Overall, the day was okay. Of four games, I had two good ones, one okay one, and one really terrible one. That’s… not bad for a GT, really.
I’m not in love with the venue. I know it’s something other people like, but the fact that they sold beer didn’t compensate for the temperature, the humidity, or the concrete. I brought the chef’s mat to stand on (and I’m glad I did; I wouldn’t have been able to finish the day without it) and a folding chair (but it was rarely practical to sit in it.), but they weren’t enough to keep me from hurting at the end of it.
It was a long, long, long day… but that’s because they allowed for very long rounds. That’s great.
The acoustics of the pavilion were terrible. It was loud. So loud, I’m still hoarse, days later, from shouting so the person across the table could hear me.
I think the venue’s going to keep me from coming back next year, but I get that it’s something a lot of other folks enjoy.
The only thing that I found unacceptable was the paint judging. It pissed me off and, as I said, was unacceptable. Mike Clarke has a checklist that he uses; it’s more subjective that it might originally look, but it’s still fairly objective. He didn’t recognize me, so he gave me a breakdown & disclaimer about how he scores things. That’s good: context never hurts. My score wasn’t bad (16/20), and the places where he dinged me were, for the most part, reasonable*.
What’s got me pissed is that he did the paint judged me while I was playing a game. I asked him if he could wait and do it when I’d put things on my board and he said, no, this was how he was doing everybody’s. He was processing game results and that meant that he couldn’t do that and paint judge at the same time. (Wait for it.)
Now, I’m skeptical that everybody’s army was evaluated mid-game, and that he didn’t look at any armies when they were on their boards… but I’ll take him at his word, because that’s not the critical problem here.
If he can’t process results and paint judge at the same time: he shouldn’t be doing both. Micromanage less, or pick the support activity you prefer more, whatever. I don’t care. I didn’t lug that enormous, awkward thing to and fro just to have it ignored. (Yes, he asked “Do you have a display board” and then looked at it, but it’s very much different.) People who put a lot of effort into their army appearance deserve to have it evaluated as a whole, the way they want to present it… not over the shoulder, while they’re shoved together into casualty piles or hiding behind terrain.
Really: if I learn he’s involved in a tournament I’m planning to attend, I’m going to find out if they plan on judging this way again**. If they are: I will pass on it. If they aren’t, and they end up doing it anyway, I’m going to pitch a fit.
I’ll try to touch on my games in the next couple of days.
* I’ll pop out here and say that his checklist is biased towards small armies. When items speak to heavily customized bases throughout an army, or every miniature in an army being customized: an army with fewer minis is always going to do better than an army with more minis. An Ogre army will always score better than a Skaven army on his checklist.
Furthermore, it makes the poor assumption that a good conversion is an obvious one. I very much disagree. An obvious conversion is a less skillful one: little of Ron‘s work leaps out as having been converted, though it quite thoroughly has.
** If this sounds like hatin’ on Clarke; it’s not. He’s a nice enough guy: I just find his in media res approach to paint judging unacceptable.
EDIT: It looks like I’m being unfair to Mike here. I’m sorry about that. The mid-game judging isn’t standard procedure for his tournaments; it was just something that was driven by a lack of staff.
I’m leaving the original post as-is ’cause I dislike making phantom edits, but although I remain frustrated by the judging, I understand it’s not something Mike could control. I apologize for singling him out for it.