 17 May 2013

Painting and Tournaments

Morning folks! The last few mornings I've been listening to various podcasts on the way to and from work and a subject that's been mentioned on a few is about painting of models for tournaments.

One gripe is that some tournaments include a painting score in the overall tournament score and some people seem to get annoyed by this, which then prompted me to spout my opinion on here on paint scoring and painting for tournaments in general.

Painting For A Tournament.

Personally, I've never taken part in a tournament or competition without fielding a fully painted and based force. My stuff isn't amazingly well painted (it'll never win any kind of award) but I pride myself on the fact that they are all painted.

If I know I'm not going to get a model / unit painted in time then simple, I won't use it. It helps that I'm a very self motivated person when it comes to painting and if I have a goal, I work really hard towards meeting that.

However... I'm in the hobby as a gamer primarily. I don't particularly enjoy painting, or go out of my way to paint new things, other ranges, specific models. I paint as a means to an end - to get a fully painted army on the table.

I've heard comments like "I don't enjoy painting" or "I'm rubbish at painting, so I don't bother" plenty of times over the years and they're valid enough points. At the end of the day, in this life, your time is your own to do what you want with. But personally, at a tournament I've paid to enter I would expect everyone treat it and the other players with a sense of respect and show up with a fully painted force.

There's nothing worse than seeing a lovely board, filled with excellent terrain, and half of it is full of grey plastic or bare metal. Of course, there's always the situations where someone is called up last minute, or slots are filled out with gaming club / store regulars who can be called on at short notice.

In my time around tournaments I've seen some bare minimum painted armies. Literally sprayed black, metal areas drybrushed and then an extra colour somewhere for detail. This then chucked on a static grass base means that it's technically a fully painted army.

I'm cool with that though. Not every army needs to be a 300+ hour painting project since some people just want to get down to gaming, which is my philosophy. If it wasn't for Badab Black wash, I'd probably still be painting my Ork army - I know all too well the "paint as quick as I can for gaming" mentality.

What it shows to me though, is a degree of respect towards the event and the players you will be facing which is something everyone should be doing. Showing up with a pile of plastic and the latest meta-list, 5 minutes before the tournament is supposed to start and gluing half of your Riptide together cheapens everything.

So... Scoring.

It's my philosophy that any tournaments you want to be charging entry for should be asking for painted armies as a minimum - and to be fair, most do.

Painting scores shouldn't be there to encourage people to paint to a bare minimum of black, boltgun metal and a stripe of white though. I would like them to encourage people into painting up their forces, which is maybe an aspect of the hobby they think they don't enjoy but come to enjoy as a result.

Painting scores should be broken up well enough that they are a deterrent to Timmy's brand new, still stinking of plastic glue Tau/Eldar showing up. But the flip side - not so much that they put off existing players and players who want the tournament to reflect the best general.

Gaming scores should be the major factor in tournament points, with bonus modifiers for  painting achievements.

Now, not everyone is an 'Eavy Metal painter. For some people, Boltgun metal Necrons with gold detailing and green gauss is a great achievement. If someone has painted a full force uniformly and based them, that should impact the tournament score as much as the guy who showed up with a GW studio army.

There's some players who are fantastic painters and gamers, some who are great gamers but don't/can't paint well and some who do a decent middle ground. For a bloke with 3 kids to paint up a Tyranid force to a tabletop standard is a bigger achievement than for a lad who's a student to paint up a Grey Knight Paladin force to an amazing standard.

There's no easy solution to painting scores and I'm in no way experienced enough to start suggesting ways about it, but I think they're something that should be persisted in for this HOBBY. As it is a HOBBY, not just gaming, not just painting, not just list writing - it all folds into this hobby we enjoy.

For me, however well written a list is, however enjoyable my opponent has been to play against, in a tournament I've paid money to get to and taken time out of my family/work life to get to, I'll be dissappointed coming up against grey plastic.

What are your opinions on painted models in a tournament environment, painting in general and are you an advocate of painting scores affecting tournament standings?



  1. As most people know I only get stuff painted if we are going to a friendly tournament. It usually involves a week of late nights and then an all nighter the night before the tourney to get stuff finished. I usually pick armies based on whats not painted so that I have a tight deadline, otherwise I'm pretty much I'll get around to it at some point.
    This article made me want to get something done last night but after over an hour of trying to get the little one to sleep I was too tired & the drive had gone. Good job I hadn't pulled all the stuff out as he got up 20 minutes later anyway.
    Must reread this article tonight & subject to little un going to bed get something done. Either commence project heldrake conversion, start on 60 cultists or start on 100 gretchin ---- or theres the BA death company, terminators, pred ....... ork boyz, nobz, deff dreadz, storm boyz, kommandos ......... chaos marines, raptors, chas termies, spawn, possessed, rhinos ......... chaos daemons ........... eldar ......

  2. To answer the main point of this blog in friendly games I don't mind people using unpainted models, but for tournies the amount of time & effort i put in to get my stuff painted to a reasonable standard I expect the same. Most of the painting scores are only boosts to is it painted and based or not. I think this is part of the hobby. Those big time Charlie gamers just get their mates to paint them or get them commissioned anyway don't they ?!?!?!? ;p
    If people just do a bad 3 colour paint scheme (some 3 colour schemes can work well) to meet the painted criteria I'd rather they didn't bother though.

  3. Well as you know I'm the painter / hobby / fluff nut of he group who tends not to do well at gaming but sometimes gets a best painted nomination... I love seeing a cinematic battle, and really enjoy playing against a consistently painted army - that doesn't mean it has to be line-highlighted, blended or even contain lots of free-hand; it just needs to look like it fits together using a similar style of technique or palette.