Dienstag, 3. Januar 2012

How to.... win a Golden Demon (Lesson 2: Clever Decisions)

I got great feedback for the first article of this series and I am majorly happy that nobody got me wrong so far. As I promised, today we will talk about the best way to pic the right category, when your aim is to win a Golden Demon.

After reading the first article, you might think of a category that fits best to your painting skills. There might not be an archetype of painter, so it might easily be possible that you find yourself in the upper part of group 1 (Beginner), or maybe in the lower part of group 2 (Advanced). Make clear for yourself, where you are. To be on the safe side, you should think of a bit of understatement (just if you like but way better than hubris).

The Golden Demon system
Lets take a look at the Golden Demon system, herefore you can look at the rules in Germany :

In Germany we have 11 categorys, plus Youngbloods and the Open Category. This makes 39 Demons in total (I count the Youngblood trophies as Demons as well). In contrast to many other painting contests, the Golden Demon does not favor the open system. That means that every other participant competes against you and tries to be among the best three miniatures (or at least what the jury thinks are the best minis...you know what I mean). This k.o.-system, as I like to call it, has drastic effects on the jurys mind. While the jury members in competitions with the open system look for quality and set a certain (subjective) niveau to win a prize, the Golden Demon jury looks for mistakes on a miniature. This way of thinking often results in strange decisions, but thats the way this system works. When 5 minis seem to be rather equal in quality, it is the most simple way to look for things you don't like. Although I reject this way of thinking, we have to be aware of it and draw a conclusion. Whenever you lack motivation, ambition or time, do something else but don't force yourself to paint on a Golden Demon entry. This way, your miniature will definitely not show the best result you can produce and it will be full of mistakes. 99% of miniatures painted this way don't win a Demon, there are to many other painters taking this thing to serious.

Number of entrys
Depending on your speed of painting and the time left until the next Games Day, you have to make an important decision. How many miniatures are you going to enter? As I already mentioned in the first article, it is a bad idea to put all eggs in one basket. Going to a Games Day with one entry can easily break your neck, as there are hundreds of painters around who might very well have done something better than you for the same category. Therefore, you should spread your miniatures across at least 2 categories, maybe even more. However, make sure not to overshoot. Entering 11 mediocre entrys will not make you win either. The right number lies somewhere in between. I usually take 3 to 5 entrys to a demon, with a winning rate of about 60%. This rate drops rapidly, when you don't make clever decisions (except you are in group 3).

The right categories
Lets fly over the categories we have in Germany:

  • Warhammer 40k Single Miniature: very strong category, recommended to group 2 and 3, hardly ever someone from group 1 wins here
  • Warhammer 40k Unit: takes a lot of time and energy, recommended to group 1 and 2
  • Warhammer 40k Vehicle: hard to say, kind of a lottery; recommended to group 2 and 3
  • Warhammer 40k Monster: same as vehicle
  • Warhammer Fantasy Single Miniature: again very strong, the masters battle here, recommended to group 2 and 3
  • Warhammer Fantasy Regiment: when you do something very ambitious that takes a lot of time, you can win although you are in group 1; group 3 usually won't take part here, although exceptions prove the rule; recommended to group 1 and 2
  • Warhammer Fantasy Monster: lottery again, I have seen very strong but also extremly weak years in this category: recommended to group 2 and 3 and to the brave ones in group 1
  • Duel: This category is often decided by good ideas instead of the best paintjob; recommended to group 1, 2 and 3
  • Diorama: pure lottery, you find Slayer Sword winners here very often, but then again you have years where hardly one good entry can be seen; very time consuming category, when taken seriously; recommended to group 1 and 2 + ambitious guys from group 3
  • Large Scale: in Germany, this category is dying a slow and painful death; recommended to all three groups
  • Lord of the Rings Single Miniature: very strong again, only painting is allowed, no conversions; expect kick-ass miniatures here; recommended to group 2 and 3
  • Open: very hard to say, recommended to all groups
  • Youngbloods: speaks for itself

Lets sum this up:

Group 1 (Beginner)
Go for at least 2 entrys you took a lot of time for, 3 would be even better. Avoid the strongest categories, especially the three Single Miniatures. These categories are very attractive for group 3 painters, as they can produce something on a high level in a short period of time. Go for entrys like units/ regiment, a duel or a diorama. They are way more time consuming, group 3 painters will more often hesitate to do this kind of entry because they could do 3 Single entrys in the same time. However, you have to be patient, willing and motivated to spend a few months for maybe one Golden Demon. Burning ambition is your bonus, make use of it. Don't even try, if you don't feel it.

Group 2 (Advanced)
You have the hardest job to do. Maybe you already won a Demon in one of the "group 1 - categories" and aim for something higher. Maybe you won a Demon because you are almost in group 3. Be honest with yourself and choose wisely. I recommend doing some "safe" entrys first, such as a monster for 40k or Fantasy, that takes a lot of time and leads to an awesome result. After that, you can risk something and do  one or two Single entrys. If you wan't to be on the safe side, do a unit or regiment, you will most likely win a Demon when you put enough effort into your miniatures.

Group 3 (Veteran)
Chose what you are in the mood for. After 10 or 20 Demons, you stop counting, and your motivation can be at a very low level if you pick the wrong category/ miniature. Your skill allows you, not to think what other painters will do. Try to set the tone. The three Single Miniature categories can be done in a few days/ weeks and grant at least one or two demons. The rest is up to your free time and motivation. Go for something bigger if you aim for the Sword.

This is it for today, lesson 3 will be called "Obey the rules" and tell you something about to dos and don'ts.

Again, I would be very happy to read your comments, feedback and your opinion on this topic. I hope it is still going to the right direction.



  1. Nothing much to comment, looking forward to next one.

    However, do you think there are major differences to GDUK or some others? Obviously Germany is very very big so it should have some influence on the level of competition, no?

  2. Great article - as was Lesson 1 by the way! Great tips, and I find myself looking more seriously, humbled, and realistic towards my participation to GD's. Looking forward to Lesson 3, as I always tend to want to do things my way, while everyone says that 'they (GW) don't like that'...:D

  3. As promised I'm keeping a very close look on these articles. Great read again.
    Now I just need to start working on my entries like a mad man ;-)

  4. This article (as lesson 1, too) is very helpfull for me and I must recognize, last year I really did it the wrong way. ;)