Montag, 2. Januar 2012

How a Golden Demon (Lesson 1: Self-assessment)

I would like to start a little series of articles I will extend regularly, called "How a Golden Demon". The first reason why I write these lines is because I have heard one question over and over again from young, uprising painters who are eager to win a GW-trophy: "What do I have to think of, when I try to win a Demon?" Instead of telling the lessons I have learned over and over again, I will write my thoughts down and share it with everybody who is interested.

Before you go on reading, here is a general warning: this series will not tell you how to find your inner peace, nore will it boost your creativity or make you a better person. Maybe the opposite will happen. If you are not interested in winning a Golden Demon at all, please stop reading. This article might annoy you, as it only regards the best strategies to maximize your chance of winning. No other aspects are considered, what does not mean that they aren't important to me. They just aren't subject to this article.

All that will be written here refers to the rules and habits of the German Golden Demon competition. Note that there still are varying rules in different countries.

Lesson 1: Self-assessment (or: "Know your weaknesses)
Before you even think of a miniature you would like to paint, a certain project or a colour scheme, you should be aware of your own weaknesses. Being honest to yourself might be hard and demotivating, but it is an essential part of maximizing your winning chances. If you overestimate your skill, or just aren't willing to think about your level of painting, watching other people winning the trophies might be just as painful.
In order to judge your skills, you should compare (and learn). The best and fastest way is to check these sites here:

To make things easy, I would like to think of three groups of painters:
1) Beginner: knows how to hold the brush, might be the best painter among his friends
2) Advanced: might have won some local competitions or one to three Demons
3) Veteran: has won quite a few Demons and knows the business very well

Lets be honest, about 95% of the people taking part in a Golden Demon consist of painters from group 1 (Beginner) and group 2 (Advanced). However, 95% of the demons go to group 3 (Veterans). In my opinion, this imbalance can be changed dramatically by regarding a few aspects of the Golden Demon winning-system.

Group 1: Beginner
You found yourself in group 1? Well, there is something great I would like to tell you: Painters from this group are extremly motivated and eager to win. USE this motivation to create something competitive. While Veterans rely on their skills, you have the emotional aspect on your side. This is by far the strongest power when you are trying to do something great. Note, that motivation alone might still not be enough, when your painting skills are below or way below average. In order to maximize your winning chances, you should follow this rules:
  • try to deliver your best paintjob so far for the Golden Demon this year
  • go to demonwinner and see last years winners from your country, this is the level you should reach
  • don't go for the Single categories, you will not win
  • don't think that last years weak categories will be weak again, the opposite will happen
  • therefore, go for a strong category (except of Single)
  • ever painted a regiment? putting a lot of effort into one entry is something that 99% of the veterans will not do --> this is your chance
  • get in contact with other painters on the internet, share your ideas and learn
  • be humble
  • do more than one entry, leave this game to the veterans

Group 2: Advanced
In a dangerous group you are, my friend. Overestimation close is to you, the dark side near is.....and so on, you know what I mean. Once again, be honest to yourself. You have won a Demon already, but what kind of Demon was it? Where you lucky because the other entrys in your category sucked? Then you might still consider yourself in group 1. Was it a clear decision in a strong category? Then you might tend to see yourself in category 3. Here are some rules you might want to think about:
  • don't think you are a pro, try to put as much time as possible into your entrys
  • go to demonwinner and see last years winners from your country, this is the level you should reach
  • try to develop your own style, without doing something that is against the style of GW (we are still trying to win)
  • do some secure entrys first, something time consuming like a regiment or a duel
  • do one entry for Single, try to highly improve on this miniature
  • expect not to win with your Single miniature, instead talk to people who won that category (learn...)
  • your Demon will most likely consist of 50% diligence and 50% skill, lets make it 70% diligence to be sure
Group 3: Veterans
Well, what should I tell you? It is you guys who set the tone, so don't be to hard with the other 95%. The good thing I can tell you is that you have both the skill and the experience on your side, on the other hand you will most likely be way less motivated than someone who aims for his first Demon. Some advice for you, if you are reading this article:
  • try to improve with every miniature you paint
  • don't care who won what with some kind of entry last year
  • keep your creativity in the world of Games Workshop, many Veterans fail here
  • obey the rules
  • go for Single Miniature first, do something time consuming in the end

This is it for today. Lesson two will be called "Clever Decisions" and focus on picking the right categories depending on the group you belong to.

Please let me know what kind of aspects concerning this topic you would like to read more about. What do you think of this article? Is it worth the time? A pile of junk? Enlightening?



  1. I found the article brilliant and the categories clear... even if one might want to question making up categories where the first takes 95% of the total volume. I would assume in your head you could break the first group further (eg whether they dilute paint or whether they know blending at all etc), this would add very little to your point though. Maybe do this kind of stuff in a separate article, but there are enough resources to learn techniques and lists to figure out which techniques and skills are out there.

    In summary: brilliant article at a topic where not nearly enough information is available. Keep it coming.

  2. Absolutely you should continue :)

    It's an incredibly good reality check for people like me who often think of entering, and who dream of a finalist's pin :)

    you know, the begginers :)

  3. I for one am following this blog even closer than before from now one ;-)
    Trying to make my resolutions for 2012 stick :-D
    A big thank you!

  4. Great article ! Have you any tipps for me,because i'm going to enter youngbloods. Last year I took 2nd place and this year I want to win :-) Mmh perhaps we meet at the gamesday, than we can talk a bit (You are german,aren't you ?)

  5. Hey guys, thank you very much for your productive feedback.

    @ Heiki: Thank you very much!!! This is the kind of feedback that realy brings you forward. You are perfectly right, there are various subcategories among group 1 and group 2. My aim was to make this as simple as possible and break it down to the main thesis. Maybe people should judge for themselves wether they are in group 1, but close to group 2, or if they are total beginners.

    @ Karitas: I hope this helps, the articles are written for people like you.

    @ Tyr: Nice to hear that!!!

    @ Lister: I will write something for Youngbloods later in the articles. Yes, I am German, so we can talk in Cologne this year. :)


  6. Absolutely brilliant Chris. What a nice piece of writing!!

  7. I have been charmed with the entry. This year I want to fight for my 1 º demon ^^

  8. Brilliant article. It really lays out some things that people might not think about when plotting their entries.

  9. This is great! I will be teaching some lessons at Gen Con this year (I am one of that lucky final 5% and people apparently want to pick my brain for tips and such as well) and was wondering if you would mind if I added a link to this on the bottom of my handouts as a way of pointing people in the right direction.

    James Craig

  10. James, that would be an honour!!! Feel free to link to this article.