Editorial: Hobby Scoring Good for the Game (Or Not)?



Hobby scoring has been with us, in one form another, pretty much since tournament play existed in 40K.  Is it good for the scene, or not?

Recognizing players for the time they have invested in building, converting and painting their armies in organized, competitive play has been a part of 40K for a long time.   In almost every type of tournament venue, whether it be at a FLGS or a major event, players can proudly show off their amazing work.  Moreover, not only a chance to show off their efforts to their gaming peers, but the opportunity to get a bit of credit as they progress through the brackets.  As someone pointed out in a recent podcast, most of us spend many more hours building, converting and painting than we do playing.  Even when we think we have finally put brush to the last addition to our favorite collection of plastic crack, something new comes along and it’s back to the workbench.  From that perspective then, I think hobby scoring is a great way to recognize the work we do to prepare our little dudes for battle.

Hobby scoring takes many forms, about as many as there are venues.  Hobby scoring has also surged and ebbed in the major tournament scene.   At the local level, I think it has always been there.  Local TOs have recognized the value of including points toward overall scores from the start.  Depending on the folks running an event, how much of the overall score was hobby scoring is as unique as the people involved.  But for the most part, even those who did not do well from a game play perspective, still receive satisfaction knowing their fellow gamers appreciate the effort and skill involved in producing the many fine armies that exist.


In terms of major venues, hobby scoring has had a more troubled past.  It was originally part of the tournament scene, then, as editions changed and GW dropped out of the pictures, win-loss became king.  Some folks have always showed up with their models meeting the minimum requirements, but with win-loss the only thing that mattered, why should the power players show up having put in more than the minimum effort?  Because the other players would be critical?  If you win the tournament, who cares if some loser git didn’t like the way the winners models looked?  Of course, the major tournaments have their own community and regulars, so in some ways they do police themselves.


Lately, there has been more discussion on the pod-a-sphere about restoring hobby a more prominent role to hobby scoring, along with a “citizenship” component to the overall score.  I support this movement towards a more balanced approach to determining the winner of major events.  Not that win-loss should not remain the primary focus; it’s why folks show up in the first place.  However, since tournament play is as much about the experience as well as game play, it benefits everyone to discourage the occasional obnoxious fool that shows up from being himself.


My main concern regarding hobby scoring is the proliferation of commissioned armies.  On one hand, I am strongly supportive of the very talented modelers and painters who turn out truly amazing work.  Their efforts certainly enrich the gaming experience when models they have painted hit the table.  Conversely, it seems totally mercenary that someone who can afford to have someone else paint their army should received hobby scoring credit for an army they had nothing to do with creating.  Is it OK to buy your hobby score, particularly at higher levels of competition, where overall scores could be very close, and the outcome determined by the hobby score component?  At a local level, this would not be a problem, since most players know each other; although the occasionally outsider may slip in.  But at larger events, where there is a geographical diverse collection of players, this could be a serious issue.  In a local Infinity group that I used to play in, most folks had their models painted by a very talented artist.  The work was amazing.  So now a number of members of this player group go to a regional ITS tournament which includes hobby scoring.  Why should any of the players who did not paint their own models receive a single point of credit for hobby?  The same applies to 40K.  Whether or not someone receives hobby credit for work they did not do themselves depends entirely on an honor system and/or familiarity with a particular player.


If and how hobby scoring will be included in the 40K competitive world will most likely remain a topic of discussion for some time, and its inclusion will be determined largely based on individual TO preference.

Has hobby scoring been an issue in your local 40K community?


  • The problem is the rules don’t state that the models should be painted. They also don’t say, anywhere, that models must even be built! So as we strip away the hobby portions of the game to cater to the lazier (or ADD diagnosed) gamers, we open a floodgate to “this base represents ____, and this base represents _____.”

    • Zingbaby

      The rules also say the entire book is just a set of guidelines you can choose to follow to create epic space battles – but yeah pretty funny…

      • ChubToad

        Ironically that phrase is also a guideline.

    • Dustin Dean

      I think the craft portion is just as important to the hobby as playing the game. I kind of like that more and more tournaments are requiring a basic 3 colors of paint just to play.

    • Erber

      I have a friend who proxies almost everything and I hate it so much. I’m okay with some proxy if it’s just a few weapons or something like that. But when you use old space marine rhinos as ork battlewagons without even a hint of conversion or even a consistent colour-scheme it ruins the game for me.
      So yeah, I definitely agree that as gamers we sometimes have to put the foot down, playing against someone with just bases as his army would suck so hard it’s not even worth it.

      Additionally I would rather play against an entirely unpainted army than someone heavily proxying everything… at least you’d know what everything is without having to ask repeatedly.

      • Emprah

        I don’t mind the proxy as long as it is clearly what it is.
        So a Space Marine Emperor’s champion wants to be proxied as a captain with sword and storm shield, okey.

        If you want to proxy your dreadnought as ironclad but have a venerable dread do it, its okey.

        Just tell your opponent that the sergeant is really not armed with a plasma pistol but only a bolt pistol. Best, have your army list fully written down in Word and printed out.

        But the salt shaker is not a tyranid carnifex, nor is an eldar wraithlord and ork battlewagon.

        • eMtoN

          *shakes head* Salt shakers are land raiders, the pepper shakers are the battlewagons. Come on, at least try to keep up… 🙂

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      I used to play against a guy who built stuff but never fixed it if it got dropped etc. One of his war-walkers was just a leg!

      Personally I never play with anything that isn’t painted. This is my personal rule that I stick to and it means that 90% of my stuff is painted as otherwise I don’t get to use it! Its also a courtesy to my opponent, TTGs are a visual spectacle and anything that reduces that diminishes the experience.

      I really appreciate it when my opponent makes some effort too. I hate the wall of grey and there is a club near me I don’t play at primarily because the terrain was ugly and most peoples armies completely unpainted.

      • Marcus M

        Yeah, that opinion is OK in my book as long as whoever has that opinion is also OK with people paying someone else to paint their models.

        I’m a gamer, and I paint my own models rather than pay someone else to do it, but the people I play with are OK with the fact that only about 50% of my models are painted at any given time. I sometimes lose points in tournaments due to incomplete painting. If I was involved in a group that demanded my models be painted, I’d pay someone to paint them instead of doing it myself as time allows, simply because I don’t have the time to finish all of them quickly. I have a LOT of models, and painting them isn’t a quick process for me.(No airbrushing, all brush.)

        I have about 12k points worth of models between Dark Eldar, Eldar, and Tau.

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          personally the breakthrough came when I realised I didn’t have to get minis finished to get them painted. By which I mean that I’ll get them primed and base painted and washed, and the base painted, and that’s serviceable and good enough for me to play them. No need to get them absolutely finished. I batch paint and can do this much quickly (I only use brush too). I got 40 zombies up to this standard in about 3 or 4 hours the other day. At some point I’ll go back and do the fine details when I have another couple of hours. This way almost all my models look ok, and some are perfect.

          • Marcus M

            I don’t paint like you paint, apparently. It took me about 20 hours to do a squad of 10 Dark Eldar Wyches once. It’s not uncommon for a commander/HQ character to get several hours of attention. Pretty much all of my models are primed, but I also don’t wash models that early in my painting process, so there is no way I’d produce the number of models you do without lowering my paint standards.

            And I never do basing until I’m finished with the model.

  • Richard Mitchell

    You mean GW doesn’t sponsor and regulate major tournaments with one having a painting requirement and the other not? That is so weird. For other companies this is like, standard.

    • Zingbaby

      They don’t really get involved in tournaments much at all… they had a phase but it ended.

      I am for hobby scoring 100%. Even ‘commissioned’ paint jobs can be handled.

      For Commissions I’d recommend a flat score – you obviously get some bonus for treating everyone to a nicely painted army; but the ‘extra’ points are for owner painted models/armies.

      For example:
      0 points – entirely or mostly unpainted
      1 point – very poorly painted or unfinished
      2 points – unfinished but with some noticeable pieces
      3 points – entirely painted – poorly OR: ALL Commission painted armies (regardless of skill level).
      4 points – entirely painted – below average
      5 points – entirely painted – average
      6 points – entirely painted – above average
      7 points – entirely painted – nicely painted
      8 points – great
      9 points – amazing
      10 points – holy crap the Emperor himself…

      Just an idea anyway.

      • CPENinja

        I agree with your sentiments, but I think the point of the article is “how” do you tell if it is a commission piece? If a guy shows up with a completely perfectly painted army that is worthy of a GD nomination, you have to ask if he did it himself or if he paid someone for it. At that point, you are relying solely on his word. A person who wants to win at all costs will just say “oh yeah, I’ve been painting for 10+ years” and walk away with 10 points (on your scale).

        There’s an old article on one of the Tau blogs where this happened – the winner of the local tournament borrowed 4 Ork battlewagons from 1st-place Euro tournament winner and got full painting credit for it. The author was annoyed that they gave him the credit – even when he stated they were not his figures and that he had borrowed them.

        But that’s an unfortunate part of local/small tournaments: people want to see the hobby celebrated and maintained, so the ‘hobby’ portion of a point scoring system was added to get people to paint to a certain standard. “3 color minimum” I think was the first. Then, of course, you had people showing up with three colored lines splotched across their minis – so rules had to shift to accommodate. Thanks to the internet, it is easy to find a decent painted online for a good price who can get your entire army done for you – problem solved, right?

        Well, except that it goes against the spirit of the tournament.

        On the flip side of the coin, you have people who are totally awful at painting who still want to play the game and enjoy it in a tournament setting. Are you comfortable forever telling someone “you will never get beyond 3 points for this section of the tournament?” I have a friend who has some neurological damage from way back when, so he was trouble keeping his hands steady for long periods of time. He can basecoat things, but he’ll never really be able to get good details on his minis – I help him out on that front. But should that count?

        It’s one of those “we want everyone to be friendly and courteous and respectful of the hobby” rules that unfortunately either doesn’t go far enough to catch the people willing to do anything to win, or steps on those who are just trying to get by, or a combination of both. The best a tournament organizer can do is lay down a set of rules well ahead of the event, explain each one, and then each year revisit them with feedback from the participants and the observers.

        Now, if you REALLY want to talk about the sad state of affairs in some tournaments, let’s talk about the ‘good sportsmanship’ points rule.

        • Zingbaby

          I think when you submit your list you should also note if it’s commission or not. If someone is going to boldly lie about well then they are just a *******, and will likely be found out eventually anyway.

          • Koszka

            As a judge for painting I found that when I finalized the top painted armies, I ask questions regarding their style and color composition. Here are some easy ways to find a fraud painter:

            • They can’t remember which colors they used to wet blend the majority of their army

            • What airbrush they used and what paints

            • If they have cool bases, ask where they got them or how they made them.

            • Conversions and kitbashes? Ask them how they did something.

            • How did they execute a cool painting technique.

            As a fellow fanatical hobbyist these kinds of answers should be easy to answer. The trick is to not sound like an interrogation, but to show interest in their army. In all honesty, I truly want to know how they did it. I’m always open to learning new techniques, color formulas, and styles.

          • Zingbaby

            Can you not just have a check box for “painted by self” versus “commission painted”?

            If someone really has the nodes to lie about it… well they’re eventually going to be found out, they also suck as human beings.

      • Marcus M

        They should be seperate competitions if you’re interested in a “real” art competition. I only support painting/hobby points that are structured to completely eliminate opinion-based scoring, such as:

        1 point for entire army painted in at least 3 colors/shades.
        1 point for entire army themed.
        1 point for custom display case for army, painted to 3 color min.
        1 point for no “naked” bases – 3 material minimum
        1 point for custom-built/”kitbashed” model/models that meets all other art point requirements and tournament rules.

        This rewards hobbyists but doesn’t depend on something so fickle as a random guy’s opinion. At the same time, it doesn’t give people who are willing to pay lots of money for other people’s
        talent a leg up on everyone else in the competitive scene.

        Their “pro painted” cash financed paint job gets them the same points as my army that I did my best on.

        I think this is most appropriate for a tactics-based wargame tournament. I would not be opposed to a completely seperate painting tournament being held at the same event. But I would never enter that tournament, and if a wargaming tournament is made to be “halfway” a painting tournament with subjective judging, I feel like that’s excluding me from my passion, which is wargaming.

        I have no interest in painting competitions, but I’m passionate about wargaming. I’d never demand that my hardline wargaming rules be implemented into your subjective art contest, and would love the same courtesy in return.

  • Richard Stinson

    2 things. I’m an admittedly terrible commander, but an above average painter (IMHO).

    1. With a hobby score you should also have to contend with levels of artistic abilities. Joe the Mechanic, who tries his best to paint vs Raphael the artist who does nothing BUT paint. Then with just painting competitions you have professional painters displaying in hopes of winning to add certifications to their business “Golden Demon winner, or Crystal Brush winner” not a casual hobbiest trying their best.
    2. I feel the hobby portion was installed to prevent someone from showing up with a fresh-from-the-box net list and winning because that’s all that’s important to the person. To be honest, I really don’t believe tournaments are for people who want to have fun. They are more catered to the “I HAVE TO WIN!!! RAGE RAGE!!!!!” kind of players. It makes it daunting for a casual player to even go to major events to play.

    • Squirreli

      Competitive players have fun by competing. More casual players do not want to put as much effort into learning the game better and doing better, which creates a disparity. This demonising of tournament players is misguided and harmful to the hobby.

      • Zingbaby

        Not all tournament players are like that [“I HAVE TO WIN RAGE RAGE”] …but ALL of those types of players are tournament players.

        And while most folks I’ve met are cool – I’ve yet to find a tournament, anywhere, where ‘THAT guy’ didn’t exist.

        • Squirreli

          Obviously, who you personally classify as “THAT guy” is up to you. For me, competitive players have almost never been a problem. However, casual slow-pokes with insufficient rules knowledge and sloppy measuring can sometimes be found at tournaments.

          Regardless, I don’t go around demonising casual players.

          • Zingbaby

            It’s funny because usually the turn-grinder ‘slow players’ I’ve met are exactly THAT guy, the tournament WAAC guy. The guys that change their move several times, measure and re-measure and suddenly become ignorant of a rule when it’s convenient.

            It’s also funny how you “demonize” casual players and their lack of whatever, then in the following sentence claim you don’t.

          • Nameless

            I always find it funny how often Competitive players lack knowledge of rules themselves. If a unit isn’t one of the few that is in the top tier for each codex they often have very little understanding of that units rules.

  • Orodruin

    Much as I don’t care what models a player uses to win a tournament or even simply play the game, I don’t care who painted their army, either. I don’t believe in policing the choices of others for this game of army men we so obsess over. If tourney players feel so inclined, no skin off my nose, because that has no effect on me.

  • Master Avoghai

    I’m surprised the article misses the reverse angle view concerning the hobby aspect.

    I’ve NEVER seen a painting competition taking into account the playability of the model.

    What about a model presented on a wood base making it impossible to field in a game?
    What about wargear that is totally unaffordable by a model (like a plague marine with heavy bolter or a sister of battle in termi armour?). I remember a golden deamon winner who painted a dark angels rhino and put a catachan on the top turret…

    I’m totally okay with hobby scoring in a painting competition, but don’t forget that playing IS part of the hobby. Hence there should be a playability in painting competition…

    • Zingbaby

      The playing part is ALREADY being judged elsewhere… and has been at EVERY tournament ever.

      • Master Avoghai

        I’m not talking here about judging the playing part during a tournament but during a PAINTING competition like the Golden Deamon.

        You can’t reproach tourny players for only respecting the playing part of the hobby but on the other hand accepting that painting competition let aside the playing part of the hobby.

        If you refuse an unpainted army in a tourny or give bonus points for well painted army then when you organize a painting competition you should refuse any participation that doesnt respect the codex entry.

    • Grafton Is Dust

      False equivalency, mon ami. Playability is a vague term, but painted is painted.

      • Master Avoghai

        When I mean “playability”, I don’t mean “is the model legal and fieldable on a table.
        Let’s say I participate to a golden deamon with a sister of battle in termi armour or a squad of IG with bolters… I’m not respecting the hobby part of the competition because I present model that are not allowed in an army list.
        Now let’s say I present a legal chappy with termi armour, but I present him on a 100mm thick wood base… Here again I can’t field this model for a battle as it is not based on a standard base.

        So it’s pretty much more binary that you say : is the model legal ruleswise? Yes/No

        On the other side the article doesn’t deal with painted/unpainted army in tournies but rather on getting more points for well painted armies… And being well painted is totally subjective…

        • Grafton Is Dust

          You can field models on bases larger than those they are supplied with, but not smaller.

          Additionally, said SoB could be a counts-as Inquisitor using the power of imagination…

          • Nameless

            equally are those guardsmen of Inquisitorial henchmen, whom can be equipped with bolters.

            going back to your earlier comment, the model sat in the hatch of a tank has utterly no effect on the “playability” of the model.

          • Master Avoghai

            But it doesn’t respect the fluff… And by the way, this was a professionnal painters that just presented the model to gain value on his modelto sell it on ebay but actually don’t play and knew the fluff poorly… (The good side is that I hardly imagine a DA players paying more to get a catachan on his rhino…)

            The comments just bring more water to my argument: I see lots of people trying to find “excuses” to allow painters to present whatever “artistic creation” even if the model is not codex legal…

            But on the other way if someone bring a WAAC army with few colours, he’s killing the hobby..

            To me its simple : either you want to let people have fun in the part they enjoy and let them put aside the other part. Either you consider that the hobby is a whole and therefore must bring this consideration in ANY type of competition hence if you refuse an unpainted army then you have to refuse a model that is not codex legal…

          • Patrick Biron

            In my opinion you are not considering WHY people care about painting in a competition. A non-painted army can actually affect the experience, immersion, and fun of the other player. The opposite is not true in my experience. I’ve never heard someone honestly not enjoy looking at an expertly painted model because the guardsmen happened to pick up bolters in the scene being depicted. And to your point, “if you refuse an unpainted army then you have to refuse a model that is not codex legal”, a models paint quality has tons of levels of skill and completion. There are grey areas. “Codex legal” is black and white. Would you only accept “codex recognized” paint schemes? I don’t see how your logic could pan out when thought through. In my opinion, if you consider the hobby as a whole, you realize that painting has infinite variation and justification, while rule validation does not. Apples to oranges in my book.

            Also, codex legal varies HUGELY from edition to edition. Paint quality does not.

          • Master Avoghai

            Rules changes for sure. Hence a tourny army list may not be legal years after its participation.
            So it’s totally the same thing.

            But I think you miss my point :

            I perfectly understand that tourny organizers ask for painted armies.
            They took time to organize an event with great tables, it’s normal asking for a minimum.

            But again I see a parallel : if GW organises a painting competition, you won’t bring Privateer Press models 😉
            There are some base requirements.

            What I find too much though is to give bonus points that may affect the final results. You can have a side competition with a special prize, but to me, the results of the painting competition shouldn’t affect the gaming competition.

            The only thing I’m saying is just : If you consider that a gaming competition should give points regarding the level of painting then a painting competition should also give bonus/malus points regarding the codex legality of the model.

            You cannot ask a player to be a good painter but not asking a painter to be a player.

            And btw YES, it did affect my pleasure when I saw a catachan guard on a Dark Angel Rhino winning an official GW painting competition

          • Jice

            I’m actually with you on this not from a playing perspective but the painting side of things. One thing that’s always annoyed me about painting competitions is it’s rarely ever about how well you can paint. It’s about how well you can convert and make a ridiculously huge base.

            I’ve done experiments on Ebay when I was selling painted models, where I’d paint two of the same model exactly the same way but mount one on an asininely huge base filled with junk. It always went for 5x times what the normally based one did.

            Painting Competitions have no rules, nothing to level the playing field for those without the skills to do all the extras when it comes to converting, or who are good at painting but also paint their models to use in an actual game. I based all my Deadzone guys on clear round bases. It makes sense cause it’s played on a board like surface, but if I was to put that model on CMON with it’s clear base I’d get hounded with how I should have made some stupidly extravagant base for it. In my opinion if the competition is about the painting it shouldn’t have ANY basing other than a black circle/square under it like Rhakam use to do to show off their models.

            So ya, I think a bit of a gaming mindset in painting competitions would do them a lot of good too.

    • Steven Hyche

      Apples and oranges, they arent talking about painting competitions. They are talking about armies coming to tournaments with just them spray painted black or some rainbow colored just to pass the three color rule.

      They are talking about having prude in the army on the table and not just half assin it to get it on the field.

      • Master Avoghai

        But that’s what I’m saying :

        I always see people complaining about the WAAC players and how they direspect the fluff and/or the painting aspect of the hobby… But when it comes to painting competition everybody find it normal not to respect the gaming side of the hobby…

        It’s just that you cannot use the argument “the hobby is a whole” and then forget this argument regarding which hobby competition you are talking about…

        • Patrick Biron

          A 6 foot guardsmen has the same tabletop model height as a 10 foot space marine. So by your logic the hobby doesn’t respect the hobby, unless you admit that depicting fluff and table-top balance and usability are apples and oranges.

          • Master Avoghai

            Please your previous post was waaaaaay more developped and clever than that… You deserve more.

            The thing I’m saying is : if you give bonus points on a tournament result regarding the level of painting, then you should give bonus/malus points in painting competition regarding the legality of the model.

            If you consider that a painting competition should be free of codex requirements (which I perfectly understand), then you should also consider that LEVEL of painting shouldn’t affect gaming results.

            It’s just as simple as that. Again I’m not talking about the fact thst army should be painted or not… My point is about giving additionnal points for the level of painting of an army.

  • Paul Allen

    Eh, haven’t been playing the table top for long, but why can’t you just have a separate competition category for hobby and leave game part with just win-loss.

    • BrotherCaptain

      Seems sensible. After all, you don’t see football teams getting extra points for having especially stylish kit…

      • Zingbaby

        Football is a bad example as the players or couch have nothing to do with the uniforms – but lots of ‘sports’, Olympic type sports do judge appearance.

        • Paul Allen

          So you’re saying tabletop gaming is more like ice skating than football?
          I don’t think so.

          • Zingbaby

            Are we doing this? …the sports comparison doesn’t really work at all to be honest. We aren’t paid professionals, and even if you don’t like it or agree, hobby/painting IS a huge part of this thing.

            Further I’ve seen very few 40k players who could pass for athletes lol.

          • Chaos_Unbound

            If you want to talk sports its more like Nascar than anything. And while yes the look of the care is unimportant how many people would watch if all the cars where solid gray or black?

    • petrow84

      If you look at the battle reports which one do you enjoy more? Which one would you show to someone, who is new in the hobby? A clash of 2 painted armies, or the Black Undercoat Legion vs Sons of the Blu-tac fight?

      • BrotherCaptain

        Well, obviously the game looks better where things are painted, but tournaments are out to find the best player, not the best painter. Or at least, that’s what they’re about for me anyway.

        • Grafton Is Dust

          “Tournaments are out to find the best player.”

          Made me giggle like a schoolgirl.

        • Zingbaby

          Not for everyone though, not for me. I’d always rather see painted armies on nice terrain.

          Which is also why I think Commissioned paint jobs should get some (flat across board regardless of skill or cost level) points for treating everyone to a nicely painted army – leave the ‘extra’ painting points for those that do it themselves though.

          • BrotherCaptain

            Indeed, painted armies are better – I’m not denying that. I’m just saying that the focus should be on playing skills.

          • Zingbaby

            Well …we just have differing opinions lol.

          • BrotherCaptain

            Yeah… I guess so 😛

        • Zingbaby

          Further, for several editions tournaments have been to “find the best [list-builder]”.

          • Nathaniel Wright

            Surely you mean ‘find the person with the best google-fu’?

          • BrotherCaptain

            Well… my technophobic Grandma could find a competitive netlist if she made an effort (I have no idea why she would be inclined to do that, but stil…)

          • Nathaniel Wright

            Hey man, if Grandma wants to throw down, she can throw down.

      • Paul Allen

        You completely missed the point of what I said. Obviously you keep a paint standard, but what does painting have anything to do with battlefield prowess?
        Why can’t you have both a prize for painting and a prize for playing? I tell you why. Lazy tournament organizers.

    • Chaos_Unbound

      Because part of this game, actually hobby, IS the painting. I played with unpainted, and have played against unpainted models, they look horrid on a table. Those who come to a tournament with non painted models are only showing one thing, they are there for their ego and for the monetary payout NOT for the game itself.

      • Paul Allen

        You completely missed the point. No one is talking about unpainted models. We are talking about being judged on your painted models in a gaming competition. The painting (after a set minimum) should have nothing to do with your skill in playing the game.

  • miteyheroes

    I support some sort of hobby scoring. Because it’s nicer to play against a nicely painted army, whether your opponent painted it themselves or paid someone else to paint it.
    But I’d want it to be low-level and easily achievable. More like “Got 3 colours? 1 point. Got shading? 1 point. Got basing? 1 point.”

    So that *anyone* can get full points, without having to pay someone else.

    • MPSwift

      Whether they still do or not I’m not sure but I’m pretty sure that is almost exactly the system that Woking Weird Boyz used to use here in the UK. Think there was 1 extra point for “Detailed” for if you went above and beyond the 3 colour minimum but an average paint job that actually looked at the details got the same score as the commission armies. Then there’s the best painted award at the end but entering a commission army was seen as a bit of a faux pas.

      • miteyheroes

        Yeah, that’s what I’d view as the ideal.

    • Spheal With It

      I think effort involved should be taken into account over skill. Fully painted? Great! Sanded bases with grass or whatever? Great! A conversion of kit bash here or there? Fantastic!

  • Dustin Dean

    Back when I started, most of the leagues and tournaments I played in didn’t require paint but gave bonus points for conversions and the percentage of your army that’s painted. It seems most tournaments these days require painted minis with a three color minimum and basing. With the proliferation of painting services, eBay, and tools like airbrushes, colored primers, dips, etc., I think painting should be a separate category in tournaments. IMHO, everyone who enters a tournament is automatically entered in the Painting, General, and Sportsmanship awards for a single entry fee.

  • Artifixprime

    It is a difficult one.
    In some ways it depends on the principal you are using – is it that the army is modeled and painted well, or that the army was modeled and painted well by the player using it?
    If the principal is the latter, should you then not extend this to the army selection that a player has? i.e. if a players turns up with a net-list, should their score be the same as a player who has worked out their own list?
    Policing both would be very hard (if not impossible) in practice, but IMO, if you are going to apply a principal it should be done across all aspects.
    Personally, I think games are greatly enhanced if the armies (and the board) look well 🙂

  • Joao

    Ok, both as a guy who has played tournaments with armies I painted myself and armies I had professionally painted, I have to say I don’t mind how someone got his/her army painted. I hate playing against “bare minimum” armies. Plus a lot of people (myself included) have “mixed” armies, with miniatures painted “in house” and by pros… how would you score that?

    • Zingbaby

      Majority scoring, just like toughness? 🙂
      It’s definitely tricky adding commissioned stuff into the mix but I think it can be done.

  • BrotherCaptain

    Isn’t the whole purpose of any tournament to be a more skilled player at the game than your opponents? I’d say there should be very few, if any, points awarded for superior painting. Focus needs to be on playing skills and sportsmanship imo.

    • Zingbaby

      That’s a narrow of view of what the focus should be. And then what do you call “playing skills” – list building? For many editions “list building” has been the only so-called “skill”, with very few exceptions [like Ben Mobile], at most tournaments I’ve seen.

      • BrotherCaptain

        ‘Playing skills’ are presumably everything involved in winning the game, including (particularly?) list building.

        • Zingbaby

          So then as we talk about ‘commissioned paint jobs’

          …should folks that use popular ‘net-lists’ be penalized because they essentially are using someone else’s “playing skills”?

          • BrotherCaptain

            Net-listing is just a part of tournaments. Any game where perfect balance is not achieved will have something like this – some lists will always be better than others.

          • Grafton Is Dust

            So if you make it to the finals with Unbound Pyrovores, do you win over the Eldar Cheesespam 9000 because holy heck dude, you managed to almost beat that guy after getting so far with a terrible army, you are tactical jinyus!

            Or could it be that you went up against Little Timmy’s Ultramarines, or other similarly weak players and thus given that no-one faced the same challenge the idea of using it to compare player skill simply doesn’t work?

          • BrotherCaptain

            Well, equally so you could end up in the finals with a bad list as a mediocre player simply because you paid to get your pyrovores painted to an incredible standard.

          • Grafton Is Dust

            You don’t get that many points for painting, or at least, not at any tournaments posted about on here…

          • BrotherCaptain

            Yeah, that is true. I suppose it could simply just make the difference between two players who are very very close on points and ability.

          • Grafton Is Dust

            As a tiebreaker, but define ability. How do we know if one player got easier opponents than the other? It’s all relative, there’s no absolute, objective measurement involved.

          • BrotherCaptain

            Indeed. We can only make tournaments as ‘fair’ as possible. Adding in too many variables only muddies the waters further though.

          • Grafton Is Dust

            They’re hardly fair to begin with anyway, but giving someone with a terrible Codex a chance to save face by painting it well at least lets them recoup some of their losses.

          • Zingbaby

            Not if Commissioned are treated differently, which really they should be; like I said elsewhere – with a flat score for ALL commissioned armies.

          • BrotherCaptain

            Who knows? Perhaps the pyrovore owner could also be a Golden Demon winner…

          • Zingbaby

            Good – then all other things being equal (ie: “playing skills”) – you’d agree he should get the nudge in points because of the extra effort right?

          • BrotherCaptain

            Certainly, he should win the tournament’s painting award, but points to get ahead of more skilled opponents? Not so sure…

  • Goret

    I should not have to paint my models! I also should not have to field models at all. I just want to cut out card board pieces to the proper legal base size, write down what they represent and proceed to stomp your face with them while i laugh at you and all the hours and money you wasted on the hobby part of the game.

  • petrow84

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but 40k on the tournament scene is more or less pay 2 win already.

    • Brian Evans

      Good point. Whoever has the money to buy the latest/greatest in triplicate or more, currently has a leg up. I don’t see that changing, unless GW decides to participate in the tournament scene again.

  • Norsed

    Is this an American thing? The tournaments I’ve been to (granted, none of them 40k ones) don’t add ‘hobby points’ to your score – instead they have separate prizes for “best painted” or “most sporting” etc. That approach makes much more sense!

    I also engrave awards for various UK 40k events and they always have separate awards for best painted, most sporting etc.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      It was the old GW RT circuit standard in the USA. However there was a scale on what you thought of the army (composition), did they win or lose, how sportsman like they were, and then rate level of painting. At least that’s how many was run back in my tourney days in early two thousands as third ed took hold

  • TimW

    I say keep the hobby scoring but be aware that some players will buy their painted armies and might not disclose that they didn’t paint them themselves. The thing is, if someone paid for another painter to paint an army worthy of awards, then he probably paid 1,000+ dollars for it. I have no problem with someone getting an award for spending that much on an army. Artists need the support.

    • Zingbaby

      If someone doesn’t disclose that they have a commissioned army they are a ********* (bad word).

      But if Commissioned paint jobs are specifically handled (like a flat score) it could still work, and still give a very small boost to those that paid for painting.

      • TimW

        I’ve been on both sides of the issue, both having won best painted for my army and having had a client win best painted for an army I painted him. It happens a lot.

        • Zingbaby

          No doubt I’m sure that’s true… but I’m saying at this point going forward, with so many commissioned painted armies out there, there should be a ‘specific handling’ of them.

          • TimW

            I agree.

  • Martin B

    Fundamentally, it’s like giving a golfer a 10 stroke advantage
    just because he has a cool hat. But, my real issue is twofold. First, those with the means can get a professionally painted army, and do. This defeats the “hobby” view and awards wealth. Secondly, judging is erratic. I when to a major Tournament with my painted army, nothing special but three color. My friend had an army that was awesomely painted, many converted figures, themed objective markers, etc. We had different judges and ended up with different scores; mine being significantly better score than his. No explanation, judges’ call. The systems in place lack fairness
    and even if fairness is assured, the type of hat I ware should not change my score after the 18 holes.

    • Robert Meade

      Not golf dude. This is more like the Miss America pageant, you have to be smart AND look good in a bikini. You’re playing the wrong game.

  • SirDavideo

    I’m confused? Do some tournaments award points that add to the overall score based on how well something is painted? The Warhammer World events I’ve been to in the UK had these at separate awards. If this is the case then that is a really bad idea imo.

    You wouldn’t know if someone had put in a commissioned piece or work, but I’m not sure people would do that if it had no impact on tournament placing.

    The only thing that did impact on final score was “best game votes”, awarding victory points to the opponents you had the best game with, which I still think is a great way to stop beardy armies. Bear in mind these were doubles tournaments, which I suppose could be considered more light hearted than 1 vs 1.

  • Lord Solar Mac

    I remember playing at the GW Baltimore battle bunker, many years ago, and they graded paint/hobby score. They also used to grade army composition. Good bye to all the players fielding the “2× “minimum troop unit”, players. I find nothing more irritating than that, although it is legal, just not enjoyable. Also I agree with the later post, no soup cans for monstrous creatures!

  • pokemastercube .

    the big problem is how to prove someone had them comissioned for painting as the person can just lie if there is not marks to say who did it on them (and then the painters would just stop putting those on models so those paying them dont get annoyed they ger peanilised)

    i have been in several big events where i have lost out on top places only by the painting points, and afterwawrds found that those people diddnt even paint their own stuff….which is a punch in the gut to those of us who put a lot of effort into our own stuff, and most may not have that mutch money to order it, so in a way removign that criteria from overall score i am happy with as it means those of us who atualy put in the effort are not effictively peanilised for not geting someone else to do it.

    • Robert Meade

      Exactly the problem. Penalizing commission painters only rewards those who lie about it. TO’s don’t have the resources to vet every player that has traveled to their tournament.

      That leaves the only choices being A) just penalize ALL hobby, bringing us back to the world of pure WAAC and minimal or bare plastic. Or B) reward commission painters, honest people in general, people with money they want to spend on this market, and any player who would like to travel to a tournament and expect to play against excellently painted armies.

  • Gridloc

    Make best painted a separate prize, and make the prize paint brushes and paints… commission painted armies don’t really win much from that but players who do paint will definitely want.

    • Sebastien Bazinet


  • Joao David Silva Teixeira

    Why not ditch the minis entirely? No more LOS ambiguity, modelling for advantage and whatnot. We just play with terrain cutouts and cardboard markers representing models and call it a day. Also, it would be the cheapest hobby ever, so win-win situation for tournies!

  • cudgel

    This makes no sense.
    Score them individually, they are both important parts of the hobby, but painting ability shouldn’t help you win games, period. That is what a painting contest is for.

  • Talys

    If someone wants to buy their way to 1850 points of the best painted models at a tournament…. go for it. It’s their money. **shrug**

  • Crablezworth

    Soft scores are fine, they just should never affect generalship. They should probably also be done before games are played to reduce bias.

  • Valeli

    Good for the hobby for sure; not necessarily good for the game, although I find most claims that it’s bad for it a bit hard to swallow.

    I think the hobby is important though. If all I wanted was a balanced war game, being totally realistic, I could probably find better solutions. Especially as the world of computer-gaming opens up when you stop caring about lobbying aspects.

    I generally like the form of bonus scoring put out by miteyheroes, where you get really achievable bonuses just for 3 colors (+1), shading (+1), basing (+1), and then maybe an extra bonus for the best 3 armies so that those folks who put out truly exceptional stuff can get recognized, without really handicapping most everyone else.

  • happy_inquisitor

    Are commissioned armies worse for your judgement of best painted than net-lists for best “skill”? I’m not sure I really see a distinction, neither one takes much actual skill or effort.

    Both would be pretty easy to spot and apply some sort of different scoring scheme to but in reality why bother? Just score what you see in front of you and don’t worry too much how much of it was down to the skill of the person. Its only a game anyhows.

    • babelfisk

      Even the strongest net-lists still require some playing ability to win with. Commissioned painting requires only money.

      • happy_inquisitor

        Um yeah, like knowing the basic rules and stuff. Not exactly super-skilled beyond the ability to read the instructions that come with it and the rulebook.
        Run into another similar list or its counter and then you might need skill. My point is that all those VP you got for the easy point-and-click wins still count although we all know it was a copycat list requiring no skill to design and minimal skill to play.
        So why worry so much about someone who described a color scheme to someone and shelled out money? I can see the argument that it is marginally less worthy but its not fundamentally that different.

  • Dave

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If good players are willing to pay to have their army painted beautifully – who cares. That’s where some people are at. The argument here is like saying a race car driver can’t get the points for winning unless he built and painted his own car. I get that it seems disingenuous for a player to put down a commission painted army but in the end that’s their right. Some of us don’t have the time or skills for the modelling aspect of the hobby. A good friend of mine just isn’t a skilled painter and he feels pretty horrible when he deploys his army. Why shouldn’t he and anyone else who can afford it be able to pay someone so they too can have pride in how their force looks. Just my 2 cents.

    • babelfisk

      The issues is not that people pay for painting, it is that some tournaments judge your painting and add it to the score for the overall winner.

      In those cases winning the tournament could be decided by who had the money to pay for painting, which many people think is unfair.

      (I think that a basic level of painting-3 color, base, some detail/wash-should be built into the total score, with points lost for having unpainted models, and that judging who has the best painted army at the event should be a separate category with separate prizes.)

  • babelfisk

    Agreed. I think that soft scores should be handled in such a way that the majority of players get full points for 1) having made an attempt to field a painted army and 2) trying not to be an a** to their opponents.

    You can then have separate prizes given out for Best Painted and Sportsman and so forth.

  • Curtis Tandoh

    The problem with hobby scoring is that someone might have an army painted by someone else and the judges may never know. Maybe tournaments should have the 3 colours to play policy but not give people points for paint job. Tournaments are about the actual game, not craft.

  • Robert Meade

    Regarding commission painted armies:
    -Not all people who commission armies are simply rich and pampered and wanting to ‘buy’ their way to the top of the tournament. Some are hardworking and simply do not like painting, or have an adult job and life that won’t allow the time, but appreciate the hobby and the lore and want to share it with others they play with, not to mention support the painters.

    -It takes real coin to stay on top of the metagame and buy the models, and the time and transportation to get all the practice, to win large GT’s. Probably more than it takes to commission art.

    -Tournaments simply need to require attendees to state whether or not their army was commissioned, and not penalize them for it. If they do well in the tournament (as a result of hobby scores), giving the commission painters credit, then the commission painters are happy, and the players are happy. The other ‘real’ hobbyists ought to be happy as well because the result is a scene with more painted armies to play with and more appreciation of the hobby.

    -Hardcore competitions already exist where the painters must the the authors of their own submission. I’d agree that pure ‘painting/modelling’ comps should be like that. but in the miniature wargaming scene you are competing on multiple levels, money is always a factor (lets say you are actually a hobbyist… okay how much coin did you spend on that airbrush… those custom bases… that collection of paints… to give you the edge?), and it’s just better for the whole scene to encourage the business of commission painting.

    All that being said, I will admit to doing some commission painting myself, although i haven’t yet to make a full fledged business of it. I have to say though that compared to other more mature means of making money through art, this scene is very harsh for the artist. If you compare this community to something like the music community, where people are happy to chip in and support the creator, there are still a lot of people in this scene who think something should be cheap because they think they can do it themselves. The most typical thing I see is a fan who will spend hundreds to thousands on grey plastic, but not a dime for the service of a creator and member of their community! In any case, I just want to voice my support for the people making the case for hobby scores in tournaments.

  • Chad Underdonk

    The Flames of War scene handles it pretty simply. If a tournament is large enough player wise to support an additional set of prizes they often offer “Best painted”, “Best Table” (they have a tendency of volunteering historically themed terrain for events), and “Best Sport”. Generally speaking this is in addition to a Top Allied and Top Axis (as most FOW players prefer red on blue games).

    Best Table and Best Sport are usually graded by allowing each player to choose one from among the 3-5 they played on/against. The total tally for each table/player usually resolves the question of who gets those prizes, though sometimes a tie-breaker is necessary. In some tournaments to spread the prize around they have a hierarchy of prizes and if you’ve already one a higher prize, then you may not win a lower prize as well.

    Best painted is usually handled by a display period (often the lunch break) where people put out their armies for others to judge and vote. Other times a panel will make their selection.

    In some cases they also include a history score/prize as well.

    By making it a separate prize all together it makes it easier to spread some of the prize pool around, and it also prevents it from altering the over-all score for best general.

  • Marcus M

    I don’t like most hobby scoring because it’s subjective. Two different judges could easily have 2 different tournament winners, and it’s all based on their own fickle opinion.

    The ONLY hobby scoring I support is structured scoring that doesn’t take opinion into account, such as a paint score that is the sum of these:

    1 point for entire army painted in at least 3 colors/shades.
    1 point for entire army themed.
    1 point for custom display case for army, painted to 3 color min.
    1 point for no “naked” bases – 3 material minimum
    1 point for custom-built/”kitbashed” model/models that meets all other art point requirements and tournament rules.

    This rewards hobbyists but doesn’t depend on something so fickle as a random guy’s opinion. It creates a number of points that ANYONE can get, but that requires them to put forth a significant effort. With an above-type system in place, I’ve seen some people still show up without painted armies, and lose tournaments because of it. At the same time, it doesn’t give people who are willing to pay lots of money for other people’s talent a leg up on everyone else in the competitive scene.

    Their “pro painted” mercenary financed army gets them the same points as my army that I did my best on.